A place on the Cape that’s second to one

Walkway to the Sea along Hyannis Harbor starts on Main Street. Walkway to the Sea along Hyannis Harbor starts on Main Street. (Ellen Albanese for The Boston Globe)
By Ellen Albanese
Globe Correspondent / June 30, 2010

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The largest village in the Cape Cod town of Barnstable, Hyannis was rated second on Trip Advisor’s TravelCast Top Five US Destinations for 2010 — just behind Seward, Alaska, and ahead of Hot Springs, Ark., Chinle, Ariz., and Waimea, Hawaii. The village is eminently walkable and packed with attractions for foodies, shoppers, history buffs, and children. On a summer vacation or a day trip, families will find plenty to do here.

Hyannis traffic can be a nightmare in summer, so a central location within walking distance of beaches, attractions, and restaurants is a plus. These lodgings all fit that bill. Anchor In (1 South St., 508-775-0357,, $109-$439), overlooking Hyannis Harbor, is the village’s only waterfront hotel. Guests can walk to Bay View Beach, island ferries, waterfront restaurants, and harbor cruises. Deluxe rooms at Hyannis Travel Inn (18 North St., 508-775-8200,, $90-$150) come with two queen beds, a pullout couch, refrigerator, microwave, television, and DVD player. The hotel has indoor and outdoor pools and lends beach chairs, umbrellas, and coolers to guests. Captain Gosnold Village (230 Gosnold St., 508-775-9111,, $70-$380) is a gray-shingled, pink-shuttered cottage colony in a residential neighborhood with motel rooms, efficiencies, and cottages (the high rate is for a three-bedroom cottage). It’s a half-mile walk to Veterans Beach and less than a mile to Main Street shopping. You can’t walk to the beach from the Cape Codder Resort (1225 Iyannough Road, 888-297-2200,, $109-$409 doubles), but you can swim in the resort’s 8,200-square-foot indoor wave pool, with 2-foot waves, water slides, and waterfalls. Lodging options begin with two doubles and run up to fully equipped residences that can accommodate up to 10 people.

Spanky’s Clam Shack (138 Ocean St., 508-771-2770,, $8-$32) and Tugboats (21 Arlington St., 508-775-6433, $14-$29) both have picture-postcard settings on Hyannis Harbor with outside seating in good weather and children’s menus. Ardeo (644 Main St., 508-790-1115,, $7-$24) specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, with staples such as baba ghanouj, falafel, and stuffed grape leaves, along with thin-crust pizza. Margherita, pollo pesto, and four-mushroom pies are the most popular choices at Palio Pizzeria (435 Main St., 508-771-7004,, $6-$19), according to a server with a distinctly Irish lilt in her voice. The restaurant also makes its own cannoli, which you can have filled to order. Peanut butter and jelly is just one of 100-plus omelets on the menu at the Original Gourmet Brunch (517 Main St., 508-771-2558,, $5-$8.50). Follow the flower-lined path to the little cottage, which has been serving breakfast and lunch for 33 years. No one knows what’s in “Cape Cod Sand’’ — it’s a trade secret — but it is still the runaway best-selling flavor at Katie’s Homemade Ice Cream (568 Main St., 508-771-6889, cones $3-$4).

During the day
From Main Street, follow the wave-patterned brick Walkway to the Sea to the harbor, where local artists and craftsmen display their wares in bright-colored shanties as part of the summer Harbor Your Arts program. Continue on foot to the JFK and Korean War memorials at Veterans Park. Children ride free on morning runs of Hy-Line Cruises’ narrated tour of Hyannis Harbor (138 Ocean St. 800-492-8082,, $16, children $8), which takes visitors past the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. Pursue the Kennedy connection at the JFK Museum (397 Main St., 508-790-3077, www.jfkhyannis, $5, children $2.50), which focuses on the late president’s Cape Cod connections, and follow the maritime angle at the Cape Cod Maritime Museum (135 South St., 508-775-1723,, $5 adults, children under 8 free), where the featured exhibit is “Transformations: From Farmer to Seafarer, Cape Cod 1639-1739.’’ New to town is the Zion Union Heritage Museum (276 North St., 508-790-9466,, $5 adults, $2 ages 10-17), which celebrates African-American and Cape Verdean culture on Cape Cod.

After dark
Through mid-August, catch the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in a 7 p.m. Cape Cod Baseball League game at McKeon Park (120 High School Road,, free). Bowling meets disco in Ryan Family Amusements’ (441 Main St., 508-775-3411, www.ryanfamily .com, $5.20 per game plus $3 for shoes) “mystic bowling’’ on Friday and Saturday nights. Free concerts Tuesday evenings at Aselton Park run the gamut from blues to big band to rock ’n’ roll (6-7:30 p.m., Ocean and South streets, 508-362-0066, Next up is the Chandler Travis Philharmonette, playing alternative pop and Dixieland. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket — and the family.

Ellen Albanese can be reached at