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Posts Tagged ‘The Whydah 1717’

Wellfleet Cape Cod, overlooked by tourists heading to Ptown

July 30th, 2013 by Mike Cassels

Wellfleet, a cape cod day tripWellfleet is just 40 minutes from our Inn and is indeed a part of the Cape that the average visitor has heard little about. The “must see” places are consistently Provincetown and Marthas Vineyard. If our guests have heard of anywhere, it will more often than not be these two destinations. Some people will tell you as they check in early evening, that they have just “done Provincetown”. We invariably ask them what they saw on the way up or back. “Why? Is there much to see?” they continue. Anyone who knows Cape Cod or lives here will be able to rattle off a list of places, and not just The National Seashore.

Charming and beautiful, Wellfleet is my favorite place on The Cape. Yes, the unthinkable, I prefer it to Chatham! It has all the ingredients I need for a memorable day trip, a wealth of diversity in the things to do and see. Wellfleet stands in its own right as an exceptional destination – it is not just a place to stop at en route to Ptown.

So what is so compelling about this New England village. Where do I start. Well seeing that we are in the midst of the beach season, Mayo Beach, a ten minute walk from the gorgeous village, is simply stunning. Having lived for many years near The Med and explored the coastline from Malaga in southern Spain to Reggio di Calabria on Italy’s toe, our feel for Mayo is that it reminds us of  a good Mediterranean beach – the clear blue water gently lapping the shore is also a factor. It is a long beach, good for a jog or a stroll to work up an appetite. Talking of which, you can have lunch on the upper deck of The Bookstore Restaurant, and see for yourself why this unpretentious café with stunning vistas across the beach and the bay beyond, has such a formidable reputation for great, affordable and fresh seafood. Try the lobster roll or perhaps fried clams. The famous Wellfleet oyster beds are barely 100 yards away and oysters are freshly shucked minutes before you are sampling them.

We always take a look at some of the many art exhibitions in Wellfleet. Believe it or not, this little spot has more art galleries than anywhere else on Cape Cod. Then we just have time to find an ice cream before setting off to walk the Great Island Trail, a half mile west of the village. Now this trail is not to be missed and it is worth the effort to get out to Jeremy Point. You can stop and relax on one of the beaches and take care not to step on Fiddler Crabs.

Still on the Bay, if you come south a little on Route 6, you will find Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. There are trails to follow, the heath land , barrier beach, salt marsh and woodland supports a wide variety of wildlife including song and shore birds. The nature centre has been ecologically designed and is a good example of modern green architecture. This is a beautiful adventure.wellfleet cape cod

No day trip to Wellfleet is complete without a visit to Marconi Beach on the eastern coastline known as The National Seashore. There you canrest a while on the cliff top and wonder at the enormous horizon, see a seal or two and maybe a whale or shark. Fix your eye upon a mark approximately 500 yards out into open water. This is where the Pirate ship, The Whydah, sank with 143 hands in 1717. Captain Black Sam Bellamy, who had captured the former slave galley from the British, also perished. He was on the way to Provincetown to see his wench, or so the story goes. Anyway, that was not the last that was heard of The Whidah. 267 years later in 1984, the wreck of The Whydah was found in just 14 feet of water and beneath 5 feet of sand, and yes just 500 yards from the beach. This remains the largest haul of treasure ever discovered in US coastal waters, 4.7 tons of gold and silver amongst priceless artifacts.

Well that has been a hugely enjoyable day and we have quite an appetite. Where better to stop for great food and a bistro like ambience, than PB Boulangerie, which is also in Wellfleet, and this will be a perfect end to our day. Not quite. Exclusively for our guests  when they return to the Inn, are the candle-lit areas outside, including the front veranda between the soaring columns of this magnificent building. Here they can relax on balmy summer evenings over a night cap, reflect upon the day’s discoveries and plan tomorrow’s adventures. See you in the morning at breakfast.



Marconi Beach – a part of Cape Cod’s rich history

February 10th, 2010 by cassels

“Awe-inspiring” is the term we use to describe the magnificent Marconi Beach, which is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, and is located on the Atlantic coast of Cape Cod’s “arm”. From the lookout just above the beach there are wonderful, broad sweeping views of Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

The beach itself is named after the Italian inventor and nobel prize winner Guglielmo Marconi, who in 1903 successfully transmitted the first transatlantic wireless message originating in the U.S. between President Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII in the U.K.  But with technology rapidly advancing, the wireless station became outdated within a few years, and was replaced by a more modern one in Chatham, MA.

The barren aspects of this elevated location attracted first Marconi, followed by the government during World War II, where they established Camp Wellfleet as an artillery training facility. When this was no longer needed, the property was transferred to the National Park Service to become part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Perhaps the most dramatic piece of  Marconi Beach’s history is the ship-wreck of the pirate vessel the Whydah in 1717 during one of the worst storms in Cape Cod’s history. The vessel was the flagship of Samuel ” Black Sam ” Bellaby, who was on his way back to see his sweetheart Maria Hallet in Provincetown, to finally retire after years of plundering across the seas. He had been away for 2 years and tragically fell short of his destination by 5 miles, just 500 yards from shore. There were 140 pirates aboard with tons of gold and other treasure. In 1984 the underwater explorer Barry Clifford discovered the wreck 10 feet deep in sand on the ocean floor, together with $400 million worth of gold coins and many priceless historical artefacts. www.capecodtravelguide.com/articles/2  & http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Sp8fAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HNYEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3987,588464&dq=marconi+beach+history&hl=en

Marconi Beach has in more recent times, been ranked as one of the top ten beaches in northeast America, and the many thousands of tourists who visit the beach every will certainly see why.                                                                             

Useful lnks: Marconi Beach www.nps.gov/caco/planyourvisit/marconi-beach.htm    

Cape Cod National Seashore: www.nps.gov/CACO/  

Gugliemo Marconi: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1909/marconi-bio.html

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce: www.capecodchamber.org

Cape Cod Times: www.capecodtimes.com

Wellfleet Historical Society: www.wellfleethistoricalsociety.com

Of course, all the beauty of Cape Cod’s national Seashore is within very easy reach of our Cape Cod B & B Inn, where you can stay in one of our 9 gorgeous rooms or suites. We hope to see you soon!