The best part about living on the East Coast (and why I will always be a East Coast dweller) is the ability to take easy road trips up and down the coast. From Boston to New York to Philly and DC, it’s easy to explore so many beautiful and historic areas. And being the nerdy travel buff that I am, I can always find a new nook to explore, a road to take or an antique shop to browse.
One area that has more than most – the New England northeast. There is just SO. MUCH. HISTORY here. From sleepy fishing towns to classic patriotic picket fences on Martha’s Vineyard to ghost hunting (even accidentally!) on Cape Cod.
I try to venture up north at least twice a year if not more, and this fall we decided to check out Chatham Bars Inn. Chatham is a sleepy town on the far tip of Cape Cod that is off the beaten path – so it’s extremely quaint and serene. Note to New Yorkers: you’re not getting here by train or ferry, folks. You’re going to need wheels. This trip, I decided to test out the Mazda CX-9 (since you know I’ve always been a SUV fan including those Hummer days).
The drive up is part of the journey and you need to see it as such! Going into a getaway thinking the driving is the worst part sets you up for disaster. Exploring and taking the scenic route should be part of the fun. We always plan to allow ourselves at least one-two hours extra on drives to stop and have lunch in a small town along the way (we don’t do truck stops!), or to veer off the path if we see a sign for something cool worth checking out.
The vehicle you’re in is also a major factor. Sure you can rent or own four wheels that barely gets you there, but there is something about driving in luxury that makes everyone want to splurge (and really, starting at $31,000 isn’t too much of a splurge!) Think Bluetooth Wifi and navigation – though your cell phone – plus music from your playlist (a must when on back roads and no radio stations!). Think comfort with heated (and COOLING!) leather seats, and a safe, reliable ride for your precious cargo – the children. A far change from the times I would ride in the back of our pick-up truck under a cab on a piece of wood with blanket and talk to my parents through the sliding window. True story.
Tip: when driving to New England, you should always take the scenic route (which is hard NOT to do in Cape Cod). On the way up, we usually opt for the Taconic State Parkway – during the fall the trees make a sort of rainbow-colored canopy over the road. It doesn’t get better than that.
Chatham is a fishing town, so you’ll find the population small, the charm overwhelming, and the wildlife intriguing. If you’ve never seen seals in the wild, you will here. There is probably more of them than local human residents! You’ll want to drive up and down the short coastal lines to watch where the fishing boats drop off their catch in the afternoon (the seals come in to eat leftovers).
The favorite spot? Chatham Pier and Market. Not only can you get a birds eye view of the fish being unloaded and shipped (here you see tons of Mackarel), but you can also eat the day’s fresh catch at the market! Not to mention, fresh, local New England Chowda. We were here during the fall, so it was cold on that pier – if you go during the cooler months – be sure to bring clothing be outside for long periods of time. Honestly I don’t know how those fisherman do it – it’s a hard life. They couldn’t run to the Mazda Cx-9 heated seats waiting for us in the parking lot.
You also never know what you might find. We went to locate the Chatham Lighthouse (always find one on our trips!). There is always a fascinating story to unfold, and the one of Chatham is of the dangerous Chatham Bar entrance. It is warned of boats that only the experienced local fisherman should enter so not to get stuck or capsize – such as what happened in the famous Pendleton disaster in 1952. Ok enough of the nerding out here.
While looking for seals through the binoculars we spotted what looked like a pirate ship on the sand. Intrigued, we went to see what is was and found…..
a private “cabin” on the beach that was decorated with washed up “treasures.”
Mazda’s are climbing my list as favorite vehicles. These Cx-9 prove to be the perfect mesh between SVU and “family station wagon” in a sleek and modern way. Plus, they start at only $31,000 a year! From fitting in my NYC underground garage to also still fitting all the luggage you need as a family, it’s efficient.
Having the blind spot markers light up on the side mirrors also make for much easier NYC driving when you need to miss that taxi playing chicken.
And as mentioned, it just makes for a very comfortable road trip vehicle. We made a funny little clip here to showcase some features to a friend who was considering buying one, so you might find it helpful too (such as projected speeds on the windshield, automatic wipers when they detect rain and how to use the touchscreen navigation when you’re driving – hint the touchscreen doesn’t work!).
I’ll have a more in-depth post coming shortly on our actual stay at Chatham Bars Inn and why you’ll want to go there when you visit Chatam.
This is a sponsored post by Mazda on behalf of Drive Shop. I was provided a complimentary test vehicle to facilitate this trip. Thanks for supporting Football Food and Motherhood.