You’ve Got 24 Hours in Orleans – Here’s What to Do!

KA_Storm Sunset_Clam Trees_Orleans_Rock Harbor_060816_238Situated at the “elbow of Cape Cod,” Orleans has developed over the decades into the business “hub” of the Lower Cape.

Routes 6, 6A, and 28 all converge in the town that is home to a multitude of shops, food markets, art galleries, restaurants, theaters, and professional and home services.

8 to 9 a.m. – Breakfast
A local legend is the Hole in One Donut shop (98 Massachusetts 6A). Stop in for their freshly-made sour cream, honeywheat, chocolate frosted and lemon filled doughnuts and other delights available at this local’s choice. The deliciousness doesn’t stop at doughnuts, however: Hole in One also serves a variety of sandwiches and homemade breads for the best toast around.
Don’t forget JoMama’s (125 Route 6A). In addition to smoothies like the Blue Moon (Blueberry, Mango, Banana & Pineapple) and other cooldown drinks, this establishment is known for breakfast burritos and 15 flavors of fresh-baked bagels.

9 a.m. to noon – Beach Combing
Everybody goes to Nauset Beach, and while that’s a worthwhile venture in itself if you plan on having a traditional beach day, there is an alternative if you’re more of a beachcomber.
Skaket Beach (200 Skaket Beach Road) offers a wide expanse of tidal pools at low tide and is great for walking during any tidal phase, especially in the morning before the full heat of the day bears down on it. See crabs scuttle by, the bars of sand and water stretching back to a receding tidal line and seagulls flock over to check on what’s in those tidal pools you just passed.

For some late-morning shopping opportunities, it’s hard to beat Booksmith Musicsmith (136 Route 6A). The phrase “something for everyone” rings true at this hybridized shop for readers and listeners alike. They specialize both in hard-to-find and local authors, and stock a surprisingly diverse range of films and music genres.

Don’t let the name fool you: The Hot Chocolate Sparrow (5 Old Colony Way) is a must-stop during any time of year. They specialize in fudge, coffee and specialty chocolate-infused beverages. The atmosphere is as inviting as it is diverse: the shop acts as a hangout for both the local youth and older crowd.

KA_Orleans_Hot Chocolate Sparrow2_11115Noon to 1 p.m. – Lunch
Burritos as long as your forearm, and wider. Every everlasting inch of the burritos at Guapo’s Tortilla Shack (136 MA-6A) is worth its weight in (Patron) gold. Coincidentally, they also offer an extensive range of tequila beverages.

All Cape Cod towns are close to the water and therefore have “seafood cred.” But Orleans has The Knack (5 MA-6A), and that’s a credential which is hard to top. First, they have the coveted rolls: lobster and clam, with the freshest seafood they can grab. They also have more contemporary sandwiches like fish tacos.
KA_Orleans_French Cable Museum Sign_102715 1 to 5:30 p.m. – Afternoon Excursions
The Outermost Brewery’s Hog Island Beer Company (28 West Road) is worth the trip to Orleans from anywhere. While craft beer on Cape Cod becomes all the more popular, this establishment doesn’t offer tours yet. But you won’t miss the crowds and dime-a-dozen explanations about yeast pitching. This is more of a place to hang out, play on their ping pong table, enjoy live music, kick around their lawn and play yard games, and, of course, drink beer!

The French Cable Museum is a gem in the sand that not many tourists get to visit. Free guided tours are available of an historic collection of original Atlantic undersea telegraphic cables, instruments, maps and assorted memorabilia.

According to their web site, during World War I, General Pershing in France communicated with the US Government through this cable station. In 1927 the message that Charles Lindbergh had landed in Paris came through this station from Paris. It was then sent to the rest of the United States.

5:30 to 7 p.m. – Dinnertime
If the town of Orleans had a theme, it would be “warm and friendly.” That’s also the theme at the classic tavern joint, Rock Harbor Grill (18 Old Colony Way). Wood-fired pizza selections include: Stark Crimson Pear (Great Hill Bleu, Caramelized Onion, Baby Arugula, Walnuts, and Cranberries), Prosciutto (Chili Oil, Medjool Dates, Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic, Chevre, Honey) and many other creative combinations. Side dishes like Maple-Sweet Potato Puree, Cilantro-Lime Cole Slaw and Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese could be a meal of themselves.

The Lobster Claw (42 Cranberry Highway) is another legendary seafood joint with consistency and a dedication to freshness.

Many have been tempted at one point or another to simply have ice cream for dinner, which may soon become reality should you be near the Local Scoop (34 MA-6A) around dinnertime. “Scoop” only describes part of what the folks at The Local Scoop do year-round, since they’re also known for creative ice cream pops, make-your-own yogurt and ice cream sundaes and personalized ice cream cakes. Locally-sourced ingredients are found throughout the Scoop’s array of toppings, additions and ingredients – from the Cape Cod Beer brittle to the Hole in One Doughnut Shop’s midnight dark chocolate granola. Date-nighters and families will love the high level of customization in the sundaes, while those looking to grab a sweet treat to go will savor the cakes and pops.

By Adam Forziati


  1. Burn off some of those calories at CrossFit Nauset in Orleans. In 24 hours I’m sure you could spare just 1.

  2. Llove my favorite place in the whole wide world, Orleans in MA.

    Another great spot to eat for either lunch or dinner BNI right near Nauset Beach. Stop in for a quick appretizer or a quiet dinner.


  3. Also recommended: the artwork and tour of the Church of the Transfiguration! Gorgeous mosaics, frescoes, glass, carving and an organ demo on Friday afternoons! The gift shop is also a must…

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