Truro is a very rural town, with no real town center. Just about all the commerce is on Rt. 6; the rest is winding country roads through hilly, wooded country. Seventy percent of the town is in the National Seashore, including the land across the street from Bay View Pines. Especially in South Truro, houses are spread out and life is quiet and private – but Bay View Pines is an easy fifteen minute drive from downtown Provincetown.
Truro has the best beaches on Cape Cod – seven on the Bay, and five on the Atlantic Ocean, all accessible with one Town beach permit, and all within 10-15 minutes of the house. Wind, sun and waves on one side; more sedate, relaxing, sunny experiences on the other side. See seals and (depending on season) whales on the ocean, and explore the unique, fascinating environment of the Pamet River estuary only half a mile from Fisher Beach, on the Bay side. And there’s also the extensive marshlands of the Pamet estuary, almost all of which are accessible by walking trails – and all within walking distance of the house.
It’s a pleasant half-mile walk to Fisher Beach on the Bay side; you can cut down through our property to Stevens Way (turn right only at the end of the path; it’s a private road, so turning left is trespassing), or go around on the hard road. From Fisher Beach, it’s about another half mile north, on the beach, to the mouth of the Pamet River estuary (look for the stone jetties), which is an entirely different marine environment. We especially like snorkeling around the extensive jetties, and riding the current on anything that floats when the tide changes. You may run into someone clamming or oystering at low tide, and collecting the little hermit crabs at low tide is also a favored pastime. The Pamet estuary is a wonderful spot to explore at low tide, and a great place to use our kayak (although kayaking in the Pamet should be done at mid- and high tide).
You will need a Town of Truro Beach Sticker (but only in the summer)to park at any of the town beaches on the Bay side or the ocean side (including Fisher Beach). You do not need a beach sticker or any other official permission to walk to the beach, or to be dropped off in the parking lot. Vehicle stickers for Town beach parking areas may be purchased per day, per week, or you may purchase a season pass. Details here or call (508) 487-6983, or see the brochure (also in the back of the print version of this manual). Here’s the process as soon as you get here:
Complete the Non-Resident Beach Permit Parking Application (available at the house) for each vehicle that needs a sticker.
Take the completed application(s) to the Beach Office at 36 Shore Rd, Route 6A, North Truro, and pay the appropriate fee. Note: You must show them your car’s registration in order to get a sticker.
Put the sticker on your car in the appropriate place, and you’re done!
Please note that beach sticker fees are per vehicle. We have the required authorizations and will leave Non-Resident Beach Permit Parking Application forms for you at the house. Check the Town of Truro beach website for updates and more information on town beaches.
UPDATE:. Town of Truro beach stickers will be available online as soon as Massachusetts moves into Phase 2 of its reopening plan – we hope that will happen on June 8. Here’s the link.
We’ve got a two-person kayak with paddles, but you’ve got to get it to the water (we’ve got a wheeled trolley for it, and straps and foam pads for rooftop mounting are available in the locker). The Pamet is the best place to kayak, in our opinion. You can put in at the public landing at the end of Depot Rd, or take it down to Fisher Beach and paddle it into the Pamet. Or anywhere. Kayaking at the Outer Beach (ocean side) is not recommended.
Bay View Pines boasts two beautiful fireplaces, but guests may not build fires. Fires on the beach are allowed on some Town beaches (including Fisher Beach) and require a permit from the Town of Truro. More info on beach fires here. We have no fire pit here on the property; any open fire anywhere in Truro requires a permit.
A fresh water beach experience is available in a number of glacial kettle ponds. These are distinctively round or near-round fresh-water ponds formed when big blocks of ice calved off glaciers; the outwash plain built up around the blocks, which gradually melted and formed the pond. The kettle ponds of Cape Cod are known for their crystal clear water. No dogs allowed at any pond.
Gull Pond (Wellfleet) – “Gull Pond is located in the north east section of Wellfleet within the Cape Cod National Seashore. From Route 6 (heading north) take a right onto Gull Pond Road (right across from Moby Dicks’), travel about one mile, then take a left onto Schoolhouse Hill Road [no street sign, but there is a granite marker that says Gull Pond Landing]. The access road to the town landing is on the right. Parking is available at the town beach area. The access is suitable for launching small boats and canoes, access may be limited during the peak beach hours during the summer. The solid bottom along the shoreline is well suited to wading. No outboards are allowed, although the use of electric motors is permitted.” (Commonwealth of MA, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife)
Great Pond (Wellfleet) – On Cahoon Hollow Road (turn east at PJ’s and go just over a mile); parking lot is on the left. Many stairs down to the pond.
or Google “tides truro ma”
Your Pamet River experience will be very different depending on the tides.
We’re from a big walking family, and to us, Truro means walks on the beach. The Pamet adds more variety to walks, especially at low tide. And don’t forget the Outer Beach, either – Henry David Thoreau liked it so much he wrote a book (Cape Cod, available at the house) about his walk up the Atlantic beaches from Eastham to Provincetown: “A man may stand there and put all of America behind him.” Also available at the house: In the Footsteps of Thoreau: 25 Historic and Nature Walks on Cape Cod.
Bay View Pines is right across the street from the National Seashore, which occupies a majority of land in the Town of Truro. Their headquarters is in Eastham, right on Rt. 6, and they have a full schedule of ranger-led hikes in the summer. Their website will lay out maps, descriptions and even videos of hiking and biking trails throughout the Seashore, including and especially in Truro.
If you take off south on Old County Road from the house, it’s less than a quarter mile to the entrance to Pine Grove Cemetery. Walk in about a half mile to a beautiful, isolated and historic cemetery, established in 1799, which served an evangelical Methodist church built in 1794. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. Many trails branch off from the entrance road, and others originate in the cemetery itself. Go explore!
For a great marsh hike, you’ll have to do some transportation planning unless you want to do a round-trip. Leave a car (one that has a beach sticker) at Corn Hill Beach and backtrack to the end of Meetinghouse Road, where you can drop off the hikers or leave the second car if there’s room. You’re going to head off to the right, staying on the sand trail between the forest and the marsh. Wind around this fascinating biome (keep an eye out for wading birds and fiddler crabs), and when you get to the embankment where the railroad used to run (you can’t miss it), turn right and it will take you straight to Corn Hill Beach. Not recommended at high tide.
Another great marsh hike, closer to home and a closed loop, is Poor’s Hill trail. Look for the sign most of the way down Fisher Rd. on the right. Follow the signs, and when you get to the marsh, continue along the shore on the right. Eventually you’ll get to the railroad embankment that used to cross the marsh – hike out to the end, or follow the railroad bed back to Fisher Rd., or continue following the marsh edge to Old County Rd
A great family walk and nature center experience is available at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Entrance on Rt. 6 just north of the drive-in theater.
The Wellfleet Conservation Trust and the Town of Wellfleet have joined forces to create walking trails in six small parcels of donated land. Find trail guides and maps here.
Finally, the AllTrails app has detailed and accurate maps of all the off-road trails in Truro and Wellfleet – many of them the remnants of centuries-old roads running from farm to farm, to town, and to church. The free version is all you need.
The trail to Stevens Way starts at the SW corner of the first floor deck (near the wooden steps). Look for the green trail markers with big white dots in the middle.
Remember to check for ticks (see here) after any walking that brings you in contact with vegetation.
There seem to be almost as many bikes as cars on Old County Road (even our Google Street View has had a bicyclist in it); plenty of hilly, winding roads to explore in this very rural town. Both Idle Times and Ptown Bike Shops will rent bikes, as will Arnold’s in P-Town (508-255-8281). There are some nice bike trails around Provincetown. The Cape Cod National Seashore website has an extensive guide to biking in the area.
Cape Cod Rail Trail: Twenty two miles of flat, paved bike trail following part of the route of the Old Colony Railway Company’s Boston-to-Provincetown run, which was in operation until 1960. More info here, or Google Cape Cod Rail Trail. Runs from Wellfleet south.
Again, the AllTrails app is your friend if you’ve brought, or want to rent, a mountain bike. Many – not all, but most – of the trails are bikeable.
If you’d like to do some golfing with great views, Highland Links is right on the ocean, next to Highland Light, which is usually open to visitors in the summer. ((508) 487-9201)
There are at least two mini-golf emporiums (not ’emporia’ – I looked it up) between Eastham and Truro on Rt. 6 We like Arnold’s the best.
There’s a sand bar on the ocean side that attracts hundreds of gray seals. They bask on the sandbar at low tide, and then disperse until the next low tide. We’ve seen them in June, October and January; not sure if they stay through the summer (ask at one of the Nat’l Seashore Visitor Centers). Go north on Rt. 6 to Head of the Meadow Road (just past the Highland Light interchange),turn right (east), and continue until you reach the parking lots for Head of the Meadow Beach (your Town of Truro Beach Sticker is required here). Park, and walk north (left) on the beach about a mile. (Go south from Coast Guard Beach and see the remains of the big 2016 cliff collapse). Note: seals are protected by the federal government; don’t get near enough to make them move, and keep your dog on a leash.
Square dancing on the Wellfleet pier on Wednesday nights has been a tradition for decades. Check with the Town of Wellfleet Recreation Department to see if it will continue, post-COVID, in 2021. If so, bring the whole family; be there and be square!
If you’re new to the Lower Cape (which is the north part), you’ll want to take at least one stroll down Commercial St. in Provincetown. Unique galleries, shops, bars, restaurants and real candy stores! Don’t miss Marine Specialties (Really. Don’t miss it.). Paid parking on the pier, or circle endlessly trying to find a free spot on the street; it’s up to you. While you’re in the Provincetown area, the Province Lands Visitor Center (CC Nat’l Seashore) and the lifesaving station are worth a visit.
LIVE PERFORMANCE (check websites for 2021 schedule)
Payomet Performing Arts Center – Named for the Native Americans who greeted the Pilgrims, this is a live music venue down the road from Highland Light, on the grounds of the former North Truro Air Force Station, part of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line). World-class acts in an intimate setting,
Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT) – Live theater, live music in a beautiful new facility right on Rt. 6.
Reel Deal Fishing Charters
5 Great Hollow Rd, Truro, MA 02666
(508) 487-3767 Website
Jigged-Up Sport Fishing
75 Depot Rd, Truro, MA 02666
(774) 200-1180 Website
Fresh-water fishing is available at Gull Pond, in Wellfleet, which is stocked with trout. See above for access.
Plenty of books, games and puzzles, as well as a dedicated games table in the living room (leaves for this table are in the Office Bedroom closet). There’s the two smart TVs, as well as a smaller TV with built-in VCR and DVD player, and a moderately-sized, very eclectic, family-friendly video and DVD library.
The Kids’ Bedroom has space for crafts and coloring, a long desk and a table, with lots of materials provided, including scissors, glue, tape, and many different types of drawing implements.
Highland House Museum is always worth a visit, and it’s a short stroll from there to Highland Light, right on the ocean, which is usually open to visitors in the summer – you can usually climb to the top.
The Province Lands Visitor Center (CC Nat’l Seashore) in Provincetown has a variety of interesting free movies.
The Wellfleet Drive-In and multiplex, right on Rt. 6 at the south end of Wellfleet, is a great rainy-day option. Movie schedule
Truro has an awesome public library at 7 Standish Way, North Truro. Tel. 508-487-1125 – Closed Sun. & Mon. Check for activities throughout the time you’re here.
Wellfleet Preservation Hall also has a wide variety of programs and activities. Downtown Wellfleet.
If you’re up for it: http://playzombietag.com/ . P’town, of course
And when you’ve taken care of the zombies: http://www.ptownmassage.com/.