Have you heard of "The Wishing Tree"? Maybe you know it by the other names people call it: "The Conch Tree" or "The Prayer Tree"? It is a tree, long past the peak of it's life located out on a little spit at the tip of Long Beach in Barnstable. Apparently several years ago, shells started to adorn the branches of this tree. The shells are not your traditional Caribbean conch shells, these are the New England Conch aka Whelks.
It is located in Barnstable near Craigville Beach. You have 2 options. You can park at Craigville Beach (45-1 hour walk with children) or you can try to park in the smaller lots for Long Beach (30-45 min walk with children). Both lots are resident only lots so plan your adventure accordingly.
We decided to venture out late one afternoon to find the elusive sanctuary. We were able to park down near Long Beach which was a huge plus. We armed ourselves with water, snacks and sunblock as the Tiny One took off in search of the magical wishing tree.
The walk took us about 45 minutes and we stopped a few times to explore. Along the way we found interesting shells, some fantastic skipping stones, and friendly birds. Once the tree appeared in sight, we all took off running to see who could get there first. The tree did not disappoint. It is covered in a couple hundred shells of varying sizes. Some have been stuck directly on the branches, while others have been tied to beach grass and hung delicately. We spent a lot of time enjoying the peacefulness this hidden gem offers. We made our wishes and enjoyed the experience of exploring a new spot for the very first time together.
Just past the Wishing Tree is a sand bar area where people have arranged stones to form names, designs or words of inspiration. Interestingly, when we got home I looked at the area on Google Earth and I was able to see many of the designs, specifically the spiral we had come across earlier in the day.
We really enjoyed getting some family exercise while finding a new spot that even these locals did not know existed. It is always fun to explore where you live and be surprised.
Cape Cod is so unique! There are many things to do here that are free and fun. Afternoons like this make us appreciate what we have!
We highly recommend taking a trek out to The Wishing Tree with your family. The walk might sound long, but the reward is well worth it! There's nothing better than a family spending time together!
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