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!
By: Amanda Anderson
Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tours is a fun activity that open Monday threw Friday 9am- 5pm. After you park in the designated spot you have to walk a little around the building to get into the tour entrance. This tour is a self guided one. You can make this tour a quick one, or really take your time since it is self guided.
They do not allow strollers into the building. They also do not allow you to take photographs once you are inside the building, so make sure to take one with the cool sign at the entrance. The tour is a hall way with windows into the factory to your right and cool facts along the wall to your left. You can enjoy watching the potatoes fall into the fryer , fall up and down the conveyor belt, get sorted and bagged. At the end of the tour you end up in a small shop. You can buy a variety of their chips and merchandise. They allow you to take two small bags of chips with you when you leave. I think this is a great little tour for learning where chips come from, from potato, to chip, and shows how many machines and people it takes to make that process happen.
By: Amanda A
Armstrong-Kelley Park is located in beautiful Osterville. It was very easy to find for those who are directionally confused as I am. As you pull up you will see a large open space with picnic tables, a great area for you to sit and enjoy a bagged lunch. The landscape is amazing, featuring many different types of plants and flowers to view. You can choose from a wide variety of walking or hiking trails. My daughters favorite walk included ending up at Liam’s View which has a large wooden train to play in. The John Folk Water Garden was a favorite of mine, watching the fish swim around in the beautiful small pond is quite relaxing. If your looking to relax and have a read then check out the Garden Of Verses with its many poems. Buddy’s Place was a favorite of my mothers, it’s a quite memorial garden which was still being worked on when we made your visit. One of the great things about this park is that you can not only bring your human family, but you can include you fur babies as well. There is something for everyone at this park whether your young or young at heart.
By: Erica W
This is a quiet little area. Not to much was going on while we were there. We went for a picnic near the water part. It is very pretty and a nice area for walking leisurely. It's picturesque as well. There is a walkway down to the water with a whole bunch of different anchors to look at. Beautiful flowers are all around. There is a part behind parking, which is free, but I had my little one so we didn't go up that way. It is not to big but very pretty. Some parts would be difficult to get up and see if using a stroller but walking is fine. There is a dock over the water you can walk on. Someone was getting married in it when we went. Make sure to check for ticks as there are a lot of trees above!
By: Erica W
This is a quiet little aquarium in the water. It is free to all Those that go. They do accept donations when you sign in. Bring some quarters for the parking meters as that is the most convenient parking choice. I do not believe they allow strollers , just to keep that in mind. There are public bathrooms inside that are kept tidy. It can get quite busy in the summer hours and is a small place. I like to go during the winter as it is open year round. On the first floor there are some tanks with a variety of different fish. It isn't too wild but is cool for young kids. They have a touch tank upstairs , where it is kind of behind the screens, which my son lives. It usually has starfish, snails, crabs, a fish and little plants. Bring sanitizer, as it only has plain water to wash your hands after. It also has the outside tank with two seals with steps so everyone can see!
My son is two and we have gone on and off since last year, it takes about a half hour to see, and enjoys it.
Cape Cod Mommies has teamed up with some other amazing bloggers this week to bring you a series:
Experience Cape Cod Like A Local
Local Picks from Local Bloggers
Click on the links below after reading ours and check out other local recommendations.
The Holistic Mama
Cape Cod Mommies
Nap Time is My Time
Terrell Family Fun
Modern Day Wife
As part of this series we will also be featuring a giveaway-so see below for more info!
Visit my Cape Cod blogging colleagues and read about their Top 5 Favorite things on Cape Cod
Top 5 FREE Family Friendly Outdoor Cape Cod Activities
White Cedar Swamp in Wellfleet
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Sarah)
Experience a gorgeous hike like no other, located near Marconi Beach, that makes you feel as if you are in a land of Once Upon A Time. The hike is approximately 1.5 miles and has a lot of uphill walking. There are some paths off the Boardwalk where you can cross to the dunes and see the beach, or you can stroll the winding boardwalk and pretend you are in another world.
Tip: Bring bug Repellent
Beech Forest in Provincetown
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Bryana)
Another great tree paradise is Beech Forest. You can stroll trails and listen to the birds as you explore nature with the kids. You can even feed the birds and the little chickadees will actually land in your palm to feed.
Fish Hatchery in Sandwich
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Trish)
We absolutely love the Sandwich Fish Hatchery and have raved about it before (Sandwich Fish Hatchery Review). It is the perfect place to entertain the young kids. Make sure to bring some quarters to get fish pellets. Toss the pellets in and watch the frenzy! Tip: Bring a paper cup with you for all the pellets.
The Petting Zoo at the Sheriff's Department Farm Plymouth.
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Suzy)
The have all kinds of animals - cows, chickens, goats, pigs, bunnies - and in the spring/summer they give away free food so you can feed the animals. They also have a spot that you can have a picnic. Entrance is always free of charge. Come by and visit Mary the Cow and all her friends!
Address: 74 Obery Street, Plymouth, MA 02360
Burgess Park in Marstons Mills
(recommended by Cape Cod Mom Sarah)
Burgess Park is a Disc Golf course with 18 holes set in the gorgeous shade of the woods. It is fun for all ages and can be great exercise for the whole family. Even your littles will enjoy trying to toss a disc into the basket! If you are lucky, your kids will be exhausted after this busy day!
By: Ashley B
Today we are featuring a Guest Post from Ashley of the blog: Memoirs of a Modern Day Wife! She is also the author of Thesavingsmomma.com If you haven't checked out either of her blogs yet, you are definitely missing out! After you read this fantastic post, head on over to read more!
If you live in Brewster you may already know about the Brewster Tidal Flats, perhaps you have even walked them. If you do not live in Brewster, or are unfamiliar with the town- you may just be missing out on one of Cape Cod’s many free outdoor activities.
The Brewster Tidal Flats, regarded as some of the largest tidal flats in North America, run from Brewster to Eastham. A walk along these flats provides you a firsthand glimpse at both marsh and seaside environments.
Though tidal goers are urged to not walk on the flats themselves for safety concerns such as the hazard of tidal creeks between sandbars, this remarkable expanse of nature is still guaranteed to please.
If you plan on visiting the tidal flats, it is recommended that you walk along the flats on a clear day with little wind, while paying special attention to the tides on the day of your visit. For more information on the Brewster Tidal Flats such as parking, entry points, things to know, or a map of the tidal flats- please visit CCTrails.org and be sure to also read their Guide to Long Walks.
This week we journey to Falmouth for our Hidden Freebie, to a magical place called Spohr Gardens! Lately I have steered ALOT of Cape Cod Moms to this fabulous spot as a free fun way to kill time! But first a brief history..... Margaret and Charles D. Spohr began creating this wondrous setting around their home, located on the back of Oyster Pond, in the 1950s. As the legend of the gardens' uniqueness and beauty grew, they generously welcomed the ever-growing number of visitors. After Charles Spohr died in 1997 and Margaret Spohr in 2001, the gardens were left to the Margaret K. Spohr and Charles D. Spohr Charitable Trust. Under the terms of the trust the property is to be open to the public every day of the year from 8am to 8pm. No admission may be charged but tax deductible donations are accepted.
This past Sunday, a fellow Cape Cod Mom and I decided to brave a lengthy drive from isolated Falmouth up to Yarmouth Port to checking out Hawk's Wing Organic Farm! We were intrigued by the promise of fresh strawberry picking at prices better than local markets! Most local farms usually have you pay a membership fee to belong and then you have to stand in line when you go to get your bracelet or some other method before you can pick and buy your own produce, but not this farm! Although they are a CSA, which you can pay to belong to, they also allow anyone to come by for FREE and pick their own items. So even if you don't belong as a member, you can still enjoy the farm and animals!
Hawk’s Wing Farm is a local family-owned Cape Cod CSA farm and orchard, located on 4 acres and nestled in a pocket surrounded by 300 acres of Yarmouth conservation land, that seeks member-supported contributions to support the farms efforts to raise naturally grown, organic fruit and vegetables. They have planted 1,000 apple trees, 8 varieties, and peach, pear, and cherry trees. There is a 96’ greenhouse and another 90’ hoop house so they can grow organic produce year round!
We decided the long drive would be worth carpooling together so we could tag team the napless toddlers who were testing their exhausted mothers. So we plugged the address into our GPS and off we went. The GPS did bring us there however it was deceiving to find since it is actually located in a neighborhood called Hawk Wing Estates. We drove past a few times because we didn't think that it was back in the nieghborhood. After driving up the dirt driveway and being waved on by owner and farmer, Billy Snowden, we were enthusiastically greeted by farm dog Buddy!
Overall this trip was a great learning experience, a fun free outdoor activity for the kids, and we were able to get our own strawberries and produce that are chemical free! Everything about this farm is a learning and tactile experience, sure to please any child! To be able to go into the pen and pet he goats and experience the chickens first hand was a great experience. It was also fun to expose the kids to the farm experience it was reassuring to know they could pick fruit and pop it right into their mouths without fear of outside substances on it
So if you are looking for something to do, take the drive and visit Farmer Billy, Buddy the dog and the farm. I recommend wearing comfy sneakers and long pants (incase you want to kneel while picking), and bringing a friend. The prices are definitely comparable, only $4.50 for a pint of strawberries, which you get more of since they are smaller in size. Farmer Billy also recommended making our own spread with the bruised and less desirable ones sincethey are just as sweet. Last night I whipped up a little spread myself and this morning, my son and I enjoyed some jam toast with our eggs and blueberries! It was amazing! If you want to know more about this hidden freebie, check out their website at: http://hawkswingorganicfarm.com/ or visit their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/hawkswingorganicfarm And please make sure you tell Farmer Billy that you heard about his farm from Cape Cod Mommies!
If you know of ahidden freebie on Cape Cod that you want Cape Cod Mommies to visit, please email us at email@example.com
Welcome to our Hidden Freebies Series! Each week we will bring you a new hidden freebie located on Cape Cod & the Islands that you can bring the kids to for some great photo ops and a good time!
We are kicking off this series highlighting the Sandwich Fish Hatchery, a facility of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the oldest hatchery in the country. Located at 164 Rte 6A near Dewey Ave, this year the hatchery is celebrating 100 years! Open year round, 365 days a year from 9-3pm, the Fish Hatchery is a well kept secret! Guests can come and see the trout run and even feed the fish for 25 cents, which provides amazing entertainment for children and adults!
We had a great time exploring the Hatchery, running from stream to stream, feeding the fish and watching them flip and jump! They have brook, brown, and rainbow, trout; which are raised here before they are used to stock the ponds. Its amazing to watch and if you have a child with you, I would fill up a cup with food and go crazy! An added benefit of this hidden freebie is not only is it fun and free, but it is educational! Great topics include: life cycles of the fish, the environmental impact of the hatchery, why being a responsible fisher is important, to name only a few. For kids, pair this with a book like Lightning's Tale: The Story of a Wild Trout by Hugh Campbell. Your local Cape Library may have it or you can get it from Amazon here!
Tip: Bring hand sanitizer with you, as they have no public restrooms to wash your hands after.
Call for more info: (508) 888-0008 or read more about the Sandwich Fish Hatchery here!
If you know of any hidden freebies on Cape Cod & the Islands that you want to share with other Cape Cod Moms email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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