Budget Travel Massachusetts

Northeast Road Trip, Part I: Delaware to Cape Cod & Nantucket, on a Budget

Tip #1: Pack layers!

Tip #2: If you can, stay on Nantucket

I’m not one who is big on travel within the United States.  If I’m going on vacation, I want to go somewhere different, explore another culture, and really get away from home.  However, for my last trip, that just didn’t work out.  I got a new job and took time off between the end date of my previous job and the start date of the new one.  I’m not sure when I’m going to be able to take time off again, so I had to squeeze in what I could. Luckily, I have an awesome mom who likes to travel too, and since she works a flexible schedule we were able to plan this trip together.

Mother Nature wasn’t on our side and necessitated the changing of our plans more than once.  We were going to go to Iceland, but than the volcano started threatening to explode.  Then we found a really good deal on tickets to Puerto Rico.  Ends up, they were a good deal because it was hurricane season, so that was out.

In the end, we decided to take a road trip from Delaware to Cape Cod and on to Acadia National Park in Maine.  My mom keeps telling me I need to see the U.S., and I think she’s right. I can’t say I’m upset to have missed out on Iceland or Puerto Rico for now.  We had a wonderful trip and it ends up that travelling in the U.S. can actually be pretty amazing.

We left around 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 11.  We had been planning to leave much earlier, but ended up getting locked out of our house and having to finagle our way in, which took a considerable amount of time.  And then I busted my toe up a bit, so it took a bit more time to wrap it up.  It was a rough morning and if one more thing went wrong, we may never have made it out the door.

The plan had been to stop for food somewhere along the way.  I downloaded the Food Network app to see what they recommended along our route, but we ended up not stopping at all.  We didn’t hit traffic and were nervous to stop for long for fear of hitting rush hour traffic around one of the bigger cities. We cruised along pretty well on I-95, even through NYC, which was a nice suprise.

So, we ate nuts. Lots and lots of nuts.  That probably wasn’t the best idea, but oh well. We made it to Cape Cod at around 7:30ish.  Now, this trip was being undertaken on a budget. Like I said, I was going to be starting a new job and wouldn’t be getting paid for a month+ (as a matter of fact, I still haven’t been paid, but soon).  I’ve stayed in hostels all around the world, I’ve slept on floors, in hammocks, really wherever is available, I’m willing to try it out.  However, I had a prejudice against motels in the U.S.  Maybe it’s from all the crime shows I watch, but when I thought ‘motel’ I thought crime scenes, hookers, bed bugs, and just plain old dirty.  Basically, I had no desire to stay in one.

When we started planning this trip (which was, admittedly, kind of at the last minute), I realized how expensive hotels and resorts would be to stay at.  My mom urged me to look into motels, and eventually I gave in.  She was right to have me look.  We stayed at the Hyannis Holiday Motel, and it was lovely.  It was incredibly clean, half the price of the hotels, the staff was friendly, and it is very conveniently located.  I will admit, I was nervous about until we pulled into the parking lot and saw well kept, nice looking cars which made me feel much more comfortable.  A breakfast of cereal, small breakfast items, tea and coffee was included, which is always good for the budget.

We unloaded our bags and set out in search of food.  Directly across the street was Spanky’s.  I thought the food was alright, nothing special and not worth the price, which was fairly high.  The next night we went to Baxter’s Fish-N-Chips, which is also on the water about a five minute walk from the motel.  It was less expensive, very casual, and had delicious fish and chips, and I would definitely recommend eating there.

The next morning, we bought tickets and took the ferry over to Nantucket.  There is a high-speed ferry which gets you to Nantucket in 1 hour and a traditional ferry which takes 2 hours and 15 minutes.  The traditional ferry is less expensive and it was a nice day, so that’s what we took.  We left Hyannis at 9:15, made it to Nantucket at 11:30 and took the 5:30 ferry back. If you go the same time of year as we did, you’re going to want a nice, warm jacket.  Pack layers. The ferry ride was quite chilly, though you could go inside and be a bit warmer.

Boats in the harbor at Nantucket

Upon our arrival at Nantucket, we wondered around the port area a little bit.  It’s a very charming area, with cobble stone streets and small shops. From the Food Network app I mentioned earlier, we found Provisions, which, happily, is right where we debarked from the ferry.  The Food Network recommended trying The Other Turkey, which was a turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberry sauce.  It was good, but I preferred the Turkey Terrific, which was delicious.  The sandwiches are large and I would recommend splitting one between two people.  I mean, we managed to eat them, but we would have been fine and probably happier with just one. (Pictures of the sandwiches are at the bottom)

From there we wondered around until we found a place to rent bikes.  They offer baskets that attach to the bikes, so we were able to put our bags and camera in them to make biking much easier.  The island has several biking routes you can take and we chose a nice, easy one to Cisco beach.  It’s a flat ride of just a couple miles and there are water fountains along the way where you can refill your bottle or just pause and have a sip. We made it the beach, walked for a bit, stuck our toes in the sand and dipped them in the water before returning to our bikes and making the return trip.  On the way back we wondered off course a bit and explored the town.

bike path
Cisco Beach

We dropped our bikes back off, had an ice cream cone, went into some art galleries, and, as I did not come prepared, bought a jacket for the ferry ride back.  That jacket would end up being one of the best buys of the trip and was much appreciated.  Also, there were ice cream shops everywhere we went.  It was home made and delicious, but as its an area that has a short span of warm weather, I was surprised.

The ferry back to Cape Cod was uneventful, though cold.  We had planned to stay there another day or two, but as charming as the area is, there just isn’t a whole lot to do.  We could have take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard as well, but decided against it.  The next morning we walked around the town a bit, packed our bags, and hopped in the car.  We drove around the area some more, saw some really beautiful houses and pretty beaches.  I would actually recommend looking at places to stay outside of the port area of Hyannis.

After spending a good hour or two driving around, we entered our next destination into the GPS and set out on our way.

Also, there is a hostel in Hyannis which is slightly less expensive, looks nice, and is centrally located. Personally, I didn’t feel that the slight difference in price was worth giving up privacy, but if it had been a bigger difference I would have been happy to stay there.

All told, we stayed for 2 nights in Cape Cod, and if I go back, I think I would stay on Nantucket and take the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard to explore there. It really is a nice area and I’m glad we went, but I wasn’t disappointed to stay such a short time, either.

If you’re considering going, PACK LAYERS! I was constantly taking my sweater on and off, stripping down to a tank and five minutes later putting a long sleeve shirt right back on.  Thinking about taking your fall/winter coat? Think, ‘Nah, I won’t need that,’? You will. Bring it.

 The Other Turkey
Terrific Turkey



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