Labor Day exits slowly stage left in a limping line of traffic that inches its way over the Cape Cod bridges and out onto “The Mainland”. In its stead sweeps the magical light of fall, glinting off the water and dunes, its long shadows reaching out to welcome you.  For those in the know, autumn is without question the best season to be out and about enjoying Cape Cod. Although the summer season may boast the hottest days, it is fall when the number of cars on the Cape has dwindled, the beaches have freed up, golf courses have emptied, the sun is still shining, and a whole slew of premier activities are put on across the Cape to treat the lucky visitors who vacation there this time of year. The focus of activities is on arts and food, which is not a bad combination by anyone’s reckoning, but is especially rewarding on Cape Cod where there is such a legacy and depth of artistic talent and which rightly boast some of the best seafood in the whole of North America.

Some art highlights of this fall include the Tennessee Williams Festival in P-Town from September 22nd to the 25th, the Harwich Junior Theater production of Hal David & Burt Bacharach’s classic “Promises, Promises” from October 14th to November 13th, the “Fall For Harwich” activities in Harwich and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce sponsored “Fall for The Arts” festival in October. “Fall for The Arts” will feature a range of activities on local artists, photographers, theaters, musicians, and historical sites across the Cape.

Outside of the arts, fall brings a feast of foodie delights. The season kicks off with Restaurant Week on Nantucket starting September 25th, followed by the “Taste Of Dennis” on October 13th. Next up is the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival on October 14th and 15th. The traditional end of season culmination is the “Wellfleet Oyster Festival” on October 15th and 16th. The Wellfleet OysterFest is brought to you by SPAT (Shellfish Promotion and Tasting), a non-profit organization devoted to fostering a greater understanding of the town’s shell-fishing traditions. Proceeds support educational initiatives, including a scholarship program, which provides financial aid to people pursuing careers in shell-fishing or to those whose creative or educational contributions will increase awareness of Wellfleet’s shellfishery. The festival is in its 11th year and livens the town with food, music, art and fun! It provides a wonderful excuse, should one be needed, to indulge in some of the finest oysters on the planet; my mouth waters at the thought of the delicious sharp, briny taste rounded off with some Cape Cod or Mayflower beer!

Shucked Oysters. Photograph by Steve Heaslip of the Cape Cod Times

The annual Oyster Shuck-Off draws the biggest crowd of the event; amateurs compete for the fun of it, and some of Wellfleet’s hometown shuckers have been fast enough to compete nationally. To shuck an oyster, press it down with a towel on a hard work surface (the flat side of oyster should face up) and slip the tip of a knife in the hinge of the oyster. Turn your hand while pushing in with steady pressure until you feel a snap and then fully twist to allow you to slide the knife along the top of the shell, cutting the muscle. The top of the shell is now off and all that is left to do is cut the bottom muscle. Keep the oyster level at all times, so as not to lose any of the juice. Serve on cold ice and shuck away.

If you can’t make it the festival, I guess that’s a case of Oh Shucks!

This fantastic Cape Cod fall update was generously shared by Simon Hunton of the Platinum Pebble Inn in beautiful Harwich, MA. We are happy to report that as part of the “Fall for the Arts” festival, the inn is  offering a “Fall Under The Covers at The Platinum Pebble” special that includes a free night’s stay and a complimentary copy of Under Cape Cod Waters by Ethan Daniels.