Scituate, Massachusetts: A Great Alternative to Cape Cod Travel
by Eric Hurwitz. Updated 1/30/2017.
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Scituate, Massachusetts, is an appealing, attractive South
Shore seaside community that looks every bit as nice as many of the
quaint Cape Cod communities farther down the coastline in Massachusetts.
Scituate doesn't bill itself as a resort or vacation community, so
there are few lodging choices (there is the well-regarded Inn at Scituate Harbor, however). Scituate is
primarily a highly desirable suburb of Boston. The town center (see
picture below) is lined with independently-owned specialty shops (toys,
books, music, clothing, ice cream, even a movie theater) with the
harbor peaking behind the commercial district. Recreational
opportunities abound here including swimming, boating and fishing.
Scituate Lighthouse provides a rocky, scenic setting making it one of
Massachusetts' more appealing lighthouses. The harbor is pure New
England with a relaxing, picturesque view that ranks up there as one of
the best scenic views in the region. Publicly accessible beaches
include Egypt, Humarock, Minot, Peggotty, and Sand Hills, but beach
stickers are required for parking. Admittedly, the beaches aren't as
spectacular as Cape Cod's best, but it is still the ocean and the
coastal magic is intact.
While Scituate can get busy in the summer, it's nowhere as touristy and
crowded as much of Cape Cod. Perhaps that many locals automatically go
Cape Cod for seaside relaxation and that Scituate is a bit of a drive
off the main highway (Route 3), help make this beautiful Massachusetts
town more of a hidden gem.
Sunsets in Scituate Harbor hold a special place in a New Englander's
heart. The way the light reflects on the water offers residents and
visitors one of those great moments that will always be remembered -- a
feeling of tranquility and romance. Not every night affords these
sunsets due to the unpredictable New England weather, but when it
happens the moment is one to treasure.
Why Scituate hasn't bowed to blatant tourism
is a testament to its commitment to excellence in making the town of
18,000 a great place to live. The school system is terrific and the
neighborhoods chock full of seaside and colonial New England character.
This does a tourist absolutely no good if it is lodging they want. For
those who want to spend a day in Scituate, however, there are few
better places that represent the Massachusetts scenic seaside better.
It is a great New England summer travel destination, if only for a day.
A great way to enjoy the day in Scituate is finding a spot by the
ocean, doing a little shopping, and then finding a nice place to eat.
Dining choices abound, with the top choices being the Barker Tavern (21
Barker Rd., Tel. 781-545-6533) and Mill Wharf Restaurant (150 Front
St., Tel. 781-545-3999). The Barker Tavern is simply one of the best
restaurants we've been to in New England. Overlooking the harbor, the
Barker Tavern's cozy, colonial atmosphere provides the perfect setting
for extremely well-prepared food. We recommend starting out with the
heavenly New England clam chowder and a fresh mixed greens salad. For
the main course, the fresh broiled swordfish has a legendary following,
and rightfully so -- tasty and tender does not even begin to describe
this incredible dish. We finished with a chocolate cake,
complements of the chef, because my wife was expecting our first child.
Wonderful people, incredible atmosphere and unsurpassed food makes this
our current top choice in New England.
The Mill Wharf Pub and Restaurant offers one of the best harbor views
we've experienced at a New England restaurant and seafood that is about
as good as its gets in New England The lobster stew is undeniably
top-notch, a savory mix of abundant lobster chunks and a splendid cream
base. The broiled scallops are perfectly prepared and a recent special,
the shrimp risotto with an Asian sauce, validated the chef's ambitious
and intuitive nature -- a dish that wanted you coming back for more. Of
course, there's lobster, cod, and haddock -- all expertly prepared. The
atmosphere at night, with its large dimly lit dining room with great
hardwood floors and the lovely Scituate Harbor sunsets, make for one of
the grandest overall dining experiences in the northeast. Here is the
restaurant and a view...
Mill Wharf Pub
View from outside the Mill Wharf Pub
Scituate is also near Plymouth
or the great City
of Boston, both 25 miles away. Plymouth is a large seaside
community five miles from the Cape Cod Canal with a rich heritage --
the home of the 1620 Pilgrim settlement that is currently best
exemplified by the tourist-oriented Plimoth Plantation.The town also
has great ocean beaches, fine restaurants and enough lodging for your
"pilgrimage" to this bustling but yet relaxing community. Boston is
know as the "Hub of the Universe" and with good reason: from the
European leanings of Newbury Street to the festive shops and
restaurants at Fanueil Hall, Boston is truly the "Hub of the Universe."
With over 40 academic institutions, the magnificent Boston Common with
masterful flower gardens, fine harbor views, world class restaurants,
the Italian-flavored North End, some fascinating museums, the historic
Freedom Trail, and a compact layout tailor made for walking, Boston
deserves an extended visit.
Ultimately, there is an unspoiled feel to Scituate that has one hoping
that this beautiful town will never change. It is "old" New England
that might have a few trendy downtown shops, but that is about the
extent of Scituate being an upscale summer tourist destination.
Scituate is a "real" community, waiting to be discovered for those in
search of the best coastal New England has to offer.
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