Mike Cohen travels to Cape Cod: Yarmouth

My family and I recently returned from our first trip to Cape Cod in six years. Based on previous experience I started the process of booking accommodations in January. We began our summer vacation with a four-night stay at the Red Jacket Beach Resort (www.redjacketresorts.com) in beautiful South Yarmouth and what an excellent choice this was. We actually squeezed an additional full day at the beach by packing our car up before checkout time, keeping our safety deposit box and requesting the front desk to place our cooler of perishables in their fridge. That turned out to be an excellent decision.

Nothing can quite compare to this locale. Situated directly on the beach, we secured a spacious family room with a balcony overlooking the ocean and only seconds from the heated outdoor and indoor pool, the latter of which also has a whirlpool. You can practice your swing on the private tennis court or enjoy a quiet afternoon game of shuffleboard. There is also a spa on the premises. Wireless internet is available throughout the complex and in each room. The resort has 150 guest rooms and 14 cottages totaling 164 total guest units.

The convenience of being able to go back and forth to your room cannot be understated. Upon entering the private beach you are provided with towels, beach chairs and umbrellas. Because this is the South Side of the Cape the water is exceptionally warm. The hotel is humming with different family activities. You can also choose from a variety of water sports offered by Gold Coast Parasail (www.goldcoastparasail.com). We opted in favor of the jet ski ($115 plus $15 per passenger) and banana boat ($25 per person for 20 minutes) options. Just a mile down the road from the Red Jacket are sister properties the Blue Water and Riviera Beach Resorts. The former is where we went for the banana boat ride, which I strongly recommend. You need to actually swim over to the boat, which found kind of cool.


Gold Coast Parasail is operated by Kurt Kossman and his wife Sarah. Kurt, 39, is also a race car driver. One of the most amazing aspects of his successful career is the fact that he lost his left leg to cancer in 1988. Kurt was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and had to have an above-the-knee amputation. Even with the amputation, Kurt was given only a 30 percent chance of survival. He underwent 13 months of chemotherapy and through strength and perseverance, he survived. While in the hospital Kurt designed a unique prosthetic so that he could shift the race car flawlessly and continue his racing career. He parasails, jet skis and in the winter skis down the steepest hills of snow. His message to others in his predicament? “You have to learn to adapt. It definitely changes the way you do things. “
The staff here aim to please. Ken Smith, director of operations for the Red Jacket group, has been with the company for 25 years while Red Jacket Beach general manager Thomas Moore has been on board for a decade. As explained, every effort is made to organize different activities for the kids such as hermit crab races. There are evening buffets, with live music.

You can call 1-800-CAPECOD or email info@redjacketresorts.com.

The area: Three villages make up the 17 square mile town of Yarmouth: West Yarmouth, Yarmouthport, and South Yarmouth. Each village has a distinctive character formed by over 350 years of history. A community shaped by its seaside heritage, Yarmouth has retained much historic charm while integrating the present into its surroundings. To gain a true perspective of this town you must stray from the major roadways of Route 6 and 28 that traverse from Hyannis to the West and Dennis to the East. Yarmouth is the second oldest town on Cape Cod, and it is filled with historic charm.

Yarmouth’s rich history has grown a Cape Cod seaside community that offers a potpourri of activities for area vacationers. For the outdoor-minded, Yarmouth boasts 15 of Cape Cod’s finest fresh and saltwater beaches to laze away the days, four golf courses challenging all levels, 14 tennis courts for the more active, and many hiking, and conservation trails. Yarmouth truly has something for everyone. On the Northside in Yarmouth Port, tree-lined historic Route 6A hosts an array of country inns and quaint bed and breakfasts, complemented by antique and craft shops. The Southside along Route 28 offers the hustle and bustle of a summertime resort town, from factory outlet shopping to sea lion shows to the most adventurous mini-golf.

West Yarmouth offers the visitor a variety of family attractions, various lodging establishments, beaches and fine restaurants. West Yarmouth houses the historic Baxter Grist Mill, a 27-hole public golf course, miniature golf, trampolines, a small children’s petting zoo, fishing piers, and close proximity to island ferries. In the summer months, ride Yarmouth’s Easy Shuttle along Route 28 to public beaches, downtown Hyannis, local shops and dining establishments. West Yarmouth offers any family or individual traveler a number of exciting things to see and do. The South Yarmouth/Bass River village blends the past and present. You will find oceanfront resorts, cottages for rent, bed and breakfasts, a driving range, two 18-hole golf courses, boat tours, a windmill dating back to the 1800’s historic homes, and churches. The large Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis is an easy 15-minute drive from the hotel. That could be a little longer during the very busy traffic season.

Dining Out: When seeking out a dining spot in Yarmouth, someone pointed me to the website of the Skipper Restaurant and Chowder House (www.skipperrestaurant.com). As an old fan of the TV show Gilligan’s Island, I was immediately intrigued by Skipper’s take on the show’s theme song. The Skipper was established in 1936, and it is one of Cape Cod’s oldest waterfront restaurants with pristine views of the Nantucket sound. The Skipper Crew has made this restaurant the huge success that it is, by hard work and taking care of customers.

Owner Alan Delaney and his chefs work hard to present the finest and freshest fish you can find, Angus cuts of beef and not to mention their award-winning clam chowder. All entrees are cooked to order and they have a great kids’ menu. Located at 152 South Shore Drive, the Skipper is open from mid-April until October 31 and only minutes from the Red Jacket. Delaney bought the restaurant in 1998 and has expanded the building’s size in recent years and just added an ice cream bar. The night we went folks were lined up outside the door for tables. It is no wonder why. The chowder was superb. Ditto for the crispy calamari and my family’s selections of the skipper scampi, the seafood trio (shrimp, scallops and lobster sautéed in a saffron tomato cream sauce with rice or pasta) and a pound-a-half lobster which our waitress Miriam cut up nicely for us.

Since there are no kosher restaurants in the area, Skipper’s swordfish, haddock, salmon and yellow fin tuna are all good options. You can also choose from among the different salads or opt for a dish of angel hair pasta.

Open for lunch and dinner, you can call 508-394-7406 for reservations. The Skipper is wheelchair accessible, with a ramp at the entrance. Make sure to book a table on the first floor.

There is a marvelous restaurant chain in Massachusetts called the 99. I had never heard of it before. We went to the South Yarmouth location, got a beeper and waited 30 minutes. It has an extensive menu.