Meeting Truro: A Local Cape Codder’s Outer Cape Adventures…

“Dear Truro, I’m sorry…It’s not you, it’s me.” 

A welcoming sign…

We’ll start the very first Truro Chamber of Commerce blog with some introductions. Me? I’m Tommy, but the name’s not important, but what might be worth noting is that I am not on the Truro Chamber of Commerce staff. Nor am I on the Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, for that matter. I don’t own or operate a business anywhere near Truro, so being a chamber member wouldn’t make sense, and well, OK…I don’t even live in the Outer Cape. Actually, for the last 21 years my partner Ali and I have lived in the mid-Cape area as innkeepers. Having recently sold our business, this June we moved to the Upper Cape, in Sandwich Village, where I’m typing this right now (50 miles from Truro).

So how does a guy, who doesn’t seemingly have any connections with Truro and its surrounding towns, get this writing gig? It’s because of my fascination with Truro, and this is where the second introduction comes in. Now that I have a little more free time I want to get to know one of my greatest muses–Truro, Massachusetts—and I’d like to take you along for the ride so we can explore this magical, wooded, seaside town together.

“I just need to get to know you better, Truro…” 

A dirt road leads into the woods

Truro’s many mysteries.

Truro has always been an anomaly to me. One part “small town practical” and two parts mystical. If you’ve ever driven east through Truro on a quiet, foggy Sunday morning, or west, heading into a setting sun that seems to implore the driver “Turn the car around and soak up a few more moments before you leave”, you know what I mean. I’ve driven through Truro on the way to Provincetown or Wellfleet many, many times. I’ve checked out a couple Truro beaches (albeit in the winter, as innkeepers don’t get much beach time in the warmer months), and I’ve made a quick stop off to Savory & The Sweet Escape for a crunchy panini and a house-made ice cream more times than I need to admit. But that’s exactly the bad behavior that’s ultimately fueled my undying curiosity about Truro–we were mostly on our way to someplace else. Ali and I were familiar enough to send guests to iconic spots like Highland Lighthouse (the Cape’s oldest lighthouse), and popular destinations like Truro Center of the Arts at Castle Hill, (I’d hint to our guests to bring us back a Molten Caramel Bar from Chequessett Chocolate, please and thank you), but I haven’t gotten to really know Truro, Massachusetts. But now all that’s going to change. I want to see what’s on the other side of the dunes that I’ve zoomed by for so many years. I want to peak behind the many restaurant doors and storefronts I’ve yet to enter, and find out what lies at the end of so many of Truro’s wooded dirt roads that I’ve pondered (but only from the familiar side)

“This could be the beginning of something beautiful…”

Heading east along route 6, I found myself bubbling with anticipation. Earlier in the day I had reached out to my friend Kristen Roberts, whose family owns and operates Truro Vineyards and South Hollow Spirits. Over my many years of innkeeping, Kristen would occasionally be my “go-to guru” for outer Cape Cod information. She is well connected to the Truro community and beyond, so to start my great exploration, well, it was a great excuse to see an old friend.

The opening to a harbor with fishing boats is shown.

Beautiful Pamet Harbor in all of its rugged glory.

Before getting to the Vineyard we spotted the sign for Truro Center, and hopped off route 6 to get into things right away. I’m pretty sure we may have driven around the little village before, but for the life of me I can’t remember. Is there a town? There must be a town! I’m sure we’ll find it. Within a few moments of being off the beaten path we started smelling the salty air through our open windows, and after a short drive through serpentine roads adorned with historic homes, white picket fences, rows of spring daffodils and plump, purple lilac bushes, I knew my ruminations and fascinations about the area were correct. We were getting gloriously lost, and we didn’t care! And speaking of getting lost, it should be mentioned that it’s not only OK to shut your GPS off in a village like this, it is recommended. Truro’s meandering roads are enjoyable to explore, and there’s not much worry in getting too turned around since you have the ocean on both sides of town. That’s a wonderful thing about seaside villages, thanks to vistas over little hill crest peaks, the laughter of a passing gull and the seductive scent of a low tide, you are constantly reminded that the ocean is never far away.

Three men load lobster traps onto a fishing boar

Local lobstermen loading their traps

Eventually, we stumbled upon one of the Cape’s best kept secrets: Pamet Harbor, which is part of Pamet River, and may very well be the prettiest little harbor on Cape CodThe panoramic views highlight the natural beauty of Truro, and as most New England harbors we’ve visited, although beautiful in their own way, often seem bustling and sometimes crammed into a small, watery space. This harbor is peace-filled. The Wampanoag Native American people called the area Pamet or Payomet, names you’ll still see in and around Truro (like Truro’s Payomet Performing Arts Center), as a way to honor these early 17th century settlers.

“Truro, Maybe We Should Take Things Slowly…” 

Sitting on the dock, we watched a small fishing boat puttering into the harbor, as a pickup truck backed its trailer down the boat ramp to meet it. The trailer was stacked with lobster traps and as I watched the three men fill the boat with the the traps I couldn’t help but wonder how many people in the world are as lucky to enjoy such a moment as this? To sit in these pristine yet wild surroundings, watching such a quintessential New England activity. Then another thing occurred to me…I needed Truro right now. The 45 minute drive from Sandwich Village was already working its magic on a mind that spent the last year worrying about selling a business, movingquarantining, insurrections, family safety, etc., etc. Truro just felt good. And then something else occurred to me. I’m here for a reason, and it’s bigger than a blog. We decided right then and there that my meet up with Kristen at the Vineyard would have to wait. The temperature was perfect, and as the lobster boat turned to leave the glistening harbor for another long day at sea, we decided to postpone the rest of the day’s adventures and take a long walk along the water’s edge. 

The ocean peaks through two dunes


~ Tommy Dott is an innkeeper, restaurateur and award-winning food writer. He lives on Cape Cod with his partner Ali, and their two Yorkies, Jiminy Cricket and B.G.