There are dozens (if not hundreds) of worthy reasons to head to the Cape in early July, but for hydrangea fans, the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival is tough to beat.
Spanning ten full days (July 8 – 17, 2022), the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival includes daily tours of private gardens, workshops and lectures presented by leading international horticulturalists, nursery promotions, and much more.
To be fair, Cape Cod in the summer is an equal-opportunity flower-lover’s paradise, whether you’re the gardener, or simply the admirer. In charming downtowns and residential side streets from Bourne and Sandwich to Provincetown, flowers spill over picket fences, climb weathered shingles, and add color to storefronts in window boxes and planters.
All in all, not a bad place to be.
I had the pleasure of attending the festival in 2016. After checking in at the Belfry Inn & Bistro in downtown Sandwich, Massachusetts, just over the Sagamore Bridge, we headed down to the bistro’s outdoor patio for a quick bite. The main inn is housed in a 1901 former church, and some of the rooms even have their original stained glass windows — how’s that for unique?
A plate of Duxbury oysters, Bibb lettuce salad served with crispy shallots, and pan-seared scallops with asparagus and spicy tomato jam were the perfect light meal before heading to the festival kick-off celebration.
The kick-off party took place at Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis.
To honor the occasion, they had even created a signature cocktail. Named the Halcyon Hydrangea, it was made with blueberry vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and Cape Cod Beer Blonde Ale.
Outside, the patio was full of patrons sitting, chatting, eating, drinking, and enjoying a perfect Cape Cod summer evening.
The next morning (after breakfast at the charming Beth’s Bakery & Cafe) we made our way to the home of Sandwich resident and self-proclaimed “Garden Lady” C.L. Fornari, to enjoy one of the festival’s many home garden tours.
C.L.’s beautiful home was absolutely surrounded by lush and colorful gardens — from vegetables to flowers.
Here’s a closer look:
Having received our home-garden fix, we made our way to the picturesque Cape Cod village of Osterville to do a little strolling, shopping, and hydrangea-spotting.
It didn’t take long to find just what we were looking for, tucked between two storefronts — overflowing hydrangea in deep shades of purple and blue, flanked by Adirondack chairs just waiting for occupants.
Finally, with just a few hours left in my visit, I made my way to Heritage Museums & Gardens (back in Sandwich) for a final flower fix. Having never been before, I was delighted to have the backdrop of Cape Cod Hydrangea Fest for my inaugural visit.
Open from April through October, the 100 acres at Heritage include flowers, trees, and shrubs native to Cape Cod, along with features like a flume fountain, the Old East Windmill, a children’s adventure park, a historic carousel, three galleries with both permanent and changing exhibits, and the North American Hydrangea Test Garden.
And that’s another beautiful visit to Cape Cod on the books!
Are you a fan of summer hydrangeas?
Note: This 2022 Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival will take place July 8 – 17.
This post was first published in 2016 and has been updated.
For more information on the festival, visit the Cape Cod Hydrangea Festival website. For more information on visiting Cape Cod, visit the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce.