Mark Licalsi & Todd Bidwell, Above The Salt, Falmouth, Massachusetts

Nestled along the Southwest coast of Cape Cod in Falmouth, Above The Salt (www.airbnb.com/rooms/2670598) is an 1870’s Victorian house, owned by husbands Todd Bidwell and Mark LiCalsi, that provides a cozy homestay for visitors to this beautiful seaside area of Massachusetts.

Todd and Mark, with their years of local know-how, offer up the second floor of their Falmouth home as a private suite for guests, complete with queen bedroom, den, and private bath. Beyond the accoutrements guests have come to admire at this grand old home (French doors, double vanity, pedestal sinks, and clawfoot tub), a stay at Above The Salt also comes with the combined wisdom of your hosts, both elected members of local town government.

Todd is the general manager of the Island Queen (75 Falmouth Heights Rd., Falmouth. Tel: 508-548-4800. www.islandqueen.com), a seasonal ferry service with ports of call in Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard, while Mark, a licensed massage therapist, owns Falmouth Massage (305 Dillingham Ave., Tel: 774-392-0462. www.falmouthmassage.com), which provides deep-tissue and hot-stone massages.

Since Todd and Mark opened the doors to their property back in 2014, they have been featured as five-star “Superhosts” in their region by Airbnb.com, and they continue to rake in impeccable reviews as both professional hosts and new-age concierges.

Where are the coolest places for cocktails?
Frozen mudslides at the Chart Room overlooking Red Brook Harbor in the Upper Cape town of Cataumet are a must (1 Shipyard Lane, Cataumet, Tel: 508- 563-5350. www.chartroomcatumet.com). Anejo Mexican Bistro and Tequila Bar (188 Main St., Falmouth, Tel: 508-388- 7631. www.anejomexicanbistro.com) has an extensive menu of tequila drinks, margaritas, and creative cocktails with a great vibe in the evening around the bar. Be sure to try the guacamole, made tableside to your specific preferences. Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub (273 Main St., Falmouth, Tel: 508-548-0285. www.liammaguire.com) is an authentic Irish pub in Falmouth village and offers a large selection of draft beers, traditional Irish and American fare, and nightly live entertainment.

Pride Flags on Commercial Street in Provincetown Credit Tim Grafft
Pride Flags on Commercial Street in Provincetown Credit Tim Grafft

What are the best restaurants for a romantic dinner?
CSalt Wine Bar & Grill (75 Davis Straits St., Falmouth, Tel: 774-763-2954. www.csaltfalmouth.com) offers an incredible evening of American cuisine with French and Asian influences from Chef and Owner Jonathan Philips. Expect fantastic service and wine selections. Osteria La Civetta (133 Main St., Falmouth, Tel: 508-540-1616. www.osterialacivetta.com) features a unique and delicious menu of foods from the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy, and a very romantic atmosphere. The Glass Onion (37 North Main St., Falmouth, Tel: 508-540-3730. www.theglassoniondining.com) is one of Falmouth’s highest rated restaurants and the perfect spot for special occasions and romantic dinners. The food and service is exceptional.

Who serves the greatest brunch in town?
For a traditional New England brunch, we recommend the Coonamessett Inn (311 Gifford St., Falmouth, Tel: 508-548-2300. www.connamessettinn.com). This historic inn and restaurant is located in Falmouth and offers a very good brunch buffet every Sunday. The restaurant also has three different rooms for seating, and we enjoy the tavern called Eli’s Lounge. During warmer weather, French doors open for outdoor seating on a large deck overlooking Jones Pond.

Boulangerie Maison Villatte (267 Main St., Falmouth, Tel: 774-255-1855) is a French patisserie located on Falmouth’s historic Main Street. While it doesn’t offer brunch per se, it offers a variety of quiche, pastries, soups, and breads. Moonakis Café (460 Route 28, Falmouth, Tel: 508-457-9630. www.moonakiscafe.com) in the Falmouth village of Waquiot offers a fantastic breakfast. Their specials menu changes frequently and has a wide variety of omelets, pancakes, and their homemade corned-beef hash.

What are the hottest shows in town?
The Cape Cod Melody Tent (21 West Main St., Hyannis, Tel: 508-775-5630. www.melodytent.org) in Hyannis is a seasonal performance venue that welcomes music and comedy stars from across the country. Ziggy Marley, Heart, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Vince Gill, Huey Lewis and the News, and many more will play throughout the summer and into the early fall. Outdoor bars surrounding the tent are great for pre-show and intermission adult beverages. Provincetown (the outermost town at the tip of Cape Cod) is a melting pot of the GLBT and straight communities with amazing restaurants, art galleries, unique shops, and shows! One of the most well-known venues for live music, Broadway revues, and drag, is The Crown & Anchor (247 Commercial St., Provincetown, Tel: 508-487-1430. www.onlyatthecrown.com).

Sunrise Over Cape Cod Credit Brian Morris
Sunrise Over Cape Cod Credit Brian Morris

What museums or galleries are a must-see?
Highfield Hall & Gardens (65 Highfield Dr. Falmouth, Tel: 508-495-1978. www.highfieldhallandgardens.org) is a magnificent 19th-century estate that has been renovated and trans- formed into a wonderful cultural center for rotating art exhibitions, music performances, culinary demonstrations, self-guided tours of the English gardens, and more. Falmouth Museums on the Green (55 Palmer Ave., Falmouth, Tel: 508- 548-4857. www.museumsonthegreen.com) is currently going through a significant restoration of one of its two historic homes, taking it to new heights as a museum destination for maritime history and the story of Kathryn Lee Bates, author of the poem America the Beautiful, who was born in Falmouth. The Cape Cod Central Railroad (252 Main St., Falmouth, Tel: 888-797-7245. www.capetrain.com) offers several different train rides on Cape Cod, many of which serve dinner and brunch. Taking a ride is a great way to relax and see Cape Cod from different perspectives, and the train often crosses the Cape Cod Canal before turning back to the train station in Hyannis. Also in Hyannis, we recommend visiting the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum (397 Main St., Hyannis, Tel: 508-790-3077. www.jfkhyannismuseum.org) for anyone who would enjoy learning more about the life and times of the president and the Kennedy family.

Which guided tours do you recommend?
While not a narrated tour, we suggest taking the Island Queen ferryboat from Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard, where you’re also bound to see Mark on any given day! It’s a perfect day-trip with a beautiful 35-minute sailing across Vineyard Sound. Bring your bikes or rent bikes upon your arrival to the island. Public bus transportation, rental Jeeps, and scooters, as well as narrated bus tours, are also available on the island. Whale watching is an awesome activity, and we recommend Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises (269 Millway Rd., Barnstable, Tel: 1-800-287-0374. www.whales.net) out of Barnstable Harbor, as well as sunset cruises from Schooner Liberte Cape Cod Daysails (227 Clinton Ave., Falmouth, Tel: 508-524-9121. www.theliberte.com), offered seven days a week during the summer season on a classic, three-mast schooner named Liberte that departs from Falmouth Harbor.

What annual events should we add to our list?
Falmouth Fourth of July Fireworks is a true spectacle with the fireworks being shot from a barge at the center of Vineyard Sound. The show is one of the largest in the country, and can be viewed from several different beaches in Falmouth. Provincetown’s week-long Carnival (August 13-19) is a celebration of just about everything and anything! The parade is one of the highlights, plus a number of parties, boat cruises, and more. The Annual Woods Hole Film Festival (87 Water St., Tel: 508-495-3456. www.woodsholefilmfestival.com) is an incredible weeklong festival of independent films. It is known around the country and is definitely on the must-see list.

Whale Watching Credit Oktay Kaya
Whale Watching Credit Oktay Kaya

Where can you go to get the best views?
Lunch or dinner at the Flying Bridge (220 Scranton Ave., Falmouth, Tel: 508-548-2700. www.flyingbridgerestaurant.com) offers great cuisine, all the while watching the boats come in and out of Falmouth Harbor. A fantastic spot at sunset or at any time of the day, take a drive up to Nobska Lighthouse (398 Nobska Rd., Tel: 508-457-3219. www.newenglandlighthouses.net/nobska) in the Falmouth village of Woods Hole and enjoy the sweeping views of Vineyard Sound, Martha’s Vineyard, and Woods Hole. Take a walk along the outer beach of the Cape Cod National Seashore, starting at the Salt Pond Visitor Center (50 Doane Rd., Tel: 508-255-3421. www.nps.gov/cavo) in the town of Eastham, or visit the Pilgrim Monument (1 High Pole Hill Rd., Tel: 508- 487-1310. www.pilgrimmonument.org) in Provincetown, which offers incredible views of Cape Cod from this 252-foot tower.

Where are the best places to workout?
For cardio, we recommend renting bikes at Corner Cycle (115 Palmer Ave., Tel: 508-540-4195. www.cornercycle.com) in Falmouth, and enjoying more than ten miles of Shining Sea Bikeway. The next day, drive down to the Mid-Cape area and bike the 22-mile Cape Cod Rail Train, beginning at the trailhead of South Dennis. For upper-body workouts, we suggest exploring the five trails of varying difficulties at the Adventure Park at Heritage Museums & Gardens (67 Grove St., Tel: 508-866- 0199. www.heritageadventurepark.org) in Sandwich. For a good lower-body workout, take a morning or afternoon hike through Beebe Woods, with trails traversing more than 300 acres of fantastic woodlands. In the unlikely event of inclement weather, there are numerous gyms and fitness centers throughout Cape Cod, several of which offer 24/7 access. In East Falmouth, The Fitness Company (757 E. Falmouth Hwy., Tel: 508-540-8896. www.fitnesscompanyforwomen.com) for both men and women, offers visitors day passes and 24-hour access.

If someone is looking for great spa or wellness treatments, where do you send them?
Try the hot-stone message at Falmouth Massage, followed by a reflexology or reiki session. A popular salon in Falmouth, located on Falmouth’s historic Main Street, is Headlines Salon & Day Spa (218 Main St., Tel: 508-457-1100. www.headlinessalonanddayspa.com) as well as the Beach Plum Spa (149 Main St., Tel: 1- 800-400-3566. www.danlwebsterinn.com) at the historic Daniel Webster Inn in Sandwich.

Provincetown Harbor and Boats Credit Tim Grafft
Provincetown Harbor and Boats Credit Tim Grafft

What are some “hidden treasures” that are unique to Cape Cod and the Islands?
Coonamessett Farm (277 Hatchville Rd., Tel: 508-583-2560. www.coonamessettfarm.com) in Falmouth is a 20-acre farm that offers outdoor farm-to-table dinner buffets every week, which overlook fields of vegetables and flowers. Live music is always featured. After dinner, guests are welcome to stroll throughout the farm, which also raises alpacas, donkeys, sheep, and dwarf goats. It is a totally unique evening of delicious food and wonderful atmosphere. Check out live glass blowing at the Pairpoint Glass Company (851 Sandwich Rd., Tel: 508-888-2344. www.pairpoint.com) in Sagamore, with its facto- ry store and variety of hand-blown barware and home décor. If an ice-cold local beer sounds good, be sure to visit the Brewery at Cape Cod Beer (1336 Phinney’s Lane, Hyannis, Tel: 508-790-4200. www.capecodbeer.com), or check-out any of the numerous restaurants on Cape Cod serving this local favorite.

What are the best gay/lesbian bars?
Provincetown, hands down, is the place to go for gay/lesbian nightlife on Cape Cod. This seaside town features more than a dozen clubs and bars. One of the most popular is the Atlantic House or A-House (4/6 Masonic Place, Tel: 508-487-3169. www.ahouse.com) and for women, PiedBar (193A Commercial St., Tel: 508-457-1527. www.piedbar.net) is very popular. But at 4 P.M. every afternoon, you can’t miss the outdoor dance party at the Buoy Bar located at the Boatslip Beach Club (161 Commercial St., Tel: 508-487-1669. www.boatslipresort.com/tea-dance). For cocktails on the water and good conversation, try Harbor Lounge (359 Commercial St., Tel: 508-413-9527. www.harborlounge.com) or Shipwreck Lounge (10 Carver St., Tel: 508-487-1472. www.ptownlounge.com).

Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave Cape Cod without…
Eating a Stuffed Quahog (pronounced co-hog), with or without Portuguese smoked sausage, complete with melted butter and hot sauce; enjoying a sunset at the Knob, overlooking Quissett Harbor in Woods Hole; taking in a game at one of the many towns who host a team of the Cape Cod Baseball League (www.capecodbaseball.org). This premier amateur baseball league has sent hundreds of players on to professional baseball since 1855. It’s known far and wide as the best amateur summer league in the country.

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