Cape Cod Summer House with Kin Travel x IFAW
It’s been about a month since I returned from Kin Travel’s Summer House in Cape Cod; a collaboration with IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) and like previous Kin trips, it was an experience that moved me in so many ways. Travel is such an important part of who I am and I’ve made it a priority to seek out immersive experiences. If they can supporting local communities through responsible tourism or become teaching moments in any way then it’s a huge bonus! I always know that Kin trips will be the full package.
In a nutshell, Kin Travel’s Summer House in Cape Cod is a weekend escape and conservation masterclass with an intimate crew of like-minded adventurers, tastemakers and leading marine activists. We did a deep dive into IFAW's work to save marine mammals, trained for dolphin rescue, and learned about the challenges, innovations, and visions for the future. Per the usual, Kin brings it with the VIBES. We’re talking pop-up beach parties, fresh oysters, sundowners and more. It’s truly the perfect balance of vacay and education/impact. Not to mention, you leave with a handful of new friends; one of the perks of group travel! (see my post on group travel here.)
Keep scrolling to get a closer look at our weekend itinerary and the impact it had on me; I made some immediate changes to my diet and lifestyle habits as soon as I returned home from this trip. Deets on the Kin Travel Summer House Trip for August or September can be found here. You can watch a play by play of the weekend on my IG profile - CAPE COD highlight.
I also shared EDPfam food and bar recs for Cape Cod + Provincetown below in case you’re visiting soon.
Photo credit goes to my dear friend Valorie Darling
DAY ONE: ARRIVALS
We arrived at the Salt House Inn, a lovely 15-room space just off the main street (Commercial Street) in Provincetown. I highly suggest this spot if you’re visiting Ptown even for your own vacay. There was a pop-up outdoor lounge where we all gathered for welcome drinks and intros. Brian Jones (Founder of Kin Travel), Kate Farinella (Deputy Vice President of Brand Communications and Marketing) and Stacey Hedman (Global Marketing Strategist) all shared their vision for the next 3 days and we toasted to new adventures and budding friendships.
We then took off on a bike ride through town to the breakwater to watch the sunset. First off Ptwon is SOO cute. It was my first time there and it’s just so quaint and lovely. Second, the sunsets are INSANELY gorgeous. Every day I was in awe of the beauty. After some sundowners (there’s no shortage of bevvies on these trips) we headed toJoon Bar for an intimate dinner where we all got to know each other. I haven’t been on a first date in awhile but the first night of these trips always feels a little like a first date in the best way possible - you really get to learn so much about everyone and the conversations come so easy because your all so excited to be there.
DAY TWO: RESCUE OPERATIONS CENTER + Beach Fun
On World Oceans Day, we woke up for an early morning yoga class before heading to IFAW’s Rescue Operations Center in Yarmouth Port. Here, we dove deep into IFAW’s work to save marine mammals and a discussion around the challenges and unique innovations born from 20 years of experience, hosted by Katie Moore (Deputy Vice President, Rescue), Sarah Sharp (Animal Rescue Veterinarian) and Brian Sharp (Program Director, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research). It was a true education for all of us as we learned about IFAW’s history on the Cape, the intricacies of our rescue operations, and the information we extract from necropsies (animal autopsies) that inform new ways of thinking.
Details on the Marine Mammal Rescue & Research (MMRR) – a local team making global impact:
MMRR team (the 19 women, 1 man ratio I mentioned) is comprised of six full-time staff members, one full-time veterinarian, one part-time veterinarian, two apprentices, multiple interns, and a highly trained corps of 224 volunteers.
They rescue stranded marine mammals on a 700-mile stretch of coastline on Cape Cod and southeastern MA — a global mass stranding hot spot.
The MMRR team has completed 342 responses thus far this year. For comparison, the annual average is 251 responses total.
In addition to the hands-on responses, the marine mammal experts also travel across the globe to countries such as India, Oman, and New Zealand to host trainings and share our extensive research.
They have successfully rescued an impressive list of 23 marine species, including minke whales, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, manatees, harp seals, gray seals, and harbor porpoises.
After years of innovation and scientific research, they have increased successful release rate of mass stranded dolphins from 3% in 1999 to now over 86% in 2018.
Next up, a surprise beach pop-up at Herring Cove Beach. We seriously lucked out with the weather; it was perfect the entire weekend. You know me, I love a good beach hang especially with cocktails flowing and cheese plates. Aside from the impact portion, one of the reasons I seek out Kin Trips is because the hospitality is top notch. All meals and bevies are covered and they work so hard to make sure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves.
Fun in the sun was the perfect way to close out the day. Some of the guys went in the water but most of us stayed ashore because the water is FREEZING and there were signs to keep watch for great whites. That’s going to be a hard no for me - hah!
Dinner was hosted back at the Salt House Inn, followed by a little pub-crawling in town. While we didn’t have too much time to explore Ptown outside of our scheduled activities, I would 100% go back for a girl’s weekend or a couples getaway.
Some EDPfam recs for Drinking + Eating in Provincetown + Cape COD:
Beachcomber in Wellfleet
Bubalas by the Bay
Blue Fin Sushi in Chatham
Chart Room in Bourne
Ciro + Sals
Crown + Anchor
Mac’s Shack in Wellfleet (comes highly recommended)
The Canteen (we went there and loved. get the lobster roll + froze!)
The Penny Patch
DAY 3: WHALE WATCHING+ DUNE TOUR
The day began with an exciting whale watch expedition. Our private boat charted by Dolphin Fleet was perfect for all of us to shuffle from one side of the boat to the other to capture these magnificent creatures. It was so interesting to me to see a) the size of the boat (large!) and b) how “far” we had to be from the whales compared to my recent La Paz trip. I quickly found out that was due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the U.S. which has significant whale watching limitations to protect the animals. TBH I say “far” in quotes because the whales on this trip were pretty darn close just not as close as in Mexico. They gave us a beautiful show!
Patrick Ramage (Director, Marine Conservation) spoke about IFAW’s work at the highest levels of policy and on-the-ground efforts to delineate the whale-safe option of whale watching vs. whale hunting. We were left with a message of hope as Patrick shared promising statistics of populations on the rise again. During this time I chatted with him about simple things we can do to help marine life and asked him to give me 5 takeaways to share:
Reduce overall consumptions
Sustainable seafood: if you eat fish + seafood, do your research and only eat sustainably farmed
Reduce plastics: this is a huge one! Micro plastics are getting into the ocean and the sea life. Btw, this means we are also ingesting it if we east seafood - it’s kind of mind blowing to think about.
Reduce Water usage: this is primarily related to new construction
VOTE: hold politicians accountable and push them to prioritize oceans and marine life
On earth day, Andy and I decided to eliminate plastic water bottles in our house (we were ordering PACKS of individual bottles from Amazon weekly - eek!) and after this trip we are now both seriously restricting our water bottle usage outside of the house by carrying a re-usable swell bottle, especially when we travel. I am also now SUPER cognizant of my seafood and sushi consumption. Most menus state if they are sustainably farmed. Obviously little things, but the reality is that if we all start implementing little changes it could make a big impact on the world.
We then convened at Canteen for lunch and had the afternoon to explore. Naturally, I parked myself right on the beach and napped. It was nice to have a little down time. In the evening, another surprise awaited – a sunset dune tour and pop-up happy hour with Arts Dune Tours. I mean, can you think of a better way to end the trip? It was pure magic.
When it comes to group trips, those last moments together are always bittersweet. You become SO close in such a short period of time so it pulls at your heartstrings to say goodbye. Definitely one for the books.
Feel free to comment below or DM me on IG (everydaypursuits) if you have any Qs related to this trip. Always happy to help! Details on booking this Kin Travel Summer House Trip for August or September can be found here.
xo - Ash