Catch a baseball game, see a whale or take in a concert at New England's most famous coastal retreat
Jutting like a fish hook from the East Coast, a very special place beckons you to escape the city, hang out in artists' communities, search for antiques and see some of the most photographed lighthouses in the nation. This place has the oldest town in America and saw some of the first settlers touch its shores. This spot on the map has beautiful beaches, lush cranberry bogs and nearly two dozen RV resorts in which to stay. This place is Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Cape Cod has four distinct areas: Outer Cape Cod, Lower Cape Cod, Mid Cape Cod and Upper Cape Cod. Offshore sit the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. No matter if you're visiting one town or want to visit them all, you'll find the experience memorable.
Cape Cod Lighthouses
Lighthouses have been marking the unique coastline of the Cape for hundreds of years. These beacons have protected countless mariners from the jagged shorelines in the often-harsh New England seas. The lights that once warned sailors cause today's lighthouse enthusiasts to shriek in delight when they get to Cape Cod, because there are 18 lighthouses to see. If you travel to Martha's Vineyard, you'll find five more, and then if you hop over to Nantucket, you can add three additional lights to your passport.
Today, we take cell phones, televisions and computers for granted, but only a hundred years ago these technologies were nonexistent. In 1903, a man by the name of Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic wireless communication from a station on Cape Cod to a station in England. Although the station has been gone for some time, a museum stands in its memory at Wellfleet.
Another must-see museum for communications history buffs is the French Cable Museum. In 1879, a cable was laid across the Atlantic Ocean from France to the small Cape Cod town of Orleans. This cable enabled the Atlantic fleet to communicate with America during World War I and World War II using Morse code. The original Morse code receivers and transmitters can still be seen at the museum.
Bunches of Beaches
Every town on Cape Cod has a beautiful view of the ocean; some get to see the sun come up, while others get to watch it sink into the sea. With so much shoreline, there shouldn't be any excuse for you not to have a beach day. In addition, there are also numerous hiking and biking trails. Some are easy, some a bit harder but all are beautiful.
Cape Cod Wineries
Warm sunny days and cool New England nights make Cape Cod the perfect place to grow grapes. There are wineries on the Cape stretched out from Provincetown to Falmouth. Make a day trip to try them all but be sure to designate a driver so you can enjoy the free tastings. At the end of the day, take one of your favorites to the beach and watch the sun drop. Sounds perfect, doesn't it?
One of the best places to watch whales from the Cape is at Race Point at Provincetown. You can often see these mammoth mammals breeching just off the coast. However, if you'd like to get a closer look, you can always board a whale watching ship with your camera and spend a few hours getting to know the majestic creatures of the North Atlantic.
Looking for a rainy-day experience that will make you forget about the clouds? Check out the Wood's Hole Science Aquarium, the nation's oldest. At Wood's Hole, you'll find about 140 animals on display, including nonreleasable seals that will fascinate and amuse you. There's also a touch tank for the kids that includes lobsters, quahogs and hermit crabs. Admission to the aquarium is free, but donations are appreciated.
Artists and Antiques
Because of the beautiful backdrop, artists have been flocking to Cape Cod for centuries. There are artist colonies all across the Cape, with the largest residing in Provincetown. You'll be able to spend days browsing through the galleries, and when you're done, you can go in search of antiques. Shops can be found in just about every town, so plan to spend a few days.
New England Style
Ever hear of a Cape Cod-style house? Well, guess where they came from? On the many back roads that spiderweb around the Cape, you can see architecture that has only been copied everywhere else. While you're exploring the back roads, you'll want to stop for dinner and a little entertainment. Nearly every town on the Cape has a community green, where at least once a week you can attend a free concert in the park performed by the community band. It's a great way to spend the evening.
Cape Cod Baseball
Did you know that Cape Cod has its own baseball teams? The Cape Cod Baseball League is a nonprofit collegiate summer league with 10 teams that play nearly every night. There are no tickets, but teams do ask for donations in order to keep the league going. College stars from all over the nation play in this summer league, so who knows—you might be able to see a future Cal Ripken, Jr.
For More Information:
Visit Cape Cod
Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism