EsCape to Massachusetts
Caroline Henderson is a broadcast journalist, writer and avid traveller. Her roots are currently laid in Edinburgh but she has lived and worked around the UK. She caught the travel bug aged 3 months when she spent 12 weeks in Barbados but since then she has gone on to discover new spots, often in cooler climes. In her downtime she is likely to be found writing, blogging or planning her next travel adventure. This time round Caroline shares with TLE her top 5 must do’s when visiting Cape Cod.
‘If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, Quaint little villages here and there, You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod’ 1957
The husky tones of Patti Page’s classic anthem from the late 1950’s ring absolute truth. On crossing the Bourne Bridge, which connects the Cape Cod peninsula to mainland America, you are leaving behind the ordinary and transporting yourself into the extraordinary.
Cape Cod is a coastal retreat nestled 60 miles south east of the city of Boston and provides travellers with a blissful escape from the rest of the world.
The Cape thrives on its tourism industry. It is the beating heart of the community and many businesses have little choice but to capitalise on the summer trade in order to ensure their survival beyond the winter and into the next year. Having sampled many of the delights that the Cape has to offer, we have compiled a shortlist of the Top 5 things to do and see there.
1. Rail Trail
When you have wildlife, beautiful scenery and coastal villages in abundance, what better way to soak it all up than by hopping on a bicycle? The Cape Cod Rail Trail follows 22 miles of former railway lines through the towns of Dennis, Harwich, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham and Wellfleet and it is ideal for cycling enthusiasts or beginners alike.
It offers a safe and convenient way to explore the Cape, with tempting stops along the way. Here are our top picks of things to do on the Rail Trail:
- Enjoy a world-famous Meltaway pastry at Bonatt’s Bakery and Restaurant (a 10 minute detour from the Harwich Port exit).
- Cool off with a swim or hire a boat and sail on one of the many ponds at Nickerson State Park (on the Trail between Brewster and Orleans). This site boasts 400 camping spots and offers 1900 acres of exciting hiking trails and beautiful scenery.
- Stop off for lunch at the Land Ho! Restaurant in Orleans for the quintessential Cape Cod dining experience. Afterwards, treat yourself to an ice cream or hot drink at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow.
- Sample some of the finest beaches in the world – we recommend Nauset Beach (near Orleans on the Atlantic ocean side of the Cape), Skaket Beach (on the inner bay side) or Marconi Beach (near Wellfleet).
- The Rail Trail takes you towards the Upper Cape, coming to an end at Wellfleet. Here, you can transport yourself back to the 1950’s with a traditional American cinema experience at the Drive In movie theatre or unleash your inner partygoer with a trip to The Beachcomber beach bar and restaurant.
“Cape Cod is the bared and bended arm of Massachusetts. The shoulder is at Buzzard’s Bay; the elbow at Cape Mallebarre; the wrist at Truro; and the sandy fist at Provincetown.” Henry David Thoreau
This bustling coastal community has become synonymous with art, culture, tourism and a thriving LGBT community. There is so much to see and do here that a trip to the Cape wouldn’t be complete without a pilgrimage to its tourism capital.
Walk around the town, soak up the atmosphere, enjoy lunch at The Squealing Pig and visit the many walk-in art galleries along the main street.
3. Martha’s Vineyard / Nantucket
With year-round ferry services from Hyannis and Falmouth, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket islands offer a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous. The affluent island communities provide idyllic homes for their inhabitants and decadent shops, hotels and breath taking stretches of coastline for their visitors.
4. The Hyannis Sound
In terms of entertainment, there is one must-see attraction during your time on Cape Cod – The Hyannis Sound. Every summer, 10 young men audition to join this prestigious A Cappella group, which tours the Cape throughout the season performing to sell-out crowds. Their vocal arrangements offer a unique take on modern and classical songs alike.
5. And for the kids…
If you are planning to travel to the Cape with children then Cape Cod Sea Camps might be for you. This superb day and resident camp offers a range of activities for children including sailing, swimming, canoeing, paddle-boarding, tennis, archery, land sports, riflery, drama, dance and art to name a few. While the children can enjoy the benefits of the CCSC experience, you can indulge in the many delights that this fantastic coastal retreat has to offer.
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