Cape Cod is a four-hour drive from New York City, and just over an hour drive from Boston.
Reaching 65 miles into theNorth Atlantic like a proud seafarer’s arm, life here is lived by the tides.
One of the world’s largest barrier islands, Cape Cod has longshielded the Massachusetts mainland from the Atlantic’s grinding swells.
For centuries this400 square-mile peninsula of beaches, forests and ponds has been a sanctuary for its Native Peoples, for Pilgrims, mariners, artists and vacationers.
While many come for the beaches, this is far more thanjust another seaside summer escape.
Once you’ve inhaled the salty spirit of this place, you’ll understand why locals say, “once a Cape Codder, always a Cape Codder.
” And you don’t need to travel far to catch that spirit.
Leave the mainland behindand journey into the Upper Cape, home to historic villages like Woods Hole.
It’s in villages like these where common-sense has stood firm against thefickle winds of architectural whimsy.
Marine scientists and restaurateurs may have replaced the whalers and fisher-folk of old, but the shingle homes remain, and, there’s not a chain store to be seen.
Wherever you travel on the Cape, the sea surrounds you, and the Upper Cape is no exception.
Drop your towel on the sands of Old Silver Beach and wade into the calm waters of Buzzards Bay.
Or saddle up and explorethe beaches of Vineyard Sound, which stretch away to the eastunder the ever-watchful gaze of Nobska Light.
The town of Falmouth is theperfect place to take to the waters, whether it’s for a quiet paddle, or the 50-minute ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard.
While right next door is Mashpee, lose yourself amid the pitch pines and endless dunes of South Cape Beach State Park.
Follow the currents further fromthe mainland, into the Mid Cape region.
You’ll find Cape Cod’s rich maritime heritage all over the peninsula, but nowhere more so, than in Hyannis, which in the 1800swas home to over 200 ships masters.
Hyannis was also the summer retreat of one of America’s most reveredpresidents and naval heroes, John F Kennedy.
When JFK urged his countrymenand women to “set sail and not sit in the harbor”, the Cape Cod call to adventurecould be felt right across the nation.
Experience that seafaring spirit, in the wood shavings and sawdustof the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, where craftsmen shape boats so beautiful, even landlubbers’ hearts are known to skip a beat.
Ride the sea breezes furthereastward to the Cape’s elbow, and drop anchor at Chatham.
Head down to the pier and meet the locals who hang out by thefishing boats hoping for a free meal.
And follow the lead of the migratorybirds who rest in this important habitat, and feel your own feathers…unruffle.
From Chatham, wind your waynorth through the Outer Cape to Eastham, the gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Founded in 1961 by John F Kennedy, this national treasure coversalmost the entire east coast of Cape Cod, preserving its historic landmarks and pristine habitats for future generations to enjoy.
Gazing out upon the wild Atlantic fromthis 40-mile stretch of pristine seashore is the perfect antidote for the rigors of modern life.
For this is the place, Henry Thoreau once wrote, “that a man may stand stilland put all America behind him.
“ As you move further up the Cape, the simple life reveals itself around every bend from the cottages and shacks which have seen the summercrowds come and go for decades… to the farms and gardensthat keep this place so very grounded.
Our journey ends at Cape Cod’s northern tip, where the Cape’s modern story began, in Provincetown.
For it was here, in 1620, where the Mayflower finally dropped anchor and 102 weary Pilgrims first came ashore.
Visit the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, and learn about life in P-Town in days gone by.
Then wind your way to the top of the Pilgrim Monument, which rises above thisoutpost that has long been a haven for adventurers, artists, and freethinkers.
Nature is always close at hand in Provincetown.
Head down to Macmillan Pierand cast off on a whale-watching cruise, or cast for bass in the waters off Herring Cove Beach.
Fill your water bottlesand explore the Provincetown Dunes, a vast expanse of wind-swept tranquility that playwright, Eugine O’Neill once called, “a grand place to be alone and undisturbed”.
Cape Cod has long providedthe stage for American dramas, grand and small, from the weary Pilgrimswho waded ashore for a better life, to the early beachcombers whosoughtquiet refuge from the industrial age.
Today, Cape Cod continues to offer those who come the gifts of connectedness and calm.
For this is a place thatreminds us that a life lived by the tides, is the best kind of life of all.