Exploring Cape Cod
Cape Cod is situated at the extreme southeast corner of Massachusetts, one of the 5o states of the USA. It is 399 miles of fishhook-shaped sandbar, but when my friend Lola asked me to be her company for a weekend there, she explained it better- Cape Cod looks like an elbow, a bended arm 🙂
Geographically, Cape Cod is a peninsula. However, it is really closer to being an island, as it is completely surrounded by water. Originally, the Cape was united with the mainland until 1909 to 1914 when the US Army Corps of Engineers dug Cape Cod Canal from (the 17½-mile long, 480-foot wide is now the world’s widest sea-level canal), giving “birth” to Cape Cod as an independent land mass. According to some, the Cape, as usually denominated, is one of the largest barrier islands in the world.
The face of Cape Cod is continually changing because of the sea and wind. They cause the loss of 2 acres of Cape Cod sand annually and other amount of sand is being moved to a different place around Cap Cod, mostly to the North. I have been to a peninsula that originated in the same way – way smaller Caleta Valdes – when I was observing animals of Peninsula Valdes.
Why is it called Cape Cod? What a weird name you must be thinking! Well, in 1602 the English explorer Bartolomew Gosnold came to Shoal Hope how the place was first called and then wrote in his log entry that they caught great store of codfish in there. It was then when Shoal Hope was renamed to Cape Cod and used until nowadays.
Cape Cod is not just a summer getaway because of its hot weather, more than 115 named beaches and different water sports, but it is visited by many also in spring and winter when you will not be eaten by crowds.
Nowadays, Cape Cod is known because of more reasons and it’s exactly those why I am sure you would fall in love with it (if you haven’t already):
- Provincetown – the well-known town in the very tip of the peninsula from which most of the tours depart. It is an enchanting little town with many souvenirs shops, restaurants and smiling local people that attract families, couples and single ones like me. Ptown, as Provincetown is sometimes called, is a notorious gay place with gay bars and hotels and many gay and lesbian couples walking around hand-in-hand. Cape Cod is a very open-minded community and it helped Massachusetts to be the first US state to offer same-sex couples marriage. However, Ptown is not just a homosexual sweet town but full of artists and writers since the 1960’s when residents such as Tennessee Williams, Norman Mailer (whose Tough Guys Don’t Dance is based in here), Eugene O’Neill, Kurt Vonnegut, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol or Anthony Bourdain among many others could be seen there. Remember to check the Pilgrim Monument when in Ptwon, take one of the interesting tours it is famous for and then just breathe in the relaxing atmosphere or stroll along the beach and harbor.
- Whale watch – tour number 1 in Cape Cod. I did it and it was a dream come true for me. Unforgettable! Apart from humpback whales you could spot here minke whales, fin whales, the critically endangered North Atlantic right whales or white sided dolphins.Whale watching trips are guided by trained naturalists, many of whom are either scientific researchers or teachers. Scientific data is collected on all whale watch trips and it is shared with research organizations working to preserve marine mammals and their critical habitats.
- Want to see Tennessee Williams’ dune shack? Then take dune tour around Cape Cod National Park Seashore where besides pretty sandy lanscapes you will get the best explanation of the main history and how Cape Cod originated.
- Chatham is a marvelous area with beautiful beaches, glorious gardens, nice sunsets and traditional big colourful houses that will take your breathe away.
- walking and biking tours are very common to explore Seashore
- fishing or boating, or just along the shore and you can see seals around Cape Cod in summer. I even saw them in the port!
- Sandwich – Cape Cod’s oldest town, is a great place to visit white churches, ancient stone walls, white clapboard houses, gardens, galleries and ice cream parlors, just to name a few.
- golf – There are 27 public, daily-fee golf courses and 15 private courses on Cape Cod
- lobsters and shellfish (particularly oysters) – the right place for seafood lovers. Delicious lobster rolls are on every menu in here.
Tip: there is public transport around Cape Cod – Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority www.capecodtransit.org but as it stops in every village, it is better to get a car to get around the peninsula instead of spending 2 hours on a bus which would take you 30 minutes by car… Unless you wanted to meet the hottest bus driver ever (a young Bulgarian guy) 😀
My trip to Cape Cod was a press trip. All the thoughts in this article are my own. For more information about Cape Cod tourism, what to do there, where to dine, play and stay, please visit Cape Cod Chambers. Thanks to them I was able to visit Cape Cod and explore at least a bit of what it has to offer.