The east coast has always held an alluringly nostalgic attraction. As a newcomer to Cape Cod, my first impression of this timelessly romantic landscape was that it’s nothing short of impressive.
Just 120 kilometres from Boston, Mass., Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula and island region, and a world-class summer resort area. With 15 distinctive towns and 900 kilometres of unspoiled coastline, you’ll quickly learn why Massachusetts is nicknamed ‘The Bay State.’
Cape Cod is famous for Plymouth Rock and its significance to American history. It was the 1620 landing spot of English separatists in the Mayflower who broke away from England to establish the first permanent European settlement in ‘New England.’ Today, you feel this strong sense of historical pride and patriotism accentuated with each and every star-spangled banner hanging from storefronts, homes and businesses.
Cape Cod is also known for its sparkling sands, stunning windswept coast, unbelievable seafood, and the Kennedys. The famous family has been connected to Hyannis Port since Joseph Kennedy bought a summer home there in the 1920s. The 1960 presidential election, during which John F. Kennedy was elected the United States’ 35th President, put the seaside village on the map.
With 115 beaches, Cape Cod is one of the most famous beach regions in the world. Water lovers can swim, kayak, sail, waterski, surf or snorkel. Land lovers can tour one of the many historic lighthouses— there are eight still functioning. Beachcombers will thrill in the hunt for seashells and other treasures along the seemingly endless seashore.
Accommodations in Cape Cod vary from ritzy hotels and antique farmhouses to charming bed and breakfasts and quaint seaside inns. The active traveller will enjoy nearly 200 kilometres of bike paths, while an abundance of baseball will please the sports nut. It won’t take long to get caught up in Red Sox fever, which is everywhere, in every conversation, and on every television screen.
Cape Cod offers a diverse mix of dining, from upscale elegant eateries and oceanfront restaurants to old-fashioned clambakes and seafood shanties. One of the best experiences is Tugboats Restaurant at Hyannis Marina. The sunset view from Lewis Bay is spectacular, with fishing fleets and ferries coming and going, and yachts bigger than your average house.
It was here I got my first taste of authentic New England clam chowder — or "chowda" as written on the menu, and pronounced by every local I met. Restaurants in the region take great pride in their soup, and each one prepares it in their own special way. If you take the "clam chowda challenge" and order it at every restaurant you visit, you’ll discover no two bowls are the same.
It’s no surprise that tourism is the number one industry on the Cape. The locals have a true passion for the place, and are proud to share it. And now that I know how wonderful it is, I hope to visit again. There’s still so much to do, so many sites to see, and a lot more chowda to be had.
RoseAnna Schick is an avid traveller who seeks inspiration wherever she goes. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.