CAPE COD, MARTHA’S VINEYARD & NANTUCKET ITINERARY
FOUR NIGHTS/FIVE DAYS
To some travelers, Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are but one destination. And, while it is true that these three distinctive and discrete places share many characteristics, each is completely unique unto itself with its own ambiance, history, geography and style. The distinctions between Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are many.
Cape Cod, a stunning 75-mile long peninsula, comprises 15 distinctive towns. As home to the world-renowned 44,000-acre Cape Cod National Seashore, the Cape is one of the Northeast’s premier destinations offering more than 115 beaches, almost 100 museums, hundreds of galleries and craft studios, more than a dozen theaters, 41 golf courses, 120 miles of bike paths, nostalgic villages where time seems to have stood still and thousands of acres of conservation areas and hiking trails. If you like long secluded stretches of beach, you are not alone although, on Cape Cod, you very well could be!
Day 1 CAPE COD
Cape Cod Canal Visitors Center: The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for operations and maintenance of the 17.5-mile Canal which provides transit to 14,000 commercial and recreational vessels annually. The Center offers insight into the history, fascinating features, and operation of the Canal. Inside you will discover a fun, fascinating, friendly and free museum. Interactive exhibits offer something for visitors of all ages. SANDWICH
Old Kings Highway: Also called Route 6A, winds through some of America’s oldest towns including Bourne, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster and Orleans. Many homes and churches along this tree-shaded byway are on the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby beaches include Sandy Neck, Town Neck, Grays and Mayflower Beaches. See what Cape Cod was like centuries ago. BOURNE TO ORLEANS
Woods Hole Village: Falmouth’s salty, sea sprayed, most renowned village. Nobel Laureates and local fishermen exist harmoniously. A place of past and future with seafaring tales and innovations. It bustles with seasonal visitors, shoppers, scientists, residents and passengers Martha’s Vineyard ferry passengers. It is a strolling village, accessible by summer trolleys or bike path. Expect great food, shops, galleries, museums, gardens and scenic vistas. WOODS HOLE
Main Street Hyannis/Town of Barnstable: This Town (Barnstable) and its Village of Hyannis are the Hubs of Cape Cod. Main Street Hyannis is at the nexus of Cape Cod’s mercantile, transportation, cultural and geography, bisecting the Cape from Cape Cod Bay to Nantucket Sound. Museums, endless shopping, dazzling new $40 million airport, CapeFLYER (seasonal) train to Boston, museums, galleries, nearly 100 restaurants, bike trails, nature and conservation lands, more than 100 miles of stunning beaches, whale watches, ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, working harbor, JFK Hyannis Museum, JFK Memorial and Hyannis Harbor Cruises to view the famed Kennedy Compound! BARNSTABLE
Anchor In, Hyannis: This lovely 42-room year round waterfront hotel sits directly on Hyannis Harbor, presiding over Lewis Bay and readily accessible to Main Street Hyannis and the wider Cape. Its distinctive guest rooms feature unique views and designs; no two rooms is alike. Outstanding hospitality, generous daily continental breakfast, outdoor pool overlooking the marina, the active Harbor and surrounding gardens make stays here memorable. HYANNIS
The Naked Oyster: Named one of America’s best raw bars, this renowned and popular Main Street Hyannis restaurant features oysters grown its own oyster farm in Barnstable Harbor. A warm clubby atmosphere, French-born and-trained chef and magnificent land and sea fare distinguish the Oyster as one of the entire region’s finest and most innovative eateries with great service and wine cellar. HYANNIS
Day 2 CAPE COD
Edward Gorey House: Anyone who had The Gashlycrumb Tinies read to him or her as a child will know American author, illustrator, playwright, set and costume designer Edward Gorey. In honor of his legacy, The House, owned and lived in by Gorey himself, is now a museum that displays his diverse and extraordinary talents and reflects his distinct personality. The House also honors Gorey’s passion and concern for animals. As a dedicated commemoration to Gorey, the House strives to educate and inspire its visitors, offering a unique introduction to Edward Gorey, the artist and person. YARMOUTH PORT
Cape Cod Museum of Art: Collects, studies, interprets and exhibits works by outstanding Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard and Southeastern Massachusetts artists. The Museum features seven glorious galleries and a sculpture garden plus gift shop, gardens, classrooms, library and is a true Cape Cod treasure! It is located on the grounds of the Cape Cod Center for the Arts which also includes the renowned Cape Playhouse and Cape Cinema. DENNIS
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History: This incredible place is a natural history museum, nature education center and steward of conservation land. It preserves, exhibits and interprets natural history artifacts. It engages visitors in high-quality programs, classes, lectures, panel discussions, workshops, films, walks, field trips, traditions and interactive exhibits. Excellent for every visitor but especially families. BREWSTER
Chatham Light Beach: Atlantic Ocean beach with cooler waters, tricky currents ½ mile from downtown. Chatham’s largest beach is arguably one of the Cape’s best with an expansive stretch of sand where one can enjoy watching seals pass during their daily migration or stroll to South Beach towards Monomoy on an afternoon nature hike. The lighthouse above draws a constant crowd of international admirers. The views are like none other on the Cape. CHATHAM
Cape Cod National Seashore and Salt Pond Visitors Center: Main visitor facility with orientation movies and museum; indoor theatre offers short films daily. Breathtaking views of Nauset Marsh and Atlantic beyond, this Center convenient to popular 1½ mile Nauset Marsh and Buttonbush Trail, ¼-mile multi-sensory trail that features a guide rope and text panels printed in large lettering and Braille, and Nauset Bicycle Trail. Collection reflects vast range of natural and cultural Cape Cod themes. In the atrium, the museum offers highlights of the Cape’s complex natural composition. Realistic models of native plants and mounted animal specimens emphasize the rich and diverse natural history of the Outer Cape. Displays cover salt marsh plants and animals, beach dynamics, upland plant communities and prominent residential and migratory birds. EASTHAM
Chatham Bars Inn: One of Cape Cod’s most elegant hotels with adjacent 9-hole golf course and 25-acre gardens. The 141-room Inn underwent $100 million renovation that left nothing untouched: main Inn rooms were completely renovated as were restaurants and public rooms. Cottages were completely redesigned and reconstructed but old world charm was retained but updated with every modern convenience and amenity. CHATHAM
The Red Nun: The color does not get more local than this where the bar is generally full and dining room always abuzz. Come for lunch and tuck into a burger (voted Best Burger on Cape Cod two years running) or come for dinner and sample the delicately fried local oysters. Full entrees, burgers, sandwiches and salads and a host of. Two locations: Main Street Chatham and Main Street Dennisport. CHATHAM and DENNISPORT
Wellfleet Drive In: Enjoy first run double features every night in the summer at the only Drive-In Theatre on Cape Cod. Built in 1957, the Wellfleet Drive-In hosts a 100′ x 44′ screen, FM stereo sound system equipped with Dolby Digital sound, and new for 2013 Barco Digital Projection. There are also a playground and nostalgic snack bar. The Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre is open from late May through mid-September. WELLFLEET
Day 3 CAPE COD
Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod: The Roberts family are hands-on owners. Visitors can enjoy a wine under the new pavilion while the staff explains nuances of the wine. From Memorial Day to Columbus Day weekend free vineyard and winery guided tours include the new barrel room. Staff explains the art of maritime grape growing and how it produces wines with intense flavor and lush varietal character. Afterwards , picnic on the beautiful grounds. TRURO
Provincetown: There is only one! This is the place of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in the New World in 1620! Since then, much has changed. It is the most colorful and arguably most popular destination on the entire Cape. It is a gay Mecca, an artist colony, seaport, cultural, culinary and resort destination with amazing shopping, fine hotels, inns, resorts and bed & breakfasts, seagoing excursions from whale watching to deep sea fishing and far more! It is located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod, surrounded on three sides by the beautiful blue waters of Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Its nightlife is legendary as is the architecture and just about everything else. His is as far out, both figuratively and literally, as Cape Cod can get! PROVINCETOWN
Art’s Dune Tours: Imagine dunes as far as the eyes can see! Wispy beach grass and crimson beach plums nestled in hollows all merged together by the blue sky and water surrounding you. You travel through majestic towering dunes while your guide points out the flora and fauna of the magical province lands, the so-called dune shacks of Harry Kemp, Eugene O’Neil and Jack Kerouac, among many others. You survey the remains of the Peaked Hill Lifesaving Station nestled in the dunes and look out over the Atlantic where the next stop is Spain! Watch the sun set into the Atlantic on sunset tours as the light changes from pale blue to pink to magenta and darkest purple as dolphins play along the shore. Unforgettable, fascinating, priceless! PROVINCETOWN
Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch: These trips offer a wide spectrum of educational tools that exceed the average whale watch. Its trips are designed to enhance awareness of whales, other marine life and the marine habitat. Its goal is to have each passenger depart with greater understanding and appreciation of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the wealth of life it supports. PROVINCETOWN
Pilgrim Monument: The Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association built the Pilgrim Monument to honor the Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown. It is the tallest all-granite monument in the world. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1907. In 1910, President William Howard Taft dedicated the finished 252-foot tower. In 1910, the Cape’s first building built to house a museum opened at the base of the monument, to educate the public about Provincetown’s role in Pilgrim history and American history. Today, Millions of visitors and generations of local residents have admired and climbed the 252 foot granite Pilgrim Monument for almost 100 years.
Land’s End Inn: Perched high atop of Gull Hill in Provincetown’s charming West End, the Inn features exquisite accommodations with panoramic ocean views. Eighteen luxurious guest rooms, commanding ocean views, a few steps to the water, and all just a short walk to downtown Provincetown, make this the perfect place for romance and relaxation. PROVINCETOWN
The Mews: This granddaddy of the Provincetown restaurant scene can be counted on for great food and service. Downstairs is more formal, where the sandy beach is right out the window and the menu has the likes of filet mignon with béarnaise sauce. Upstairs is an upscale lounge, and the menu includes lower-priced bistro fare. This is where to find roasted chicken with lingonberry cream sauce and top-notch burgers.
The incomparable island of Martha’s Vineyard is more than just an island, as visitors will agree. Just seven miles from Cape Cod, here time slows down, allowing visitors to delve deeply into the intangible magnetism the Vineyard exudes at every turn. Vineyard seafood and local produce is super fresh, sunsets spectacular—and your neighbor might be the president or other celebrity! Three port towns—Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown—and three up-island towns—West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah—present stark dichotomies of the Vineyard’s persona.
Steamship Authority (from Woods Hole): The Steamship Authority is the largest ferry service to Martha’s Vineyard from Cape Cod. The SSA offers the lowest fares and the most frequent daily departures for passengers, automobiles, groups and trucks. HYANNIS and WOODS HOLE (FALMOUTH)
Hy Line Cruises (from Hyannis): To Martha’s Vineyard, Hy Line Cruises operates seasonal, high-speed ferry service aboard Lady Martha and seasonal, traditional service aboard Brant Point. HYANNIS
Mytoi: Nestled within Chappaquiddick Island on Martha’s Vineyard, emerald-like, is the intimate Japanese-style garden, Mytoi, which offers natural serenity and a place of contemplation to visitors who venture here. Sheltered by a lovely pine grove, the preserve includes a small pond and island, non-native and native flowers and plants, footpaths leading past a birch walk and stone garden, and a trail winding toward Poucha Pond and the salt marsh. CHAPPAQUIDDICK ISLAND, EDGARTOWN
Old Whaling Church: This stately landmark, built by whaling captains in 1843, is considered to be one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in New England. The austere interior features pure white painted walls and woodwork, soaring ceiling and symmetrical fenestration with beautiful brass chandeliers, wooden pews and simple sacristy. It serves as an ideal location for wedding ceremonies, performances and meetings. EDGARTOWN
Chappy Ferry: It is the oldest business on the waters of Martha’s Vineyard, and quite probably the third or fourth oldest on the Vineyard itself.
For 37 years, Chappaquiddick ferry was owned and skippered by a blind man. It has been struck by a seaplane, splintered by a hurricane, and burned by a mid-channel fire. The ferry served as the setting for a pivotal scene in Jaws (as well as a principal camera boat) and played a role in a tragic car accident that changed not only the undiscovered island of Chappaquiddick forever, but possibly American history too. EDGARTOWN
Gingerbread Cottages, Oak Bluffs: Small in scale and closely packed, these 300+ Gingerbread cottages in the area of Oak Bluffs known as the Campground where Methodist camp meetings were once held and which started as tents on wooden platforms in the late 19th century, grew more elaborate over time. Porches, balconies, elaborate door and window frames became common, as did complex wooden scrollwork affixed to the roof edges as decorative trim. The unique architectural style of the cottages was often accented by the owner’s use of bright, multi-hue paint schemes, and gave the summer cottages a quaint, almost storybook look. Dubbed “gingerbread cottages,” they became a tourist attraction in their own right in the late nineteenth century. In 2005, the grounds and buildings in the Campground were designated a National Historic Landmark. Tours of the area are available. OAK BLUFFS
Polly Hill Arboretum: Rare trees and shrubs from around the world are set among stone walls, meadows, and fields, including Polly’s famous North Tisbury azaleas, the national stewartia collection, camellias, hollies, rhododendrons, crabapples, conifers, magnolias, and many more. The kousa dogwood allee, perennial border, monkey puzzle tree, and the Julian Hill magnolia are favorites. WEST TISBURY
Menemsha: This is a working fishing village of the Town of Chilmark with front-row seats for sunset. Menemsha exerts an inexorable pull on lifelong Islanders and weekend visitors alike, a seemingly timeless place where vintage post card imagery coexists with gritty, wet reality. The drama in Menemsha plays out in full view, and is accessible by bus. There are cheap eats of seriously fresh seafood, a little beach, public bathrooms, piles of junk lying about, and gas station coffee. Another side of Chilmark is visible over the dunes – huge multi-million-dollar houses perched above the sea. The juxtaposition makes Menemsha so necessary, so needed. Chilmark’s past and present, the Island’s past and present, together in the frame. CHILMARK
Harbor View Hotel: The epitome of elegance and grace, the harbor View presides over Edgartown Light and Chappaquiddick island from its perch on North Water Street. The Hotel is a beacon of island hospitality. The Hotel offers 114 casually sophisticated, well-appointed guest rooms and suites in three distinct areas: the historic hotel, the Governor Mayhew Building and in Cottages on the hotel grounds. EDGARTOWN
Named the “Best Island in the World” by National Geographic, Nantucket, is a heirloom chest with vast treasures of culture, history, architecture, beauty, tradition and grace. Nantucket’s ambiance hearkens a gentler bygone era, with none of the overt commercial trappings of today’s resort destinations. There are no traffic lights, neon signs or fast food restaurants. The entire island is a National Historic Landmark with more than 800 pre-Civil War era houses. It is rich with stretches of unspoiled beach, wooden sailboats and shingled cottages weathered the gray of a widow’s hair. Nantucket is a repository of four centuries of arts, culture, architecture and lore. It is ringed with magnificent crescents of beach, filled with large tracts of conservation land, crystalline lakes and ponds, heaths, moors and two working cranberry bogs. Decidedly affluent lodging, more than 50 restaurants, from clam shacks to acclaimed fine dining establishments, magnificent architecture and a truly palpable history juxtapose with modern conveniences to make the island one of the most desirable.
Steamship Authority: The Steamship Authority is the largest ferry service to Nantucket from Cape Cod. The SSA offers the lowest fares and the most frequent daily departures for passengers, automobiles, groups and trucks. HYANNIS
Hy Line Cruises (from Hyannis): operates seasonal, high-speed ferry service to Nantucket aboard Grey Lady and seasonal, traditional service aboard Great Point. HYANNIS
Nantucket Whaling Museum: The Museum is housed in a former candle factory built immediately following Nantucket’s Great Fire in 1846 and close to the end of the island’s whaling era. In 1929, it was purchased and converted into the Nantucket Historical Association’s Whaling Museum, and remained as such for more than seventy years. Restored in 2005, the Museum features a restored 1847 candle factory, fully accessible rooftop observation deck overlooking Nantucket harbor and the sperm whale skeleton. Visitors will see the 1849 Fresnel Lens used in Sankaty Head Lighthouse, a restored 1881 tower clock, decorative arts, scrimshaw, Lightship baskets, paintings, samplers, portraits of sea faring men and women, items of Nantucket history and pre-history. In all, it is a mesmerizing collection of artifacts and art. The docents’ presentations and films set the stage for touring this magnificent Museum.
Nantucket Historical Association also offers many other historic sites throughout the island.
Maria Mitchell Association: The Association operates an aquarium, natural science museum, two astronomical observatories and a historic house. At the Aquarium, locally-collected specimens are on exhibit and displays are ever-changing. There is a touch tank, home to crabs, clams, baby horseshoe crabs, and more! Natural Science Museum is a hybrid between a classic natural history museum, a zoo, and a science center. It is a great place to learn about plants, animals, and birds of Nantucket. Loines Observatory: See distant planets, stars, galaxies and more through a telescope! Stargazing nights with expert astronomers are a unique way to spend an evening enjoying Nantucket’s clear and dark skies. Historic Mitchell House: Built in 1790, this typical Quaker house was acquired by the Mitchell family in 1818. The home became a museum in 1903 when the Maria Mitchell Association’s founders acquired the house to preserve the legacy of Maria Mitchell herself.
Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge: Comprising a pair of long, finger-like peninsulas—a blend of sandy beach, rolling dunes, and forest uplands both rugged and serene — the Refuge is a popular summer vacation destination and a fragile, wild and semi-remote coast-scape. Most easily accessible by boat or over sand vehicle, it draws trampers and naturalists eager to observe shorebirds, raptors and Great Point Light.
Gail’s Tours: Experience Nantucket with a seventh generation native! Gail Nickerson Johnson provides the best in-depth tour of Nantucket, the place where she was born and grew up! The tour takes in all of the highlights and Gail happily stops for pictures, too! Pick-up at your hotel or meet outside the Nantucket Information Bureau daily at 10am, 1pm and 3pm.
Siasconset: Also called ‘Sconset, this extremely nostalgic and charming village at Nantucket’s eastern end was settled as a fishing village in the 17th century. One of the older fishing shacks named Auld Lang Syne has a section believed built in the 1670s on a different foundation and moved. Other cottages dates from the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of the houses had additions, or “warts” added, contributing to the distinctive appearance of these lovely cottages. It is accessible by seasonal shuttle or a six-mile ride from town on bike paths. It has a beautiful wide beach, several shops and restaurants and is a joy to stroll through.
Oran Mor: In the heart of downtown Nantucket, this stylish and welcoming restaurant features an intimate bar and three dining rooms with attractive earth-toned decor that are a warm prelude to delicious, beautifully prepared food. he cooking style is one of inspired simplicity; each ingredient complements one another to create a unique, savory dish. The evolving and innovative menu is derived from the changing seasons and their bountiful offerings. Showcasing native seafood, fresh local produce and naturally raised meats from select farms.
Cisco Brewers: This winery, brewery and distillery opened in the early 1980’s and now produce a wide variety of world-class wines, beers, and spirits. They also have tastings, music and a great place to drive or cycle to (they even have a seasonal shuttle). The experience visitors have at Cisco depends on the day. For those who want to learn about the brewery, go weekdays arrange a tour and appreciate some of their craft beers. On summer weekends the place will be a lively patio party by 2pm and get more crowded every hour.
The Nantucket Hotel: Named a top hotel and a recipient of tripadvisor.com’s Travelers Choice Awards, the Hotel is a bastion of bygone grace and elegance. The family-owned historic and year-round hotel was built in 1891 and completely renovated in 2012. With a classic Nantucket facade, the interior is everything you would expect from a new hotel meeting the needs of today’s travelers- along with resort services.