May 24-28, 2018 – Cape Cod, Massachusetts
If you ever find yourself running north through Bishop, California on US-395, just past the Upper Crust Pizza Parlor, you will see a sign for US-Route 6. That is the western terminus of one of the longest highways in the United States. The eastern end is the subject of this post: Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Far different from the desert landscape out west, this forested peninsula juts into the Atlantic Ocean, only to curl back towards the Massachusetts mainland it came from. It somewhat looks like the left arm of the Notre Dame fighting leprechaun. 🙂
Cape Cod was our next stop after our stay in Rhode Island. We allowed ourselves five days to explore the area, which was a nice amount of time to get a feel for this unique place. Our base camp was in Eastham, about halfway up the forearm, so to speak. We stayed at Atlantic Oaks RV Resort, which was conveniently located on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22-mile long asphalt path between South Dennis and Wellfleet.
As you can see by our truck, we were inundated with pollen. 🙂 That has been the downside of following the blooming dogwood trees all the way up the coast. The weather has been decent, though!
And check out that beautiful bike path. This was one of the best marked trails we had ever been on, with motion sensors at many of the road crossings to alert the drivers. When it crossed busy Route 6, it was either by dedicated bridge or tunnel. Plenty of pretty views along the way. We rode portions of this route three separate times, as the weather allowed.
Any chance for us to get out on the trikes is sure to put smiles on our faces!
The area is also home to Cape Cod National Seashore. This park covers 40 miles of Atlantic coastline, and is just above 43,000 acres in size. It was created in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. When not on the rail trail, we could be found in the park!
This is the view from the visitor center. While this looks like an inland lake, it is actually a salt water pond that is subject to the ocean tides. It is aptly named Salt Pond, and it is smack in the middle of the Cape.
With the miles of coastline comes a multitude of lighthouses. This is Nauset Light, which was fairly close to our campground.
And near that were the relocated Three Sisters lights. These were originally fixed light beacons, built long before the lenses rotated. Ships could tell where they were by the fact that there were three of them lit. When the National Park Service restored them, they only rebuilt one lantern room.
Farther up the coast is the Highland Lighthouse. This 1857 structure was moved 400 feet back from the sea in 1996. International Chimney Corporation of Buffalo was the contractor responsible for the work, three years prior to their similar accomplishment at Cape Hatteras.
We also visited the Edward Penniman House, which was the home of a very successful whaling captain.
Our guide, a former builder from New Jersey, has been giving tours of the home for over twenty years. While the home itself lacked furniture and was in need of repair, he was able to tell the story of the family that lived here. It was nice to see such a dedicated volunteer. 🙂
We also visited the Old Harbor Life Saving Museum. This structure is at the north end of Cape Cod. The plywood on the windows covers blown out windows from winter storms earlier in the year. As are many of the structures along this coast, this building was in danger of falling into the sea. It was moved here from further down the shore by barge in 1977. This museum is maintained exactly as it would have been when it was a lifesaving station, right down to the living quarters. We wanted to see this place, as we are going to be volunteering in a similar building in Michigan later this summer.
Our tour guide gave us a very detailed description of what occurred at this facility.
Room by room, David explained at length the day-to-day life at this remote outpost. The men who worked here never had a chance to become bored, as they were constantly practicing for a possible shipwreck rescue.
He inspired us for our upcoming experience, and we will using some of what he taught us in our tours. We’ll just have to be careful not to call a harbor a hah-bah. 🙂
That wraps up our enjoyable stay on Cape Cod! We had a great time exploring this special place. Next up, we make a couple of nice stops in New Hampshire and Maine as we move north towards Acadia National Park. Be sure to stay tuned for that. Until then, safe travels to all!