Driving Up The Cape


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North America » United States » Massachusetts » Cape Cod
October 11th 2009
Published: October 25th 2009
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This morning we left Boston and headed off to Cape Cod. First stop this morning was the coastal town of Plymouth which is where the Pilgrims landed back in 1620. Once we secured parking for our car, we got out to do a little exploration of the area. Our first goal was to locate the Plymouth Rock, an important symbol in American History. The location of the rock was quite obvious from the moment we arrived. Along the shore, there was this structure that looked like a miniature version of the Lincoln Memorial. We all immediately knew that this is where the rock had to be. Carved into the rock was the date 1620, the year of the Pilgrims' arrival. It was much smaller than I had envisioned it to be and I could tell from looking at the other visitors that they too were just as unimpressed. This original location of the rock was about 650 feet away but it was moved into this protective structure back in 1920. As kids growing up, we hear so much every Thanksgiving about the Pilgrims, the Mayflower, and Plymouth Rock. It was great to finally see some of this stuff that we keep
Plymouth RockPlymouth RockPlymouth Rock

The rock where the Pilgrims landed back in 1620
hearing about as school children. After checking out the rock, we made our way over to the Mayflower. Actually, this isn't the original Mayflower. It is officially called the Mayflower 2 and is an exact replica of the Mayflower ship that the Pilgrims sailed on. We paid our entrance fee of $10 and walked through a quick exhibit on the history of the Pilgrims before getting on the ship. Almost immediately, I was struck by how small the ship actually is. It's hard to imagine all those people sailing across the Atlantic in such tight quarters. Aboard the ship were a few people playing the roles of Pilgrims on the ship. They were interesting to listen to as they told stories in their faux British accents. There was no organization to touring the ship, not even a sign or two to explain what things are. You just walked around and tried to envision what it must have been like to be crossing the ocean in such a cramped vessel. Once disembarking the ship, there was a cheesy immigration re-enactment. You had to fill out fake immigration form while an immigration officer representing the Wampanoag tribe determined if you were eligible
The Mayflower 2The Mayflower 2The Mayflower 2

An exact replica of the Mayflower ship
to set foot on Indian land. Of course, I was granted entry but Kevin was declined.

From Plymouth, we continued on our journey into Cape Cod. Crossing the Sagamore Bridge, we encountered some major traffic. I thought that we were starting to hit the Columbus Day weekend traffic jam. Thankfully, it was just a temporary slowdown as the traffic crossing the bridge was being squeezed into one lane due to construction. While driving up the cape, one of the first things you notice is the inability to see large stretches of the landscape. Driving in California, the rugged terrain and relatively low numbers of trees allowed you to see large distances. Here, the landscape was flat and covered with trees which didn't allow you to see for large stretches into the distance. When we finally pulled into the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitors Center in Eastham, we pulled over in order to get some information. Since it was already 2pm, I wanted to ask the rangers what recommendations they have as far as things to see before it gets dark. They had given us some great information to some good beaches and lighthouses that we should visit. Just up the road from the Visitor's Center, was Nauset Light Beach. It was a nice sunny day but still with a slight chill in the air. Not the best weather for a beach trip. I decided that I would test out the waters by pulling my jeans up to my knees and dipping my feet in. This was my first taste of the Atlantic Ocean not counting my visit to the Caribbean. The beach itself and the water reminded me of any beach that we have back in California so I wasn't overly impressed. Just like in California, the water was cold and there were even a few wet-suited surfers attempting to ride what little waves were crashing. After enjoying the beach, we walked over to the Nauset Lighthouse. This half white, half red lighthouse was approximately 4 stories tall and is the most visited lighthouse on Cape Cod. The lighthouses are one of Cape Cod's major attractions. This lighthouse and others we would see in Cape Cod were all quite charming but somewhat disappointing. They were all rather short compared to how I had imagined them to be. Back in the mid 1990's, the Nauset Lighthouse was moved inland to
The Mayflower 2The Mayflower 2The Mayflower 2

The living quarters inside the ship
protect it from coastal erosion. There was a line to enter the lighthouse so due to our limited time, we skipped that and walked over to the Three Sisters Lighthouses. This is a group of 3 very short white lighthouses which are no longer in use. Like the Nauset Lighthouse, these 3 were all moved from their original location. Continuing our drive up the cape, we made a stop at the Marconi Station site in the town of Wellfleet. There wasn't really much to see here but it was recommended by the ranger at the Visitor's Center. The area's claim to fame is being the site of the first transatlantic wireless station. Today only a small shelter containing a model of the original station remains. Set high up on a bluff, the view here of the Atlantic Ocean is incredible. We continued our drive through the town of Truro where we stopped at Cape Cod's tallest lighthouse, the Highland Lighthouse. From there we continued on to Herring Cove Beach on the western edge of Cape Cod. The beach here was absolutely beautiful with sand dunes but the beach itself was quite rocky. I can easily see why this is one
The Mayflower 2The Mayflower 2The Mayflower 2

The captains' quarters inside the ship
of the more popular beaches in the area. We walked around the beach and enjoyed the quiet and serenity. We got back in the car and drove through Provincetown, a town well known in the area as being a very gay tolerant place. Almost immediately you notice the large numbers of art galleries and rainbow flags. We finally pulled into our accommodations for the night, the Seagull Motel in North Truro. Stepping onto the property, it felt as if we had just stepped back into the 1970's. Once we got our room that feeling was even more amplified. The room was very cold and the comforters, the furniture, and the carpeting all appeared as if they have seen better days. The avocado green bathtub was straight out of the disco era. We took everything in stride and went around the room making fun of everything. The only plus for the motel was it's location. It was set right on the shoreline with the water's edge just a few minutes walk from our room. Before heading out to dinner in town, we relaxed out on the patio and at the water's edge and enjoyed the sunset over Provincetown. For dinner we headed into Provincetown in order to dine at the Lobster Pot, a well known local seafood restaurant. While walking down Commercial Street, there were a large number of lesbian couples walking hand in hand. I knew that Provincetown had a large gay community and attracted a large number of gay visitors but it was rather strange to see an absence of gay male couples. After putting our names on the waiting list at the Lobster Pot, we went back out to explore more of Commercial Street. The weather tonight was freezing and it made walking around unbearable at times. We came across this bar with a huge sign hanging outside that said "Welcome Women to Women's Week". This explains the huge number of lesbians out tonight. Commercial street was an eclectic mix of small bars, souvenir shops, adult stores, and art galleries. It would have been a great place to wander during a warm summer day. With the cold temperatures starting to get the best of us, we headed back to Lobster Pot to wait for our table. Once seated we ordered a few local brews and for dinner I had the Seafood Fettuccine which turned out to be absolutely
Cape Cod National SeashoreCape Cod National SeashoreCape Cod National Seashore

Nauset Beach in Eastham
delicious. Any other day, we might have stayed out a little longer to check out the nightlife scene here but it was so cold that we just wanted to go somewhere warm. We chose to go back to the motel and relax the rest of the night.


Additional photos below
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The Beach at NausetThe Beach at Nauset
The Beach at Nauset

Testing the waters
Cape Cod National SeashoreCape Cod National Seashore
Cape Cod National Seashore

Kevin and Shea at Nauset Lighthouse
One of The Three Sisters LighthousesOne of The Three Sisters Lighthouses
One of The Three Sisters Lighthouses

Kevin taking a peek inside
Cape Code BeachCape Code Beach
Cape Code Beach

Near the Marconi Station Site in Wellfleet
The Atlantic OceanThe Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean

Near the Marconi Station Site in Wellfleet
Highland Light HouseHighland Light House
Highland Light House

In the town of Truro
Herring Cove BeachHerring Cove Beach
Herring Cove Beach

Near the tip of Cape Cod
Near The Tip of The CapeNear The Tip of The Cape
Near The Tip of The Cape

Kevin and I at Herring Cove Beach
Catch Of The DayCatch Of The Day
Catch Of The Day

Kevin finds a Horseshoe Crab
Lobster PotLobster Pot
Lobster Pot

Great place for dinner in Provincetown
Provincetown at NightProvincetown at Night
Provincetown at Night

Commercial Street in Provincetown. It was Women's Weekend, lesbians were everywhere!!
Spank The MonkeySpank The Monkey
Spank The Monkey

One of the unique shops on Commercial Street


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