America through the Windshield--Getting to Know the First Americans travel blog

Our campground on Cape Cod was literally across from the Atlantic Ocean. After twisting and turning through “twisty and curvy” narrow trails, we arrived at our site. How sweet to “arrive home!”. This was a great place to be. It was easy to get everywhere on Cape Cod. Lots of rentals; lots of vacation properties; lots of senior citizens (schools are in session!). We are just beginning to realize that we are now members of the SENIOR CITIZENS who enjoy the vacation sites when all the crowds are at work and school. Do we really look as old as the other senior citizens?

Our adventures are many in each area, Cape Cod was no exception. I will share the highlights for us; the trip to Provincetown at the northern most tip was an exceptional day. We love driving the less direct routes when they exist; however, in order to get to Provincetown we had to get on the only highway there as the Cape narrowed. Such beautiful country. Provincetown was amazing; the atmosphere was very much like New Orleans. The main streets were full of pedestrians, pets and traffic. Lots of local shops and restaurants. Of course, we had lobster rolls—so yummy!! We walked around to get a feel for the place and spent time at the harbor, a very busy place with artistic shanties right on the piers and of course ferries (arriving and departing) plus sightseeing tour boats.

After leaving Provincetown we began our search for a beach bike trail. We were delighted when we found the Salt Pond Visitors Center (part of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park). The bike trail was paved and went from the center parking lot to the Coast Guard Center on the beach. What a fun ride; we were up and down the scrub tree covered sand dunes. It was a beautiful ride and we were somewhat protected from the sun. The final leg was crossing a salt marsh over a long pedestrian bridge. And, then there we were crossing the drive adjacent to a grass covered dune and the beach of the Atlantic Ocean. The Atlantic Ocean is so majestic with crashing waves and at this site, a nice sandy beach reached by a couple of board walks directly to the white sands and noisy waves. Thank goodness for bikes with “electric assist”!

I haven’t mentioned it; but, when the surroundings allow we have used our “fold up” bikes. They are just wonderful. They break into tri folds so they are compact and both fit into our little Suzuki. Biking is good for both of us (especially for my knees) and a good way to enjoy the local environment. We bike in those areas that are not busy or we locate “Rails to Trails” or “Green Belts”. We are even getting into a wee bit of mountain biking. It’s not too hard; however, having bikes with electric power definitely enhances our ability to maneuver those steep areas with a lot less effort.

The first museum we visited was the Kennedy Museum at Hyannis Port; it was a very different museum because it did not focus on JFKs Presidency. Instead, the focus was on his life at Hyannis. The photos and videos focused on family photos of times there; lots of brothers, sisters, parents, friends, Jackie, John-John, Caroline, political figures, etc. We learned that he had coauthored the legislation for the development and funding for Cape Cod becoming a National Park. Then, as President he had signed the legislation that officially designated the area as a national park. 2011 is the 50th anniversary of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park.

We spent one day in Mashpee, a more southerly area of the Cape. It was the area of the Cape that was set aside for the Mashpee Indians who inhabited the Cape. They were in the area when the Europeans first arrived. The area was designated as their land (so early in American history, that it was not considered a reservation); as a matter of fact, they have only recently received national recognition as an Indian Tribe. We were so fortunate when we went to the very tiny Mashpee Indian Museum. A young Mashpee Indian mother (and daughter and granddaughter of former Mashpee chiefs) gave us a personal tour of the small home. It was the home of the last Mashpee Indian woman who was fluent in the tribe’s language. The tribe is now attempting to seek designated ownership for the few remaining acres that have not been developed by the locals, even though the majority of the Mashpee area is now owned by individuals who are not members of the Mashpee Tribe.

We made several other discoveries in the area; the scenic highway that we used getting there has a section known as the Sea Captain’s Mile. The little towns and Victorian homes were magnificent. The gardens were beautiful and some of the homes’ views must have been majestic, especially when the area was not so densely populated. The next discovery was a local chain restaurant (sorry, I cannot remember the name) where I ordered my first-ever fried clam strips. WOW—they were scrump-dilli-licious!! I am a fried oyster lover—so the tiny strips were just perfect with lots of crust. Our final discovery on this day was ICE CREAM! We were searching for a local site (we had no leads, just knew that we wanted to find a local vendor). We hit the jackpot when we found a cute pink ice cream shop, The Polar Bear Ice Cream Shop. Not only were we able to get small batch locally made ice cream; we were provided with a freshly baked waffle cone. Baked especially for us, each customer. MY GOODNESS! How will we ever find ice cream that is equivalent to this.

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