Cape Cod Tour




During the government shutdown, we took an October trip up to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. 


October 4, 2013, Friday

From Westchester County, NY we took I-95 all the way to Providence, Rhode Island.  Then we picked up I-195 and headed passed Fall River and New Bedford to the intersection of I-195 and I-495 in Wareham.  We turned right onto Route 25 heading east to the Bourne Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal.  Route 25 goes straight into Route 6 and this route goes over the Bourne Bridge and onto Cape Cod.  Route 6 is the main highway and goes all the way to Provincetown at the northern tip of Cape Cod. 

Once over the bridge, we see an I.H.O.P. restaurant (International House of Pancakes), and turned left heading on Route 6 to get onto Route 6A which parallels the coast of Cape Cod Bay (but not in view of the Bay itself).  Cape Cod is shaped like a human being's flexed right arm bicep.  The bicep muscle area is the lower part of Cape Cod.  The upraised right forearm is the upper area of Cape Cod.  And the fist of the right hand is the northern tip of of the Cape.  Near the bottom of the fist is the very interesting city of Provincetown. 

There is a "rotary" (which we call a traffic circle) at the light at the end of the ramp way down and up to the Bourne Bridge.

Heading north on Sandwich Road to pick up Route 6A, we made two stops along the way to take some photos of the Cape Cod Canal.  This was early morning Friday and the traffic was very heavy.  Just to turn left to cross the left lane we had to wait for awhile and we got honked at by the impatient motorists.  As lower New York State motorists, you think we would be used to this, but it did irk me a bit. 

The canal is about two football fields wide.  It connects Buzzard Bay on the west and heads northeast to Cape Cod Bay.  It was constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers.  There are bike/walking trails on both sides of the canal.  Looking across the water, we saw a lengthy RV (recreational vehicle) Park.  Near the road pull-off there are railroad tracks. 

The place reminded us a bit of Long Island, New York which also is very populated and has lots of traffic problems.

We continue on Route 6 to a pull-off a little south of the Sagamore Bridge across from Jillian Drive.  We cross over the railway tracks and then on the other side we heading down a rather steep slope to get down to the asphalted bike trail.  Across the canal we see three large houses on top of the hill there.  We took picture of walkers and bike riders using the trail on the other side of the canal.  Then we turned our attentions to photographing Sagamore Bridge. 

We pass by the Mid-Cape Connector to Route 6 head east.  Next we drive under Sagamore Bridge.  The road becomes Route 6A.  Heading east we turn right onto Main Street (Route 130) of the town of Sandwich.  It's a little before reaching Tupper Road on the left side of Route 6A.   We turn left off Route 130 to stay on Main Street, Sandwich.  We pass by the Sandwich Town Hall Annex and then the First Parish Church.  We turn right onto the road next to the First Parish Church in Sandwich, which is now a private residence. 

We walk on Main Street to get photos of the First Parish Church and the Town Hall Annex.  Across Main Street is the Sandwich Public Library.  On its yard is a war memorial. 

We walk down Main Street and at the corner of Main Street and Water Street we take photos of the First Church of Christ --  a very pretty white church with a towering white steeple.  We continue down Water Street and see a large pond, Shawme Duck Pond.  On the other side of the pond is the old Newcomb Tavern.  There is a huge display of purplish aster flowers with some very busy bumble bees in attendance.  Here is the site of the Dexter's Grist Mill.  It is a small mill complete with a small water wheel.  This is especially so when compared with the big Town Hall next to the grist mill.  The mill was built around 1640.  Between the gristmill and Townhall is the Artesian fountain. 

The Town Hall is located next to Town Hall Square.  Here is a monument to a particular Union soldier and other soldiers. 

At the intersection of Main Street and Tupper Road is the Sandwich Glass Museum. 

Got into the car and drove down Water Street to near its intersection with School Street.  Here is the Hoxie House Museum.  It's on a big piece of land and it's back yard is next to Shawme Duck Pond.  The name of the House comes from Abraham Hoxie, who bought the place in 1860.  On the side of the house is a wooden plaque mentioning the Reverend John Smith who lived in the house in 1675 and who was the minister at the First Parish Church.  Also on the grounds is a plaque to the Sandwich Academy. 

We got back on Route 6A heading east toward Sandy Neck Beach.  Nearing the borderline with the town of Barnstable, we turn left onto Sandy Neck Road drive straight down to the the beach, which is in West Barnstable in the town of Barnstable.  There is a big rock with the name Benjamin Bodfish Memorial Park inscribed on it.  The prettiest part of the beach for us was the areas behind of the beach - the sand dunes.  Great intermixture of different colors, especially the area of light green and dark green.  Wrinkled Rose (Rosa rugosa) flowers were in bloom.  The beach is six miles long.  It was once the site of a Native American summer encampment.  The beach itself is very rock in places, but it's not like Sherwood Island Beach, Connecticut, where it hurts to walk barefoot on the rocky surface.  A couple of dogs were with their masters having a fun time.  The Irish setter really seemed to enjoy the running around on the beach.  His masters used their car to give the dog exercise.  They drove around the parking lots and the dog ran alongside the car barking at it.  When the dog seemed to tire, they let him jump back into the car and away they went. 

Back on the road we went past the quaint Sturgis Library in Barnstable.  It's said to be the country's oldest public library.  William Sturgis was born in the original building.  He eventually became a ship's captain.  We continued down Route 6A and turned down a road called Millway.  At the end of the road is Millway Beach.  There's a small parking area there.  The beach is very small and narrow, but the water is relatively clear and bottom is sandy.  From the little beach one can look across to see Sandy Neck Beach. 

We went back down the Millway road and at the intersection with Route 6A went directly through the intersection and onto Hyannis Road/Hyannis-Barnstable Road/Phinneys Lane. 

We drove under Route 6 on our way south to the Cape Cod Potato Chip factory. Drove past Attucks Lane and then turned left onto Iyannough Road (Route 132) heading southeast.  After awhile, we turned left onto Independence Drive.  Then it's a short drive up to Breeds Hill Road.  Follow the road around the factory on the left and turn left into the back parking lot which is very wide.  Then follow the signs that take the visitor around to the front of the factory. 

Our son is a big fan of Cape Cod Potato Chips and we went there largely to buy some clothes with the company label on them.  On this day the factory was not producing the potato chips.  So we looked through the large glass windows, but it's just not the same when you can't see the production process in action.  So we bought Carl a sweatshirt and a T-shirt with the logo of the company on them. 

We took Route 132 northwest to go under Route 6.  Just past the intersection we turned left into a small shopping area.  I had a Burger King sandwich and Rosemary got us a much-needed detailed street map of Cape Cod. 

We then drove southeast down Route 132 toward the road to Hyannis.  At a large rotary we got onto Barnstable Road.  We past North Street and then turned right onto Main Street, Hyannis.  We drove about half a block and saw the JFK Museum on the left.  It's easy to spot.  We parked on Main Street (although you can park in a parking area behind the museum).  There is a statue of JFK right in front of the museum.  He's walking bare-foot through a sandy path through a patch of real grass.

We visited the museum.  It was raining anyway.  As senior citizens it only cost us $8 dollars total to get into the museum.  The museum was very good.  My wife and I were in high school when JFK was killed.  I was in Spanish class and the news was broadcast to us over the loud speaker in the classroom.  At first I thought this was really strange.  Why is someone broadcasting the radio to us?  Little by little we started to realize that John Fitzgerald Kennedy had been shot in Dallas, Texas.  That was quite a shock to everyone.  Later we got another shock when they broadcast that JFK had died.  The students were very quiet and somber after this. 

The museum brought back a lot of memories about the Kennedys to me and I fully realized just how much time in my youth was spent thinking about the Kennedy families.  And the American people suffered along with the many Kennedy tragedies: the death of John, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., followed by the assassination of Bobby who was running for the presidential nominee of the Democratic party.  And then came the tragedy of Chappaquiddick that hurt Teddy's reputation.   And then John John, son of JFK, crashed his airplane into the ocean. 

Especially fun was looking at the large photos of the Kennedy sons and daughters as children and at what became the Kennedy Compound.  Boy, they had a large family.  Joe Kennedy was the first child born, but he died in WWII.  The nine children were: Joseph Patrick, John, Rosemary, Kathleen, Eunice, Patricia, Robert, Jean and Edward.  There are so many photos that you get a refresher history of the Kennedy family.  Glad I went to see the museum. 

The next stop was where the Rose Kennedy clan went to church on the street behind the JFK Museum, South Street.  The church is Saint Francis Xavier.  The church doors were closed, so we couldn't go in.  Maria Shriver and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger were married here, April 26, 1986.

We drove down South Street and made a left on one of the many side streets to get to Route 28.  Turned right and in a short drive we made it to our motel in West Yarmouth.  We were scheduled to stay at the American Host Motel, but the whole place was being renovated.  They sent us next door to stay at the Econo Lodge.  We drove east on Route 28 to have dinner at the Acapulco Mexican-American Restaurant.

Cape Cod Canal and Sagamore Bridge

Sandwich on Cape Cod

Benjamin Bodfish Park & Millway Beach

Hyannis and Nearby

October 5, 2013, Saturday. 

We got up and left around 8 in the morning.  We ate quickly at McDonald's and then got on Route 6 headed for Provincetown.  From West Yarmouth, most of the way Route 6 was a two lane highway.  The traffic was heavy, but not overly so and we didn't really have any major delays.  Both sides of the road are isolated from the rest of Cape Cod by mostly pine trees, intermixed with different deciduous trees. 

I think the journey was only about 35 miles to Provincetown.  As we approached Provincetown, the scenery opened up for us and we could see the environment around us.  We stopped by a large body of water called East Harbor.  Between East Harbor waters and the water of Cape Cod Bay there is only a sliver of land available on the west and it is mostly covered with small houses.  Route 6A (Shore Road) is on the left (west) side paralleling Route 6.  Rosemary took photographs of the sand dunes and vegetation around the lake. 

We reach an intersection on Route 6 with on the left Conwell Street and on the right Race Point Road.  We turn left to go down to Bradford Street, Provincetown.  We turn right onto Bradford Street.  In a short distance we turn right for the parking lot for the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum.  The parking price was $10 dollars for all day (except no over-night parking) and one entrance into the museum.   (You have to pay two admission prices, one for the monument and one for the museum.)  We parked our car and took some pictures of the lot and the entrance to the Monument and Museum.  We heard cheering noises coming up from the back and figured some teams must be playing some kind of a game involving a ball.  

The museum has a very nice gift shop.  For many years we have tried to buy some decorations for Thanksgiving, but most of them were very poor quality carvings.  The museum has some nice figurines of both Pilgrims and Native Americans.  They also have many other nice items, too, including history books dealing with the history of Pilgrims and the Provincetown. 

Surrounded by water, the ocean and the bay played very important roles in the history of the city.  The museum has a large room devoted to the boats and ships of Provincetown.  There are lots of ship models, maps and paintings of ships and water.  The next room dealt with life of a ship captain's life at home and at sea.  There are decorated rooms typical of life at home and aboard ship.

The next room has lots of material on the landing of the Pilgrims at Provincetown.  There is a good discussion of the Provincetown artists who became the Provincetown Players, writers, directors, etc.  Among them was the 1936 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, playwright Eugene O'Neill.  He came to Provincetown in 1915 and 1916, but came back to the Cape for many summer stays. 

Provincetown was the first place the Pilgrims landed, not Plymouth Rock.  It was five weeks later that the Pilgrims moved over to the main land of what became Plymouth, Massachusetts.  The Pilgrim Monument is a very tall tower with lots of steps.  It's actually steps plus inclines, making it easier to climb.  If you are young, it won't be a big deal, but most of the people came up a bit exhausted.  Take your time, rest for a bit on the trip, be patient and you will get there in one piece. 

Great views of Provincetown and the surrounding area from the twelve windows up in the tower.  We took quite a few pictures to make sure we got enough good photos of the area.  From the eastern facing windows, you can see MacMillan Pier and Fishermen's Wharf.  Very close to the tower is the Town Hall on Commerce Street  --  the main shopping street in Provincetown.  The former church to the left of Town Hall is now the town library.  There is a church to the right of the Town Hall which is the Unitarian Universalist Church on Commerce Street. 

Looking north you can see Route 6 and the huge cemetery for the city. 

Looking northwest out the windows, the area of Race Point Beach can be seen and a lighthouse.

Looking south one can see the northern tip of Cape Cod known as Long Point.  There is a light house here too.   

We come down from the tower and walk around the south of the building to get back to Bradford Street.  We walk the short distance to a corner of the Town Hall.  We take photos of the bas-relief highlight the Pilgrims in Provincetown.  The sculptor was Cyrus Dalin.  The relief honors the signing of the Mayflower Compact. William Bradford signed the document.  

We walk down Ryder Street along the side of town hall to get to Commerce Street.  Rosemary goes to the front of the Town Hall to takes photos of the front.  There's a fellow there singing to the crowd accompanied by his guitar.  Rosemary sees the word "FUDGE" and gets excited.  The two stores were the Shell Shop and on the opposite side of the other fudge shop is the Penny Patch. 

We continue down Ryder Street to see Fishermen's Wharf.  There is not that much to see on this Wharf. 

So we walked over to the MacMillan Wharf where things are much more active.  There are many booths on the wharf.  From some of the booths are sold whale-watching tour tickets to eager customers.  Some artisans work from small booths.  We walk past Cafe Maria and the Kite Store.  Rosemary bought a turtle for her mother, who collects turtle figurines.  Walking past the booths we come to the Harbor Master's place.  Tied up along the wharf are tour boats.  The Whydah Pirate Museum is also here on the wharf.  The ship the Whydah was used as a pirate ship.  It is the only pirate ship ever salvaged.  It sunk off Wellfleet, Cape Cod in 1717.  It was brought up in 1984. 

Toward the end of the wharf are some bigger tour ships. 

Leaving the MacMillan Wharf, we walk up to a median strip on Standish Street where there are lots of places to sit.  This is known as Manuel Lopes Square. A lot of people are sitting there and many of them have dogs with them.  This area is very busy with people.  From the pier on the right side of the street is the Red Shack and the Coffee pot.  And just around the corner is the Lobster Pot Restaurant on Commerce Street. 

We walk southwest on Commerce Street.  Here we find the Unitarian Universalist Church.  Across the street is the Whaler's Wharf.  You can walk by all the shops on either side of the aisle and end up outside on the beach.  We ate some of our fudge on one of the two picnic tables there. 

Rosemary and I enjoyed the people watching in Provincetown.  I felt safer knowing there were lots of homosexual couples around.  The homosexuals I have know have always been nice to me and never has any of the threatened me with violence.  I'm always for the underdog anyway.

We go back to the intersection of Conwell Street and Route 6.  We cross over the intersection and get on Race Point Road heading east to Race Point Beach.  We try to visit the visitor's center there but, because of the government shutdown, the center was closed.  The USA is going absolutely bonkers these days.   

We go down to Race Point Beach and take photos.  There are not many people out here.  We visit the Old Harbor Lifesaving Station.  That too is closed. 

Coming back down Race Point Road we veer off to the right to take Province Lands Road.  The road goes southwest down to the intersection of Routes 6 and 6A.  We travel on 6A down to Bradford Street.  We turn left and go down Bradford Street to Conwell Street and out to Rt. 6.  From here we drive back to the Econo Lodge in West Yarmouth.  We eat for a second night at the Acapulco Mexican-American Restaurant. 

The next morning we left early for home. 

Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum

Views From Pilgrim Monument - Ground Level & Top

Views Along Commerce Street and Nearby

Fishermen's Wharf and MacMillan Pier

More Views Along Commerce Street

Cape Cod National Seashore - Province Lands

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 

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