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Day 55 (10.26.07) - Cape Cod (Photo's Added)

We drove all the way to the end of Cape Cod and back today

sunny 55 °F

Summary: Drove to the end of Cape Cod, Provincetown. Visited Beaches on both sides (Atlantic & Cape Cod) Marconi site, National Seashore Visitors Center, and Pilgrims Monument and Museum in Provincetown.

Logistics: Miles Driven: 99 (In a circle from the RV campground, to Provincetown, then back to same campground)
Camped at Old Chatham Road RV Campground, South Dennis, MA

Details: Since the RV campground we stayed at was out on Cape Cod and we had a reservation for two nights, we decided to go ahead and spend the day on Cape Cod. We left a little late so we could take care of a few chores, then started driving East. At first, my plan was to drive out all the way to the end (Provincetown), then stop and sight see on the way back. Of course, it didn't quite work out that way - seems we can't pass up an attractive place to stop!

The first place we stopped was in Eastham. Mom saw a windmill that was also listed in the tourist guide. It was built about 1680 in Plymouth by Thomas Paine and is the oldest windmill on Cape Cod. It was moved three times, the last time to it's current location in Eastham in 1808.


From the windmill, Mom noticed a Beach listed as "First Encounter Beach". We drove on down to see what it was all about. There were no signs explaining it's history, but we learned later it was the location where the Pilgrims first encountered the Native Peoples on Cape Cod. Lovely beach, but on the Cape Code side, there was almost no wave action. Across from the beach were salt marshes. We saw at least a couple of birds, the first two pictures are of a Blue Heron.


We also saw another large bird, but weren't sure what it was. If you can identify it, I'd appreciate it if you post a comment as we could use some help identifying it (this was the best of several shots I tried - I'm sorry I don't have a better view of the head).


This is my favorite shot of the salt marshes we passed.


After the salt marshes, Mom saw another beach she really wanted to visit because it was named for one of her ancesters, the Kingston Beach. We drove down to it, but it was mostly private property. The road ended at the beach, but there was no parking allowed anywhere in the area. I left the RV running, but had Mom get out so I could take a picture of her at 'her' beach:


After this, she finally agreed to let me go back to the main highway, however we hadn't driven very far when we saw signs to a "Marconi Station Site" and of course I also wanted to turn off here. I'd heard about Marconi, but hadn't paid much attention to where he did his work. It turns out his biggest success was right here on Cape Cod! In 1901, he started building a giant, 4 tower Antenna system with the dream of actually sending a telegraph signal across the Atlantic Ocean. On January 19, 1903 he succeeded in sending a 48 word telegram to England from right here! Much of the original site has been eroded by the ocean, but the National Park Service has a nice interpretive center set up showing what the site looked like in 1903 and about what Marconi did.


From here, it was a very short drive down to the Marconi Beach. This is on the Atlantic Ocean on the outside edge of Cape Cod, and it was quite windy today, so we finally saw some waves, maybe 3 - 6 feet high. From the beach, we could also see the sand dunes much more clearly and also some hang gliders that were taking advantage of the wind.


We both really enjoyed Marconi Beach, but finally started heading back north again and eventually made it to the visitors center for Cape Cod National Seashore. They had some nice area's to view the sand dunes (much of the peninsula is basically sand dune). We also learned that Cape Cod was basically built from Glacial deposits and is eroding. It is not solid rock as other parts of Massachusetts are.


We also learned that there have been a lot of shipwrecks on Cape Cod, especially in the 1800's. This isn't a very good shot (the sign was worn out and scratched long before I got to it), but when you realize that each number outside the solid line represents a shipwreck - it's pretty scary.


We also saw more birds of course (bird watching is a big tourist activity on Cape Cod, as is bicycling and whale watching). I promised not to upload any more pictures of sea gulls, but really liked this one, so...


We could also see an interesting tower off in the distance in Provincetown. It turns out that before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, they landed in Provincetown at the end of Cape Cod! They spent about two months exploring the Cape Cod area before deciding to settle in Plymouth. I didn't know any of that of course - another history lesson forgotten? Anyway, to commerate their first landing, the citizens of Provincetown erected a tall, granite monument in 1910. At 253 feet (77 meters), it is the tallest, all granite structure in the United States. While it is taller than the Bunker Hill Monument, it has fewer steps and is easier to climb, since it is wider and uses ramps between the 116 steps (which I also climbed). If you look carefully at the third picture, you can just see the "Long Point Lighthouse" and more Cape Cod shoreline in the distance. (Again, smaller photo's are just 'thumbnails', you can click on them to see a larger version).


From the top, there are some pretty fantastic views of Cape Cod, but it was getting dark and the monument & museum were closing, so I just took a few shots. This one shows part of Provincetown and it's harbor (the tide was very low).


Mom was quite hungry so we stopped for dinner at a very nice little pizza and seafood joint at the 'west end'. It was dark by then, so we drove straight through back to the RV campground, stopping only for gas. So we missed all the great lighthouses and 1,000 other interesting things there are to see on Cape Cod - just like the rest of our trip, just too many great things to see and do in one lifetime.

Posted by jl98584 21:36 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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