A hundred and fifty years ago it was much more difficult to get to Outer Cape Cod. During the 1800s, Cape Cod played host to a large number of religious revivalist meetings in the summer. In many ways this was the start of Cape Cod’s tourist economy. Originally they congregated in large outdoor tent camps. This is how some roads like Campground Rd in Eastham got named. With the camp meetings occurring year after year, summer cottages were slowly built to accommodate the congregations. The railroad ended in Sandwich until 1854 when it was extended to Hyannis. It took until 1865 for it to reach Orleans, and 1870 for it to reach Eastham and Wellfleet, and 1873 to Truro and Provincetown. This left two methods of transportation available to visitors ,they could either take stagecoaches in uncomfortable trips that could take days, or they could take packet boats from Boston and New York City. In towns without a harbor large enough to accommodate the packet boats, such as Eastham or Brewster, stagecoaches were driven out onto the sand flats at mid tide to meet small craft ferrying passengers from the larger packet. The passengers were then transferred directly from the boat to the stagecoach which took them to their summer camps. One can only imagine the luggage mishaps that must have occurred!
It is amazing the changes that a hundred years make. Look sheep! In all seriousness, on Nantucket the soils close to the ocean were too thin to support crops and was used for forage. Wool was an important resource for residents of the area, especially for fishermen because of its ability to retain heat even when wet. Behind Sankaty Lighthouse you can see some of the farm houses in the distance.
5 Cape Cod Driving Tips and Tricks
1. Start early or stay late.
It can really be that simple. Basically by being where you want to be (over the bridges, at the beach etc) by 10am, or by waiting until after 5pm it is possible to avoid the peak travel times and the worst of the traffic. So get to a beach early, bring your beach towels, ice, plenty of water, sunscreen & lunch. Find your spot, dig your toes into the sand, breath deep and relax you’re done driving till the afternoon.
2. Know your alternative routes on and off Cape Cod.
The worst traffic is on the approaches to the Sagamore bridge heading off Cape. It is possible to avoid this by using the Bourne Bridge instead which experiences less congestion. An example of this was the Sunday after the Fourth of July, the Sagamore had a reported 25 mile backup while the Bourne bridge had a 2 mile backup. While traffic usually is not quite so ferocious it can be more than worth your time to pursue some of these Alternative Routes off Cape Cod.
Outer Cape Cod to the Bourne Bridge via Route 28.
Outer Cape Cod to the Bourne Bridge via Route 6A
Chatham/Harwich to the Bourne Bridge via Route 28.
3. Avoid making left hand turns on busy roads.
Out running errands? If at all possible avoid making left hand turns crossing traffic on busy roads. Not only can these be dangerous but it can take a while as well. If possible try to plan a route that minimizes the number of left hand turns. An example of this would be if there is a store across the street from another and you have other stops to make further down the road. Go do those ones first and come back to the store across the street on your return trip. If possible try to plan the left turns that you do have make around traffic lights. This is one rule we try our best to follow for both our cleaning teams, and our linen delivery routes.
4. Know you local back roads.
Tired of the stress and grind of driving Cape Cod’s main roads? There are usually alternative back-roads offer a much more relaxed drive. Technology has only made these roads more accessible and some of them have a few hidden gems on them as well. Rules for driving these roads are simple, unless otherwise marked the speed limit is 30 mph, be courteous and mindful of joggers, walkers, bikers, pets & especially children!
5. Take care of yourself out there.
Stay hydrated! Wear polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes, and wear sunscreen to protect your skin. Yes! You can get burnt while sitting in your car and its one of those half body burns too that you’ll likely tell people you got when you “fell asleep at the beach.”
On rotary’s and roundabouts
Rules are simple. Unless otherwise marked cars inside the rotary or roundabout have the right of way, oncoming cars must yield (stop if there’s traffic inside the rotary/roundabout go if clear).
Summer is a busy time on Cape Cod and there are many events and festivals held celebrating the local culture of the area. These are some of June’s highlights on Cape Cod.
Saturday June 6th
Over 30 antique dealers participate in this outdoor antique show organized by the Orleans Historical Society. Gate admission is $6 or $5 if you mention the Orleans Historical Society website and parking is free. Take this opportunity to pursue antiques while brushing up on your local Orleans history and lore.
Rain or Shine.
Orleans Historical Society
9:00-3:30 Saturday June 6th
3 River Rd, Orleans, MA 02653
June 11th-August 11th
See the baseball’s future stars today in the relaxed and intimate settings of Cape Cod’s baseball fields. The Cape Cod Baseball League is the country’s premier amateur baseball league. Current MLB stars such as Jacoby Ellsbury, Evan Longoria & Buster Posey, along with many others, took starring turns in the league. Did you know the Cape Cod Baseball League is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year! The games are held throughout the Cape meaning there is always a field nearby regardless of where you are on Cape Cod. Extremely family friendly and admission is free.
|Brewster Whitecaps||Stony Brook Elementary
School 384 Underpass Rd., Brewster,MA 02631
|Cotuit Kettleers||Lowell Park
10 Lowell Avenue, Cotuit, MA
|Hyannis Harbor Hawks||Pope John Paul II High School
195 High School Road, Hyannis, MA 02601
|Bourne Braves||Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School
220 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA 02532
|Chatham Anglers||Veteran’s Field
750 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633
|Falmouth Commodores||Fuller Field
780 Main Street, Falmouth, MA 02540
|Harwich Mariners||Harwich High School:
105 Oak Street, Harwich MA 02645
|Orleans Firebirds||Eldredge Park:
84 Rt. 28, Orleans, MA 02653
|Wareham Gatemen||Wareham Middle School:
55 Viking Drive, Wareham, MA 02571
|Y-D Red Sox||Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School
180 Station Ave, Yarmouth MA 02664
Saturday, June 13th
One of Cape Cod’s largest and longest running car shows set in the bucolic gardens of Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. There is something about looking at classic cars in shaded grass fields that is so appealing. Check out the cars and take a tour of the museum. A great family event. Admission: Adults $18, Children $8.
Sandwich Heritage Museums & Gardens
10:00-2:00 Sunday June 15th
67 Grove St, Sandwich, MA 02563
June 18th- June 22nd
The 17th Annual Provincetown International Film is a nationally known independent film festival hosted on the Outer Cape every spring, featuring five days of domestic and international feature films, short films, and documentaries while highlighting the area’s unique history and culture. Showing locations are the Provincetown Town Hall, Waters Edge Cinema in Provincetown, The Art House in Provincetown, The Wellfleet Drive-In and Wellfleet Preservation Hall. Ticket prices vary.
June 18th thru June 22nd
Provincetown & Wellfleet
21st Annual Fathers Day
Hyannis Auto Show
7:00AM – 3:00PM
The 21st Annual Hyannis Father’s Day Car Show, is held on Main Street in downtown Hyannis on Sunday June 21st. The auto show is a very popular father’s day activity. After all, what goes better together than fathers, classic cars, good company, and a small town vibe. Around 400 cars line Main St, and attendance is estimated to be 60,000!
7:00- 3:00 June 21st
Main Street Hyannis
June 26th – 29th
The Provincetown Portuguese Festival is one of the highlights of June. It is one of Cape Cod’s most vibrant festivals. A resplendent splash of color and energy, the Portuguese Festival celebrates Provincetown’s Portuguese and maritime roots, culminating in the annual Blessing of the Fleet. During the festival, Commercial Street ripples with the festive greens and reds of the Portuguese flag. Traditional Portuguese dancers perform on Sunday. The Blessing of the Fleet is on Sunday with a procession starting at St. Peter the Apostle Church at noon arriving at MacMillan Pier at 1:00 for the blessing.