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Cape Cod is an area rich in history. From its earliest days as an epicenter of Wampanoag and Nauset culture and the site of one of the first European settlements in North America to its heyday as a leader in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century whaling industry, the region provides something of a snapshot of centuries of American history. Curious visitors with an interest in history, no matter the topic or period, can find something to explore at one of the Cape’s historic stops.

While not on the Cape proper, Plymouth is one of the most historic cities in the United States. Currently a bustling city of almost 60,000 residents, Plymouth was the site of the Mayflower’s 1620 landing. The Pilgrims established Plymouth Colony, which was one of the earliest successful European colonial ventures in the New World and ultimately became a stepping stone for further English colonization in North America.

Experience this foundational episode in American history first-hand at Plimoth Plantation, one of the region’s premier living history museums. Visit the meticulous recreation of the 17th-century English Village and interact with costumed and roleplaying interpreters who portray actual colonists who once lived in the village and vividly bring Plymouth’s early history to life. Next-door to the village, learn about the Native American experience at the Wampanoag Homesite, where the museum’s staff—all Native People—demonstrate authentic Native crafts and dress and share the history and culture of the Wampanoag from a modern perspective. 

Just over the Cape Cod Canal is Sandwich, Cape Cod’s oldest town, incorporated in 1639, and is also home to Heritage Museums and Gardens, southern New England’s oldest public garden. This iconic Cape Cod landmark is an eclectic and family-friendly cultural stop. Covering over 100 acres, the gardens feature a world-renowned collection of rhododendron, one of the country’s most important hydrangea collections, and thousands of varieties of trees, shrubs, and flowers.

Heritage Museums is also one of the Cape’s foremost museums of American art and culture. This year, view Heritage’s special exhibit, Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views, which features the best of American landscape painting. Or explore the Automobile Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of restored American cars.

Hyannis is famous as the summer home of the Kennedy family. At the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, learn about Kennedy’s legacy and about the role that Cape Cod played in American politics and culture during his presidency. Explore the museum’s extensive multimedia offerings and preserved artifacts. This year, celebrate the centennial of John F. Kennedy’s birth with special events ongoing throughout the summer, including a special exhibit opening on May 25th, JFK at 100: Life and Legacy.

In Yarmouth Port, stop at the quirky and unassuming Edward Gorey House, a house museum celebrating and preserving the legacy of the famous illustrator Edward Gorey. An incredibly unique museum about an incredibly unique man, the House showcases a body of work that is dark and unsettling while simultaneously often light and amusing. Take a docent-led tour through the house, which features a new exhibit every year. This season, check out Cabinet of Curiosities and explore Gorey’s odd assortment of collected items.

While Plymouth is remembered for its colonial history, Provincetown holds the honor of hosting the earliest English landing on the Cape. Visit the Pilgrim Monument and climb the 252-foot structure, honoring the Pilgrim’s five-week stay in the area in 1620. Just next door to the Monument, the quaint Provincetown Museum encompasses the entire scope of Provincetown’s five-hundred-year history—highlights include a scale model of the Provincetown Player’s first theater and a faithful recreation of the home of a 19th-century sea captain.

Jim Holland, Hopper’s House, 2008. Oil on canvas. Collection of Elizabeth English and Leigh Williams. Courtesy of Heritage Museums and Gardens.

FUN IDEAS & TRAVEL TIPS

Cape Cod's Best Holiday Lightings Winter Wildlife on Cape Cod Town Spotlight: Brewster Choosing a Church for Your Cape Cod Wedding Giving Tree : "Our Own Garden of Eden"
Places for Guests to Stay on Your Special Day Men's Formal Wear Fashion Honeymoon on Cape Cod Five Great Spots to Tie the Knot in Provincetown How to Get a Marriage License in Massachusetts Green Wedding Ideas Cheesecake: Delicious and Underrated Phresh Act Brings a Unique Style to Every Wedding Stage Door Canteen Brings a Fun, Big Band Sound to Weddings Accent Entertainment Livens Up Wedding Receptions Making the Most of Your Bachelorette Party Incorporating Furry Friends on your Special Day Where to Hold the Rehearsal Dinner Fun Ideas for a Bachelor Party Where to Register for your Wedding Cool Ideas for Drinks on your Wedding Day Three Perfect Places for Pampering Reception at Sea on Cape Cod Eight Ways to Add Nautical Nuances to Your Wedding How to Dress a Cape Cod Bridesmaid Cape Cod's Non-Traditional Wedding Cake Trends Nice Day for a Green Wedding Using Ice to Add a Personal Touch 5 Ways to Make Your Cape Cod Beach Wedding a Success Weddings Down By The Sea Say "I do" at the Cape Cod National Seashore Five Stunning Settings for Your Outer Cape Wedding Six Lovely Locales for Your Lower Cape Wedding Eight Magicial Venues for Your Mid Cape Wedding Twelve Stunning Upper Cape Settings for Your Wedding Reception Nine Tips for Trimming Your Cape Cod Summer Wedding Costs A Dozen Fun Things to Do on Your Cape Cod Honeymoon Eight Cape Cod Gardens Perfect For Your Wedding Cranberry Cocktails for Cape Cod Summertime Food Mashups in the Ocean State. Nauticon is Not Your Average Con Town Spotlight: Bourne Town Spotlight: Nantucket Town Spotlight: Mashpee Town Spotlight: Provincetown Town Spotlight: Orleans Town Spotlight: Yarmouth Go Shopping at the HyArts Artist Shanties The Viking 200 Cardboard Boat Challenge Cape Cod Restaurant Week Beekeeping Keeps Cape Cod Sweet Celebrate Spring with Nantucket's Daffodil Festival 12,000 Years of Wampanoag History Five Sweet Spots on Route 6A 5 Spots for Shopping Along Route 6A A Cabinet of Wonders: Inside the Edward Gorey House Sharks: Cape Cod's Other Summer Visitors Romantic Spots in Falmouth Gods & Goddesses at the Provincetown Carnival Cape Cod’s Hydrangeas Yappy Hour at Cape Cod Beer Sweet Caroline's Ice Cream Is So Good The Ultimate Guide to Cape Cod Summer Theater A 90-Year Recipe for Saltwater Taffy Cape Cod Donut Shop Gets Creative A Festival for the Dogs on Cape Cod Spend a Day at the Ballgame A Dog’s Day on the Cape in Eastham Let them Eat Cake 4 Breakfast How to Run a Cape Cod Marathon What Makes Great Mini-Golf? Five Family-Friendly Stops along Route 6A Bowling and Games at Ryan's Amusements Hidden Hollow and Family Fun Fridays at Heritage Family Fun at Wackenhammer's Shipwreck! Navy Submarine, S-19 Runs Aground on Nauset Bar in Eastham Shipwreck! Stockholm sinks Andrea Doria off Chatham Shipwreck! The Competitor Cape Cod Houses The Cape Cod Canal Mooncussers of Cape Cod What's Your Cape Cod IQ? Shipwreck! The Argo Merchant Six Fun History Stops on Cape Cod Glimpse the Nineteenth Century at Pairpoint Glass Four Tips for First-Time Birders Six Spots for Spectacular Cape Cod Birding P-Town Dune Shack Applications Available Gardens Aglow Lights up Cape Cod for the Holidays Four places to catch a ferry to the islands Head to Woods Hole for a Day of Ocean Discovery Writers on the Nature of Cape Cod Five Fun Things to do in October on Cape Cod Cranberries & Blueberries: Berry Interesting Cape Cod Shines September Festivals: Come Celebrate Cape Cod Lobster Roll Luncheons A Day at Hyannis Harbor: Summertime at the Artist Shanties Fishing for Flounder with Captain Chip Chatham goes "Back to the Future" in June Veg Out (and More) at One of Cape Cod's Farmers Markets An afternoon in South Yarmouth: Mini golf, ice cream & more Five Reasons to Add a Melody Tent Show to Your Cape Cod Vacation Itinerary Cape Cod Shipwreck: Elsie G. Silva In a Jam in Sandwich: Strawberry, Cranberry Apricot & More Paint the Cape green: Three ways to celebrate St. Patrick's Day Walk in the footsteps of the Kennedys on Cape Cod Go green in Yarmouth at the Cape Cod St. Pat's Parade Siobhan Magnus to sing like a Brit in Yarmouth Local & luscious: Three Cod Cod-inspired Valentine's Day treats Brewing up knowledge--an evening out at a local "on tap" event Five fun things to do with the kids during February school vacation Digging for delights--Cape Cod clamming Three unique spots to catch a flick on Cape Cod Nantucket makes Nat Geo's best fall trips list Sunbathe, Swim & Explore: Sixteen Beaches in Dennis Swim, Surf & Sunbathe: Nine Beautiful Beaches in Barnstable Eleven Heavenly Beaches in Harwich The Shores of Falmouth: Nine Beautiful Beaches to Explore Dive into Bourne with a Visit to These Six Beaches If You Hear The Chatham Band Playing, That Means It's Friday Make Jam and Meet Peter Rabbit at the Green Briar Nature Center in East Sandwich 23 Top Fresh Water Swimming Spots on Cape Cod Four Fantastic Beaches to Explore in Sandwich Explore Music, Theater, Film & More at Cotuit Center For the Arts Take a dip at Mashpee's South Cape Beach Dining With Dad: Four Cape Restaurants for Father's Day Guided Kayak Tours: A Great Way to See Cape Cod Seafood Dinner: Three Essential Condiments for Your Cupboard Chatham Railroad Museum is a Treat for Train Lovers of All Ages Four Tips for Skipping Memorial Day Weekend Traffic on Cape Cod Sip the Cape's Newest Small Craft Beer from Devil's Purse Brewing Gray Gables and Bourne's Connection to President Grover Cleveland Love Butterflies? Check Out Butterflies of Cape Cod in Bourne Scargo Tower Offers A Stunning View of Cape Cod Seven Ways to Enjoy Seafood on Cape Cod Five Tips for Hiking Cape Cod Trails Beach Stickers: A Must Have for Summer Vacation Fun Packing for a Day at the Shore: What's In Your Beach Bag? Taste Your Way Through Cape Cod: Eleven Awesome Ice Cream Shops Pets Welcome: Five Places to Stay with Your Furry Friend The Herring Are Running, The Herring Are Running! Daffodil Alert: Spring Has Sprung on Cape Cod Scuba Diving to Stand Up Paddleboarding The Great Fried Clam Roll Debate: Strips or Whole-Belly Cape Cod Vacation Must: Tantalizing Treats from the Raw Bar Three Tips for a Green Cape Cod Vacation A New Way to Explore: Rock Hunting on Cape Cod An Early Morning Walk--Cape Cod All to Yourself Ten Reasons Cape Cod is THE Destination for Your Next Vacation Kids: Catch Some Air at a Cape Cod Skatepark Grab Your Binoculars--It's Time to Go Birdwatching on Cape Cod Cape Cod Beachcombing: A Dozen Sea Shells You Will Surely Find The Delicate Art of Glass Blowing: Six Cape Cod Studios & a Museum to Visit Bowling, Burgers & Brew--the Lanes in Mashpee has it all All Things Aquatic: Five Cool Cape Cod Aquariums The Brazilian Grill in Hyannis: Not Just For Meat-Lovers Seven Sure Ways to Make Your Cape Cod Valentine's Day Romantic Brilliant Beacons: Take a Tour of the Cape's Many Lighthouses Brrr....Warm Up on Cape Cod with a Spicy Burrito Nine Cape Cod Courses Perfect "Fore" a Round of Golf Celebrate Cape Cod: Buy Fresh, Buy Local Say Cheese: Five Places to Take the Perfect Cape Cod Picture Go Back in Time at These Five Historic Cape Cod Homes Thick & Creamy, Loaded with Clams, How Do You Like Your Chowder? Stand-Up Paddleboarding--a Fun Way to Hit the Waves Farmer for a Day: Seven Cape Cod Farms You Won't Want to Miss Seven Fun Ways to Spend a Rainy Cape Cod Day A Touch Tank Teeming with Cool Sea Creatures Mid & Lower Cape Dining: Ten Top Take-Out Places on Cape Cod Eight Cape Cod Eateries Offering a Twist on Traditional Seafood Arts & Artists: A Dozen Galleries to Visit on Cape Cod Eight Types of Tours That Will Make Your Cape Cod Vacation November 2017 Fun in Boston October 2017 Fun in Boston September 2017 Fun in Boston Top Five Kid-Friendly Stops in Boston Escape to Boston's Islands Boston's Very Own Oasis The Ocean's Most Misunderstood Creature The Regulars are Coming Step Back into the Nineteenth Century Top Five Boston Breweries A Football Fan's Dream Mrs. Mallard Returns to Boston Take a Peek at a 14 Foot Tall PEZ Dispenser Real-life Ghost of Christmas Past An Arctic Sojourn at Mt. Washington Vintage Christmas at Strawbery Banke Nineteenth Century New England Christmas Mexican Chocolate in Somerville Life of a Sailor on Old Ironsides An In-Depth Look at Boston Duck Tours Citi Performing Arts Center Shapes the Boston Art Scene Inside Look at Cape Ann Whale Watch Touring the Dark Side of Boston Meet the Wolfman The Up and Coming Eateries of East Boston Three Top Maine Campsites Behind the Scenes of the Boston Tea Party Springtime Fun in Boston Itinerary for a Single Day in Salem Discover the best hiking trails in Massachusetts In a Jam in Sandwich Trains Trains Trains Zip Into Summer Ski Across New England Massachusetts Movie Moments Visit Historic Salem in Massachusetts Historical Fun in Connecticut Make it Count in Massachusetts History on Cape Cod Inspired Fun in New Hampshire Top Things to Do In Rhode Island See the Beautiful Berkshires Ship Up to Boston for Historical Fun
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WHAT'S NEARBY?

Massachusetts: Boston

Other States: Connecticut Maine Massachusetts New Hampshire Rhode Island

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