Old Cape Cod
Reflections of a Maritime Past
September 22-28, 2013
Historian Guide: Frank Ackerman
Famed naturalist Henry Beston wrote, "East of America, there stands in the open Atlantic the last fragment of an ancient and vanished land. Worn by the breakers and the rains, and disintegrated by the wind, it still stands bold."
Landmark for early explorers, Cape Cod was where the Pilgrims first landed and signed the Mayflower Compact, forming the basis of government in Plymouth Colony. Afterward it was again and again the site of confrontations, first between explorers and natives and then between Patriots and Tories.
Saltworks, lighthouses, shipwrecks, and characters as varied as radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, Henry David Thoreau, and Eugene O'Neill gave Cape Cod its unique landscape and a fascinating human chronicle that was always shaped by the sea. Though its villages all share the easy-going charm one expects from quaint seaside towns, you'll be surprised to find that each one, although small in size, is large in personality. See artist neighborhoods, areas of wild beauty, and regions still steeped in whaling lore and legends of glorious clipper ships.
Historian guide Frank Ackerman will bring to life all the excitement of Cape Cod's celebrated past. Come see a place ever changing. Relentless tides and winds reshape the beaches, cliffs, and boulders, removing evidence that any of us — Native people or Vikings, Pilgrims or presidents, explorers, painters, or inventors — ever set foot here. There's no more fitting place for a HistoryAmerica tour than Cape Cod, where our history began.
7 Days / 6 Nights
Cost: $2,985 Single Occupancy, $2,565 Double Occupancy
Click to request a 2013 printed Travel Guide.
Sunday, September 22
Gather in Boston for a briefing and welcome dinner hosted by Frank Ackerman and HistoryAmerica TOURS.
Monday, September 23
Board a ferry this morning and cruise to Provincetown. See Pilgrim Monument, commemorating the landing of the Mayflower, and see MacMillan Wharf, base of the commercial fishing fleet. At Old Harbor Lifesaving Station learn about the service established to rescue shipwrecked mariners. The distinctive architecture of Cape Cod is our focus this afternoon with visits to the North Truro Congregational Meeting House and the Atwood-Higgins House on Cape Cod National Seashore. Overnight in Eastham.
Tuesday, September 24
There is no more enduring icon of Cape Cod than the lighthouse. Beautiful places built to mark a treacherous shoreline, they serve as symbols of an era whose time is still with us. Visit fabled Nauset Light this morning, providing guidance to mariners since the 1870s. At Fort Hill see the preserved historic rural landscape, distinguished for its uninterrupted ownership by members of one family for more than 200 years. A tour of the ornate Edward Penniman House presents the lifestyle of a successful whaling captain and his family. Styled in the ornate French Empire period, it included every known comfort of the day. See state-of-the-art technology of the 19th century at the French Cable Station and the Marconi Maritime Center. We overnight at a waterfront resort in South Yarmouth.
Wednesday, September 25
Nantucket is our destination today, a picturesque island surrounded by a history of seafaring greatness. Exhibits we see at the Whaling Museum showcase the full spectrum of the industry during its heyday. A tour of the Jethro Coffin House (the oldest on Nantucket) conveys a sense of the lives lived here in the 17th century. After a walking tour of Nantucket town, we take the fast ferry back to the cape and overnight again in South Yarmouth.
Thursday, September 26
A short drive brings us to Cape Cod Bay and Yarmouth Port, home to many of the clipper ship captains. Visit the Coast Guard Memorial Museum in Barnstable, and then travel to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to learn about the unparalleled marine research conducted here for nearly a century. Overnight by the sea in Falmouth.
Friday, September 27
The ocean is the defining feature of our planet and of our study on this history tour. Return to Woods Hole for visits to the Ocean Science Exhibit Center and the National Marine Fisheries Service Aquarium. Back in Boston, step aboard a classic 1940s motor yacht for our private cruise through Boston Harbor and the locks on the Charles River. Enjoy a farewell dinner at the hotel.
Saturday, September 28
Depart at your leisure following breakfast.