Travel Cape Cod & Boston
The gracious playground of Cape Cod has something for everyone, easily reached from the historic city of Boston. More on Boston later.
Cape Cod is the nearby playground of the rich and famous including the Kennedy clan, known as America's royal family. Cape Cod is shaped like a scorpion's tail, right up to the tip at the outrageous Provincetown, the adventurous end-of-the-line town that's one of the world's great undiscovered hot spots.
This is where traditional Portuguese fishermen live among a colourful American gay community that's discovered an outpost where they're left alone. More on interesting Provincetown later.
Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod
The famous Kennedy family compound is further down Cape Cod's beachy coastline at Hyannis port, the launching point for ferries to the nearby refined resort islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard (see Nantucket story in World's Best Holidays).
The fun way to get from Boston to Cape Cod these days is taking the ferry down the coast, a relaxing 90 minute trip to the tip of Cape Cod. The alternative is the longer drive through heavy traffic across Sagamore Bridge, notorious in recent years for unpredictable traffic jams.
The fast ferry from Boston will take you to Provincetown, the flamboyant village at the top of Cape Cod that is a must-see destination in the 21st century. It's a real thrill arriving by sea, pulling into the cute little harbour flanked by fine white sand beaches and blue water.
Provincetown is an unusual mix of traditional Portuguese fishermen and increasing numbers of theatrical gays who proudly display their alternative lifestyle.
"P-Town" as it's known to locals is a colorful assortment of quaint cafes and shops running along Restaurant Row on Commercial Street. You'll find coloured banners strung across the top of streets, taxis with "gay pride"
slogans and even grown men walking down the street hand in hand.
If you're tolerant, it's a fascinating town to
just sit back and take in.
Provincetown is also home to 80 bed and breakfasts, inns, and hotels ranging from $100 to $300 a night, many constructed in the beautiful Massachusetts painted weatherboard style. Many have been restored to their original historic state.
It's fun walking down Commercial Street absorbing all the sights. Go to the farmer’s market on Ryder St every Saturday afternoon in summer for fresh fish and local produce. Try some of the local sweet stores such as Purple Feather Gelati or Penny Patch Candy, where the local specialty is fudge and taffy molasses. Or go to the Portuguese bakery for delicious pies and cakes.
There's a new restaurant in P-Town called Dalla Cucina which should be your first port of call, with an Italian-trained chef who's the new darling of the Provincetown foodies. Try the freshest scallops you'll ever taste, the fresh ravioli stuffed with braised beef or the pannacotta with wine-soaked figs. The tiramisu for dessert will have you coming back for more. Admire the beautiful art or even eat al fresco.
The Mews & Café Mews is another good choice, with fresh fish from local fishermen daily. Try the almond-crusted Cod with Clementine Citrus Beurre Blanc. If you eat downstairs, you're virtually right on the beach and the ocean views are breathtaking.
Bubala's, one of many restaurants in Provincetown
Bubala's, one of many restaurants in Provincetown
For a great breakfast, go where the locals go to Chach on Shankpainter Road, a little down from the center of Provincetown. You may have to queue occasionally, but it's worth the wait. It's a real breakfast experience and the French toast is among the world's best. Don't leave town without having had breakfast or lunch at Chach as a nice local experience.
And one of our favorites is the brightly painted Bubala's on Commercial Street, where you have to try the traditional thick and spicy Portuguese soup that's a Provincetown staple. You can sit outside Bubala's doing some people watching, or sit inside with a close up view of the dazzling beach outside.
To get to Provincetown, catch the Bay State Cruise Company ferry from Boston's World Trade Center.
The Bay State ferry calls itself "the easiest way to get to Cape Cod." This is so true as you cruise down the coast in comfort on the big Provincetown III ferry. Tickets from Boston are $49 for adults, $32 for children and there are three ferry departures a day to and from Provincetown. www.baystatecruisecompany.com.
CAPE COD TOWNS
So, where do you go from Provincetown? If you've been dropped by ferry at the tip of Cape Cod, take the short road trip down to Hyannis port, where you can go on to the resort islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.
Nantucket is also one of life's great experiences with a gorgeous island lifestyle and stylish accommodation near Nantucket's many good restaurants
As you travel down Cape Cod, there are some cute little towns with nice Massachusetts beaches, and the best way to see these is by taking a stylish old Mercedes taxi with the Mercedes Cab company in Provincetown.
They'll meet you at the ferry jetty and pick you
up from wherever you nominate in Provincetown. The beauty of these
stylish old Mercedes cabs is that there's plenty of room for
Mercedes Cab Company Cape Cod
A trip down the narrow cape with beaches on both sides will cost you about $80, down the Mid Cape Highway through places such as Truro Beach, Harwich and Orleans before you get to Hyannis port. Trip time is about 40 minutes
Ask your friendly Mercedes Cab driver to take you to the towering sand dunes at Truro's pretty beach, or the Clothes Den designer factory outlet on South Orleans Road. You can buy the fashionable True Religion jeans here for as little as $40, as opposed to $300 in New York.
From Hyannis port, you can drive on to the nearby bigger town of Barnstable where there's another bigger fashion outlet center, and back up across Sagamore bridge to Boston.
In summary, Boston and Cape Cod are two of the world's must-see destinations. Boston is historic and fun, while Cape Cod is an experience you'll long remember after a trip including Provincetown.
Even though Cape Cod is the playground of some of America's most influential figures, it's affordable and thoroughly enjoyable as one of the world's best holidays. We highly recommend Nantucket as a must-see destination here
Boston was founded in 1630 and is one of the oldest cities in the US. It's known as the Cradle of Liberty after the infamous Boston Tea Party protest in Boston Harbor in 1773 precipitated the American War of Independence against the British.
Visit Boston today and you'll be fascinated by the historic Freedom Trail, a
4 kilometre walk marked by a red line on the footpath linking 18 historic sites, from Paul Revere House to the shops of Quincy Market and Boston Common. The market is a fun place to be with street comedians and musicians, a great variety of food, and many cafes and pubs on historic streets such as Charles Street and Beacon Street, below the cobblestone streets of the refined Beacon Hill
You'll also find the much-loved Cheers Bar here
near Boston Common, and across the Charles River is the famous
Photo of the popular Cheers Bar in Boston
The best way to get a feel for Boston is to jump aboard a hop-on hop-off trolley tour taking you around the famous sites. Or catch the Boston Duck, a repainted World War Two amphibious vehicle that drives along Boston's famous streets then plunges into the Charles River. You'll see where Paul Revere took off on his famous midnight horse ride to warn of approaching British troops.
Go to Harvard Square for some entertaining people watching, from nerdy professors to punks on skate boards. Take on the Chessmaster for $2, although if you by chance beat him, the prize is getting your money back.
Take a tour to the historic Fernway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox baseball team, or better still, take in a game at night against famous teams such as the New York Yankees. At the other end of the cultural scale, see a memorable performance by the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall.
And for something quirky, see where the Great Molasses Flood from a burst tank rushed through the streets in 1919, killing 21 people. Locals claim you can still smell the molasses on hot summer days. Today, only a small plaque in the North End commemorates the disaster.
There are many restaurants and cafes near accommodation in Boston. If you want to eat like a local, try Neptune Oyster on Salem Street, a charming Italian seafood restaurant with etched glass, subway tiles and pressed tin ceiling. Try the vitello tomato sandwich with tuna tartare as a local classic.
Scollay Square on Beacon Street features memorabilia dating back to the area's famous burlesque history. The lobster macaroni and cheese is a local favorite.
One of many cafes on the Boston waterfron
Or try Carmen at North Square, a cozy little restaurant next to Paul Revere's House. There are only a dozen tables so book ahead for their regional Italian specialties.
For a special dining experience, go to Radius on High Street. This is nouveau French cuisine with tasting menus that are created spontaneously at your table, featuring fresh produce of the day. The professional service complements the fine food
Grill 23 and Bar on Berkeley Street is another fine dining experience with Boston's freshest seafood and tender steaks, enjoyed amid marble columns and high ceilings. This restaurants has one of Boston's best wine lists.
For hotel accommodation, try the Intercontinental Hotel in the financial district, a five star hotel you can get on Hotwire for as little as $189 with beautiful Boston Harbour views. The staff are friendly and efficient and the rooms are spacious. The fast ferry terminal to Cape Cod is just across the bridge from here, and it's central to Boston's many attractions
And from the Boston ferry terminal, Cape Cod stretches out in front of you as one of the World's Best Holidays