Cape Cod, Massachusetts, might evoke images of elegant homes, pristine cottages, endless white sand beaches edged gently by green sand dunes and a Kennedy here or there.
That’s the image of Cape Cod that has stood the test of time, and while you can definitely find that, there is also another side to the Cape -- one that’s full of surprises.
If there is any one destination on the Cape that has quirkiness coming out of its ears, it’s Provincetown. This town, located on the very tip of the Cape, wears many hats -- the nation’s oldest artists’ colony, family beach destination, LGBT vacation spot, and a fantastic Boston day trip getaway.
On Commercial Street, P-town’s main street, Pride is the name of the game, and all are welcome. Explore the shops and peek into galleries -- but the real fun here is people watching. This place probably has more characters per square mile than anywhere else on the East Coast.
Get to the outer reaches and you’ll find some of the Cape’s nicest beaches. Race Point Beach, in particular, is home to spectacular dunes and a fraction of the number of tourists you’ll see in other destinations.
Best of all? You can take the fast ferry from Boston and get to Provincetown in just 90 minutes, traffic-free.
Massachusetts, a wine destination? Absolutely. Most people are surprised to learn that southeastern Massachusetts is home to a number of wineries.
If you’re ambitious -- and you’ve got a designated driver -- you can make a day of hopping wineries. Start at Cape Cod Winery in Sandwich and wind your way down the beautiful roads, stopping in First Crush Winery in Harwich and finishing in Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod. Keep the buzz going in the nearby Provincetown bars.
More of a beer person? No problem -- the Cape is home to some nice breweries as well. Sample the wares at Cape Cod Beer in Barnstable. Feeling ambitious? Hop over to the Vineyard for the Offshore Brewing Co or Nantucket for Cisco Brewers and the Triple 8 Distillery.
The Cape is home to some fun and unusual shops. If you can tear yourself away from the beaches long enough to head inland, you’ll find some treasures waiting for you.
The Brown Jug in Sandwich is a great spot to hit up at the beginning of your trip -- you’ll want to stock up on specialty foods, cheeses, dips and spreads, pastas, and wines from around the world.
Blast from the Past in Falmouth is the kind of store where you can spend hours. The store is filled with current, retro and collectible toys and games, including a great selection of comic books.
If you’re looking for a big market, you can’t do better than the Wellfleet Flea Market that takes place several days each week and is home to more than 200 vendors.
While the Cape is home to lots of great bookstores, Herridge Books, also in Wellfleet, is home to a varied and continuously changing selection of used and rare books about art, travel, local Cape life, and more.
And if you’re looking for something, well, creepy, The Edward Gorey House, former home of the eponymous American writer, celebrates his cheerfully macabre work and art. The gift shop is home to Gorey-inspired art, jewelry, and souvenirs.
What is your favorite spot to visit in Cape Cod?
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Kate McCulley, better known as Adventurous Kate, has been a full-time travel blogger for more than 2.5 years. She specializes in independent and solo travel for women, and is particularly interested in budget adventure travel. Kate is originally from the Boston area and has most recently lived in London. She has been to more than 30 countries on 5 continents. Kate is currently traveling with her partner Mario and taking photos for SomeoneOnceToldMe.com. Their goal is to get 1000 photos and stories from people around the world. Visit Kate's site at AdventurousKate.com and follow her on Twitter at @adventurouskate. You can also follow her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google Plus.
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