What Makes Cape Cod Great?

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One of Cape Cod’s Greatest Places

If you live on Cape Cod, or even if you visit regularly, it is unlikely that you will uncover all the wonderful nooks and crannies that make this peninsula unique. Around every corner and with each new road discovered, there seems to be another hidden gem of a spot, which upon discovering enriches my life. Rich and I have owned the our Inn on Cape Cod for six years and have discovered some wonderful spots together, but each of us also has a past history with Cape Cod and the Islands that gives us another perspective on what makes this place great.

In April of 2009 I wrote about the Massachusetts state initiative to assemble a list of 1,000 Great Places. The purpose of the initiative is to increase visitation to the state’s wide range of exceptional historic sites, cultural venues, and natural landscapes. Around that time a local news outlet put together an online survey to give the locals a chance to choose, from a number of notable spots in and around Cape Cod and the Islands, those that truly deserve to be called “great places.” The following, in descending order, were voted the Top 25:

  1. The Cliffs at Gay Head (Aquinnah) on Martha’s Vineyard
  2. Highland Light at Highland Links in Truro
  3. Nauset Beach in Orleans
  4. Coast Guard Beach in Eastham
  5. Menemsha fishing village in Chilmark on Martha’s Vineyard
  6. The Cape Cod Canal
  7. Race Point in Provincetown
  8. Commercial Street in Provincetown
  9. Monomoy Island off the coast of Chatham
  10. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Falmouth
  11. Sandy Neck Beach in West Barnstable
  12. The tidal flats at Mayflower and Chapin beaches in Dennis
  13. Edgartown Light in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard
  14. Marconi Beach and Marconi Station in Wellfleet
  15. Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich
  16. Main Street on Nantucket
  17. The dunes in Provincetown
  18. Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown
  19. The Rail Trail that runs from Dennis to Wellfleet
  20. Nickerson State Park in Brewster
  21. The gingerbread houses of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard
  22. South Cape Beach in Mashpee
  23. The Black Dog Tavern in Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard
  24. The Boardwalk in Sandwich
  25. The Sea Captains’ homes along the Old King’s Highway (Route 6A)

Now I don’t see several of my favorite haunts on that list, among which would be Fort Hill in Eastham, Brewster Flats, Chatham Fish Pier, Little Pleasant Bay, Polpis Road Bike Path on Nantucket, Shining Sea Bike Trail, and Gray’s Beach in Yarmouth Port. And I could go on and on, but my point is this: there are at least 1000 places right here on Cape Cod that should be on that list, and probably just as many on Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

So here’s the challenge: The Office of Travel and Tourism is accepting nominations for the “1,000 Greatest Places in Massachusetts” until April 1, 2010. All “greatest places” nominations must be for places that are open and available to the public. Only one nomination per person will be accepted. So I would like to invite you to submit a nomination for your favorite “greatest place“ whether or not it is on Cape Cod.

All nominations will be considered for a final list of “1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts” to be announced in May. Submit your nomination to: www.Massvacation.com/1000greatplaces.  Oh, and be sure to let me know what you nominated. I’ll want to check I out.