It sounds like a whirlwind proposition I know, but actually, having recently returned from just such an adventure, I can testify it’s possible to see quite a bit in a few days. The fortunate consideration here, is that there is a lot to see in a relatively compact area, so it’s not hard to see much without a great deal of extensive driving to and from.
Our visit began in Hyannis Massachusetts about mid afternoon, where we were lucky to have accommodations right on the harbor there. The first day rained like crazy but it was warm so we decided to walk around the port town in the rain and get a feel for the place. By doing this, we were able to avoid the crowds of people that doubtless would have been out if the weather had been more agreeable. We strolled down the main streets of Hyannis, window shopping, checking out possibilities for an early dinner and getting our bearings.
We picked up some literature to peruse regarding making the best choice of the options available, to get to Nantucket the following day. I had never been to Nantucket and was determined to go, weather regardless.
We found a great place to eat in downtown Hyannis; the British Beer Company, which has duplicated the atmosphere of a British pub quite authentically, right down to the menu and the snugs along the sidewalls. We looked over several fliers and folders from various ferry services to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Essentially, we could choose the traditional ferry (about two hours to Nantucket) for a certain price or the high speed ferry (about one hour to Nantucket) for a higher price. We decided that in this instance, we just had the day to spend on the island and that made our time valuable enough to warrant the additional fee for the high speed ferry which allowed us two additional hours on Nantucket. We chose an early morning departure time and walked back to our lodgings, in the rain, to pack for and plan our next day.
The next day dawned overcast but not actually raining. We dressed and packed for all weather possibilities and ventured over to the wharf to purchase our ferry tickets. Soon our vessel pulled up to the pier and we were able to board. The ride over was very comfortable, we could ride inside or outside the cabin, and there was a lot to see as we left the harbor and traveled to the island.
Soon, we arrived at Nantucket and took a trolley trip around the island that lasted about one and a half hours. This gave us a great overview of Nantucket and we saw several historic sites, including the oldest house on the island and some lighthouses. Our guide was extremely informative and charismatic. The sun came out during our trolley ride and upon our return to the village, we were inspired to walk around and admire the innumerable ‘grey ladies’ as the grey shingled buildings that dominate the island are affectionately called. We checked out some shops, had lunch in an outdoor café and considered visiting the much-acclaimed Whaling Museum. I was on a mission for an out- of-print book I’d borrowed many times from the local library, about Nantucket architecture. I hoped one of the bookstores or the historical society might still have some copies. I spent an hour or so pursuing this possibility before finally giving it up for lost.
We still had a few hours before the ferry returned and because the day had turned out so nicely, weather-wise, we decided against the museum in favor of touring the scenic docks where dozens of beautiful boats were moored. After that, we found an ice cream stand with a wonderful harbor view from the bench in front of it, and settled in to indulge and enjoy the sunshine while awaiting our ferry back to the mainland.
All in all, it was a truly relaxing and educational day. We found out after we’d booked our return trip, about a ghost and history walk on the island that evening, ending just before the last ferry back. Oh well, next time!
That evening, we were able to stroll the side and main streets of Hyannis without rain, a bit of a novelty, and found an Irish pub to have dinner at. Then I took a far-fetched stab at a used bookstore, with late hours and found a couple of books on New England architecture for a great price.
The next morning, we left early and following the journey vs. destination method and Route 6, traveled along the Southern shore to the Easternmost town on Cape Cod; Provincetown, where we had our picnic on a bench overlooking the ocean.
Along the way, we stopped at several lighthouses and other places of interest. After lunch, we reversed our course and following Route 6A along the Northern border of the Cape, stopping at a few more lighthouses, a harbor, a garden center, a golf course and a windmill dating from the 1600s.
Finally, we ran out of Cape and headed North, through Boston and into New Hampshire, arriving at home in time for supper. A pretty full, yet relaxing, two and a half days!