Massachusetts, Where We've Been

Cape Cod & Plymouth

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Cape Cod

Cape Cod, Massachusetts is a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. It is actually separated from the mainland by a canal that runs across the southeastern portion of the state. 

Cape Cod is known as the first landing site of the Mayflower and later on it became popular for its beaches and lighthouses.

On the tip of Cape Cod, at the furthest point you can possibly go, lies Race Point Lighthouse. It is a 1.8 mile trek across dunes to reach this lighthouse. The kids and I hiked all the camera gear out there, just 10 minutes before the sunset. I grabbed my pictures and as I went around the backside of the lighthouse, Ellie came running towards me saying, “Mom, mom! There’s a fox!”

Needless to say, we left right after that so that we wouldn’t run into any more after dark critters running around on the dunes. We hiked it 1.8 miles back and by the time we got back, it was DARK.

The sky was showing off a rainbow of clouds just as the sun set.

As we were walking back, the grasses on the dunes were backlit from the sunset sky.

Nobska Lighthouse is in the southwest of Cape Cod. After undergoing renovation for the past few years, the morning I was there they were shooting a commercial after its completion. Being springtime, the flowers at the private beach below the lighthouse were in full bloom. 

This shot is typical Cape Cod. Just as I turned around and saw the rising sun, I snapped this shot.

On this same beach, I looked back at the house in the distance and saw how the morning light was playing on the buildings and the water.

Up close at Nobska Lighthouse, the lights were still on the at the keeper’s house as the sun was coming up.

The next day the kids and I took a trip all the way to the tip of Cape Cod. We stopped at several of the lighthouses and beaches along the way to explore and have fun in the water. It was a beautiful day. This is Nauset Lighthouse, one of the lighthouses controlled by the National Park Service at Cape Cod National Seashore. 

From here we walked down to the beach facing out to the Atlantic and spent a few hours as the kids built sand sculptures and played on the beach. The water was so cold! There were some small waves and there were people trying to body board and surf, but as much as the waves were tall, they were also short.

On the inside portion of the cape is First Landing Beach. It was low tide, so you can clearly see the sandy shore. We should have stayed here longer instead of the Atlantic side as the water here was much warmer. Kids were wading out onto the sand bar and playing in the water. Compared to the Atlantic side, the inland side had to be a good 30 degrees warmer. 

It’s called First Landing Beach because it is believed that the Mayflower first landed here before continuing to head west to the mainland and what is now known as Plymouth.

Someone had collected all these shells and formed a heart out of them near one of the lighthouse beaches along the seashore.


Plimoth Patuxet Museums had an outstanding live interactive pilgrim site built a few miles from the site of the original pilgrim village. This recreation has live actors that wander thoughout the village and tell stories of their travels on the Mayflower and their lives in Plymouth. The inside portions of the houses are open for visitors to touch and play with items as though you were really a visitor to the past.

This is not a place to miss if you go to Plymouth. Well worth the stop!

This little hut, near the recreated Plimoth village, is a wigwam in which the Wampanoag Native Americans would have lived. We were able to go inside and sit by the fire and have a chat with the local guides who worked on site. They told us about the lives of the Native Americans and their interactions with the pilgrims.

Inside one of the Plimoth village houses there were tables, chairs, dishes, beds, and in the corner there was a grinding pedestal used to grind grain. 

Two of my ancestors had arrived on the Mayflower in 1620, John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. The actor for John Alden was not there at the site, but we were told that Priscilla Mullins was there and was mulling around somewhere in the village.

We checked each of the huts and met many villagers before finally running into Priscilla. She would have been my tenth great grandmother.

I told her this, to which she replied in character, “Oh, well that’s interesting.”

I continued, “it would be through your daughter, Ruth.”

“What a lovely name,” she replied maintaining her character. “Perhaps I shall name one of my children that one day.”

I asked her about her voyage on the Mayflower and her life in Plimoth village. The kids and I sat back as we listed to our “great-grandmother” talk about her life and struggles. 

In modern day Plymouth there is a fully functional grist mill. This is also a recreation dating to the 1800s, but the original grist mill was built many years before and served the needs of the village as a place to quickly grind corn needed to make cornmeal and grits. They only run the mill for 2 hours once a week and we happened to time our visit just right. 

The whole building shook when the stones of the grist mill were spinning, taking the corn from the hopper and grinding it down to fine grains for collection below. The mill is powered by a water wheel whose flow of water is controlled by a gate on the side of the mill. When the gate is opened, the water wheel spins and the grinding wheel begins to turn. When the gate is closed the wheel and mill slowly come to a halt. 

A little further down into the town of Plymouth is a structure which houses the famous Plymouth Rock.

Inscribed on the rock is the date 1620, the year that the Mayflower landed in Plymouth.

Just behind Plymouth Rock you can see an old ship’s masts protruding into the skyline. This would be the recreated Mayflower, known as Mayflower 2. It may not be an exact replica as the design has been lost to history, but drawing from different stories from the pilgrims, it is a close approximation to what we can gather may have been the original Mayflower that sailed across the Atlantic in 1620. 

A bell is hung on the deck of the Mayflower.

Below decks, you can see that the space is small that held over 100 people and housed them for 2 months on their voyage across the sea. 

The kids enjoyed seeing and reliving the history of Plymouth, the Mayflower, and the tie to the own family members.

Tenth great-grandpa John Alden’s Gift Shop lies across the way from the Mayflower. I’m sure it probably had nothing to actually do with him, but still neat to see his name there.




USCG Cape Cod RV Park

The campground is out in a secluded area of the base. Nothing much out there but trees, grass, and 5 campsites so it makes it very quiet. It is full hookup, but the sewer tube is about 6″ proud of the ground, so our dump ended up backing up a bit. There is a small bathroom trailer nearby. The dumpster is a ways away though, far enough to need to drive to.

Getting access with my VHIC card was a pain. There are no phone numbers we could call. All telephone systems seem to be automated with no callback. We were granted access because my husband has a CAC contractor card, but we were told that my VHIC is being phased out on the base. I came back the next day to receive a paper pass after showing my VHIC so that I could get access to the base without him. I was told that I would need to show the paper pass and my driver’s license for temporary access. If I wanted longer access, I would need to go down to the Welcome Center, at the end of Connery Ave, and have them process my VHIC to receive another card which would allow me more permanent access, without having to present the paper copy. The paper pass also does not allow sponsoring or escorting.

There is a very small commissary/exchange combined. I was able to get a few things, but things are more expensive here than we are used to.

The campground itself was fine for the price and check-in was easy. They have lockboxes for after hours check-in.

We received 136 down and 14 up on Starlink. Verizon was only 1 bar on the phone and 3 bars with our cell antenna. AT&T was much better with the cell antenna at 5 bars.