Total tour distance: 150 miles
Daily tour distance: 25 miles
Difficulty: 30 / 100
Spring and fall are good times of year that deserve a special trip. It’s probably not hot, it’s probably not cold. Naturally, you want to enjoy all this on a bicycle. IBT’s Cape Cod and Nantucket tour is an admirable answer to this need.
The Cape Cod tour, some years ago expanded to include Nantucket, is a classic IBT offering with a long history. This is country that understands the bicycle (note the well-known Cape Cod Rail Trail) and is quietly ready to entertain visitors, having had so many of them down the years. Aside from pleasant accommodations and meals that reflect the area, as well as satisfying biker appetites, there are museums and visitor centers.
At the Salt Pond Visitor’s Center the curious water supplies of a finger of land surrounded on three sides by ocean are explained. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History introduces you to special habits of nature and marine life in this unusual area; at the Nantucket Life Saving Museum daring deeds are recorded, and at the Brooks Academy Museum you’ll learn how the cranberry industry on Cape Cod functions. You’ve been passing salt marshes, cranberry bogs and salt ponds and will find these visits answer questions that have come persistently to mind as you pedal through this very special landscape.
We’ll have three nights on Cape Cod then take the ferry to Nantucket for three nights there at the hospitable Nantucket Inn and Conference Center, a good base for local exploration. European history on Nantucket goes back to the 17th century; the Wapanoag Native Americans had been there for generations and had already named the place. “Far Away Land,” they called it. In their language that comes out as “Nantucket.”
This is a place that retains its history. There are cobblestone streets, mementos of the whaling industry, graceful old buildings, and the Quaker presence that marked its thinking still is felt. By the time we are there most of the thousands of summer visitors have peeled off and gone home. We will bike, on successive days, to both the east and west ends of the island, admiring the splendid beaches that line the shores and the cliffs that set off Siasconset on the eastern, ocean-side. The island recognizes bicycles as a civilized means of transport and is well supplied with bike trails. However, the town of Nantucket is so individual, in its history and its memories, that we are happy to leave the bikes for a walking tour with a local guide through the distinctive architecture of its historic district.