- Friday 25 August 2017
Shandon Travel's Susan is just back from a family holiday to New England. Over eighteen days they packed in visits to Cape Cod, Salem, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Boston and Rhode Island. Here's part one of Susan's blog about the experience:
Part One: Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket
Our group flew into Providence from Cork, with Norwegian Airlines. The outbound flight took approximately 8 hours. Norwegian offers exactly what it says on the tin- no frills. You’ll need to take your own laptop/iPad if you want to watch movies during the flight. I’d recommend downloading the files beforehand as the Wi-Fi is pretty slow.
Meals can be booked before flying and the food isn’t bad. However, the in-flight service was on the slow side. It took an hour to remove our finished meals after service, so you’ll have to ask someone to hold onto your tray if you want to get up and stretch your legs. However, both the great price and the fact that we could fly from Cork made this worth it.
We hired two compact size Nissans, which we booked prior to travel with Alamo. These cars were comfortable and perfect for our group of eight adults and one child. We picked our cars up at Providence Airport. Be warned- it’s a bit of walk from arrivals to the car hire section of the airport.
We took the highway to Cape Cod, which is a 90 minute drive from Providence Airport. For the first eight days, our base was the town of Harwich. It’s a great location and we were able to easily make daily trips from this base to a number of local towns.
Handcrafts Market, Hyannis
On our first day we visited Hyannis. This town is very popular with visitors, as ferries regularly depart from here to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. There are wonderful beaches near the Hyannis Port Yacht Club. There are also some lovely big, established homes in the area, which make for beautiful scenery as you drive past. If you like shopping, Cape Cod Mall is inland from Hyannis Ports.
The pretty town of Sandwich has some beautiful beaches with dunes and estuaries. About 40 minutes from Sandwich, you’ll find the picturesque town of Chatham with its stunning scenery, lovely lighthouse and beautiful beaches. Provincetown was my favourite- we spent time whale watching from here, which is a must when visiting Cape Cod.
We took the ferry from Hyannis on the mainland to Oak Bluffs on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Oak Bluffs is very pretty, dotted with the gingerbread homes which are the main feature of the town.
As a first time visitor to Martha’s Vineyard, I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. We took a tour around the island, but it was rushed and we did not see much of the local towns. As a group, we were sorry that we didn’t take a hire car around the island and would definitely do this if visiting again.
With more time on Martha’s Vineyard I would recommend walking around Edgartown to take in the architecture. Used as the location for Steven Spielberg’s 1975 movie Jaws, this beautiful town is a little less frantic than the more northerly Oak Bluffs.
When visiting Nantucket Island, I would recommend spending the night there or at least getting up very early to take the first ferry. There are a limited number of ferries operating to Nantucket from Hyannis, so make sure to plan accordingly.
I felt that Nantucket was well worth a visit. It has a very quaint, beautiful port which is home to a number of beautiful yachts, including several unbelievably big ones! As to be expected, the shops on Nantucket are a bit on the pricey side.
We enjoyed a day spent meandering around the town, sightseeing, window shopping and really-shopping. There was loads to do, but we ran out of just enough time to take a guided tour of Nantucket. That’s something else to put on the list for our return to New England.
On our last day in Cape Cod, we drove from Harwich to Brewster. This town has a very pretty shopping area known as Lemon Tree Village. The lunch we had at a restaurant here named Café Alfresco was one of the best meals we had whilst in Cape Cod.
There are lots of entertainment options in the area, with a number of places to keep little ones entertained. If they get bored of beaches and sightseeing, there are waterparks, crazy golf courses and go-carting tracks. As a last note on Cape Cod- do not leave without sampling some lobster and clam chowder, the speciality of the area!
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