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On the Road: Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket

Program No. 21005RJ
In some of New England’s most idyllic seaside towns, discuss whaling history, Victorian architecture, influential artists and unique ecology with naturalists and local experts.

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Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.




Jun 1 - Jun 8, 2024
Hotel 3,579
Jun 8 - Jun 15, 2024
Hotel 3,679
Jun 15 - Jun 22, 2024
Hotel 4,039
Sep 7 - Sep 14, 2024
Hotel 3,869
Sep 14 - Sep 21, 2024
Hotel 3,869
Sep 21 - Sep 28, 2024
Hotel 3,789
Sep 28 - Oct 5, 2024
Hotel 3,789
Oct 5 - Oct 12, 2024
Hotel 3,789

At a Glance

Examine history and culture past and present on an exploration of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Learn how fishing and whaling brought about economic development and explore the diversity of Martha's Vineyard with regard to its iconic island lifestyle and traditions. Contrast the history and island life of the Vineyard to those of the island of Nantucket and discover the arts and culture of Cape Cod, as well as the natural beauty that inspires so many.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles per day; standing in museums. Some unavoidable stairs in historic sites. Getting on and off coach.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn about the historic role played by the region’s whaling history on a day trip to Nantucket.
  • Live the "Island Life" on Martha's Vineyard while learning about its history, diversity and unique Victorian architecture.
  • With a naturalist, study the unique ecology of the sand dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore.

General Notes

Program includes independent time to explore the city and several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials. All rooms in the Martha Vineyard hotel have only one queen-sized bed; therefore, we cannot offer roommate matching services on this program or guarantee 2 bed room requests. Please see lodging description for more information.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Debra Levin
Debra Levin is an honors graduate of Penn State and a former teacher. Debra has led groups of seniors, students, nurses, veterinarians, and retired fire chiefs to name but a few. Back home in Boston, she spends time volunteering with the symphony, theaters, and an art museum, when not speed walking and playing Wordle.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Debra Levin
Debra Levin View biography
Debra Levin is an honors graduate of Penn State and a former teacher. Debra has led groups of seniors, students, nurses, veterinarians, and retired fire chiefs to name but a few. Back home in Boston, she spends time volunteering with the symphony, theaters, and an art museum, when not speed walking and playing Wordle.
Profile Image of Ruth Bennett
Ruth Bennett View biography
Ruth Bennett grew up in the Boston area and now lives in Hingham, Massachusetts. She earned her BA and MA from Emerson College and taught there for several years before becoming a freelance trainer and consultant in communications in the workplace. She now leads groups for Road Scholar internationally, in New England and other areas in the U.S. In her spare time, she can be found walking on the beach, reading, traveling, painting, taking OLLI classes and attending cultural events in her area.
Profile Image of George Schmidt
George Schmidt View biography
George Schmidt has been leading groups along the East Coast – from Williamsburg to Boston – for over 15 years. He now focuses on Boston, Plymouth, Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. He has had an eclectic career, spending time in industry, academia, and being self-employed. George has traveled to over 100 countries and all seven continents. He is active in his hometown of Mashpee, where he has served on the Finance and School Committees, both of which he has had the privilege of chairing.
Profile Image of Carol Carson
Carol Carson View biography
Carol “Krill” Carson is a marine biologist who has worked in the New England area since 1980. She spends her summers watching whales and studying the Northern Diamondback Terrapin, a threatened species of marsh turtle. In the fall, Krill and her team rescue marine wildlife that strand on Cape Cod. Krill is the founder and president of the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA), and the author of the book “My Friend Salt: The story of Salt, the most famous humpback whale in the world!”
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Ahab's Wife
by Sena Jeter Naslund
A first-rate example of historical fiction, this absorbing, lyrical and well-researched novel was inspired by Melville, Nantucket whaling and 19th-century America.
In the Heart of the Sea, The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex
by Nathaniel Philbrick
The seafaring tale of fearsome whales, cannibalism and sturdy 19th-century Nantucketers; a history of the true life events that inspired Melville's "Moby Dick" -- and a fascinating history of 19th-century society in Nantucket.
The Outermost House, A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod
by Henry Beston
The chronicle of a year spent living alone in a remote Cape Cod beach house in 1925. These beloved essays, first published in 1928, capture the essence of the Cape, the sea, weather and animal life.
The Whale
by Philip Hoare
A deeply engaging meditation on all things whale. Philip Hoare saves his special love and attention for the sperm whale -- not only via a beautiful literary analysis of Moby Dick -- but also by indulging in a childhood fantasy and actually swimming with the whales in the Azores.
Cape Cod
by Henry David Thoreau
The classic work, accompanied by Scot Miller's stunning photography of beach scenes which may have inspired Thoreau.
The House on Nauset Marsh
by Wyman Richardson
A Cape Cod classic first published in 1947, these leisurely essays form a reflective portrait of the land, sea and wildlife.
Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket: An Explorer's Guide
by Kimberly Grant
A practical guide to the popular tourist destinations of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, compiled by a local photographer and writer.
National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America
by Jon Dunn
From Alaska to Baja California, Nova Scotia and Florida, this guide is the veteran's choice for birding anywhere in the United States. Tabbed for easy access, the color range maps in this sixth edition are outstanding.
Away Off Shore, Nantucket Island and Its People
by Diane Swartz, Nathaniel Philbrick
A cultural history of Nantucket and, most notably, of its storied whaling industry. This book is informed and entertainingly written, with a strong slant toward telling the stories of individuals.
The Enduring Shore: A History of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
by Paul Schneider
The natural and human history of Cape Cod and its surrounding islands, as written by a resident of Martha's Vineyard.
The Big House, A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home
by George Howe Colt
The author's personal tribute to the elaborately eccentric home where he spent most of his summers. This poignant memoir records 100 of history of the house, which was perched on a Cape Cod promontory overlooking Buzzards Bay.
Time and Tide: A Walk Through Nantucket
by Frank Conroy
An impressionistic memoir and account of life and love on the island of Nantucket. Conroy first visited as a 19-year-old in 1955.
Cod, A Biography of a Fish That Changed the World
by Mark Kurlansky
A sparkling extended essay on the cod in the tradition of Lopez or McPhee, looking at the importance of the fish to cuisine, commerce and history, throwing light on Viking voyages, the Hanseatic League, and both Scnadinavian and Canadian economic history.
Against the Tide, The Fate of the New England Fisherman
by Richard Adams Carey
A discussion of the crisis that faces the New England fishing industry from a journalist who spent a year among the fishermen of Cape Cod.
National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England
by Brian Cassie, Peter Alden
A compact, easy-to-use overview of 1,000 of New England's trees, wildflowers, mammals, insects and other flora and fauna. It also provides an extensive overview of the area's geology, weather patterns and natural sites.
The Perfect Storm, A True Story of Men Against the Sea
by Sebastian Junger
A gripping, now-famous blow-by-blow account of a 1991 disaster at sea. Junger reconstructs the final hours of six men aboard a 72-foot swordfish boat in the North Atlantic, battling against a torrential storm.
Death of a Hornet and Other Cape Cod Essays
by Robert Finch
A collection of serene essays on the nature, wildlife, and inhabitants of Cape Cod by a keen observer and year-round resident.
by John Hersey
In this classic novella, Hersey turns a tale of a young stranger and an experienced fisherman, out fishing on Cape Cod, into a marvelous meditation on fishing -- and the natural history of the region.
Cape Cod Seashore Life, An Introduction to Familiar Plants and Animals
by James Kavanagh
A handy foldup plastic card with color illustrations for easy identification.
Cape Cod Map
by Rand McNally Maps
A map of Cape Cod, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island, at a scale of 1:107,000.

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If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.