21005
Massachusetts
On the Road: Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket
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.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21005RJ
Length
8 days
Starts at
2,299
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8 days
7 nights
16 meals
7 B 5 L 4 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Check-In, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Boston, MA
D
Embassy Suites Boston Logan

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the Registration Office to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Everyone will be responsible for their own luggage, with some assistance available. Transportation will be provided by a variety of vehicles including (but not limited to) ferries, private and taxi vans, motorcoaches, and “safari” style trucks. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. This is a Road Scholar FLEX program. It offers a more flexible schedule than our traditional programs with ample time for personal independent exploration and several meals on your own to enjoy the cuisine of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: We will enjoy a plated and served welcome dinner at the hotel, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead, including morning check out.

DAY
2
Ferry to MV, Walk to Tabernacle, Introduction to Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
B,L,D
Dockside Inn

Activity note: Upon docking at Oak Bluffs on MV, the walk from the ferry to the hotel is about 1/3 of a mile (typically about 10 minutes) down a flat, paved sidewalk. A taxi will carry luggage for any participants who may have difficulty carrying their suitcase. Walk through the Camp Meeting Association grounds is up to 1 mile; standing for about 1 hour; flat pavement.

Breakfast: In the hotel, get started with breakfast. Choices include: oatmeal, cereal, fruit, eggs, toast and pastries, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will board a motorcoach and drive to Woods Hole in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, on the far southwest corner of Cape Cod. There we will board the ferry to Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. The ferry crosses the 7 miles between the mainland and the island in approximately 45 minutes. The vessels of the Steamship Authority — a lifeline to the Islands — are functional with basic amenities.

Lunch: En route, we’ll have box lunches.

Afternoon: Arriving at the Oak Bluffs ferry terminal, we will take our luggage with us and walk from the ferry down along the waterfront to the hotel, where we will drop off the luggage before our field trip. We’ll then be off on a walk with the Group Leader to the Oak Bluffs Camp Meeting Association and the historic Tabernacle at its center. Led by a resident docent, we’ll walk through the campground to learn about the “gingerbread” cottages and the residents who carefully maintain and decorate them. What we see today grew out of Methodist camp meetings that began in 1835.

Dinner: At a local restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. You might like to set off on your own and walk back through the campground, relax on the green of one of Oak Bluffs many parks, or just watch boats in the marina set out to sea.

DAY
3
Exploring Martha’s Vineyard
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
B,L
Dockside Inn

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; walking up to 1 mile; standing for about 1 hour.

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel, includes coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Accompanied by resident experts, we’ll set out in vans to explore the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Take in the scenic up-Island country-side, passing through the historic farming towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark. Catch glimpses of centuries old stone walls, views to the Atlantic shoreline, grazing livestock, rolling hills and historic homesteads in Chilmark and the picturesque secluded fishing village of Menemsha. Stop at the multi-colored clay cliffs at Aquinnah. We’ll end the morning in the busy harbor town of Vineyard Haven, main port of entry for the island's residents.

Lunch: At a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Vineyard Haven is an historic shipping port. While walking through town with a local expert, we’ll learn about its inhabitants and unique history, resiliency and transition over the centuries to the charming small town of today. There will also be time for independent exploration to stroll through the old wharf, shipyard, historic district, art galleries, and quiet lanes.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Chappaquiddick Island Nature Reserve, Historic Edgartown
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
B
Dockside Inn

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, standing up to an hour; getting on/off Chappy Ferry; riding in open “safari” type vehicles for 1.5 hours. Bring water bottle, hat, sunscreen. Field trips operate rain or shine except during thunderstorms and extreme wind conditions.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll transfer via taxi vans from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown and take the Chappaquiddick Ferry across the 527 feet of water over to the island that is technically a peninsula. There, we’ll hop aboard “safari” trucks for an exploration of the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, with its beautiful views of ocean, sound, and harbor. We’ll learn the history of the Cape Poge lighthouse, originally built in 1801, only the second on the Vineyard, and stroll through the Japanese style Mytoi garden that surrounds a verdant inland freshwater pond. Returning to Edgartown via the Chappy Ferry, the remainder of the morning is free for independent exploration.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: We’ll regroup and stroll Edgartown’s narrow brick paths with a local resident to learn about the history and evolution of the town, from colonial settlement to busy whaling port.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. You are welcome to remain in Edgartown or return to Oak Bluffs.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Historic Cape Cod, Sandwich, Glass Museum, Dexter Grist Mill
Hyannis, MA
B,L,D
Hyannis Harbor Hotel

Activity note: Total walking distance for the day is up to 2 miles; walk from hotel to ferry pier up to 1/4 mile, taxi as needed; each person is responsible for his/her own luggage; 45 minute ferry crossing; total drive distance is 40 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Walk along the waterfront to the ferry pier for your final morning on Martha's Vineyard. The ferry crosses back to Woods Hole on the mainland. Enjoy a scenic drive on the Cape from Woods Hole to our final destination of Hyannis, MA. Although just one of seven villages in the town of Barnstable, Hyannis is the hub of commercialization on Cape Cod and referred to by some as the "Capital of the Cape". En route we will stop to experience a few of the gems of Upper and Mid Cape Cod.

Lunch: At a local seafood shack in Sandwich, MA, with many options available.

Afternoon: Settled in 1637 and incorporated as a town just two years later, Sandwich boasts its status as the oldest town on Cape Cod. First, we will visit the Sandwich Glass Museum for a glass blowing demonstration and see how the museum has promoted a broad understanding and appreciation of Sandwich town history, with particular emphasis on the unique contribution of the glass industry to the local community. Afterwards, we will take a short walk to visit the Dexter Grist Mill and explore the grounds around Shawme Pond with commentary from a local expert. Thomas Dexter built the first grist mill on this site in 1654 so that the inhabitants of the village of Sandwich would not have to grind their own corn for cornmeal, their staple food. Finally, we will drive the rest of the way to Hyannis and check into the hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: A short walk from the hotel, we will enjoy a plated meal in a nearby restaurant with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Exploring Nantucket, Whaling Museum
Hyannis, MA
B,L
Hyannis Harbor Hotel

Activity note: The Ferry to Nantucket is located a few walkable blocks from the hotel. Activities on the island require walking up to 2 miles (about 1.5 hours).

Breakfast: Buffet at the Bluewater Grill Hotel Restaurant.

Morning: Walk to the nearby dock and board the ferry to Nantucket. Upon disembarking, meet a local expert from the Nantucket Historical Association for a narrated walk through the town center. See the architecture and hear the stories of the houses and the families that lived in them to illustrate the island’s history.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, includes coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Enjoy an expert led field trip to the Nantucket Whaling Museum. Housed in a restored 1847 candle factory, a 46-foot sperm whale skeleton floats suspended from the ceiling above many other attractions. Enjoy the views Nantucket harbor from the rooftop observation deck. Put the information you learned on the morning walk and at the Museum to use as you delve deeper into locales of your choosing. Take some time on your own to go “laning” (walking the lanes of the historic district of Nantucket) and explore independently before returning on the ferry to Hyannis.

Dinner: On your own to explore local fare. Hyannis, like the rest of New England, is known for delicious seafood and clam "chowdah", but still offers various other dining options that cater to most preferences.

Evening: At leisure. Take this opportunity to walk along Main Street Hyannis, visit the local brewery, or listen to the waves down at the beach. Look for free time activities in your welcome packets or ask Group Leader for more suggestions.

DAY
7
Exploring Scenic Cape Cod & the Arts, Provincetown
Hyannis, MA
B,L,D
Hyannis Harbor Hotel

Activity note: This is a full day of motorcoach exploration with frequent stops; one way distance 50 miles— 75-90 minutes drive time; 4-wheel driving on soft but bumpy sand dunes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will start the morning with a lecture with a local expert. This lecture will cover the history of Cape Cod. Afterwards, we will have a full day exploration of Cape Cod, all the way to the tip of the cape in Provincetown. Meander the scenic road and stroll a beach. Take in the changing landscape through small towns, historic lighthouses and coastal harbors. On the way, stop and explore the Salt Pond Visitor Center, which is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. On this self-led walk, venture through the walking trails while learning about the different wildlife that inhabits the area as well as the detrimental risks facing this land in the future.

Lunch: At a local seafood restaurant, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: We will go off-roading with local experts through the sand dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore in specially-authorized four-wheel-drive Jeeps. You will begin this adventure in Provincetown or “P-town,” as the locals call it. Sitting on the outermost part of the cape, P-town has some interesting history— Did you know that the Pilgrims, before settling in Plymouth, first landed in Provincetown? Today it has become known for its lively art scene that enhances the culture of the rest of Cape Cod, while highlighting the unique ambiance that is P-Town.

Dinner: At a favorite local restaurant that highlights the unique atmosphere of Provincetown.

Evening: Return to Hyannis and prepare for departure in the morning.

DAY
8
Program Concludes
Hyannis, MA
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out time is 11:00 a.m. Transfer departs Hyannis Harbor Hotel at 8:30 a.m. to Boston Logan International Airport. Please do not schedule flights before 12:30 p.m.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!