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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.
8 days
Rating (4.76)
Activity Level
Starts at

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.


Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Jun 3 - Jun 10, 2023
Hotel 2,749
Jun 10 - Jun 17, 2023
Hotel 2,749
Jun 17 - Jun 24, 2023
Hotel 2,949
Sep 16 - Sep 23, 2023
Hotel 2,699
Sep 23 - Sep 30, 2023
Hotel 2,699
Sep 30 - Oct 7, 2023
Hotel 2,699


Accommodation Details

Comfortable accommodations that meet our high standards.

Jun 3 - Jun 10, 2023
Hotel 3,499
Jun 10 - Jun 17, 2023
Hotel 3,499
Sep 9 - Sep 16, 2023
Hotel 3,399
Sep 16 - Sep 23, 2023
Hotel 3,399
Sep 23 - Sep 30, 2023
Hotel 3,399
Sep 30 - Oct 7, 2023
Hotel 3,399
Oct 7 - Oct 14, 2023
Hotel 3,399
Oct 14 - Oct 21, 2023
Hotel 3,279

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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Ruth Bennett
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.

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

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 Carol Carson
Carol Carson View biography
Carol “Krill” Carson is a marine biologist who has worked in New England since 1980. She received the nickname “Krill” from Capt. Aaron Avellar when crewing aboard his whale watching boat. Krill spends her summers watching whales and her falls rescuing ocean sunfish, sea turtles, and other marine wildlife. She 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cape Cod
by Henry David Thoreau
The classic work, accompanied by Scot Miller's stunning photography of beach scenes which may have inspired Thoreau.
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.
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.
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.
18 Reviews
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4.76 Average
(5) Review left 10/20/2022

Very enjoyable trip. Our leader was very good. Met great people in the group

(5) Review left 10/11/2022

We were very pleased with the quality of this Cape Cod/Martha's Vineyard experience, especially my husband who knew little about the area. The amount of places covered was amazing.

This reviewer did not give a star rating. Review left 10/10/2022

George was a very good trip leader--he had to make several adjustments because of the poor weather and he did a great job.

(5) Review left 10/09/2022

On the Road:Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket was a fantastic tour and our tour guide George did a great job! I have never traveled to this area before and I enjoyed experiencing and learning about this beautiful area. It was great fun!

(5) Review left 9/22/2022

We saw a lot of Cape Cod that we never saw before.

(4) Review left 9/18/2022

This was a great way to visit three places that are not easy to get to. Enjoyed seeing all three and learning about the uniqueness of each of them. Gayle Felix is a superb group leader.

(5) Review left 6/23/2022

This trip is a great value for visiting Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, with a visit of just a few hours on Nantucket and an hour or so of free time in Provincetown. It was a good immersion into the local culture and history. The pre- & post-busy-season tour dates made the weather comfortable & the locations we visited were not crowded.

(5) Review left 6/12/2022

George our guide for great. Even when problems arose he stepped upped, corrected the issue (many times with a sense of humor) and we were back on track as if nothing happen.

(5) Review left 10/20/2021

This is a wonderful program, made all the more enjoyable because of our fabulous tour guide, Gayle. Highlights include strolling through charming small towns, climbing to the top of a historic lighthouse, gaining insights about President Kennedy, snapping photos of seals on a coastal cruise and savoring delicious seafood meals at restaurants local residents love. If you're a shopaholic, be aware a good number of stores close after Columbus Day.

(4) Review left 10/19/2021

This program gives you a perspective of life on Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod. You will enjoy the splendor and individuality of this beautiful east coast living.

(4) Review left 10/17/2021

The program, led by Gayle, was informative, fun, and very educational. Our leader was outstanding. Fellow participants were fun and the people hired to enhance our experience were all terrific. I would recommend this program to anyone EXCEPT I would never take this program after Columbus Day.

(5) Review left 10/10/2021

Don't miss this trip! Road Scholar takes the work out of transporting you from place to place in the Cape Cod area! Such a breathtaking area of the country! Quaint small towns on the coast, island hopping by ferry, and an abundance of seafood! Loved all the tours, especially because of our lovely tour guide Gayle! As a native to the area she was able to provide us with an insider's perspective! Plan on being flexible during covid and with unpredictable weather! At the conclusion of the trip you will want to a "Washed Ashore". A non-native who decides to stay forever!

(5) Review left 9/19/2021

On the Road: Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket is a spectacular tour which provides knowledge and views I would never have known about. I can highly recommend this for an in-depth discovery of our founding fathers. You will see areas where the public is not always able to enjoy. The entire trip was enjoyable.

(5) Review left 7/01/2019

Well informed, engaging leader. Organized and well planned out program.

(5) Review left 6/30/2019

Beautiful areas of the country and interesting history. Wonderful leader and fellow participants!

(4) Review left 6/23/2019

Great itinerary and guide. This covered some wonderful places and each day was packed with enjoyable and interesting things to see.

(5) Review left 6/23/2019

I highly recommend this program for anyone who wants an in-depth experience of Cape Cod & the 'islands.' The area is beautiful, historic and varied. The program is so well planned that not a moment is wasted.

(5) Review left 6/08/2019

Always wanted to visit Cape Cod. Can’t imagine a better way to have done than with Road Scholar and Ruth Bennett

Important registration tip:
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.