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 (4.92)
Program No. 21005RJ
8 days
Starts at

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 10 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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Jim Coogan
Jim Coogan is an author and retired teacher who lives in the historic seaside town of Sandwich on Cape Cod. He grew up on the Cape, graduated from Boston College and served in the U.S. Navy before teaching high school history for almost 30 years. Since his retirement in 1999, Jim has written eight books about Cape Cod, including three for children. His “Sail Away Ladies: Stories of Cape Cod Women in the Age of Sail” won the 2004 U.S. Maritime Literature Award. Jim is a popular speaker on Cape Cod history, a regular columnist for the Cape Cod Times daily newspaper and the owner and publisher of Harvest Home Books.

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

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Ruth Bennett
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Jim Coogan
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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.
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.
Cape Cod
by Henry David Thoreau
The classic work, accompanied by Scot Miller's stunning photography of beach scenes which may have inspired Thoreau.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.

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