Spend a week cycling along the beautiful Atlantic Ocean shoreline. On this tour, we’ll view the seaports, glacially formed kettle ponds, and lighthouses of southeastern Massachusetts, visit historic sites from the days of colonial America, and explore quaint shops on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Every day is spent within 15 miles of the Atlantic, and each night close to a large body of fresh or saltwater.
This tour is suitable for all riders and is a great choice for anyone looking to learn the basics of self-contained touring, or an experienced cyclo-tourist looking for a week of relaxed cycling. The riding is easy, services are plentiful, and the campgrounds are outstanding.
|Start Date:||Sep 12, 2015||End Date:||Sep 19, 2015|
|Start Location:||Plymouth, MA||End Location:||Plymouth, MA|
|Total Days:||8||Riding Days:||6|
|Average Daily Mileage:||48.0||Surface:||Paved|
|Riders:||14||Airport:||Logan International, Boston, MA|
|Tour Leader:||Tammy Schurr||Meals:||Shared cooking|
|Physical Difficulty:||Beginner+||Level of Support:||Self Contained|
We'll meet just outside Plymouth, Massachusetts, home to the first sustainable settlement for the Pilgrims after they wintered near Provincetown. Those arriving early can explore the Plymouth Plantation, the Mayflower II (a full-scale reproduction of the original), and the famous Plymouth Rock, traditionally regarded as the spot where William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims disembarked on the mainland.
Plymouth to Westport, 48 miles. We’ll enjoy the gently rolling hills, cranberry bogs, and lovely lowlands of southeastern Massachusetts as we depart westward on an inland toward our destination for the evening, Horseneck Beach State Reservation. A blend of beach and estuary habitats, the reservation is one of the top bird-watching locations in New England, so keep your cameras handy. We’ll make camp along the beach, where we can take a late afternoon dip in the ocean, enjoy our first on-road dinner, and then be lulled to sleep by the crashing of waves.
Westport to Sagamore, 45 miles. Riding northeast along the shoreline, we’ll find our way through the city of New Bedford, whaling capital of the world during the mid-19th century. Here we’ll grab lunch and perhaps visit the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, where the National Park Service preserves an earlier version of the village replete with cobblestone streets, the world’s largest whaling museum, a whaling merchant’s home, and a whaleman’s chapel. Later, we’ll head into the cranberry bogs, traveling along quiet farm roads on the approach to “old Cape Cod.” We’ll finish the day with a fifteen-mile ride along the Cape Cod Canal to our home for the night.
Sagamore to Martha’s Vineyard, 42 miles. Turning south again we’ll ride along the Cape Cod Canal after crossing the Sagamore Bridge onto the Cape, proceeding southward to Falmouth and Woods Hole. More bike trails are in store for us today, along with a few short but very steep hills known as “sand rollers.” You should have plenty of time to explore the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, where guided walking tours are a great way to learn about its history and research. Later, we’ll hop aboard the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, looking forward to a two-night stay at an island hostel.
Layover at Martha’s Vineyard. You can ride gear-free today, making a forty-mile trip around Martha’s Vineyard. Or leave your bicycle behind and just hang out on the white sandy beaches of the Vineyard. Other options include riding to one or more of the Vineyard’s four lighthouses and sampling the amazing seafood in the island ports of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown.
Martha’s Vineyard to Brewster, 63 miles. Arriving back at the mainland on an early morning ferry, we’ll launch our longest riding day of the tour as we head inland along the Cape on the Shining Sea Bikeway toward our home for the evening, Nickerson State Park. The upper campsites at Nickerson are in a setting that feels more like the piney woods of the Carolinas than Cape Cod, where sand dunes and salt marshes are more often the norm. These woods slope down to a series of freshwater kettle ponds, which have no inlet streams––they’re entirely dependent on groundwater and precipitation, so their water level fluctuates seasonally. Today we’ll also ride for a ways on the Cape Cod Rail-Trail, with possible side trips to Hyannis or Yarmouth.
Brewster to North Truro, 35 miles. Continuing along the Cape Cod Rail Trail, we’ll visit the Cape Cod National Seashore’s information center and trio of lighthouses or the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, celebrating the history and science of 20th century radio communication. Our last night of camping will be along the outer Cape, a mere stone’s throw from the mighty Atlantic.
North Truro to Provincetown/Plymouth, 15 miles. We’ll wind down our Cape Cod trek with a quick jaunt up the bike path to Race Point Beach and onward into Provincetown, the first landing site of the Pilgrims before they continued on to Plymouth. We can spend the morning exploring the shops, restaurants, museums, eclectic architecture, and picturesque docks of Provincetown, before boarding the ferry back to Plymouth in the afternoon.
"All in all, it was a great first self contained trip."
2013 Tour Participant
"I enjoyed riding north on the west-side trail of the Cape Cod canal with the wind at my back, eating great meals every night, savoring the ride’s every moment, the perfectly sunny summer weather (book ended by the cool rainy days) and generally enjoying the hassle free companionship of the tour group."
2013 Tour Participant
"Loved seeing seals frolic in the ocean at Race Point, chatting with fishermen, riding the Chappy ferry and seeing "the bridge" and Provincetown action on Saturday afternoon."
2012 TOUR PARTICIPANT
"Camaraderie of the group was excellent; rapport of leaders with each other and with the group was outstanding."
2013 Tour Participant