When scenic routes in Massachusetts are mentioned, Cape Cod naturally comes to mind. Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula extending into the Atlantic Ocean. It is noted for the Cape Cod National Seashore. The landscape is dotted with “kettle ponds”, created by the retreating ice-age glacier.
Old Cape Cod
Cape Cod is home to some of the earliest American settlements. Sandwich, Yarmouth and Barnstable were settled in the early 1600s. A visit to this area is to revisit early American History. The well-known Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is located at Falmouth. Probably the most-photographed Cape Cod features are its picturesque and nostalgic lighthouses. The Coast Guard still maintains many of them. These are still needed because of the Cape’s treacherous shoals.
Route 6A follows the more peaceful Cape Cod northern coast, winding though some of America’s oldest towns. It is near the ocean at all times. When you pass through Yarmouth Port, be sure to visit Hallet’s Store and Soda Fountain. It is an old drug store converted to an ice cream store, with the nostalgic soda fountain retained. This route is also a favorite of lovers of antique shops and bed and breakfasts. Route 6A is the quiet alternative to the more crowded southern shore.
Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the southern Cape Cod coast, is accessible only by water and air. Due to this fact, it is the called the largest actual island on the U.S. east coast. It is known as the summer home of many of America’s elite. The full-time population multiplies from 15,000 to 75,000 during the summer. The ferry trip is worth the wait.
Mohawk Trail: America’s First Designated Scenic Drive
In 1914, the newly established Mohawk Trail became the first scenic drive for the newly popular automobile. Beginning in tiny North Adams, it climbs a crazily-winding trail up Hoosac Mountain. Meandering along wooded mountain ridges, it reaches its destination of the Connecticut River Valley. The trail increasingly became a tourist attraction until the Massachusetts Turnpike was built, shortening the travel time.
Lately, the trail has been returning to popularity, partly due to the nostalgic value of the old lookout towers and tea houses. The trail has exceptional beauty during the fall foliage season in the Berkshire Mountains. Since the Mohawk Trail was built, other scenic routes in Massachusetts have been added.
Boston as a Scenic Drive
The City of Boston will be considered a scenic drive by many because of the multitude of historic sites. The Beacon Hill area dates from 1625. Although small, it contains a fabulous array of townhouses, antique shops and boutiques. Many visitors are amazed to find that Boston has its own Chinatown, established in the 1880s. In north Boston, you may view the Old North Church, where the lanterns were hung to be seen by Paul Revere, before his famous midnight ride to warn the patriots the British were coming.
World’s Oldest Floating Commissioned Naval Vessel
A must-see for tourists is the 213 year old USS Constitution. She has the honor of being the oldest commissioned naval vessel in the world that is still floating. She is a 3-masted frigate with a wooden hull.
Some picturesque New England farm country may be viewed southwest of Boston. The North Shore coast drive above Boston, is also very appealing.
After spending time on the scenic routes in Massachusetts, you will be very pleasantly surprised, vowing to return later for further exploration.