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A Recommended Drive: Massachusetts

A Recommended Drive: Massachusetts
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by in Jul 2007

If you could survey the generations of Cape Cod visitors and draw a composite picture from their most lasting impressions, the result would almost certainly be a sketch of Route 6A, Old King’s Highway (named after the cart path that early settlers used to travel to and from Plymouth Colony).

This section of the Cape is iconic and timeless, a single 40-mile canvas of demure white clapboards and weathered cedar shingles. You can probably see it in your mind’s eye: the saltbox homes and sharp-steepled churches, the beaches lapped by placid surf, the vintage motel cottages, the ice-cream and fried seafood stands now run by the adult children of the original owners.

A good place to begin is the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. The unsurpassed collections of Americana housed here on 100 landscaped acres appropriately set the tone for the journey ahead. Continuing east, you pass so many signs for antiques and art galleries that you may suspect every resident sells things out of his or her garage. Around the halfway point, in Yarmouth Port, stop at the Edward Gorey House to browse the original artwork and personal effects of its famous and prolific namesake, whose darkly humorous illustrations are an antidote to everything sentimental.

Cape Cod Bay is largely invisible from the road except in glimpses across the occasional salt marsh, but if you take nearly any left-hand turn, you’ll find a beach. The best beaches are in the town of Dennis. For excellent panoramic views of the bay’s ever-changing light, visit Dennis’s Scargo Hill Observatory, a small stone observation platform built in 1902 on the area’s highest point of land (106 feet).

The penultimate town, Brewster, tempts weary travelers with numerous attractive bed-and-breakfasts, many of which were 19th-century sea captains’ homes. Before you know it, the arching boughs over the winding blacktop yield to bustling Orleans, where Old King’s Highway ends.

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Please Note: This article was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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5 Responses to A Recommended Drive: Massachusetts

  1. Marina Oliva August 20, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    You must add the drive from Orleans to Chatham via Rt. 28. It is as pretty as
    any part of Rt. 6A.

  2. Marina Oliva August 20, 2008 at 12:24 pm #

    You must add the drive from Orleans to Chatham via Rt. 28. It is as pretty as
    any part of Rt. 6A.

  3. suzanne corcoran October 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm #

    Oh please please please keep going up Route 6A! Route 6a in Brewster is just as quaint as can be. Starting with The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, the Brewster General Store and accompanying ice cream store, The Brewster Scoop, wacky Rear View Mirroe for cutting edge fashion with a sense of humor, The Strawberry Patch with it’s aborvite maze and train set outside for kiddos, Brewster Fish House voted by Boston Magazine as Cape Cod’s Best Restaurant 2010, the Brewster Bookstore which has a fantastic special kiddie section, Ocean Edge Resort with a Nicklaus Design Golf Course, 6 pools, tennis and kids programs. And access to the Cape Cod Bike and Rail Trail at many points so there is EASY on and off the bike trail. you can even bike to the Cape Cod Baseball LEague’s Whitecaps games.

  4. Brenda Sid January 15, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    I am currently back in Florida until the summer and I can honestly say that the foliage and scenery up there in Massachusetts and all of New England is far superior than down here in Hernando County, or any where else here!

  5. Debbie Comis March 14, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    We will be in Boston for a family wedding in late September 2013 and have a week to take a drive to see fall colours – can anyone recommend a route that would bring us back to Boston over the course of 7 days?

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