CAPE COD-activities

There is alot to do for both adults and children on Cape Cod. Families spend hours on the beaches. They seem to be more crowded earlier in the day with families and the later afternoons appear to be more popular with adults not accompanied by children. The public beaches prohibit alcohol but there are private beaches at the end of many streets where the people living/renting on the street go and bring coolers full of whatever they want. Some of the most beautiful beaches are located along the National Seashore in the outer Cape.
There are several breweries to tour and also a vineyard located in Truro if you enjoy wine. Museums, historical homes, playhouses, lighthouses, gardens, art galleries, whale watching, fishing, motorized and non-motorized water sports are just some things to keep you busy. There is even a drive in movie theater located on the outer cape. The Cape Cod baseball league hosts some of the best up and coming players.
There are walking and bike paths to enjoy. A few popular bike paths are the Cape Cod Canal path. You can enter at the Sandwich marina or Buzzards Bay Recreation Center. The path is located by the Sagamore bridge and runs along the canal heading up to the Bourne bridge. Another is the Cape Cod rail trail that runs from Dennisport to Wellfleet along an old railroad track. This trail is in the process of expanding toward Yarmouth. Race point beach has a bike path that runs through the sand dunes along the beach. The path isn’t very long but it is hilly and there isn’t much shade. The views are fantastic and there is a visitor center where you can park for free. Be sure to bring your own water and snacks.
If you have a chance to visit the Cape, the most cost effective thing to do is rent a home for the week. Beach parking is about $20-$25 per day. it is cheaper to buy a weekly pass or walk if possible. Most rental homes have grilles so you can bbq at home. Book early because many homes book in January for the upcoming season.


CAPE COD- getting oriented

Cape Cod is a popular vacation spot during the summer months located about 90 minutes away from Boston. It is broken down into several parts referred to as the upper cape, mid cape, lower cape and outer cape. The upper cape consists of Falmouth, Bourne, Sandwich and Mashpee. Mid cape consists of Barnstable, Hyannis, Yarmouth and Dennis. Lower Cape consists of Harwich, Brewster, Chatham and Orleans. The outer cape consists of Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown. Marthas Vineyard and Nantucket are 2 islands located off the coast of Cape Cod and can be accessed by boat or air.
Memorial Day week-end seems to start the season off but things really get busy when the students begin summer break. The heavy crowds die down around Labor Day weekend when the kids go back to school. September is still a nice month to visit because the weather is warm but the traffic and lines thin out. You can try restaurants that were difficult to get reservations in over the summer. Some restaurants run specials to bring in customers so you can benefit from that. Also, nobody is collecting for parking at the town beaches so you can try out new places without paying fees. Rental homes and hotels are cheaper after Labor Day also. Things seem to wrap up for the season Columbus Day week-end with some hotels, restaurants and activities closing for the season.


Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, is located in Nashville, about a 20 minute drive from downtown. The property itself is massive and the entryway into the mansion is impressive. The first part of the tour is a movie presentation orienting you to the life of Jackson and explaining what was going on at the time. After the movie, you walk through a museum area on your way to the mansion.
An interesting piece of information about Jackson is that he married a woman named Rachel Donalsen when he was a young man. The problem is that she was already married to a man named Lewis Robards. They were living separately but were not formally divorced. Donalsen and Jackson married low key in Natchez but the marriage was not actually legal because the first marriage was not yet dissolved.
She was eventually granted a divorce and was then able to marry Jackson legally. Jackson did not realize at the time that this would be used against him by his political enemies. Donalsen never moved into The White House. She died shortly after Jackson was elected President. He thought the stress associated with her name being dragged through the mud during the campaign contributed to her death.
The actual mansion is the next part of the tour. The tour guides are dressed in period costumes and are very knowledgeable about family history, history of the time period and details of the property. There are smaller buidings outside the main home to tour. They include the original smaller home and slave quarters. You are free to tour the remainder of the property on your own.
Give yourself about 3 hours to tour. The cost is about $18. There is a snack bar on the property and a nice picnic area. It can get crowded on the week-end so go during the week if possible.



Carnton is a historic plantation house and museum located in Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee about an hour away from downtown Nashville. It was built in 1826 by former Nashville Mayor Randal MacGavock. A much larger and more ornate home was built beside it where John and Carrie MacGavock lived during the Civil War. The home and family played an important role during and after the Battle of Franklin which began on 11/30/1864.

According to the tour guides at Carnton, Carrie MacGavock woke to look out her window and find several Union cannons located across the field pointing in the direction of the family home. Union troops were setting up at a neighboring plantation and readying for battle against the Confederate Army. Up until that time, it was normal to see the move of soldiers but no trouble had occurred nearby. That was about to change. The family was informed that a large scale battle was about to occur at the site and the home was going to be used as a Confederate field hospital.

The family really didn’t have any choice in the matter. They quickly gathered up a few things and moved themselves into the original home that was located next to the newer one. Injured bodies began to arrive as the battle continued. Surgeons performed operations in the bedrooms of the second floor. The wounded filled both the inside and outside of the property. When the battle was over, it is estimated that about 10,000 were wounded, killed, or missing in total counting both sides.

The family did everything they could to help in the effort. The medical team moved on with the soldiers in a few days after the battle, leaving the MacGavock family to care for the wounded. The last soldier left the home about six months after the battle occurred. The family donated land so that soldiers could be buried properly. There is a cemetery on the property where over 1,000 Confederate soldiers are buried.

This is a great place to visit. Give yourself about 3 hours to tour. Cost is about $18 to see the museum, have a guided tour of the home, walk through the cemetery and view the battlefield. The book “Widow of the South” was based upon the events that took place at Carnton.


If you are a Country music fan, Nashville is a great place to visit. Even if you don’t enjoy Country music, can’t imagine that you still wouldn’t enjoy Nashville and the surrounding area as there is alot to do that doesn’t involve music. Broadway is the main street that runs along downtown Nashville. The street is lined with restaurants, bars and stores. Many bartenders and performers work off tips so be mindful of that when you patronize the bars.
The bars are fantastic but 3 really stood out. The Wildhorse Saloon is a favorite. It is located just off Broadway on 120 2nd Ave. It’s a massive place with live music that changes every couple of hours. They offer free line dancing lessons and the floor is packed. The $6 cover charge is well worth it.
Tootsies is another favorite. It is a multi-level bar located on Broadway in the middle of the action. It is very close to both the Ryman auditorium and Bridgestone arena and performers have been known to drop by after concerts for a beverage. The roof top bar is great if you get good weather. Try to get a table that overlooks Broadway. Lots to see from that vantage point. This bar seems to be crowded all day and evening.
Third favorite bar is Nudies also located along Broadway diagonally across from Tootsies. Nudie designed performance costumes/clothing for popular country music stars like johnny Cash. The bar is decorated with many of the costumes Nudie designed and actually has a convertible hanging vertically behind the stage. The bar is alot of fun with engaging performers who get people involved in the show.
Pedal bar tours are popular and can be seen and heard driving along the main streets. They stop at various locations for patrons to spend time at a few bars. The tour lasts about 2 hours. Nissan stadium is located on the east bank of the Cumberland River directly across from downtown. Its an easy walk over the bridge to travel between Broadway and the stadium. It hosts the Tennessee titans. The Bridgestone arena is located on Broadway and hosts the Nashville Predators. The arena is also used for concerts, gymnastic and figure skating competitions as well as religious gatherings.
Lastly, make some time to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. It is located just off Broadway and costs about $25. Give yourself about 3 hours to tour. The museum chronicles country music for about the last 100 years and there are displays of memorabilia from both the early days and current performers. There is something for everyone to enjoy.