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Cape Cod received its name way back in 1602 from mariner Bartholomew Gosnold, who was sailing the New England Coast at the time. He took it upon himself to name sights encountered as he made his way down the coast. Ha! What power that man had! Hmmm... If he had named the peninsula Cape Genie Slipper, do you think that name would have stuck as well? It sorta looks like a genie slipper, at least that's what I've always thought.
Regardless of its name, early American history was made here. In November 1620, the Mayflower Pilgrims set foot upon the northern most shores of Cape Cod, which is now known as Provincetown, MA. They didn't stay long, however. Once they drew up the Mayflower Pact (rules of governance), they set sail due west in search of better digs, which they soon found and named Plymouth, MA.
It was only a matter of time before Cape Cod was fully settled. Drawing together folks from near and far, eventually the area's staple industries were in full swing; fishing, boat-building, salt-making, cranberry farming, and whaling. Commerce, however, wasn't the only draw to this 65-mile long peninsula. By the mid-19th century, wealthy families from both Boston and Providence frequently earmarked the peninsula as one of their favorite summer vacation destinations.
Did you know that Cape Cod is technically an island? Yes, it's true, a manmade canal cuts the peninsula from the mainland. Completed in 1914, Cape Cod Canal joins Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod Bay, providing an alternative waterway that effectively reduced the travel time between Boston and Providence or New York.
I'm within eyeshot of Cape Cod Canal right now. I can see the mouth of the canal as it feeds into Buzzards Bay. Come with me as I explore the 65-mile length of Cape Cod's peninsula.
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