fbpx vie magazine subscribe button

The Siren Song of Cape Cod

By Tori Phelps | Photography courtesy of Massachusetts Travel & Tourism

Boston’s skyscrapers will scarcely fade from view before Cape Cod begins to weave its spell. Just an hour from the bustling city, you’ll be greeted by the intoxicating scent of sea air and weathered cedar shingles that induce a soul-deep tranquility.

If you doubt me, you’ve never been. Thanks to a lifetime of summers roaming the Cape and its islands, I can attest that the magic is real—and impossible to resist.

Cape Cod isn’t actually a single place, but a collection of towns scattered across a peninsula jutting into the Atlantic. As the Kennedys’ famous Hyannis Port compound attests, it has traditionally served as an escape for the Boston elite. But today, the Cape is a glorious mixture of high-end appeal and low-rent fun—all focused on the water.

It’s tempting to work your way through a long list of “musts” while visiting. Try to resist the urge. While away a day on the beaches at Cape Cod National Seashore, perhaps with a tour of Nauset Light (the lighthouse immortalized on bags of Cape Cod Potato Chips) thrown in. Spend another day doing nothing more than hitting up roadside clam shacks for quahogs (that’s “co-hogs”). The key to fully experiencing the magic is to let your body fall into Cape time, where the tides keep track of the hours for you.

Just don’t get so relaxed that you miss Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

The two islands, located seven and thirty miles, respectively, off the coast of Cape Cod, are unique. But they have plenty in common. Their most notable similarity is a feeling that you’ve stepped into a watercolor painting before you even hit land. Whether it’s the gingerbread cottages on Martha’s Vineyard or the cranberry bogs on Nantucket, the scenery is nothing short of artwork come to life.

The key to fully experiencing the magic is to let your body fall into Cape time, where the tides keep track of the hours for you.

Maybe that’s because both are well removed from the mainland. True islands, they require you to cross water—not a bridge—to get to them. And thorough conservation has ensured the islands are bastions of natural beauty, with much of their acreages remaining untouched. It’s no wonder creatives have always been drawn to them; there’s certainly no shortage of inspiration there, and artists swear that the light, especially in fall, is otherworldly.

Not surprisingly, galleries and studios abound, though the islands have much more to offer. Nantucket boasts eighty miles of beaches famed for their beauty, a boutique-lined Main Street, and outdoor activities for every passion.

As for the pleasures of Martha’s Vineyard, I’ve found no end yet. I confess that it’s my favorite of the three destinations, and it appears I’m in good company. You’re unlikely to go an entire trip without spying a celebrity browsing the shops or a sitting president grabbing an ice cream at Mad Martha’s. (The black raspberry might change your life; don’t say I didn’t warn you.) From a ride on the Flying Horses—a national landmark that doubles as America’s oldest platform carousel—to a slice of blackout cake at the iconic Black Dog café, the Vineyard’s unpretentious charm is addictive.

Take it from someone whose collection of Black Dog mugs is seriously out of control.

— V —

Read Responsibly

VIE Magazine - The Art & Design Issue November 2021
VIE Magazine January 2021 Special Commemorative Edition
VIE Magazine September 2020 Wanderlust Issue, Fancy Camps, The Idea Boutique
VIE Magazine August 2020 Art & Culture Issue, Nathan Alan Yoakum Art
VIE Magazine - Architecture & Design Issue - July 2020
VIE Magazine - Decor and Home Issue - June 2020
VIE Magazine May 2020 Entertainment Issue, Leslie Odom Jr
VIE Magazine - April 2020 Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine March 2020 The Fashion Edit, VONDOM, Alys Beach Fl, Digital Graffiti, Tres Chic, isidro dunbar Modern Interiors, Digital Graffiti Festival
VIE Magazine February 2020 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Travel Issue - January 2020 - Tanzania Safari Cover
VIE Magazine - Women's Issue - December 2019 - Tina Brown Cover
VIE NOV19 Goodness Issue
VIE Magazine, September 2019 Art & Culture Issue, Paul Hanninen
VIE Magazine - August 2019 - The Architecture and Design Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2019 - The Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - June 2019 - Fashion Edit
VIE Magazine - May 2019 - Culinary Issue
VIE Magazine - April 2019 - The Health & Wellness Issue
VIE Magazine - Special Entertainment Edition - March 2019
VIE Magazine February 2019 Luxury Homes & Technology Issue with Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted
VIE Magazine - January 2019 - Southern Sophisticate Issue Cover
VIE Magazine - Special Anniversary Travel Edition - December 2018
VIE Magazine - The Goodness Issue - November 2018
VIE Magazine - The Art & Culture Issue - October 2018
VIE Magazine - Home & Garden Issue - September 2018
VIE Magazine - August 2018 Animal Issue
VIE Magazine - July 2018 Architecture & Design Issue - Subscribe to the magazine!
VIE Magazine - June 2018 Travel & Tech Issue
VIE Magazine - May 2018 Couture Issue
VIE Magazine - The Culinary Issue - April 2018 Cover - Chef James Briscione and Brooke Parkhurst
VIE Magazine - The Entertainers Issue - March 2018
VIE Magazine - February 2018 Destination Travel Issue
VIE Magazine - January 2018 Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine, The Sophisticate Issue, December 2017
VIE Magazine - November 2017 Art & Culture Issue
VIE Magazine - October 2017 Home & Garden Issue
VIE Magazine | September 2017 | The Stories and Storytellers Issue
VIE Magazine - The Adventure Issue - August 2017
VIE Magazine - July 2017 - Art & Artist Issue
VIE Magazine - The Voyager Issue - June 2017
VIE magazine 2017 March-April Cover South Walton Fashion Week
VIE Magazine - January/February 2017 - The Health & Beauty Issue
VIE Magazine - Nov/Dec 2016 The Sophisticate Issue
christian siriano vie magazine september october 2016 vie magazine
the modern minimalist issue
the culinary and couture issue march april 2016 vie magazine
the voyager issue alys beach vie magazine january february 2016
cultural issue vie magazine november december 2015
home and garden issue vie magazine september october 2015
the art and style issue vie magazine july august 2015
the wedding issue 2015 May June vie magazine
the food and fashion issue vie magazine march april 2015
the travel issue vie magazine january february 2015
the music issue vie magazine 2014 november december
The Animal Issue vie magazine september october 2014
the home and garden issue vie magazine july august 2014
the wedding issue vie magazine may june 2014
emeril lagasse food and fashion vie magazine
the men's issue january february 2014
the music issue november december 2013 vie magazine
the home and garden issue 2013 october september
the wedding issue vie magazine july august 2013
the artist issue may june 2013 vie magazine
the food and fashion issue march april 2013
the men's issue january february 2013 vie magazine
The Holiday Issue
the love issue july august 2012
the all american summer may june 2012
the entertainment issue march april 2012
the fashion issue vie magazine winter 2011
the home and garden issue vie magazine fall 2011
the anniversary edition vie magazine summer 2011
the wedding issue vie magazine spring 2011
vie magazine the holiday issue 2010 Dec
vintage swimsuits vie magazine 2010 Fall
judith march designer vie magazine summer 2010
wedding giveaway vie magazine spring 2010
holiday gift guide vie magazine winter 2009
emarketing explosion vie magazine fall 2009
tribute to mother's day vie magazine summer 2009
james and robert redford vie magazine spring 2009
zz top vie magazine fall winter 2008
project dreams vie magazine new york fashion week
Sign-up for VIEmail

Sign up for VIEmail