Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Oh yes, Cape Cod

Tuesday September 10, 2013
Site 5 Atlantic Oaks RV Park
Eastham, MA



I think I like Massachusetts


We’ve got a 209 mile trip to Cape Cod today.  I’m not looking forward to it.   Too many miles for me.  And too many I-95 tolls.  We have to stop twice in Maine over a total of only 38 miles and pay $14 in tolls.  GOOD GRIEF!   Then in New Hampshire we hardly blink and we’re through it but the cost is $5.   I’m wondering if all interstates are going to start charging everyone to drive on them.   Might speed up our desire to create mass transit.  Or not given the national love affair with the car.



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Tolls are up to $19 and then we get to Massachusetts where we drive the entire rest of the way without one toll.  PLUS they have windmills along their interstates.  What a great idea.  AND they have this sign all along their highways.  Seems like that should stop litter dead in its tracks wouldn’t you think?  Hope cigarette butts are considered litter.  
Massachusetts, I think I’m in love.



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It just gets better when we get to the Cape.

The no littering signs continue and all the way up Route 6 we do not see any stores we recognize other than corporate gas stations and one single small CVS drugstore.  The road goes through small towns with local businesses.  Just my kind of place.

We arrive at Atlantic Oaks RV Park early afternoon and find that someone is incorrectly parked in the site assigned to us.  The campground is very apologetic but they don’t have a phone number for the folks in our site.  So we put Winnona in another spot, hook up the electric and head out to the National Seashore Visitor Center less than half a mile down the road until the folks who will have to move return.   We later learn there are bike trails all over the Cape and an entrance to one is right at the Camp Ground.  We could have biked to the VC.  All the more to love.



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The Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor’s Center doesn’t disappoint either.

  Every National Park Service visitor center I’ve been to has been just wonderful.  I am in love with my National Parks too.  I don’t see how they can do all that they do on their ever being cut budget.  And it makes me furious that I cannot designate where I want my tax monies to go so that I can make sure they get a good share of it.

As usual they have way too many programs that we want to do for the short 5 days we are here.  There are multiple places to hike, multiple bike trails, ponds up on ponds and swamps and bogs and coves to paddle and 7 lighthouses to visit.   I definitely didn’t plan our return from New England trip correctly. 

There are several other places we want to see on the way back to Virginia where David has one of his big 3 month appointments in Charlottesville in early October.  Thus we can’t stay longer than 5 days here.   Hindsight tells me he should have made that appointment in Boston so I could hang out at the Cape for a month while he goes into Beantown.  :-)   That ole hindsight, always pointing out what I didn’t think of at the time.    Of course hanging out in the Cape for a month could well break the budget by a large margin since even in the “OFF” season it would be over $1200 to stay a month at the least expensive campground I could find.



This is an excellent Visitor Center which gives us a lot of information easily and in a short time.



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In the middle of the main room, the VC has a great map of the entire area.  We pour over it trying to get our bearings and reading the information about the area and its history which is all around the edge.





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I learn that in 8000 BC sea levels were 75 feet below current levels.  Much of Cape Cod was covered in oak and pitch pine forests.  6000 years BC the sea level rises and submerges Georges Banks once a massive off shore island that sheltered the cape. 


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Around that same time ancestors of the Native Wampanoag settled around Cape Cod’s marshes and kettle ponds.  I learn that by the early 1800’s Europeans outnumber the Wampanoag people on Cape Cod.  Europeans cut down the forests covering Cape Cod exposing the top soil and leading to some of the first environmental concerns as the sand starts blowing away.

I learn that virtually all of the lighthouses on the cape have been moved because the annual loss of shoreline is over three feet a year.  In one spot last year a ranger tells me thirty feet was lost in one big storm.  That isn’t a loss of “beach” per say but usually the sand dune cliffs are eroded away by the crashing waves of a storm.  They then collapse and are taken by the sea.    Some of the sand is redeposited in other areas of the cape and some is lost forever.



We spend a small amount of time in what looks like a very nice museum within the visitor center.


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  The information is historical and arranged in small groups of islands.  I am only able to do the first one about the original settlers of the Cape, the  Wampanoag people, before it’s time for dinner and hopefully to move Winnona into her spot.  If there is a rainy day in the next five, we’ll come back to see the rest. 

The Wampanoag People are descended from the original human settlers of this area.  Their name means People of the First Light.   The exhibit here was created with the help of members of the tribe.




The Wampanoag lived in  covered huts called Wetu.  They were covered with bark in the winter and with cattail mats for summer.  There is a wonderful huge picture of a winter wetu which I think may currently be at the Plymouth Plantation.   There is also a section of the wetu framework built into the exhibit along with  samples of the mats they wove and of woven containers for storing beans and rice and other foods.  I am just amazed at the variety of materials they use for weaving.  The wetu photograph, frame and the woven pieces have been done  by a local Wampanoag couple whose name I carelessly forgot to get.


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I find out that I know several Wampanoag words.   Remember these are the people who were living on the Cape when the Pilgrims landed in Provincetown before they sailed on to Plymouth. 

Pumpkin:  Pohpunkun meaning “grows forth round”
Moccasin:  Mahkus meaning “covers the whole foot”
Skunk:  Sukok (su-konk) meaning “ejects body fluid”
Moose:  M8s (moos)
Pow-Wow:  Pawaw (pa-waaw) meaning “he/she heals (someone)”

The visitor center is closing and we have to get back and hopefully move Winnona.  So we return to the campground.


Despite the mix up, Atlantic Oaks RV Park only has one real problem.


When we get there the site is ready.  So we move Winnona  and take a walk around the area after dinner.


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The campground fits in perfectly with its surroundings.  All its buildings are weathered gray cedar shakes.  The roads are sand.







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  The sites are also sand and forest floor.  There are nice trees, oak of course, shading everyone. 

As in most private parks, the sites are fairly close together but the trees, though young, help with that.  There are some permanent folks but their sites are well kept and in some cases very nicely landscaped.


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The park has pretty strict rules about quiet time from 10pm to 8am, the most restrictive I’ve ever seen but I like it.


I also love the 11pm campfire rule.  Hopefully no smoking campfires although private park RVers in general tend to be less likely to have campfires in my experience.  Those of us with breathing problems really do appreciate fewer campfires and having them put completely out.


Very nice and very clean showers and restrooms.

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They seem to recycle everything in Massachusetts and here at the campground as well.  There is a cute recycling building with a Cape Cod fisherman out in front.


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I like everything about it but the price.  $42 a night in the OFF season.  I’ve looked around at other campgrounds and haven’t found anything better.  There is Nickerson State Park south of here by 6 miles making it nearly 30 miles to Provincetown.  There, it’s $17 a night to boondock with 400 well probably 800 of your new closest friends and their children IF you can get a reservation.

So for now, this spot suits us just fine and we’ll be off to see more of the Cape tomorrow.  
If you want to come to Cape Cod be ready to pay the price or to boondock in the woods!

PS This National Seashore has no camping facility.


  1. Unfortunately, the Northeast is an expensive place to camp, always has been. It may sound strange, but being accustomed to these prices all our lives, it has been a pleasant surprise finding out that camping fees are lower in other areas of the country!Pre-camping days, many years ago, we spent Columbus day weekend on the Cape. It was just beautiful, and P-town was definitely interesting :-).

  2. Great information on cape cod, I spent a week there a very long time ago:) have only seen as I went by in ships since then:(

  3. Of course I'm biased, but I love NPS visitor centers. Ouch, that's a pricey RV park. But I'll bet you'll get your moneys worth.


  4. So glad you are having such a great time ...... Always wonderful on the Cape ........ Enjoy !!!

  5. Think you made a good choise...worth a few extra bucks to be in a nice place so close to where you want to be, especially since you just have a few days!! We stopped at the Cape many years ago, but were much farther away from P-town during the season. We only drove out ther once as the traffic was a nightmare. So we are looking forward to your adventure:o))

  6. we stayed at the canal going over to Cape Cod at the Scusset Beach State Reservation... perfect for our wants and needs...

  7. Marti is from MA and feels she escaped when we married. It has many wonderful sights to enjoy, but it is so expensive to live there. The locals call it "Tax-achusetts".

    I'm glad you've chosen the off season to visit, it's wall to wall people in the summer time.
    We have many good memories of our courting days there. :c)

  8. nice place...but yes very pricy for off season...sometimes these nice little places are worth the cost...enjoy

  9. Nice to see that MA is so environmentally conscious. I really like the convenience of that recycle building right in your campground. We've found very few campgrounds that recycle and, thus, have to go online to find the nearest recycle center.

  10. Really well done! I am really pleased to be in a place that is not covered with billboards, still has two lane roads and virtually no chain stores at all once you pass a certain point on the cape. Not sure I could take the traffic in season though.

  11. We love Massachusetts too. The expense, not so much. Will love your perspective!

  12. Massachusetts is one of those states that still remains white on our travel map. We have, however, both been there before via planes and taxis to Boston.

    It's heartening to see that Cape Cod remains pristine. I didn't know it was a National Park which makes me want to visit there even more.

  13. The Cape certainly is known for being expensive, but they can charge it. People still come. Glad the campground is so lovely :) Nice visitor's center-so much to learn! I love the word for pumpkin. Sounds like there is truly plenty to do there! Fun!


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