In My Footsteps
Trip 11: Eastham, Mass.
January 26, 2010
It is the gateway to the Outer Cape. Once you pass through the Orleans Rotary into Eastham it is as if you have traveled to a different place and time. Except for very sparse clusters of shops and restaurants along Route 6 the remainder of Cape Cod up to Race Point in Provincetown is nearly unchanged from the 19th Century. It is out here that the true soul of Cape Cod can still be felt. Eastham is only the first stop through the Outer Cape, but like the other towns it has many amazing sights that need to be discovered.
There are actually three more lighthouses located only a third of a mile away on Cable Road. The ‘Three Sisters’ lighthouses can easily be missed by travelers as they are not located on the shores of Cape Cod, but instead they sit spaced out across an open field. Their story is possibly the most amazing of all of the Cape lighthouses but it also the least known.
Nauset Light Beach, as well as most beaches up and down the National Seashore area of Cape Cod, showcase the biggest waves and are hot spots for surfers at all time of year. During this trip there were several surfers out on the waters near Coast Guard Beach located at the other end of Ocean View Drive from Nauset Light. The Outer Cape in general due to the rough seas has claimed more than 3,000 vessels in 400 years. It was this fact that led to the founding of the Massachusetts Humane Society which set up nine stations along the eastern coast of Cape Cod. They would be there to rescue and assist any ships in need. There is a set of trails that lead from Coast Guard Beach to Nauset Marsh. The boardwalk area is great for bird watching and photography.
Though it is considered the gateway to the National Seashore by many, Eastham is a prime spot for nature and history. Rather than just passing through on your way to the Seashore or to Provincetown make it a point to check out the places mentioned here as well as many of the other gems hidden around this 350-year old village. Have fun and happy traveling!
Directions: Fort Hill & Penniman House: Follow Rt. 6 north, there is a sign for Fort Hill. Bear right, the Penniman House is on the right, the Fort Hill overlook is straight ahead.
First Encounter Beach: Follow Rt. 6 north for just over 2 miles after Orleans Rotary. Turn right at sign for First Encounter Beach at Samoset Rd. Follow the road to the beach.
Nauset Light: Follow Rt. 6 north 2.75 miles, bear right onto Nauset Rd. Keep straight, road turns into Doane Rd., turn left onto Ocean View Rd. Follow it to the end. Nauset Light should be visible, Nauset Light Beach parking lot is on the right. The Three Sisters Lighthouses are a 1/3mi. walk down Cable Rd.
Coast Guard Beach: From Nauset Light Beach follow Ocean View Dr. back south.
References: Cape Cod Travel - Eastham
The Three Sisters Lighthouses
Nauset Light Preservation Society