Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard

Old Oct 21st, 2004, 03:26 PM
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Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard

My mother has asked me to plan a family outing in New England, and I don't know where to begin. She mentioned any of the above places. We'll want to stay somewhere nice, have plenty of options for shopping and dining, and some chance to enjoy the outdoors. From the very little that I know about each place, all seem equal. We're looking at keeping people entertained for about three days, including family members in their twenties on up through the grandparents. Any preferences that Fodorites can share would be appreciated. Favorite restaurants/shops/galleries/hotels would be great, also. I'm thinking mid to high price range for this trip.
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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 04:50 PM
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If you choose Cape Cod, the Red Jacket Beach Resort in South Yarmouth is centrally located with plenty of options for dining and shopping in nearby Hyannis and Chatham.

They are right on the beach, with indoor and outdoor pools, great breakfast & lunch restaurant and pub and there is plenty to do right at the resort for all ages.

We have had several family reunions there which were enjoyed by all.

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Old Oct 21st, 2004, 05:10 PM
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I think we need a bit more information....what time of year......Are the family members local to New England, or flying in from afar. Most important, what is it in New England that has captivated your Mom's imagination? (It was her idea, and a wonderful one ) but what does SHE want to do there? - enjoy the scenery, enjoy the history? Sightsee? Shop? New England has it all, but not all in the same spot. What type of lodging do you think would work best for your diverse clan? There are planty of us here who can help you plan a fabulous family excursion, just give us a few more parameters to work with.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for keeping me in line - I am the master of vague questioning. The trip will be next summer. My mother is one who appreciates nature without actually being outdoorsy - that is to say, she walks but doesn't hike, she enjoys a view but doesn't mind appreciating it through a window. I think what she loves about New England is the simple, quiet beauty of it - the picturesque small towns and gorgeous natural settings, particularly on the coast. There will be people from the north, south, east and west coming to this, assuming that everyone attends. We'd like a hotel with easy access to the local sights/attractions, preferably walking distance, and most likely close to the water. Some of the older relatives don't like to explore as much, so a place with some internal amenities would be great, too - a library, fireside lounge, spa, etc.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2004, 10:39 AM
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I'm going to change my Cape Cod reccomendation to the Chatham Bars Inn, since it's only a short walk to the center of Chatham Village and certainly has a georgeous natural setting, right on the ocean.

The older relatives will love the Main Inn with it's sweeping view of the water. CBI will be in the high-price range but well worth it.
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Old Oct 28th, 2004, 05:04 PM
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If you can swing the high prices, the Chatham Bars is the place. My mother is similar to yours regarding liking nature but not needing to be gungho about it. Chatham has shopping, dining, beautiful views. And it's about 1 1/2 hour from Boston's Logan Airport (Providence is another and sometimes cheaper option). I think Chatham is a better choice than Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard as I find those spots harder to deal with/entertain people in bad weather. But the MV/Nantucket people will tell me I'm wrong.

Sounds like fun!
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Old Oct 28th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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I would consider driving over to Wood's Hole, taking the ferry to Martha's and staying in Vineyard Haven. Dining, shopping, reading a novel, etc. cannot be beaten. Each township has a slightly different feel for a good dose of variety - and you're sure to please the wide range of ages in attendance.

Fishing out by Noman's Isle... watching the Navy jets and their bomb practice there.

Get yourself a few CoffeemugTshirtLawnchairBaseballcaps with a black lab on it. Makes for great Hannukah/Kwanza/Christmas/Festivus gifts.

Stop in to the Chappaquiddick Driving School and get an autographed martini glass.

That whole "Kennedy compound" and "The first Jaws movie was filmed here" thing are such an empty promise.

Dodging the kids on mopeds being blown across lanes in high winds is the only "bad weather" experience I can imagine...
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Old Oct 28th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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Hi Amelie,
If you have guests arriving from all over the US then I would suggest one of the islands over Cape Cod. My apologies to all of the Cape lovers in advance but our relatives from the Mid-west and West coast were shocked by the appearance of Cape Cod and found it to look "strip-mallish" and "tacky" (Yes, they visited several different areas of the Cape and I really do apologize for offending anyone but it is just an honest recitation of their statements and feelings). They vastly preferred the Vineyard and Nantucket.
Nantucket is gorgeous and charming - exactly what you (or your mother) envision when you think of an East Coast Whaling Island from the moment you step off of the ferry with cobblestone streets and gorgeous homes but smaller and pricier than the Vineyard. However, IMO still plenty to do for three days on Nantucket.
The Vineyard is larger than Nantucket and each city on the island offers a unique and (as a previous poster mentioned) distinctly different character from the other. Lots of easy nature hikes and bike trails, tons to do for all ages including various types of beaches from super wavy to shallow and calm. Accomodation and dining pricing is typically higher than the Cape as well but less than Nantucket. An unbelievable and endless choice of dining options from gourmet to casual, good shopping, and enough activity choices to keep you occupied for a month!
Hope this helps a little.
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Old Oct 28th, 2004, 08:25 PM
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Been all over the area...I vote for Edgartown Martha's Vineyard. I spent a week on the island this past year, as well as a couple of days on Nantucket, and seasonally visit Chatham. With Edgartown, you have a very quaint beautiful area with easier access beaches and the ferry to Chappy, which is really our favorite part of the island and where you should drive or bike to explore, while the others relax in town. Great restaurants...if you can bring a car or two, only the better to explore, the different flavours of this island. But if you don't Edgartown and public transportation will work just fine. Chatham is lovely, just not my first choice!
 
Old Oct 29th, 2004, 03:42 AM
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I vote for Nantucket.

I think it's the most "quaint" typical New England of the three, and it's also the most compact, which makes getting around easy.

There are tons of shops and restaurants, museums, libraries, nature tours, island tours by van, movie theatres (2) to keep everyone busy.

You might want to check out Harbor House Inn - link below. Newly remodeled, great for families, and is centrally located but not right in town so it's not noisy. I've also included link for all of Nantucket - shops, restaurants, accomodations.

http://www.harborhousevillage.com/
http://www.nantucket.net

You'll find Nantucket the priciest of the 3, but I think the experience is worth it.
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Old Oct 29th, 2004, 03:45 AM
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Returned too fast.

Forgot to mention there also lots of great bike trails.

Here's another link that gives an overview of Nantucket:
http://www.harborhousevillage.com/experience/
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Old Nov 19th, 2004, 12:58 PM
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I'm from the Cape and live in a very nice area. I agree we have some parts that are just okay and because of that make the two islands look better, but for a few days you just can't beat Chatham.
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Old Nov 19th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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I just returned from Cape Cod, Marthas Vineyard, Newport, and the Connecticut coast. My favorite places in order of preference were:
#1 Essex, Connecticut
Extremely charming; Stay at the Griswold Inn. It's been rated the most charming small town in America and now I understand why! Be sure to drive around Mystic and Stonington, CT which are close by. All three places in the Fall are idyllic!
#2 Newport, Rhode Island
Welcome to Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. The cliffwalk is stunning. The Breakers and Marble House tours were outstanding. The drive along Ocean Drive is very memorable.
#3 Chatham, MA
Very charming. The Chatham Bars Inn is the best hotel in Cape Cod.
#4 Edgartown on Marthas Vineyard.
MV was somewhat disappointing. I recommend the Upper/Middle Cape above MV. In Edgartown, we stayed at the Two Harbors Inn. Very impressive from the street...outstanding view... but the rooms are similar to Hampton Inn. Edgartown is the most upscale town on Cape Cod BY FAR. If you go to MV, be sure to drive to Gay Head. However, the drive along Hwy 6A from Sandwich to Chatham is more scenic. In Upper Cape Cod, I highly recommend Sandwich & Woods Hole.
Avoid Provincetown unless you're gay or enjoy people-watching. If you're "straight", YOU'LL be the freak!
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Old Dec 21st, 2004, 12:28 AM
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I'd recommend MV or Nantucket - they are cuter and don't have the "strip mall" thing that has taken over much of the cape. But Chatham would certainly also be nice.

And I would NOT avoid Provincetown, unless you are extraordinarily uptight and/or nervous.
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