I remember my grandparents going to Cape Cod every year. I’m not sure if they went for Christmas or not, but since it was a popular destination for them, it holds a warm place in my heart.
Cape Cod is a region in the New England state of Massachusetts. It includes the towns of Bourne, Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, Dennis, Brewster, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown.
The region has a great boating culture. Its quaint architecture and vibrant sense of community makes it a popular holiday destination. Here are some things you should be doing when you come to visit.
Visit the Pilgrim Monument
As a region in Massachusetts, you can bet that Cape Cod has its share of early American culture. The Pilgrim Monument is a 252 foot granite structure that commemorates the first landing of the Mayflower, when the Pilgrims first came to the country in 1621. Visitors can climb to the top of the structure to enjoy panoramic views of Provincetown Harbor, Cape Cod Bay, Cape Cod National Seashore and the Town of Provincetown.
The climb is especially rewarding at Christmastime when the structure is illuminated with Christmas lights.
While visiting the monument, be sure to stop in at the Provincetown Museum which features exhibits on Pilgrims, the building of the monument, maritime history, the history of American theater and artifacts including paintings and furniture.
Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums and Gardens
Heritage Museums and Gardens is a great place to visit year round. The site holds three museums housing folk art, classic automobiles, historical artifacts, a vintage carousel and traveling exhibitions. They are located on 100 acres of specialty gardens with lovely water features and sculptures.
During the holiday season, the gardens light up for the Gardens Aglow event. In addition to checking out the lovely light displays, guests can roast marshmallows on a fire pit, participate in a reindeer scavenger hunt and enjoy the McGraw Family Garden of the Senses which features a model train display.
Festive treats and hot drinks will be available and Santa will be meeting with children. There will be games, music and more.
Sandwich Glassblower’s Museum Glassblower’s Christmas
Who would have thought there could be an entire museum devoted to glassblowers? Well, if you visit Sandwich, MA in Cape Cod, that’s exactly what you’ll find.
At Christmastime, the museum hosts a special exhibition where the hand-blæst glas of local artists are displayed on Christmas trees. You can even buy one to take home to your family.
A tour of the museum itself requires separate admission and is another must -do activity for visitors.
The Polar Express on Cape Cod Central Railroad
The Polar Express is a movie every child loves to see at Christmastime. It’s even more exciting when they see it on a train with actors reenacting the scene.
For this reenactment, families board the Cape Cod Central Railroad where they listen to the movie soundtrack as well as the book reading by Chris Van Allsburg. Santa and his elves board the train and give the children gifts. Other characters from the movie are on board as well.
Hot chocolate and seasonal treats are served and each child leaves with a souvenir sleigh bell and gold ticket.
Cape Cod Enchanted Village at Cape Codder Resort and Spa
Every year, the Cape Codder Resort and Spa transforms into Santa’s Village which includes a display of thousands of lights, snowmen, a firepit, a tabletop version of the landsby with electric model train, collectible houses and villagers. The event is free and open to the public.
Guests are encouraged to bring a gift or donation for the Independence House in Hyannis.
Holidays at Highfield Hall
Highfield Hall & Gardens is a historic estate and event center that features lovely architecture and impressive gardens. At holiday time, it transforms into a winter wonderland combining old school charm and contemporary elements. Sculptures, fairy houses and woodland vignettes rare on display and the gift shop is open for those looking to do some holiday shopping.
Falmouth Christmas Home for the Holidays Parade
This annual tradition is one that attracts crowds each year. It typically takes place on the second weekend of December.
The event kicks off on Friday evening with caroling at the Nobska Lighthouse.
The next day, Saturday, is full of activities. Santa will be on hand to meet and take pictures with children. Then warm up by participating in the Jingle Jog 5K and Kids Elf Run.
A holiday stroll follows allowing guests to walk up and down the decorated streets and check out the many shops selling local goods. The festivities of the day come to a close with the lighting of the Village Green.
The parade itself commences on Sunday. It takes off at Dillingham Ave. at noon and continues down Main Street to the Village Green. It includes decorated floats, marching bands, live animals, costumed characters and, of course, Santa Claus himself.
Cape Cod is a great place to pick up local goods and sea inspired trinkets. It is full of bookstores, art galleries, coffee shops and boutiques. Check out the main streets and side alleys to find hidden treasures that will be perfect for taking home to family and friends.
Take in a Show
Cape Cod has a vibrant arts community and several venues that typically host holiday shows around Christmas time. Be sure to check out White Christmas at the Falmouth Theater, Scrooge at the Cotuit Center for the Arts or the Holiday Pops Concert performed by the Cape Symphony. These are all traditions your family will never forget.
Cape Cod’s New England charm makes it the perfect place to celebrate the holiday season. What will you be doing when you visit?