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Things to do on the Cape & Islands in the spring

Jennie Sparrow | 4/6/2018

Winter is ending, and evidence of spring’s onset can be found daily: flowers are blooming, peepers are peeping, and warm breezes are blowing. Spend a long weekend on the Cape or Islands during this early off-season, and you’ll be surprised at how much there is to do! Many homes and condos are available for long weekends off-season, prices are very reasonable, and crowds are non-existent. (And while you’re here, scout out next summer’s rental!)

CAPE COD

Glass Blowing demonstration
Fascinating process of glass blowing
  • The Sandwich Glass Museum Sandwich: Come learn about Sandwich town history and the unique contribution of the glass industry to the local community, the region, the nation, and the world. The Museum is open daily April 1 – December 30 from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. In order to see everything the Museum has to offer, plan to arrive no later than 3:30 p.m.
  • Cape Cod Museum of Natural History Brewster: Experience exhibits on local natural history and archeology, including an outdoor butterfly house and conservation land with walking trails. Please check museum hours before to plan your visit
  • John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum Hyannis: The Museum is a multimedia exhibit designed to open a window on the days JFK spent on Cape Cod, celebrating his legacy and the special ties he shared with the Cape Cod community. Reopens daily on April 14th, 2018, before closing for the season on November 27.
  • Cape Cod Children’s Museum Mashpee: Take your children on an interactive adventure where they can climb, make-believe, and touch to their hearts’ content. Open year-round, but check website for winter hours.
  • Woods Hole Science Aquarium Woods Hole: Visit the country’s oldest marine aquarium. Open year-round, Tuesday – Saturday.
  • Thornton W. Burgess Society, Green Briar Nature Center East Sandwich Game Farm and Green Briar Jam Kitchen: The Thornton W. Burgess is a non-profit educational organization founded in 1976 to carry on the pioneering conservation work of author/naturalist Thornton W. Burgess, of Peter Rabbit fame. The Society operates three facilities: The Thornton W. Burgess Museum on the shores of Shawme Pond in Sandwich village, the Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen in East Sandwich, and the East Sandwich Game Farm.
  • Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tour Hyannis: The public’s love of the unique potato chips inspired the owners to open their factory doors for tours in 1985. Since then, the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tour, offered weekdays 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., has become the area’s largest tourist attraction, hosting over 250,000 visitors annually.
  • Cape Cod Winery E. Falmouth: Open weekends starting May 1, the boutique winery and 10-acre vineyard in Falmouth offers wine tastings and a charming gift shop.
  • Whydah Pirate Museum Yarmouth: Experience Cape Cod’s newest interactive science museum featuring real pirates and real treasures! A must-see attraction for all ages where you will touch and see the world’s only authenticated pirate treasure. April hours: Tuesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., last entry at 4 p.m.
  • Sandwich Heritage Museum Sandwich: Visit the largest public garden in Southern New England. Don’t miss the Rhododendron Festival happening May 26 – June 3, 2018! Opening for the season on April 14, 2018, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary Wellfleet: Extensive trails bring you to a panoramic salt marsh, sandy barrier beach, and pine woodlands, each attracting a wide array of wildlife. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., closed Mondays. Trails are open daily, 8:00 a.m. – dusk.
  • Truro Vineyards Truro: Perched between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay, Truro Vineyards is a family business owned and operated by the Roberts family since 2007. Friday-Monday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Sunday 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.) Tastings from a half hour after open until 4:30 p.m. each day.
  • The colorful grounds of Truro Vineyards

NANTUCKET

  • Nantucket Shipwreck & Lifesaving Museum, 4 Winter St in Town : Open daily Memorial Day through Columbus Day, the Museum also includes admission to Egan Maritime Institute exhibitions in the historic Coffin School.
  • Nantucket Whaling Museum : Built on the original candleworks factory site, featured exhibits include the restored 1847 candle factory, expanded top-quality exhibition space, and the forty-six foot skeleton of a sperm whale. Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Learn local history at the Nantucket Whaling Museum
  • Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum : Dedicated to preserving Nantucket’s rich history of basket making as an art form. Museum is open May 26th – October 7th: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD

  • Martha’s Vineyard Museum Edgartown: Open year-round, the Museum is a terrific resource of the history and culture of the Island and its environs.
  • The Edgartown Lighthouse Edgartown: Tour the Edgartown Lighthouse from May 24 – June 15, weekends only.
  • See some wonderful views at Edgartown Lighthouse
  • Aquinnah Cultural Center Aquinnah: Learn more about the history and culture of the Wampanoag Tribe on the Vineyard.
  • African American Heritage Trail Oak Bluffs : Explore the Island’s African American history with a 4-hour tour, or join the 1-hour tour of the Oak Bluffs sites.
  • MV Sightseeing Tours Oak Bluffs: Offering bus tours of the six island towns to provide a great overview of the Vineyard.
  • Vineyard Guides : Vineyard Guides services are available seven days a week, in season and off season, at an hourly rate. One of their “step on” guides can help you explore the island by motor coach or in your own car.
  • Polly Hill Arboretum West Tisbury: A horticultural and botanical landmark developed by the legendary horticulturist, Polly Hill, who bought 20 acres on the Island under cultivation while preserving 40 additional acres as native woodland. Their Quest is a fun way for a family to tour the Arboretum and learn about their trees.
  • MV Land Bank: Land bank properties are, except during the hunting season, open daily to the general public from sunrise to sundown. Guided walks conducted by the Land Bank’s scientific and management staff are scheduled regularly in the off-season. The Land Bank also sponsors a day-long cross-island hike on National Trails Day, which is the first Saturday in June.
  • Sheriff's Meadow: A Martha’s Vineyard Land Trust, the Foundation has conserved over 2,600 acres on the Island and welcomes you to enjoy their sanctuaries with self-guided nature walks, visitor kiosks with maps, and new and expanded trails.
  • Felix Neck Edgartown: Explore Felix Neck’s four miles of trails, which provide spectacular views of the surrounding woodlands, meadows, ponds, salt marsh, and barrier beach. Also, visit their year-round Nature Center and Discovery Room.
  • Flying Horses Carousel Oak Bluffs: Located right at the bottom of Circuit Avenue in the heart of Oak Bluffs and recently restored, the Flying Horses is the oldest platform carousel in the United States and is a national landmark.
  • Island Alpaca Oak Bluffs/Vineyard Haven: Island Alpaca is open daily and is fun for all ages. Learn more about these extraordinary animals, take a self-guided walking tour, and watch an informative video-presentation.
  • Gingerbread Cottages of Cottage City Oak Bluffs: Stroll around “Cottage City” and admire the brightly-colored Gingerbread Houses circling the grand Tabernacle.
  • The iconic “Gingerbread Houses” in Oak Bluffs