Walking With Thoreau on Cape Cod

You can learn a lot by taking a walk. Henry David Thoreau sure did and following his Cape Cod essays, you can discover a lot about our area too. Though quite a bit has changed since the days of his wanderings in 1849, you can still get a sense of what he experienced. Following are a few suggestions of how to follow in his footsteps.

Photo: UnSplash/Brian Mann

Start here in Eastham at the National Seashore Visitors Center. There you can pick up a map and watch a movie about Thoreau’s Cape Cod. A major focus is the 25-mile stretch between here and Provincetown. Or pick up a copy of The Footsteps of Thoreau by Adam Gamble, detailing 25 historic and nature walks in the area. For instance, take the Nauset Bike Trail and imagine it as Thoreau saw it, a vast expanse of sand and scrub. See the ruggedness of the ocean as he did, a mix of purples, greens, and silvers.

Visit the Nausett Lighthouse and Eastham Windmill. Both were around, serving as landmarks in Thoreau’s day too. Stop in Wellfleet, where oysterman John Newcomb was a favorite character in Thoreau’s musings. Walk or bike along the sandy path and stop by for some raw oysters (described by Thoreau as “sweet and savory”) at the Beachcomber.

Continue heading north on Ocean View road to Newcomb Hollow Beach, named for the oysterman with whom Thoreau stayed. Further on, in Provincetown, keep an eye out for whales. It was here that Thoreau saw whales, “leaping over the sea like horses.”

It’s easy to see why Cape Cod enchanted Thoreau, and why we all love it so.
Come stay at the Inn and we’ll help you plan an outing to enjoy all its natural wonder.

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