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Plymouth is a vibrant South Shore town whose seaside views are enriched by local history. Quaint shops, fantastic restaurants and activities on the water coupled with historical sites and reenactments will leave you thoroughly satisfied with your visit. 

You can spend a whole day at Plimoth Plantation, home of several outdoor living exhibits that provide a glimpse into the lives of the Pilgrims and Native Americans who called Plymouth home in the 1600’s. The first outdoor exhibit you encounter is the Wampanoag Homesite. Visit a recreation of the lives of 17th-century Wampanoags as you view the homes they lived in, their daily activities and culture. The staff at the Wampanoag Site are Native People dressed in historically accurate clothing. Speaking from a modern perspective about the culture and history of the Wampanoags, they are a wealth of knowledge, so come with questions! Next, you can to stroll the 17th-Century English Village, a recreation of the small farming and maritime community of Pilgrims in Plymouth. The year is 1627, and you can meander through the timber-framed homes and gardens at your own pace. Be sure to chat with the “residents” of Plymouth Colony (costumed role players who have adopted the life histories of Pilgrims.)

Check out the fully functional Plimoth Grist Mill, a reconstruction of the original grist mill that once stood in the same place. Organic stone-ground cornmeal from the mill is sold in the Museum Shop. Another must-see in Plymouth is the Pilgrim Memorial State Park, which boasts sweeping views of Plymouth Harbor and a full scale reproduction of the Mayflower. Venture aboard the Mayflower II to learn about the voyage of the Mayflower. Steps away from the Mayflower II is Plymouth Rock, the most visited rock in all of New England! According to legend, it is is the rock that the Pilgrims first landed on when they arrived in Plymouth.

Plymouth has a lot more to offer than just its history, the Plymouth Whale Watch (508-747-3434) runs daily and guarantees sightings! Join the crew and travel on the 100’ boat to the feeding grounds of Humpback Whales and other Mammals. Also, be sure to explore the Village Landing Marketplace, a quaint shopping village with views of Plymouth Harbor. 

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"Island time" is said to move slower than life on the mainland. This seems especially true on Nantucket. Cobblestone streets, vast miles of conservation land and a complete lack of chain-stores contribute to the sense that Nantucket is caught somewhere between its history as a prosperous whaling port and our modern world. Nantucket is a great spot for kids, due in part to its unique role in American history. The adventure begins on the ferry ride from Cape Cod, where kids can hang out on the upper deck, gazing towards the horizon in excitement as they search for the first glimpse of the island. Upon arrival, the cobblestone streets and quaint downtown are reminiscent of the whaling days, with all the perks of modern retail. The houses of the old whaling captains are dispersed throughout the town, so be sure to arm your little ones with a digital camera so they can snap shots of the historic homes and the beautiful flower boxes that adorn nearly every building. From the Children's Beach playground to the Maria Mitchell Aquarium, there is something on Nantucket for every member of your family to enjoy!

 

 

ENJOY AN ICE CREAM CRUISE ON NANTUCKET HARBOR

Shearwater Excursions

508-228-7037 • Straight Wharf, Slip #1011

The 26’ Classic Crosby Launch vessel named Minke motors through the harbor, lazily cruising past whaling era homes, the historic waterfront, and famous yachts from around the world. The tour lasts an hour and features ice cream. The friendly captain sometimes lets kids take the wheel, so have your camera ready!

 

TAKE A BIKE TOUR OF THE ISLAND

Nantucket Bike Tours 

508-367-1976 • 31 Washington Street

Nantucket Bike Tours caters to families and will customize just the right route depending on the age of the riders. All tours use comfortable bikes and are led by an enthusiastic tour guide who shares local legends, histories and facts. Tours vary in distance and difficulty level, so call for details. Bikes and helmets are included in the tour price.

 

VISIT THE SHIPWRECK AND LIFESAVING MUSEUM

508-228-1885 • 158 Polpis Road

The waters surrounding Nantucket were notoriously known as “The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” with over 700 shipwrecks on record. Many islanders risked their lives in heroic attempts to save others. The museum celebrates these brave souls and tells the stories of shipwrecks on Nantucket’s shores. The museum is located a few miles out of town so take the public shuttle bus (the WAVE) from downtown for $2 per person.

 

CHECK OUT THE WHALING MUSEUM

508-228-1894 • 13 Broad Street

The best way to understand the whaling history of the island is to stop by the Nantucket Whaling Museum. The museum offers informative presentations and their permanent exhibit includes a 46 foot skeleton of a sperm whale. The Discovery Room for kids is jam-packed with excitement, giving parents a momentary break! Don’t miss the Whale Hunt presentation, where exceptionally talented storytellers describe what it was like to be on a whale hunt in the 1800’s. Older kids will enjoy the short film, Nantucket, by Ric Burns.

 

EXPLORE THE ISLAND’S BIKE PATHS

Island Bike Company

508-228-4070 • 25 Old South Road

The small island has an extensive network of bike trails that make it easy and inexpensive to explore every corner of Nantucket. You can bring your bike on the ferry for $14, or rent a bike on the island. 

 

JOIN A NARRATED TOUR OF THE ISLAND BY VAN OR MINIBUS 

Ara’s Island Tours (Van) 508-228-1951

Nantucket Island Tours (Mini-bus) 508-228-0334

In just over an hour, visitors see highlights of the island. Sites include the Old Mill, ‘Sconset village with its rose covered cottages, Low Beach, Sankaty Head Lighthouse, Cranberry bogs, Nantucket moors and many other sites. School-aged kids will find the tours enjoyable and educational!

 

CLIMB THE TOWER

First Congressional Church

508-228-0950 • 62 Centre Street

The First Congregational Church sits high on Beacon Hill above Centre Street, overlooking the town of Nantucket and the harbor. From the church tower, on a clear day you can see for miles! A small donation is required to climb the tower.

 

VISIT BARTLETT’S FARM

508-228-9403 • 33 Bartlett Farm Rd

Once outside the small, historic town, Nantucket is surprisingly rural with many large working farms. Bartlett’s farm is the oldest and largest family owned farm on Nantucket. It sells farm-grown fresh produce, sandwiches, and picnic food. Kids love the cows and chickens which can be viewed along the entrance drive. There is a small playground on site as well. 

 

RENT A POWER BOAT TO EXPLORE THE SURROUNDING WATERS OF NANTUCKET

Island Boat Rental

508-325-1001 • Straight Wharf

Located right on Straight Wharf, Island Boat Rental offers four different options for varying group sizes and comfort levels. Rentals are available for a half day, full day, week or month.

 

EAT OUT

Many of Nantucket’s restaurants use local ingredients that are grown on the island’s many farms. Combined with fresh seafood and a unique blend of cuisines, dining on Nantucket is something great to experience! 

Arno’s Breakfast and Seafood Restaurant 

508-228-7001 • 41 Main St.  

Queequegs

508-325-0992 • 6 Oak St.,

Sayles Seafood

508-228-4599 • 99 Washington Street Ext.

Provisions

508-228-3258 • 3 Harbor Square 

Easy Street Restaurant

508-228-5031 • 31 Easy Street 

Easy Street Cantina

508-228-5418 • 2 Broad Street 

Faregrounds & Pudley’s Pub

508-228-4095 • 27 Fairgrounds Road

Kitty Murtaghs

508-325-0781 • 4 West Creek Road

INDULGE YOUR SWEET TOOTH 

Sweet Inspirations

508-228-5814 • 26 Centre Street 

Aunt Leah’s Fudge

508-228-1017 • 16 Straight Wharf #3 

Nantucket Ice Cream & Juice Guys

508-332-4949 •  44 Straight Wharf 

Petticoat Row Bakery

508-228-3700 • 35 Centre Street

 

RENT A JEEP TO EXPLORE  MILES OF DESERTED BEACH

Affordable Rentals

508-228-3501 • 6 South Beach Street

There are several areas on Nantucket with vast stretches of shoreline accessible only by 4 wheel drive. Luckily visitors can rent jeeps which come with the required beach permits. Pack up a cooler and your beach toys and spend the day at the beach without the crowds!

 

TAKE A GHOST WALK WITH RAVEN'S WALK

www.ravens-walk.com

508-257-4586 

Raven's Walk offers exciting and informative walking tours on Nantucket. The Raven's Night Walk: A Ghostly Adventure Tour is a must for those interested in the paranormal. Stroll historic Nantucket to hear a mix of Nantucket's history infused with its ghostly past. Children's ghost and pirate walks are also offered. The Lighthouse Tour travels to Brant Point Light and the Sankaty Head Light where you will hear a history of the lighthouses, stories of the ghost ships of New England and the legends of famous pirates who sailed the waters around Nantucket.

 

SHOP DOWNTOWN

Peach Trees of Nantucket

19 Main St.

Babies & Bellies

19 Main St.- Upstairs

Nobby Clothes Shop

17 Main St.

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Does My Child Need A Tutor?

 

Students are tutored for a variety of reasons: To improve the understanding of concepts in a given subject area, to hone in on a specific study skills such as note taking or test preparation, to further enrich a student’s experience beyond the standard curriculum, or to prepare for school/college entrance exams. Tutors can also relieve the emotional tension created when parents try to assist their children with homework. It is important to be clear on your reasons for seeking a tutor.

 When faced with a youngster who is struggling in school, he/she may need a tutor to get the extra practice, attention and confidence needed to improve his/her performance in school.

 

 

What to Look For in a Tutor 

• Look for someone who specializes in teaching students your child’s age. If your child has special needs, ask their teacher for some recommendations.

• If your child is in middle school or high school and simply needs extra help in one subject area, consider older students who have excelled in the subject. This is cheaper and can be as effective as a professional tutor. Place a call to your high school’s guidance counselor’s office and ask if they can suggest an honors student who might be interested in the job.

• Consider if your child has a particular learning style and ask the tutor to describe his/her special training and the different modalities he/she uses when working with students. 

• After 6 hours of school, your child will not be looking forward to more school. Sessions should engage your child with interesting activities. A tutor is not your child’s teacher, and while the sessions need to be structured and serious, they also need to be enjoyable.

• Set realistic goals; collaborate with the tutor, and ideally the teacher, to create a plan from which the tutor will teach. Consider the possibility that your child might need to meet with the tutor more than once a week. The tutor should be willing to communicate with your child’s teacher on a regular basis.

• Expect a tutor to give an honest report of your child’s progress. In addition, get an assessment of your child’s progress from his/her teacher. Parents should realize and accept that under the best of circumstances their child’s abilities and skills may improve slowly. 

• Be sure to ask for a tutor’s credentials and references of experience. 

How Parents Can Support the Tutor

• Be sure you and your child can commit to the time requirements of tutoring. This might mean rearranging or eliminating some after school activities.

• Be respectful of the tutor’s time. Be on time for sessions and if you need to cancel, do so as soon as your know. 

• If you want to discuss your child’s progress in depth, schedule a time separate from the tutoring session to do so. This way the tutor is prepared and can speak candidly without your child feeling judged. 

• Prepare your child to be a participant in the tutoring by discussing with him/her the purpose and benefits of such assistance.

 

There are many excellent tutoring services available on Cape Cod. 

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Graceful, content and gliding thru the deep dark depths of the ocean, seals and whales go unnoticed until they surface to take their next life-giving breath of air. It is during this phase of their swim that we humans get to see these wondrous animals as they go about the business of surviving in the waters that surround Cape Cod.
As serene as seals and whales appear to be today it wasn’t always that way. Both of these animals were hunted extensively by early colonists as well as Native Americans. Whales give away their position by spouting white spumes on each exhaustive breath as they chase tiny plankton for their food. Seals love to haul out and rest on sandbars to sun themselves and then howl with contentment. These maneuvers made seals and whales easy to spot and hunt by early native peoples and also by the colonists. Native Americans would spy whales from the high hills of Cape Cod and chase after them in their canoes. Often when hunger would be at its worst mother nature would send a herd of pilot whale, also known as blackfish, shoreward and when the tide receded these animals were left high and dry. Blackfish Creek in Wellfleet earned its name from the sometimes hundreds of pilot whales that would strand as the tides of Cape Cod Bay roared out, emptying the narrow channels that the whales had wedged themselves into. Almost everything from the whale was used—oil from blubber for lighting, meat for food and bones for tools. It became so easy to hunt seals and whales along the near shore that they became scarce and harder to find. When local seal /whale populations declined the early settlers of Cape Cod built sturdy ships from native expanses of forest to chase the whales further from shore. Some ships were sailed all the way to the Pacific Ocean on three year voyages chasing whales and would not return until every wooden cask was filled with the valuable whale oil. Fortunes were made on a single trip and the large amount of stately homes built by Cape Cod sea captains testifies to that fact.
            Harbor and gray seals have been here for many centuries. Archeological digs reveal that Native Americans utilized this available resource as evidenced by the seal bones found in local digs. Some seals can weigh 800 pounds and this provided an abundance of food. The dense fur (which is actually hair) was quite insulating and waterproof-- a wonderful and welcome combination for clothing and blankets on those frigid winter nights. I’d wager that the man who brought home a fat seal solidified his stature in the home, tribe and community. It must have been quite something to see native people chasing seals and whales form dugout canoes.
            In the early twentieth century, seals to some degree had become a nuisance to the point that it was felt they were depleting the fish stocks that fed many Cape Cod families. As late as the 1960’s seals had a bounty on their heads. Out of work Cape Codder’s would be paid a few dollars for every seal nose brought into a local town hall to verify its kill. In 1972 the Marine Mammal Act provided seals and whales full protection under the law. No more hunting and no further reductions in their numbers. As a result seal populations have exploded; whales not so much due to low productivity in reproduction. However, many are cautiously optimistic about their ultimate survival.
            Today seals and whales have come full circle. Once hunted to near extinction by early colonists and Native Americans, the seal and whale populations have evolved from preferred food to summertime performers. Every summer seal tour operators and whale watch vessels “hunt” their prey and “shoot” them with reckless abandon with the latest in digital photography.
            Seals are often spotted by tour boats at the sandbars and shallow waters near ocean inlets. From these inlets and gazing out at the Atlantic, whale spouts are often seen merely a half mile offshore. The Cape’s vibrant sea life is making a resounding comeback. Cape Cod’s ancient residents—the seals and whales have become symbolic of the sandbar we call home and now are entertainers to the many curious tourists who flock to see them aboard local tour boats every summer. Local tour boat captains are all knowledgeable about these graceful animals, where to find them, and would be happy to take you out to see experience “the show”.
Captain Rob Wissmann owns and operates Blue Claw Boat Tours in Orleans with two sightseeing vessels. 
 
By Captain Rob Wissmann
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Summer camps and summer day programs are available all around Cape Cod. The many options can make choosing a camp on the Cape an overwhelming process! Experiences that children have at a summer camp can be profound and remembered long after the summer is over. You know your child best, so it is important to do your homework before signing up for a summer camp on Cape Cod.

         Before you start researching summer camps on Cape Cod, sit down with your family and develop a clear idea of the type of summer camp that would allow the best experience for your child. The following questions help hone in on the qualities you are searching for in a summer camp.

1. What do you and your child want to gain from the summer camp experience on Cape Cod? Together, make a list of what is most important to take away from summer camp. Discuss why your child wants to go to camp, and what they want to get out of the experience.

2. Are you looking for a day camp or sleep away camp? There are great day and sleep away camp options all over Cape Cod. Figure out which is best for your family. There are some sleep away camps that also offer day camp programs, so campers can get the camp experience while coming home to their family at the end of the day.

3. Consider the duration of the camp, are you looking for a full summer program, a week-long or a month-long camp? Whether you are looking for an intensive week-long dance camp, or a a full summer traditional camp, you will find camps of many different lengths on Cape Cod in the summer. Figuring out the ideal length of the camp can help narrow down your options once you start your research.

4. What is your ideal camp size? Think about whether camp size matters to your child. Maybe they do best with the personal attention that can be provided in smaller camps, or perhaps they thrive in large groups! Discuss the number of campers that would be ideal for your child to have the best experience.

5. What is your price range for summer camps? Figure out your summer camp budget in order to find a camp that works for the whole family. Cape Cod has a YMCA camp,  Boys and Girls Club Camp and Town Camps that are more affordable if you are working within a limited summer camp budget.

6. What location is best for you? Decide whether you want to be searching for a camp or day program Cape-wide, or in a smaller location range, like the Upper Cape or Lower Cape. Narrow down the towns that you want the camp to be located in.

7. Are you looking for a traditional camp, or a more specialized camp like a sports camp or performing arts camp?

Cape Cod has plenty of both! Summertime is a great chance to develop a skill used during the school year, like soccer or musical theatre.

Create your summer camp “wish list,” developed by answering the above questions. This helps to get on the same page with your child, so you both have a clear sense of what you are looking for in a summer camp.

Now it is time to research! Go online and see what the Cape has to offer! Our Cape Cod Summer Camp Listings (link to our Summer Camps) is a great place to start. We organized our most recommended camps on Cape Cod by category, so it is easy to find the kind of camp you are looking for.

You can also ask friends, neighbors and teachers for recommendations. Narrow down the camps of Cape Cod to the camps that match the criteria of your “wish list.” At this point, you may have several camps that seem like possibilities. Compare them to figure out which is best fit! Some important aspects to consider are:

The Camp Philosophy. Understand the main intention of the camp. What do they believe in? What do they intend for the campers to take away from their experience at the camp?

Typical Daily Schedule. See exactly what your child would be doing every day. Determine which daily schedule sounds like the most fun, or is the best match.

The Staff. What is the ratio of children to staff? How well is the staff trained? How old are the counselors? Your child will be interacting and learning with the staff for the length of their camp experience.

Safety. Are there medical staff at the camp? What are the safety procedures? Make sure you’re confident in the safety precautions and planning.

Camper Return Rate. Do kids come back year after year? See if kids have enjoyed their experience enough to return.

Camp Reputation. Ask around! Have any of your friends or acquaintances had positive or negative experiences with the camp? Look online and see if anyone has talked about or rated their overall experience. Find out everything you can about the camps reputation so that you can see if it aligns with your “wish list.”

Hopefully, this will help you narrow down your search! Compare your favorites and weigh the pros and cons of each summer camp. In the end, camp is a fun and exciting experience for your child, let the decision making process be equally fun!

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