On this cape, dotted with gabled, gray-clad homes, there are smooth beaches, hiking and biking trails, and golf courses along no fewer than 500 miles of pristine coastline.
The Cape's original town is Sandwich. Here, rhododendrons abound at Heritage Plantation, which also features collections of antique cars, folk art and early American artifacts. Winding through the historic villages of Cape Cod Bay, the Old King's Highway runs through town.
History does not reveal who Martha was, but Martha's Vineyard was discovered and named in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold, an explorer who was impressed by the island's plentiful indigenous grapes. Natural beauty, sandy beaches, attractive towns and golf courses cause the island's population to swell with summer visitors, making Martha's Vineyard a top-drawer vacation destination. Colorful Victorian gingerbread bungalows and the country's oldest functioning carousel, the Flying Horses, await visitors to Oak Bluffs.
Nineteenth Century whaling ships made Nantucket Island their home. This crook-necked island, 30 miles southeast of Cape Cod, reflects those days with more than 800 pre-1850s structures. Mariners' houses and specialty shops front on the cobbled streets of Nantucket.