When you think about Cape Cod, the first images that come to mind are of the nautical variety – whaling, sailing, and the respite the sea offers to all who visit. Since this history is so impactful, the month of May is designated as Maritime Days on Cape Cod, a special time to celebrate the land’s ties to maritime practices.Nautical history is deeply tied to the area; is the primary aspect many know about the Cape. For locals, it is a deeply personal piece of their heritage and appreciation of their home. This is the month to engage in local maritime history, enjoy interesting activities like art exhibits, kayak excursions, and tours of significant locations on the Cape. Read on to find some of the wonderful ways to celebrate Maritime Days in May, and the significance of the celebration.
Meanderings during the Maritime Days on Cape Cod
For anyone planning to take part in Maritime Days on Cape Cod, you may want to begin by checking out the Maritime Meanderings maps provide by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. This immersive historical experience is a perfect way to see the ties between Cape Cod’s aquatic roots and the local economy, nautical art, and rugged history.
The Maritime Meandering maps offer self-guided tours that take you along different sections of the Cape. Each of the 4 maps features 13 or 14 sites per district, with a wide range of sightseeing and historical excursions. The Maritime Meandering adventures are self-guided so you can pick and choose what stops appeal to you. Categories of stops include architecture, historical Cape characters, conservation and recreation, fishing, whaling, naturalist, shipbuilding, Native American and Wampanoag sites, lifesaving and lighthouses, research and education, and seals. You can choose between Upper Cape, Mid-Cape, Lower-Cape, and Outer-Cape location maps. These maps were created by the MA Cultural Council and CARE for the Cape and the Islands groups.
Cape Cod Maritime Museum Events in May
- Sailing the USS Constitution with Carl Herzog, public historian: USS Constitution Museum historian Carl Herzog will be giving a fascinating lecture on the practice of how to sail a large square-rigged ship like the Constitution, and the intricacies required to combat rapidly changing (often inclement) weather conditions, as well as maneuvers in combat. Herzog is well-educated on the physics and crew cooperation needed to utilize such a vessel, and this intriguing lecture will bring you closer to the historic ships that helped build Cape Cod. You can join the lecture on May 8th at 2:30 PM, through Zoom and Facebook Live.
- Saltmarsh Ecology and Restoration, with Jordan Mora of the Association to Preserve Cape Cod: Restoration Ecologist Jordan Mora will be giving a lecture on how salt marshes can mitigate the impacts of climate change, and their deeply critical role in Cape Cod’s water quality, sea level, reduction of storm impact and intensity, and more. This wonderful environmental talk will take place on May 22nd at 2:30 PM, and you can attend through Zoom and Facebook Live.
Overall, this month of maritime exploration is a must-do for any fan of history, Cape Cod natives, or other curious Cape-goers. This exploration is a personalized experience, choosing whatever events, sites and topics interest you. The Maritime Days on Cape Cod have been celebrated annually since the early ‘90s. Part of Cape Cod’s allure is the natural history that is woven into daily life; educating yourself further on this history will only bring you closer to this beautiful place that has captivated so many for so long.
For more information read our Life Saving Service and Historic Cape Maritime Rescues or visit the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center or the Cape Cod Maritime Museum.