Cape Cod is a swathe of land resembling a curved arm that reaches out from mainland Massachusetts into the Atlantic Ocean. A big draw for the area is the Cape Cod National Seashore, with 559 miles of shoreline offering dramatic sand dunes, cliffs and seemingly infinite stretches of beach. Framed by the ocean and Cape Cod Bay are 15 towns and an assortment of villages, each sporting Cape Cod event venues with quaint historic character. The 65-mile-long Old King's Highway is a winding road that is the nation's largest historic district.
The two major airports that serve Cape Cod-bound meeting delegates are Boston's Logan Airport and T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, both of which are an 1.5-hour drive from the peninsula. Cape Air flies year-round to Hyannis and Provincetown airports from Providence, New Bedford and Boston. US Airways Express offers a limited schedule from Newark, New York and Boston to Hyannis airport. In the summer, high-speed ferry service is offered between Boston to Provincetown.
Hotel venues in Cape Cod account for 19,000 guest rooms in a variety of properties, from a luxury resort or a country club style complex, to an historic landmark inn or a coastal lodge. There are historic gems like 217-room Chatham Bars Inn, which can accommodate a meeting of up to 250; the 80-room John Carver Inn & Spa, with meeting space to handle a group of 180; the 48-room Dan'l Webster Inn & Spa, which has the capacity to host a meeting of 150 people; and the 80-room Lighthouse Inn, which can also host 150 for a meeting and is set on nine oceanfront acres that include its own working lighthouse.
Resort venues in Cape Cod include the 232-room Resort & Conference Center at Hyannis, which has 30,000 square feet of meeting space; the 260-room Cape Codder Resort & Spa, with 18,000 square feet of meeting space; the 120-room Wequaesette Resort & Golf Club, which can handle a group of up to 230 people; and the 335-room Oceanedge Resort & Golf Club, with 21,000 square feet of meeting space. National chain alternatives on Cape Cod include the 160-room Radisson Hotel Hyannis, which has 8,400 square feet of meeting space, and the 196-room Holiday Inn, Hyannis, with 6,000 square feet of meeting space.
Cape Cod offers a mix of special event venues that emphasize either the sea or the history of the area, and some times both. From May through October, groups (of up to 175) can savor a gourmet dinner while riding the rails on the Cape Cod Central Railroad or sail with Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises, which offers a group of 56 a private cabin or 400 people a full ship charter. Heritage Museums & Gardens can offer groups of up to 180 a number of different settings, from a replica of a round Shaker barn that houses an antique automobile collection, to 100 acres of gardens and a full-size carousel located in its own custom made building.
Eating is an experience on Cape Cod, where funky crab shacks, family-style fish houses, and sleek raw bars serve up the bounty of the nearby sea. Many restaurants offer live entertainment, from classic rock to jazz, and a good number offer private function rooms for groups from 15 to 150 people. Some the best in local fare will be found at restaurants such as Napi's, a Provincetown landmark where diners eat surrounded by the works of local artists; The Flying Bridge, which is located at the mouth of Falmouth's bustling harbor; The Lobster Claw, called the best family restaurant on Cape Cod; The Paddock, a local landmark that is known for its antique wood interior and use of native seafood and other local ingredients; Joe's Bar & Grill at the Barley Neck Inn, which is located in an old sea captain's home; and the Sea View, with a room for private functions on the second floor that is famous for its panoramic view of the Cape Cod sunset.
Because the Cape's beauty and history have long attracted musicians, artists, actors and writers, there is a distinct artistic temperament to the peninsula. A wealth of galleries, art studios and museums are tucked into historic buildings and there are local theater stage productions and performances of the local symphony orchestra year-round. Consistently named among the top destinations for beaches and whale-watching, Cape Cod also has an extensive bike path system and 54 golf courses, some of which are rated among Gold Digest's top 50 courses.
Photo by Flickr User: hdreisler