For many years, I was one of those locals who thought of the Cape Cod Canal as a pretty body of water that we crossed over on our way to the mainland.
When I began creating my website, I knew it was time to stop passing over the Canal, and start exploring it.
So I grabbed my hubby, we put on our "tourist hats", and off we went to see what the Canal area was all about.
60 Ed Moffit Drive
The really cool thing about this Visitors Center is that it's like a mini-museum and information hub, all in one. In about an hour, we learned more than we ever imagined about the Cape Cod Canal, its history, how it was built, and how it operates today.
The Center is educational, but it's entertaining, too.
While Richard tracked transiting boats on a computerized radar display, I took hold of a ships wheel and piloted a vessel under the Sagamore Bridge. Virtually, of course!
We watched a short film about the Canal in the mini-theater, saw fascinating artifacts from construction of the Canal, and got hands-on with the knot tying exhibit.
(I still can't get the hang of that bowline knot - the one where "the rabbit comes up through the hole, runs around the tree, then goes back down into the hole ;-)
And to this day, I can't figure out how they managed to get a 41-foot US Army Corps of Engineers patrol boat into the building.
The Visitors Center is just a few steps from the Sandwich Marina, and right next door to the Coast Guard station. It's a great place for picnicing and yacht watching, too.
Lazy bum that I am, my two criteria for good biking trails are:
That's exactly what biking alongside the Canal is like.
Flat, paved bike trails, with lots of places to stop for a rest, a picnic, and some sightseeing.
(Next time, maybe we'll bring our fishing rods along for the ride. Or maybe not. It might be a bit of a challenge carrying a 40" Striped Bass while riding a bike!)
The bike paths alongside the Canal are a fantastic place to ride, in-line skate, or walk, no matter what your age, fitness or skill level might be.
Just one little bit of advice: Pay attention to the wind speed and direction before you set out. When the wind is crankin' up, it's a whole lot easier to make the return trip with the wind at your back!
The paths are open year-round, free of charge, and are easily accessed from many well-marked locations on both sides of the Canal.
Bike rentals are available nearby.
The Canal is one of the most popular - and productive - fishing spots in all of the northeast. And you don't need a boat to fish it.
Plenty of big 'uns are caught by anglers casting a line from shore.
There's access for fishing on both sides of the Canal, from one end to the other. There's also access for handicapped fishermen at the Scusset Beach fish pier (on the "mainland"), and at the bulkhead area in Sandwich.
Grab some live bait or a few new lures at a local bait and tackle shop ... and don't forget to bring your MA saltwater fishing permit!
For those of you who prefer organized activities, the US Army Corps of Engineers offers ranger-guided programs, activities and events all summer long.
This summer's schedule has programs for adults and kids including Beach Explorations, Working Waterfront Tours, Junior Ranger and Canal Kids programs, Sagamore Hill Hikes, and lots more.
Many of these activities are free. Dates and times vary, so it's best to contact the Visitor Center at (508) 833-9678 for more info.