Literary Tourism: Cape Cod

by Rachel Baker on May 25, 2014

Still looking working on that summer trip itinerary? Have you considered adding Cape Cod to the stops? You could walk in the footsteps of Thoreau by visiting all the places from his book Cape Cod.

Christopher Setterlund, the author of In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, released in October 2013, has a great guest post on Book Riot about Thoreau’s Cape Cod.

The easiest and most obvious place to start any discussion of historical and natural beauty when it come to Cape Cod is to turn to Henry David Thoreau and his appropriately titled book Cape Cod. Originally published in 1865, three years after his death, Cape Cod is Thoreau’s account of his adventures on the pristine peninsula in the early 1850’s. Along the way up toward the Outer Cape and what is now the Cape Cod National Seashore Thoreau meets many locals and sees many sites, some of which are still standing in their same locales.

Thoreau visits Eastham, which he refers to as the ‘Nauset Plains’ and is able to view the Three Sisters Lighthouses in all of their glory along the cliffs guiding ships. The original three diminutive brick structures were replaced by wooden ones in 1892. The middle lighthouse remained active while the other two ‘sisters’ were deactivated by 1911. In 1923 a new lighthouse came to roost along the shores of Eastham. It is now known as Nauset Lighthouse but until 1923 it was one half of the Chatham Twin Lights. The three wooden lights now reside in a field a quarter-mile from Nauset Light with the middle light, known as ‘The Beacon’ still has its lantern while the other two are ‘headless.’

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