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Cape Cod

Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula forming the easternmost portion of the state of Massachusetts. Although Cape Cod was originally connected to the mainland, the first Cape Cod Canal, completed in 1914, effectively transformed Cape Cod into a large island.

Cape Cod consists of two portions. The "Upper Cape" is the section of Cape Cod closest to the mainland. This portion of the Cape includes the towns of Hyannis[?] and Barnstable, among others, and is where the famous Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is located. The "Lower Cape" is the narrower portion of the cape, which bends sharply to the north. This section includes the towns of Chatham[?], Orleans[?], Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown. The area of water enclosed by Cape Cod and the mainland seacoast forms Cape Cod Bay[?]. To the south lies the Nantucket sound[?], and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

Cape Cod is connected to the mainland by a pair of canal-spanning highway bridges from Bourne[?] and Sagamore, and a vertical-lift railroad bridge. The entire Cape is roughly bisected by Route 6, an alternately two and four lane highway running from the mainland to Provincetown.

Much of the east-facing Atlantic seacoast of Cape Cod consists of wide, sandy beaches. In 1961, a significant portion of this coastline was made part of the Cape Cod National Seashore by President John F. Kennedy, and is thus protected from development. Large portions are open to the public, including the "Marconi Site" in Wellfleet, a park built around the site of the first two-way transoceanic radio transmission (by Theodore Roosevelt using Guglielmo Marconi's equipment). The area near Provincetown enjoys the historical distinction of being the first, exploratory, landing site of the Pilgrims, on their journey from England to Plymouth Rock[?].

Although Cape Cod is inhabited all year round, it experiences a tourist explosion each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as the New England cold gives way to a brief but comfortable summer. Many businesses are specifically targeted to the visitors, and close during the "off season" (roughly 8-9 months per year.) Some particularly well known Cape products and industries include cranberries, shellfish (particularly oysters and clams) and lobstering.

On May 15, 1602 Bartholomew Gosnold[?] became the first European to discover Cape Cod.

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