A perfect day in Eastham is a day in and near the water. Known by drivers as the place where Cape Cod turns north and the speed limit drops to a radar-enforced 40mph, most of Eastham east of Rte. 6 falls into the Cape Cod National Seashore. Start at the Seashore’s Salt Pond Visitor Center (50 Nauset Rd., 508-255-3421) where the short film, “The Sands of Time,” explains how Cape Cod was formed. The center’s museum touches on whaling, lifesaving, and lighthouses, but its newest and largest exhibit is devoted to Wampanoag culture and history.
Two miles south off Rte. 6, signs lead to Fort Hill Trail, an easy 1.5-mile walk with panoramic views of Nauset Marsh. Near the parking lot, the Edward Penniman House with its whalebone arch gate was built in 1868 by an Eastham man who hunted whales from the Arctic to the South Seas. Tours of the house are offered Monday and Friday at 11 a.m.; reserve at Salt Pond Visitor Center.