Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cruising Cape Cod by Coupe - Part 2

After surviving the horrific traffic from Boston Logan Airport to Cape Cod, we based ourselves in the picturesque village of Falmouth, just a few kilometres from the shores of Buzzards Bay.

This turned out to be a great basecamp for extended touring around the villages of Sandwich, Barnstable, Hyannis and Chatham.

As you’ll see by the map, Cape Cod sits in between Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket sound, and as we had visited Nantucket previously, this time we chose to ditch the F-type for a trip across Nantucket Sound to Martha’s Vineyard on the good ship ‘Island Queen’ from Falmouth harbor.

There are two departure points for trips to the ‘Vineyard’. Falmouth, which is serviced by the Island Queen.

However, Woods Hole is by far the most popular location, because the ship is a car ferry.

Martha’s Vineyard has a great history, and of course is home to the Kennedy Compound. The guided tours cover the island in a short time, and I’m sure the locals are happy when the tourists depart, back to Falmouth.

Back on the Cape we thoroughly explored the area around Falmouth, along roads overshadowed by beautiful trees just waiting for the first frost, and the inevitable changing leaf colors of Fall.

Along the beachfront, seabirds were looking out for 'tea'.

The driving position in the F-type coupe is infinately adjustable, and the placement of the controls, switches, etc is totally intuitive and very logically laid out.

The roads gently curve and undulate, and  along the shoreline we passed Nobska Light, built in 1828, and whose light is visible almost 20 miles out to sea.

The Jaguar F-type coupe was a true delight on these classic driving roads, the stiffness of the aluminium body results in perfect handling precision, and the grunt from the supercharged V6 is ample for a quick squirt around the twisty bits.

The area is regularly patrolled by local constabulary, but when we drove past them, all we got was a friendly wave, and keen interest in the coupe.

A couple of mornings I and my host, Brian, slipped into Woods Hole around 6am for a strong brew at Coffee Obsession, and despite the post-dawn hour, the Jaguar was a focus of attention from the early risers.

There’s a surprising variation in the relative wealth of Cape Cod residents and their houses. There are two-room shoreline vacation homes, and truly eye-dropping mansions, with a variety of supercars parked in the driveways.

However most are simple Cape Cod homes featuring shingles or clapboards.

Brian, and his like-minded mates on the Cape meet together as members of the Cape Cod British Car Club, to congregate, cruise and enjoy the excellent driving roads in their British-built sports cars.

Brian’s own Triumph Spitfire is so well known around Falmouth he’s guaranteed waves of recognition.

Behind the wheel of the F-type coupe Brian couldn’t get the smile off his face, but as he pointed out the Jaguar costs the price of a humble holiday shack on Cape Cod, and was over four times what he might pay for British sports car motoring.

Still, he enjoyed dreaming about having the coupe in his driveway.

With the narrow land mass between Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Sound, you’re never far from beautiful yachts and pleasure craft of all descriptions.

However Brian was quick to remind us that the perfect boating conditions during our mid September visit would change soon, and the wild weather during winter, is quite a contrast in the behavior of the sea.

Needless to say, snowfall is pretty regular from Thanksgiving onwards, although its location by the sea (warmer waters) ensures there’s rarely a snowfall of blizzard proportions. They’ve happened, but rarely.

I must admit that to me as an Americophile, the name Cape Cod has always had a mystic and romantic connotation. This scene on a quiet bay near Woods Hole does it for me.

Driving around the island (even with the traffic) is very enjoyable. The scenery is drop-dead gorgeous and I reckon a summer vacation spent on one of the many beaches would be just the ticket for recharging your batteries.

Just the experience of driving the Jaguar F-type coupe on Cape Cod was enough to give me great hopes for the future of Jaguar under Tata ownership. This coupe is an amazing car. It delivers on every front. For me, it was pure driving delight. Thanks, Stuart, Ree and Bugsy!

However, our host Brian had one more trick up his sleeve.

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