- Cod, Cape
hooked sandy peninsula of glacial origin comprising most of Barnstable county, southeastern Massachusetts, U.S. It extends 65 miles (105 km) into the Atlantic Ocean, has a breadth of 1–20 miles (1.6–32 km), and is bounded by Cape Cod Bay (north and west), Buzzards Bay (west), and Vineyard and Nantucket sounds (south). The Cape Cod Canal, 17.5 miles (28 km) long, cuts across the base of the peninsula, separating it from the mainland; it shortens the shipping distance between New York City and Boston by more than 75 miles (120 km).Cape Cod was named by Bartholomew Gosnold (Gosnold, Bartholomew), an English explorer who visited its shores in 1602 and took aboard a “great store of codfish.” In 1620 the Pilgrims landed at the site of Provincetown, on the hooked tip of Cape Cod, before proceeding to Plymouth.Because the cape extends into the warm Gulf Stream, its climate is moderate compared with that of the mainland; it has warmer winters and cooler summers. The cape's favourable climate, scenic beauty, and proximity to the Eastern Seaboard's major urban areas has made it one of the country's premier tourist and vacation destinations. During the summer, coastal towns and villages such as Barnstable, Bourne, Chatham, Dennis, Eastham, Falmouth, Harwich, Hyannis, Provincetown, Sandwich, Truro, Wellfleet, and Woods Hole become densely populated resorts and busy fishing ports. An airport and summer ferries link Provincetown, the northernmost town, to Boston.The economy of Cape Cod is boosted by Otis Air National Guard Base (in Bourne and Sandwich). Limited farming produces extensive crops of cranberries, as well as asparagus. The northern hook of the cape (embracing a recreation area of dunes, marshes, lakes, and pinewoods) was designated Cape Cod National Seashore (area 68 square miles [176 square km]) in 1961. Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is located on islands off the southeastern tip of the cape, while the Elizabeth Islands are to the southwest.
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