"100 Things to Do" a guidebook for visitors and for MA locals – Wicked Local


With decades spent visiting the Cape and Islands, and even longer as a travel and food writer, the topic of Kim Foley MacKinnon’s newest book fit her like a glove — or maybe like one of those oven mitts shaped like a lobster claw. 
Her new book “100 Things to Do on Cape Cod and the Islands Before You Die” serves as a guidebook for visitors and for locals, outlining her favorite destinations from more than 20 years spent frequenting the area.
More: Where to get your claws on a great lobster roll in eastern Massachusetts
More: Spring in Bloom: Where to see beautiful gardens in New England
“There are some surprises for people who think they know everything about Massachusetts,” MacKinnon said. “In many cases, people either go to the Cape or they go to Nantucket or they go to the Vineyard, so I think there’s something for the person who only goes to Nantucket who might want to go to Cape and find some fun things to do that they might not know about, and vice versa.”
Unlike some of her usual travel writing, MacKinnon said this book is infused with her opinion. She said she feels “very strongly about only writing about places you have first-hand experience of,” and she’s been to all 100 featured locations.
“Normally you have to be very judicious and you keep your opinions out of things,” she said. “These are fun, you just get to pick your favorite things.”
Many entries in the book feature locations for delicious eats, a favorite part of any visit.
“I always love to go out to eat,” she said. “I like highlighting some of my favorite places that people might not know about.”
Always a hotly debated topic, Mackinnon said her favorite lobster roll is in Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard at Larsen’s Fish Market.
Hungry? Where to get your claws on a great lobster roll in eastern Massachusetts
“Even if you’ve been to the island, you probably wouldn’t find it,” she said. “If you did, you’d think this was a place you just brought fresh fish, but in the back they shuck oysters and they cook lobsters that they’ve just brought in from their fishing boats. You can just get the world’s freshest, most delicious lobster roll and just sit outside on a crate and eat it.” 
Another Vineyard spot featured in the book offers something a little sweeter: Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs. 
For the adventurous Oyster? Popcorn? How about lobster? What odd flavored ice cream would you try?
MacKinnon, a lover of hiking and the outdoors, focuses one entry on the Cape Cod National Seashore, the 40 miles of coastline protected as a national park by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
After seeing so many places closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, MacKinnon said she made sure to include locations enjoyable year-round. 
“There are a lot of sanctuaries and hikes, a lot of Trustees of Reservations properties and Audubon properties that, if the inside part might be closed, you can still enjoy the outside,” she said.
MacKinnon called Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich, with its varied gardens, antique cars and vintage carousel, “really, really special.” 
“They have a bunch of things that appeal to a bunch of different people,” she said. “If you’re a multi-generational family, everyone will find at least one thing there that they fall in love with.” 
Heading into the summer season, families and vacationers will soon be flocking to Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. But what is the secret sauce that makes these places so special? 
“Like all of Massachusetts, there is just so much history there,”  MacKinnon said. “There’s the whaling history, the lighthouses; there are a lot of really special places and fortunately we had people in our history who had the forethought to preserve them for us.”
Thanks to that preservation work, residents and visitors will get to enjoy the area for generations to come.
“There won’t be any development, there’s not going to be some sort of mega hotel on the Seashore on the Cape,” she said. “It will be what it is forever and I think that’s fabulous.” 
MacKinnon is also the author of “100 Things to Do in Boston Before You Die” and “Secret Boston: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure”. Her books, including  “100 Things to Do on Cape Cod and the Islands Before You Die” are published by Reedy Press and available for purchase online and in stores. 
The Cape Cod Rail Trail — A 25-mile former railroad path converted into a trail that passes through six towns and their nearby beaches.
The Wellfleet Drive-In — A nostalgic step back in time, one of the last places remaining to see a drive-in movie. 
Toad Hall — A Hyannis Port collection of over 50 classic sports cars, all red, named after the leading character of the classic book “The Wind in the Willows”.
The Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair — A event held annually since 1859, with livestock, tractor pulls, rides and more. 
Nantucket Whaling Museum — A chance to step back into history and celebrate hundreds of years of Nantucket’s whaling history.
Nantucket Daffodil Festival — Held annually over the last weekend of April, the annual festival kicks off spring on the island. 



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