Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cape Cod Canal, Buzzards Bay, Bourne, Massachusetts, USA

The 17 mile long  Cape Cod Canal (green line above) opened to water vessel traffic in 1914, and separates the southeastern area of Massachusetts from the arm of Cape Cod. It is a functional canal, serving to significantly shorten the trip (by about 160 miles) that would formerly have required a comparatively treacherous over-ocean transit east of the Cape.

I have never been to France but, I am besotted with the idea and images of travelling about in a houseboat on their canals, tying up in quaint villages for a brief stop at a sidewalk cafe for warm sun, wine, cheese, baguette, and witty repartee while wearing a beret. Unfortunately, this is not that kind of canal. This is the American version - we have vending machines at a few locations where one could buy sugary drinks and sugary candy bars - not quite so elegant an image.....

Honestly though, this canal is one of my very favorite places to go for a cardio walk. Both sides of the canal feature a paved path about seven miles long for walkers, joggers, bladers, bikers, etc. Let's see France match that!

The railroad bridge.

There are only a few ways to cross the canal: two narrow highway bridges and this infrequently used train bridge (of course I'm not including the secret tunnel - shhhhhh). It's a fascinating construction concept  from the Great Depression era - the center section is raised or lowered over the canal by 1,100-ton counterweights in 2 1/2 minutes - the bridge length at 544 feet, which was at the time the world's longest vertical rail lift bridge.  During construction of all three bridges, manual labor was favored over machines to maximize employment opportunity during the Depression era.

This bench is at the train station at Buzzard's Bay and serves as the boarding point for the dinner train on Friday evenings in July and August.

This Buzzards Bay building is a former tower on the New York, New Haven, and Hartford railroad.