Travel: MY MAGIC ESCAPE TO THE CAPE; Actress Elaine C Smith Fell in Love with Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts

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Byline: Elaine C Smith

I've always wanted to visit Cape Cod - in old Hollywood movies Bette Davis was always "going to the Cape" and it has always struck me as relaxing and glamorous.

So was thrilled when a friend bought a house there and invited me, my hubby Bob and daughters Katie and Hannah to visit.

We had a ball out at the Massachusetts coast and exploring the nearby city of Boston. I'm almost reluctant to reveal the highlights as I'd rather keep it a secret hideaway.

Our flight to Boston from Heathrow with Virgin took just over six hours. We then picked up our hire car - the requisite Dodge SUV - and headed down route 93 to Cape Cod.

The Cape is beautiful and, unlike a lot of the USA, it feels old with some history about it.

We stayed in the little town of Wellfleet, which boasts a lovely harbour and beach. It is also unspoiled - there are no high rise hotels, burger bars or strip malls adorning the seashore.

There is also no boardwalk or promenade. John F Kennedy made Cape Cod a National Park, so it has very strict rules about what can be built.

It's full of white clapperboard houses, galleries and little shops - the general store's friendly butcher, Charlie, is a fellow Scot from Possil, Glasgow.

A large mall is just a 30-minute drive away in Hyannis but we were more interested in what the Cape had to offer.

There are miles of unspoiled beaches on the Atlantic coast and lakes to swim in. There are also plenty of great seafood restaurants, a drive-in movie theatre and four days a week there is a massive flea market selling everything from clothes and jewellery to fishing gear.

A trip to the Cape has to take in the main town, Provincetown, where the pilgrims first set foot on American soil.

It is quite beautiful and the centre of the town is very lively and colourful. It is full of shops, galleries and seaside stuff and is home to many artists, poets and writers, including Norman Mailer.

It is also the gay capital of the East Coast and does turn into Gaystown after sunset with fabulous drag queens and lesbian country and western bands! It is also full of good restaurants and offers whale watching boat trips.

Ours took three hours and we were amazed at how close the massive whales came to us. The kids loved it.

They also loved the annual Gay Parade through the streets of Provincetown.

Every queen in the vicinity dresses up, joins a float and throws sparkly beads and sweeties out to the crowds on the way past. …