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When you think of Cape Cod, you probably have visions of the ocean and its shoreline.  However, the Cape also boasts a cache of freshwater alternatives.  These are called kettle ponds, in fact Wellfleet and Truro have about 20 of them just waiting to be explored.  Many of them now operate as area swimming beaches, but some of them are so remote they offer visitors a tranquil place to escape the crowds and return to nature.

The history of kettle ponds is quite remarkable.  They were formed when glacier ice melted, resulting in huge holes that then filled up with fresh water.  This happened more than 15,000 years ago, and the “kettles” are still there.  Unlike the ocean, most of the kettle ponds don’t have a beach and you have to trudge through the

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gull pond - wellfleet ma

While the Cape Cod ocean beaches receive top billing, the Cape is also blessed with a 200+ freshwater "kettle" ponds scattered throughout the various communities.  A dip in the cool, clear waters of a cherished pond is a favorite Cape Cod memory for residents and visitors alike.  Henry David Thoreau famously visited the Wellfleet ponds in the mid-1800s, later remarking on them in "Cape Cod."   

While the National Seashore identifies 20 official ponds scattered throughout the beach forests of Wellfleet and Truro, ponds are also an appealing part of the landscape in communities such as Brewster, Harwich, and Eastham.  These unique kettles were formed as a product of the Ice Age some 15,000 years ago.  As the glacier ice melted, it left behind massive

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