The Outer Lands
is a term denoting the prominent terminal moraine archipelagic region
off the southern coast of New England
in the United States. This region of Massachusetts
, Rhode Island
and New York
, comprises the peninsula of Cape Cod
and the islands of Martha's Vineyard
, Block Island
and Long Island
, as well as surrounding islets.
Though the existence of this archipelago is widely acknowledged by geographers, it is rarely given a specific name; "Outer Lands" is an older term used by naturalists and adopted by author Dorothy Sterling for her natural history guide of the same name.
The Massachusetts section is often called the "Cape and Islands", with the "Islands" subregion very specifically referring to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
Long Island is often informally considered a part of the "New York islands", together with Staten Island and Manhattan. These islands are geographically contiguous with the broader region.
The Outer Lands forms the insular northeasternmost extension of North America's Atlantic Coastal Plain
. The islands of the Outer Lands were formed by the effect of the recession of the Laurentide ice sheet
during the Wisconsin glaciation
The region has historically had a strong maritime culture, with an emphasis on fishing. From eastern Long Island on, much of the region has in recent decades taken on a summer colony