Yesterday we left Yardley at 9:30, the Highlander loaded with kayak, beach chairs, umbrella, kids toys, fishing poles and everything else needed for a two weeks trip to Orleans. It was a nice sunny, not too hot day but traffic was heavy. We took the NJ turnpike, NYC route. After the George Washington, we got on the shaded Merritt Parkway to Milford, CN. The Merritt was part of the route to Boston College in the 1960s. Memories.
We stopped at the Guilford Lobster Landing to have a roll ($17) and officially mark our return to New England. Not much else on the menu, we did have a few stuffed clams and chips. No inside seating; no credit cards. At the same dock area there are two other seafood choices, Guilford Mooring, a fancier sit down restaurant which we haven’t tried, and Pa’s Place, another small breakfast, lunch stop. A larger menu than the “Landing” but also known for their lobster rolls. Last year we tried a Lobster “shack” in another town but didn’t like the atmosphere as much as Guilford.
Traffic was surprisingly light going over the canal. We took the Bourne bridge and headed to 6A since we needed gas. Although it’s slower than Route 6, it’s more interesting, studios, restaurants, shops, B and Bs. In Barnstable we stopped at a market for beer (Alagash White), prepared lasagna, and oh so tasty oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. In recent years we haven’t explored 6A very much. We decided it would be an activity this trip.
This is our sixth consecutive year in Orleans, sharing a house with the Kwait’s. For the first years we stayed on Pilgrim Lake. It was a nice place, secluded, large deck, the kids could kayak to a small beach across the pond. Fishing was good; the snappers were huge. But there’s always greener grass. Diane found another three bedroom about 10 minutes from Pilgrim Lake. The new cottage was on Ayers Pond, connected to the Namequoit River that empties into Little Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic. A major difference in the setting, Ayers is a marina where wooden boats are built. So the Pond is filled with sail and motor boats. When we arrived yesterday, there was a group taking paddle board lessons. We could probably take sailing lessons. The fishing hasn’t been as good as Pilgrim. Theoretically we could kayak to the ocean at Chatham. The best feature of the house (8 Peck’s Way) is a screened in porch with a Pond view. My place to sit, reflect, read, write, watch birds, feel the breeze, listen to the wind. I need chimes like we always had in Nantucket.
For ten years we rented a cottage on Nantucket. Usually two weeks. I’ve previously written about our golden years there. Unfortunately, the owner, John sold the property for about 2 million. Maybe in 2006. The price wasn’t the cottage which was moved but the property which was on the edge of preserved moors. We couldn’t find anything like it. The following year we rented on Cape May Point, then tried Orleans, when Eli was about two years old. Another year we were with Eli and Viv at Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Island. But then for several years when Eli was being treated for neuroblastoma, there were only weekend jaunts. Finally we went to Pilgrim Lake, as close as we could get to our Nantucket experience.
Diane and I have had many other Cape adventures. Her family vacationed here regularly. My first visit was September in my sophomore year, several of us rented a house for a few days. No memories. The most memorable visit with Diane was a day trip on Easter Sunday, probably in 1968. We were married, had a gray British Sunbeam, c. 1959? Great, fun car. We drove to the new National Seashore (a Kennedy initiative), and cavorted on the sand dunes. I’m sure a no-no today. When we returned to the car, late afternoon, we discovered that our car keys were lost in the sand. What to do? A fireman came to our rescue (amazing, ten cents in a pay phone call). The Sunbeam had a crank start if you wanted. Our rescuer crossed some wires, turned the crank and we were on our way back to Boston. Several months later a car thief did the same thing and we lost our hot rod.
For most of the years that we rented on Nantucket, we spent several nights in a B and B on the Cape. Usually nights before we took the ferry. Usually it was along Route 6A, the road we traveled yesterday. On the little time we had, we explored craft and art studios, especially the many potteries, had several favorite restaurants, The Impudent Oyster (still there) was one; Christine’s (gone); both in Chatham. We stayed in the Captain Freeman Inn in Brewster, nice location near restaurants and a busy general store. Another was the Nauset House Inn in Orleans. We remember riding our bikes from there to Nauset Beach. There were others; names forgotten. On these trips, we’d lunch and shop in Hyannis before boarding the ferry. Although we thought of ourselves as Nantucket people, we got a taste of the Cape.
Yesterday we passed a church with signage, “reflect, recharge, renew.” It captured my current thoughts on life but particularly travel, especially in retirement. On Nantucket and now on the Cape we’re in no big hurry. It’s not new territory we’re compelled to explore. This morning I filled the bird feeder and this evening I sit with squalking Blue Jays, a Mourning Dove and variety of smaller birds. Chipmunks and small brown squirrels scurry around the porch.
Today we had showers off and on. A walk along the river in a small preserve near the house was cut short due to bugs. So we drove outside of town to a dead end on the Bay. Thankfully the town allows several cars to park and access the beach. An easy peaceful walk. While out about, we stopped at Nauset Market, wine and a sandwich for lunch; Cottage Street Bakery for muffins and macaroons; a local farm for corn. All familiar spots.
In the afternoon, we organized the house. Kwait’s will arrive tonight. We read; took a short nap. I’m listening to the rain. We’re on Cape Cod. “Reflect, recharge, renew.”