Stony Brook Road on Cape Cod

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Many years ago I read “The Run” by John Hay.  It’s about the alewives run on Stony Brook in Brewster, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  We visited the stream along the old Grist mill soon after reading the book.  This year after a pre-Cape re-reading of “The Primal Place” by Robert Finch, we did a Brewster explore, including Stony Brook.  Finch lived on the Stony Brook Road near the Red Top cemetery for many years when he worked in the Cape Cod Natural History Museum on Route 6A.  Hay was a founder of the Museum.   I was just finishing Finch’s 2017 book, “The Outer Beach: a thousand-mile walk on Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore.”  I would need more Cape reading.  So we stopped in the Brewster bookstore.

I purchased two books.  “The Lost Hero: Captain Asa Eldridge and the Maritime  trade that shaped America” by Vincent Miles.  Eldridge was from Yarmouth, south of Brewster and Stony Brook.  The other book was the real surprise, “The Prophet of Dry Hill: lessons from a life in nature” (2005), by David Gessner. When I looked at Gessner’s books, I recognized and remembered reading  “Soaring with Fidel: an osprey odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba” (2008).

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“Dry Hill” it turns out was/is  on Stony Brook Road, near Red Top cemetery.  Small world.  The prophet was John Hay of “the run.”  He wrote over a dozen books, in his “writing shack” above a plain house on Dry Hill, a property he bought after World War II.  Hay was drawn to Cape Cod, Brewster and Stony Brook Road because the author Conrad Aiken lived there.  Hay worshiped Aiken.  I’ve never read any of his writings which include novels, essays and poetry.  I don’t think Aiken wrote directly about Cape Cod as Hay, Finch and Gessner did.  But all seemed to follow in a tradition of Cape Nature writing started by Henry David Thoreau “Cape Cod” and Henry Beston “The Outermost House.”

Gessner, an aspiring writer rented a house in Brewster overlooking Cape Cod Bay on Stephen Phillips Road.  It’s not far from the Sesuit Harbor Cafe where Diane and I had lunch the day of our Brewster explore.  The wait was too long, the picnic tables seem to be set in a dusty parking lot but the seafood was fantastic.  My lobster roll hosted an entire lobster and Diane’s grilled tuna sandwich was the best tuna she’s ever tasted.  Even the fries were tasty.

It’s the late 1990s.  Gessner fantasizes about writing a biography about John Hay.  It never happens; they become friends.  He eventually writes about the friendship. He braves the dream and calls Hay.  He was gracious and invited David to visit Dry Hill.  For about a year, Gessner visits John and his wife, Kristi.  Some days they walk around the property.  They visit the alewives run at the mill.  They drive to the beach, walk, watch birds, terns are John’s speciality,  they soak in the ocean.  John picks various Cape plants inhaling the smell of each.  They walk the dog.  Most of all, they talk.

John has a bit of the curmudgeon about him.  Since he purchased Dry Hill in 1946, the Cape has become too crowded.  Too many people, too many cars, too many trophy homes. John shares his life’s philosophy with David.  It includes “live simply so others can live.”  But central is his relationship with nature and the world.  John discovered this immersion in nature when he observed and wrote about the alewives.  Their lives and man’s life wasn’t a straight line but moved in circles.   Cycles. Seasons.  Somehow John wants to move out of self into, to be part of the natural world.  He wants space, openness, to be rooted in the land.  His tenure on Dry Hill is about sixty years. With Gessner he enjoys remembering the past.  His days and cocktail evenings with Aiken, his mentor?   I understand but I’ll need to re-read “The Prophet of Dry Hill.”

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I identified with John and Kristi’s aging limitations.  Physically and mentally it gets difficult.  A short walk becomes a challenge.  Can I make it uphill.  I’ve accepted that this morning I didn’t go on the kayak trip, three hours, up and down was too much.  And riding a bike, don’t think so.  But I can walk, sit on the beach, enjoy the sun, the surf and even today’s rain.

 

“The Prophet of Dry Hill” ends when John and Kristi move permanently to Maine.  David accepts a job at a southern university.  His bayside rental is sold and the new owners will tear it down, one old Cape house, replacing it with a bigger, newer, John would be appalled.

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I need to reread “The Run.”  And I have a copy of John Hay’s “The Great Beach.”  Maybe Thoreau and Beston.  But most of all I need to follow John’s footsteps on the beach, to the birds, the surf, the peepers in the woods,  to become one with the natural world.  The sands are shifting.  Where am I?

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Novel Destinations

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Several years ago I bought a journal at the Library of Congress to record my dream travel destinations.  Unfortunately medical issues may now limit my options and I haven’t recorded much in the journal.  But I can still dream, hope, plan and I should.  I think it’s called a bucket list.  But how, why, does a place end up on my list. I remember saying I was ready to go to Europe in 1976 (specifically England) because I wanted to do photography.  I had a reason. I think I was influenced by Lawrence of  Arabia who traveled to Italy to study architecture, churches and cathedrals.  A purpose.

I just finished reading “Novel Destinations: literary landmarks from Jane Austin’s Bath to Ernest Hemingway’s Key West,” by Shannon Schmidt and Joni Renton.  It’s one of those books about books; a genre I like.  The authors like to explore, visit sites, houses, places associated with writers.  Their travels are primarily in the United States and Europe.  Since I majored in literature at Boston College, I enjoy reading classic authors, traveling to their homes, exploring their sources of inspiration, fantastic.

It was fun to read about places we’ve visited — for instance,  Hemingway’s Spanish villa in Key West; or the Alcott house in Concord.  The replica cabin of Henry David Thoreau on Walden Pond was a special pilgrimage for me.  I recall a fairly recent stop at a Robert Frost house in Vermont on a snowy afternoon.  We’ve been to the Pearl Buck “Green Hills” farm house in Perkasie several times. Most recently to see a display of community decorated Christmas trees.  There is the Edgar Allen Poe house in Philadelphia and Washington Irving’s  “Sunnyside” on the Hudson in NY.  We’ve intentionally visited (but should spend the night) in the Algonquin Hotel in  NYC open to the literary vibes.  We’ve had drinks in the Plaza like Scott and Zelda.

It was interesting to see how many areas had walking tours of places from the authors’ lives or places related to the characters in their books. Bars, restaurants, hotels are frequently featured.    The last time we were in London, I wanted to take a Sherlock Holmes walking tour.  I’d been to the SH pub with it’s  recreated rooms; and I’d walked past 221b Baker Street.  But to just tour the city with Holmes and Watson, in a hanson cab maybe.  This should be entered in my destinations journal.

There are places closer to Yardley.  I’ve never been to the Walt Whitman house in Camden or the James Fenimore Cooper house in Burlington.  We’ve talked about visiting Nathaniel Hawthorne sites in Salem, MA and the Mark Twain house in Hartford, CT.

More ambitious would be traveling to Cannery Row, Steinbeck territory or Harper Lee’s Monroeville, Alabama, “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  And how I would love to explore Dicken’s London; Hemingway and the expatriot’s Paris, and Joyce’s Dublin.

There is still time.  I need to find that journal, dream, hope but most importantly plan.

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Different Worlds

37181242-1765-4603-9A2B-8317D09DBA16I continue to reread books.  I was  drawn this week to “Ishi: in two worlds, a biography of the last wild Indian in North America,” by Theodora Kroeber.  Ishi was the lone survivor of a California Native American tribe, the Yani.  In the early 20th century he wandered into the white  “civilized” world.  He was “adopted” by anthropologists at the University of California and for several years lived in the anthropology museum.

Ishi’s story is fascinating.  Several chapters explore how he and a small band of this tribe lived concealed in the hills.  Slowly the survivors died and Ishi was alone.  He emerges and adapts to a new life living the the museum.  White man’s customs and expectations.  He is a curiosity, exhibition specimen, but somehow seems to retain his personal, ancestral identity. Ishi shows his new white friends how to make fire, skin animals, chip arrow and spear heads.

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Ishi seems to understand and adapt to white culture.  He accepts something like a handshake because although foreign and strange to him it is the way of the new world.  I recall an encounter with a group Nicaraguan teens.  They were hanging out near their cars along Lake Managua.  I wanted to photograph them.  But how should I approach?    One boy waved to me.  I approached; took some fun photos.  We had crossed a cultural divide.

 

Another recent reread was “Gangsters, Murderers, and Weirdos” — can you guesss, “New York City’s Lower East Side,” by Eric Ferrara.  Several years ago we spent several days in NYC with John and Barbara Paglione.  One afternoon we took a tour with the author.  The Lower East Side, Little Italy, Chinatown.  Ferrara responded to our “food” interests pointing out restaurants, bakeries, groceries,  and the last pickle shop in the neighborhood.  Of course I ordered his book from Amazon.

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The Lower East Side was a different world.  Ferrara explores it through newspaper and police records.  Much of what he discovers is sordid.  Street after street; block  after block; house after house; the scene of all types of crimes; shootings; murders.  It’s an interesting read.  Most characters are not famous; although there is the ocassional well known Lucky Luciano or Meyer Lansky.  Would be a fantastic guide for a walk in the neighborhood.

So many books.  So many worlds.

 

 

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It’s Monday, it must be . . .

 

 

Belgium, Italy, Ireland, France, Scotland, maybe China or Vietnam.  My last trip abroad was Italy in 2014, the first year of retirement.  I’ve traveled on an airplane once (to Washington State) since my surgeries and ongoing medical issues.  I often wonder can I, will I, when will I travel out of the United States again.  Maybe, until then I can enjoy reading about places I would like to go.

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I recently reread “The Pipes are Calling: our jaunts through Ireland” by Naill Williams and Christine Breen.  A Dublin born writer and American writer-painter, they moved to Kitumper, County Clare, Christine’s grandfather’s cottage, on the west coast in the 1980s.  They wrote several books, including “Oh Come Ye Back.”  I read “The Pipes” a few years after we traveled in Ireland.  It is a journal of their explores or “jaunts” around the country by auto, on bicycles or on foot,  with their young daughter, Deidre.  Many of the places they visit were on our five week iternary around the country.

 

I remember the beauty of the Dingle pensuila which they visit.  And we took a carriage ride in Killarney Park; but did we go to the medieval city of Kilkenny, part of their tour.  They also mention unforgettable places like the Cliffs of Moher, Croagh Patrick, and the  Giant’s Causeway.  It also brought back memories when they write about the tense, even frightening, atmosphere in Northern Ireland, young soldiers, machine guns, signs and graffiti documenting the struggles, the troubles.

 

I enjoyed reading about Donegal where my grandfather Gallagher’s family lived.  I think we went to the Abbey Theatre there.  Since I did not know the exact location or town, I visited my friend Bill Gallagher’s relative (in a pub of course).   Niall and Christine describe places I didn’t visit or don’t remember, Bunratty Folk Park, Knock Shrine, Moore Hall, Cuil Aodha, Ennis, Newry, and West Mayo to name a few.

We like them spent several days in Dublin. The University of Dublin and Guinness Brewery were destinations for us but I don’t remember other specific streets, shops or churches.  Maybe a bookstore near the University.  Throughout the trip they mention Irish poets and writers. Dublin there are traces of George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan  Swift,  and Sean O’Casey.  Christine like me graduated from Boston College with a B. A. In English.  I graduated in 1969; she in 1976.

 

For me “The Pipes are Calling” evoked the Irish countryside, small roads lined with hedges, wind and rain, rocky fields, peat moss, warm knit sweaters, pubs, friendly shop keepers and tidy bed and breakfasts, small villages, thatch roofed cottages, Irish music and of course step dancing.  And so many shades of green.

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But it’s another day and I just finished “The Sweet Life in Paris: delicious adventures in the world’s most glorious — and perplexing City,” by David Lebovitz.  Diane spent significant time in Paris after graduating from college.  I’ve enjoyed her stories but have never been there.  I was familiar with Lebovitz through his book, “ The Perfect Scoop.”  But I was drawn to “The Sweet Life” because it was a memoir with recipes.  How delightful.  David Lebovitz got his start in Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse.  He became a well known pastry chef.

In 1999 he decided to leave San Francisco and move to Paris to live, cook and write.  Each chapter explores an aspect of living in Paris.  As much as he loves the city, Lebovitz is quick to point out how the culture is different, better sometimes, perplexing, even frustrating other times.  The French don’t like to wait in line but will jump ahead and push behind you but then they always dress correctly, no sweatshirts and flip flops in public (at least among proper, traditional Frenchmen).  Supermarkets are awful but the open air markets and speciality shops are fantastic. He describes his difficulty with language.  Life in Paris is sweet but not always easy.

 

To really experience the city, David works for a while in poissonnerie or seafood market.  But how to remove the every present stain, smell of fish from body and clothes.  He has his favorite boulangerie to buy his morning baguette.  Unfortunately he claims that French coffee is awful, make it yourself (or drink tea).  Lebovitz real passion is chocolate and he takes another job, volunteer, in Patrick Roger’s, one of the best chocolate shops in Paris (and there seems to be many).  But dealing with customers is more than he can handle. He is more into making and eating all forms of chocolate.

 

“The Sweet Life” explores to ins and outs of ordering in a French restaurant, do you want water?  Why aren’t there enough public rest rooms?  The lack of service in department stores, while clerks gossip and smoke.  And then there are what he calls “Les Bousculeurs” — people pushing on the streets — not in all France, but Paris.  At times I wonder why anyone would move to Paris.  But then there is the wine, the cheese, the chocolate, a politeness, well dressed, friendly, once you’ve been around for some time, people, the Seine, the speciality shops, cafes and restaurants.  David has stayed.

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I’d like to go to Ireland again.  I need to get out my photographs and check my journals to recall more of out trip in the 80s.  It might be fun to read another one of Naill and Christine’s books.  And then Paris.  I’ve wanted to visit.  I do plan on trying some of the many recipes in “The Sweet Life.”  Many are desserts, many chocolate.  I already ordered several pounds of chocolate from King Arthur.  When I get freezer room I’ll make some Lebovitz ice cream.

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And of course there are other books I can read or reread about Paris, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, India.  So many places; so many dreams.  And maybe, just maybe I can still board that plane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Watch at Peaked Hill

When I travel, I like to read about the people and places associated with my destination.  When in Rome; read about the Romans.  This year while on Cape Cod, I read several books.  The first was “On Whale Island: a place I never meant to leave,” by Daniel Hays.  It’s a memoir about building and living in an isolated house in Nova Scotia for a year.  A bit of Walden?  The second was “The Last Lobster: boom or bust for Maine’s greatest fishery,” by Christopher White.  White lives in Stonington and explores the lobster fishery.  Neither of these is about Cape Cod but they are about the sea and perfect Cape reading.  (See my posts “Getting Away”and “The Lobstah will Come.)

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The third book was a Cape Cod memoir, “The Watch at Peaked Hill: Outer Cape Cod shack life, 1953-2003,” by Josephine Breen Del Deo.  I bought this on a previous trip, but didn’t get to read it.  Started it this trip and finished it yesterday.   Josephine, her husband, Salvatore, two children and eventually grandchildren summer in a shack owned by Frenchie, an actress drawn to Proviencetown and the dunes.  Josephine is a philosopher writer; Salvatore is a painter.

 

In the 1960s they and most other dune shack residents support the federal government’s  creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  They are assured they will have rights to the shacks for themselves and posterity. But almost immediately after the Seashore is created the National Park Service takes an unfavorable view of the shacks.  They are evidence of humans on the dunes.  When a few shack dwellers die; the Park Service burn or tear down their shacks.  Much of the book is the record of preservationists attempt to save the shacks; and the right of the owners to live in them.

There are meetings, reports, court cases, testimony, and it drags on for decades.  Josephine uses journal entries, hers and others, to make the dry legal fight personal.  I found it interesting that even though the shacks were eligible for  National Historic designation, they were not saved.  The Park Service legalize argued the legislation for the Seashore protected “improved structures.”  Since the shacks had no improvements they weren’t protected.  Preservationists argued it wasn’t just the protection of a structure but a “way of life.”

And “way of life”is the heart of “Peaked Hill.” Del Deo writes beautifully about the dunes, the ocean, grasses, sand, swallows, storms, fish.  She draws strength, sustenance, excitement, joy from the landscape.  She writes poetry and prose.  Salvatore paints.  They grill sea bass; have a glass of wine at sunset.  She reflects on the famous (Eugene O’Neill) and the unknown who have lived in the shacks.  I want to extract her reflections, allow them sink into my consciousness.

In the past when I’ve seen private property intrude into parks, national or state, I’ve thought, hope they can be bought out.  I’m not so sure now.  Some of the Proviencetown shacks are now owned by non profit groups that rent them.  Sounds good.  But Del Deo argues a weekly rental is not the same as generations passing the dune shack life to the next generation.  A few are still owned by families.

This year Diane and I spent a day on the Race Point beach. It’s not far from many of the shacks, the area of the extant Peaked Hill life saving station. Wouldn’t it be great to rent a shack.  To experience a totally unique way of life.  At the least, next  year we might take Art’s Dune tour, which goes by the shacks.  I also just discovered that biplane rides over the dunes can be charted at the Proviencetown airport.  To join if only for moments Del Deos, O’Neill, Thoreau, Beston And all those that have lived life on the Cape Cod, Provincetown dunes.

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The Beach

 

What are you memories of the beach?   Where did you go?  Where do you go now?  We are drawn to water; we are drawn to beaches.  The intersection of land and water.

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Growing up outside of Philadelphia (as I did), “going to the beach”  meant the Jersey shore, the Atlantic Ocean and bay.   For Philadelphians that may have been Atlantic City or Wildwood.  Bristol people went to Long Beach Island, for my family, specifically Beach Haven.  There are many other towns on LBI, and many more along the Jersey shore from  New York, south to Cape May.  Communities, neighborhoods, families, we find our favorite. Jersey beaches can have slight differences; and Jersey beaches can be quite different from beaches north in New England or in the South.

Beaches on oceans, bays, rivers, ponds, marshes.  Some beaches are smooth, flat, light sand; some are steep sloped, with high dunes; some are muddy; some rocky.  Some beaches have surfer waves; some have none.  Seaweed?  Beach grass?  Shore birds? Seals? Are there boats off shore?  In common is that connection of land and sea.  Like the moon and tides; we are drawn to the beach, the waters edge.

 

How many people are on the beach?  What are they doing?  Along the ocean and bays, many sit under colorful umbrellas blocking the sun.  Beach chairs or beach blanket. For the past few years I’ve been useing a higher director’s chair.  Suntan lotion.  Sometimes bug spray.  Ocean beaches have an anatomy, dunes, wrack, berm, breakers, trough.  Many hours can be spent, sitting, looking into the horizon, reflecting, dreaming.

For young kids, the beach is usually buckets, shovels, and other toys.  Sand, more sand, dredging rivers, building castles.  As I kid I remember enjoying burying each other in sand.  Have a catch; pass a football.   My grandson has spike ball — a net and ball game for several to compete.  Maybe volleyball. There are boogie boards and blow up floats.  In the 1950s, we had flat rafts.  Today there is a wider range, my grand daughter got a huge pink floating flamingo this year.  If the ocean waves are big enough there may be surfers.

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Which do you like better ocean or bay?  Ocean beaches usually have bigger waves.  Sometimes a swift under tow.  “Beware of rip tides”  Maybe sharks.  Bays are usually shallow, gentler. Rivers and marshes offer totally different environments.  On Cape Cod there are many kettle ponds. Great for swimming, boating, some with docks.

There are beaches known as being good for birding.  On Nantucket we had several we visited with binoculars and scope.  Many shore birds are big, easily identified, fun to watch.  Some fish, ocean casting, bay, pond, river fishing.  Grandson Eli has caught Bass on Pilgrim Lake where we’ve stayed on the Cape  (they were delicious) and has done some morning ocean casting.  I have been considering buying a bay or ocean pole but haven’t acted yet.

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For some, like my Washington state sister, Marylee, a beach is a place to launch a kayak.  Not many days pass between her bay or ocean kayak trips.  She has two beautiful, hand made wooden kayaks.  The first year of retirement I bought a small L.L. Bean kayak, to replace or add to a very tiny green one we always took to Nantucket.  We bring it to the Cape and use on the Lake or Pond.  Since my surgery it’s not been easy getting in and out but there is still the draw to be on the water.  This year everyone except me took a guided kayak trip in Nauset Marsh.  Today we’ll take an eco-tour boat to a sand bar, the kids will scavenge sea life, small fish, crabs, shellfish.  Always fun to watch them and see what the sea has to offer.

When we go to the beach we can cross into the water wading or swimming.  We can enjoy the rush of ocean waves; or the calm of a bay.  The grandkids always enjoy swimming on one of the Capes kettle ponds.  Growing up in Bristol, PA, the 1950s-60s, I swam in the Delaware river, Maple Beach was one destination.  Recently a friend posted a picture on Facebook of kids jumping off a river piling near the Bristol Wharf.  Some swam across the river to beaches on Burlington Island.

 

Some love the beach during the day with the full sun.  That can be too hot for me.  I’d prefer a shady porch with a water view.  Some of my most memorable beach experiences have been early morning or evening walks? Walking and photographing in the sunrise and sunset.  It might be Long Beach Island, the Chesapeake, Nantucket or Cape Cod.  A favorite is the rocky coast of Maine, or the drift wood beaches in Oregon and Washington,  again walking, with a camera, tidal pools filled with sea life.

Although there are many beach experiences etched in my memory, one of the best was a trip with my brother-in-law Norval to Neah Bay, in the northern tip of Washington state.  We left in the dark and arrived on the shore of the bay before sunrise.  As the sun came up we walked on the beach, the fog was thick and for a time we couldn’t see anything.  Then slowly like a curtain the fog began to lift, as we looked out onto the ocean, immense sea stacks began to emerge.  Crazy towers of land left from erosion.  Where the sea and land meet.  In full sun we continued down the beach, an eagle flew directly overhead.  Seemed we could reach out and touch it. The tidal pools were alive with seaweed, small fish, crabs, urchins and starfish.  An amazing beautiful morning.

When I wake early many mornings but don’t want to get up, I day dream about sitting or walking on a beach.  My beach memories wash over me like waves.  And I give thanks for the edge.

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Some photographs from the Internet; others mine from Cape Cod, 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What makes Cape Cod special?

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Countries, geographic areas, cities, towns, even neighborhoods have a special local character.  Writers may reference local color.  Mention lobster; think Maine.  Blue crabs; Chesapeake Bay.  Philadelphia is known for its steak sandwiches; Georgia for peaches.  Trancendentalism, must be Concord, MA.  Rip Van Winkle, the Hudson Valley, NY.  Whales: Nantucket or maybe Bedford, MA;  alligators, the Florida Everglades.

Since I’m spending time on Cape Cod, I’ve been thinking, “what makes Cape Cod special?”  What places, objects, words characterize, symbolize Cape Cod?

 

Cape Cod is definately nautical.  Salty.  Breezy.  Ocean waves (I recently read,  “my memories come in waves”). The Cape is sandy beaches, marshes along the bay, high– very high — sand dunes and “kettle ponds” left behind by retreating glaciers.    Sail boats, kayaks, Boston Whalers.  Lighthouses (20 of them), the first on the Cape was Highland (1850s),  now part of the National Seashore (1960s).

There are scallops, clams, and, yes, lobster — its delicious in a traditional roll.  Cod once schooled off shore but have moved North, but striped bass, flounder, mackeral, and tuna are still caught locally. Wellfleet oysters are well known.  Corn, tomatoes and cranberries can be local.

There is the typical Cape Cod house architecture.  Gray cedar shakes, white trim, a long sloped roof.  Flowers in the garden, hydrangea especially.   Years ago we took an architectural walk on Nantucket.  The guide joked that building codes had created a “Disney” effect to local architecture.  I read in “Country Living,”

“Though it was originally developed by colonists from England, today the Cape is perhaps the most quintessentially American of all architectural styles. It conjures up feelings of warmth, coziness and nostalgia, and for good reason—the style has been most popular during the times in which we, as a country, were desperately seeking a sense of “home. The earliest capes in America were built in small New England towns during the time of American colonization, when the country was first developing an identity. Throughout the 1940s and ’50s, the Cape experienced a resurgence in popularity that quickly spread throughout suburbs nationwide—and thus the style is associated with the serenity, regularity and strong family values that defined the post-war years.”

The last sentence about resurgence reminds me:  My parents came to the Cape for their honeymoon in 1946.  Father bought Bayberry candles to resell in his Bristol, Pa store.  No one bought them.  He would joke, “Bristol wasn’t ready.” I don’t know if they still sell Bayberry candles on the Cape. I think Yankee Candles in Hayannis.

Images of the Cape landscape are dominated by the immense sand dunes in the National Seashore, Eastham to Provincetown.  We can thank President Jack Kennedy for preserving that section of the Cape.   Think Cape, think beaches, they are on the Bay side and Ocean side. First Encounter on the Bay is where the Pilgrims first encountered natives.  And there are marshes, Nauset Marsh is special.  There are also the kettle ponds, created by melting ice blocks during the ice age.  Great swimming holes.  The glaciers were also responsible for the dunes.  Although the shoreline dominates there are forested areas — mature pine and oak are common.

The Cape is a mix of villages/towns.  Each has a unique character.  The names flow, Sandwich, Mashpee, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Dennis, Harwich, Barnstable, Brewster, Chatham.  Hyannis is probably the most famous, the Kennedy compound, the ferry to Nantucket.  Orleans is midway at the elbow.  Then Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro, and finally Provincetown.  About ten towns host a summer baseball league (since the late 1800s).  College players spend the summer, coach young kids, and are scouted.  Many towns sponsor farmer’s markets and outdoor band concerts.

Various authors are associated with and symbolize the Cape Cod.  Eugene O Neil wrote and produced in Providencetown.  Henry David Thoreau visited and wrote a memoir, “Cape Cod.” And of course, Henry Beston immortalized the Cape in his Beach journal, “The Outermost House.”  I must include “House at Nauset Beach” by Wyman Richardson and Robert Finch and John Hay’s “The Great Beach.”

Jack Kennedy on Cape Cod: “No two summers on Cape Cod are quite the same.”  Maybe that makes it special.

Some photographs from internet; some I shot.

 

 

 

 

 

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