Down the Cape

Oct 27, 2007

Taking advantage of a commitment-free weekend to spend a couple of days with the family on The Cape (that’s Cape Cod if you’re not from around here. You can even buy a sweatshirt that just says “The Cape”). I haven’t been here since Beth and I did a road trip down this way 20 years ago, although Beth has returned several times for various things with and without the kids.

We managed to leave the house on time this morning around 9am and by 11 we were over the bridge and into scenic Dennis (I didn’t know your name was Dennis). It was a little early for lunch, so we browsed for a while at the Brewster Country Store, then found a restaurant just down 6A (really the only road through town) for some fish and chips. It was a bit dreary and raining off and on, although not too bad temperature-wise. Neither Dennis nor Brewster has a real downtown area, just a series of small newish strip malls and a lot of old sea captain houses that have been converted into restaurants or shops or whatever. There wasn’t much traffic since it’s the end of the October and the weather was iffy, so we could get around fairly handily.

After lunch we doubled back into Dennis to find Mayflower Beach, a smallish beach by Cape standards but completely empty and pretty much surf free, being on the bay side. We saw flocks of little birds (sandpipers maybe?) walking around at the edge of the water, it was high tide and a few dead horseshoe crabs had washed up on the sand. We walked up and down the beach until it started to rain, then ran for the car and headed back to Route 6 and towards Wellfleet and the national seashore.

When Beth and I drove here in her Chevette back in 1987, we left before sunrise to beat the traffic on an August weekend to celebrate our one year dating anniversary. We beat the traffic so well we were in Provincetown by 7am and nothing was open. But after we did a whale watch in the morning we wended our way back down to Harwich by way of the National Seashore, stopping at a few beaches a long the way. This time around we revisted one of those, Marconi Beach, an ocean-side beach that is miles long and also completely empty. It wasn’t raining out there, after stopping at the visitors center down the road in Eastham the sun was even trying to peek out. The kids were drawn to the ocean surf even though they were fully dressed, and within about 10 minutes Chloe was wet up to her stomach and Justin was completely soaked. They were indifferent, however, and spent a good 40 minutes running in and out of the water. With no towels, changing clothes was problematic, and we didn’t exactly bring much else to change into, but we managed to find something.

Since the weather was still cooperating (away from the beach it was at least 65), we still had plenty of time to look around, so we drove up a little further to the Marconi transmitter site, where the first intercontinental telegraph message was sent 100 years ago. The towers were torn down in 1920, and the location of some of them are now out at sea due to beach erosion over the years. On the other side of the parking lot is a short trail through the Cedar Swamp, which we walked around in about 45 minutes. The swamp part itself wasn’t swampy, although it didn’t matter since there’s a boardwalk all the way around it. It’s only about a mile, but it was very scenic with some of the fall colors, and nearly deserted.

Back in the car, we headed back down Route 6 to our lodging for the night at the Tidewater Inn in West Yarmouth, which took close to an hour to get to. I found this place on hotels.com for about $60 a night, although their going offseason rate was around twice that. They have a nice setup with an indoor pool and even a rec-room in the basement of the lobby with ping pong and foosball. We unloaded our stuff and found dinner down Rt 28 at the Captain Parker Pub where the kids could have pizza or chicken strips and I could still get more seafood.

We were back in the room by 7:30 to settle in before the Red Sox try to win a 3rd game against the Rockies in the World Series. How said for the younger generation that they don’t know the pain of an endless drought of World Series championships, as this year’s team has dominated like no other Red Sox team since they won 3 years out of 4 back in the 1910’s.

Tomorrow there’s several things to choose from, sunnier weather is forecast although cooler and windier, we’ll see how many of them we can get done before we hit the road to reach home in time for game 4.

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