Cape Cod--Saturday and Sunday, Marsh and Beach
We managed to haul ourselves and all our junk into the van by 10, and miraculously didn't hit too much bridge traffic. I can go to Europe for three weeks with a 21 inch bag; why is it I can't travel two hours away without filling up a minivan? Four beach chairs, bikes, food to feed two teen boys, that's why.
I love the feeling I get as we get off the traffic circle in Orleans and hit the winding narrow stretch of Route 6 as it heads up through Eastham. You get glipmpses of Town Cove on the right, then the familiar roadside sights-- the B&B, the National Seashore Visitor's Center (with the restaurant across the street where I got sick 30 years ago, and haven't darkened the door out of spite since), The Mini-Mart where Dan lost his beloved Baby Jessy Cow when he was two, the Windmill and town green, Arnold's Clam Bar, signs to the beaches.
We stopped at the Stop and Shop in Orleans, spent a staggering amount on groceries (and who put the iced tea, cheese-nips, potato chips, and bacon in the cart, Humn???) and got sandwiches for lunch. Across the road is an old windmill near the water, with a nice picnic table just below that was free. Lunch with a view of Nauset marsh and boats entering the cove. Got our beach sticker at the lovely Transfer Station (fancy term for town dump), then picked up keys for the cottage. The cottage was cheap, and you do get what you pay for here. My standards were basic for this rental--toilet that flushes, clean beds, stove that doesn't blow up. I chose this place because of the screened porch, which is one of my must-haves on the Cape because of the Cape Cod Air Force, who put Italian mosquitoes to shame. After battling the ants in the kitchen and the sluggish fridge (with phone calls to the owner and agency), we unpacked.
We got some late-afternoon sun at Cook's Brook beach near the house. Ahhh...
My sisters and Sue's friend MaryAnne were camping in Truro, and they came over for dinner. We picked up lobsters from Mac's, already steamed and cracked. Steaks and corn on the grill, salads, cheap rose. Toasted marshmallows for dessert, and hey, someone left a package of sparklers in the closet.
On Sunday, Larry and I got up early and walked along Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. The waves had attracted plenty of surfers. We walked for about an hour north, and then turned back.
Back at the cottage, I fulfilled a promise to Dan with bacon and eggs for breakfast. We made lunches, then hung out at the beach for a while. There's a book I need to read before I begin work again in two weeks, unfortunately not the lightest of beach reading.
We had a reservation at 3 for a canoe trip in the Salt Pond and Eastham Marsh at the National Seashore, and met up with Laura there. http://www.nps.gov/caco/index.htm
The Center does lots of guided walks, trips and lecture programs, you need to sign up a week in advance. They're very popular. After a safety talk, we headed out on the marsh. There were some lovely swans, which we learned are not native and in fact are disruptive to the native animals, spreading harmful parasites to humans as well. We sighted ospreys, some herons, and learned about the salt marsh, plants and animals it supports. The nitrogen run-off from septic systems is having a serious effect, and the towns have still not come together with a plan to install the expensive sewer systems needed. The canoeing was very easy, and I recommend this trip for beginners on the water.
For dinner we drove up to Wellfleet to eat at Mac's on the harbor, my favorite clam shack. I indulged in my yearly fried scallops and onion rings. Picnic table on the harbor, wine in a paper sack, toes wriggling in the sand.