Cape Cod 2010 Archives

August 16, 2010

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.
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.


August 18, 2010

Cape Cod Monday--Kayaking, Fort Hill Hike


The weather forecast promised morning drizzle followed by partial clearing, so we drove to Brewster for our morning kayak trip equipped with rain jackets. We met up with Sue and Laura, a few other people, and eventually our Audubon Society guide showed up with a trailer full of kayaks. The sky was quite dark, and he was concerned about lightening in the distance. He decided to give it half an hour to see what the Weather Gods had in store for us, and we headed off to Dunkin in search of bathrooms. Luckily the storm started to move offshore, so we hit the water. Another couple had brought their own kayaks, adorable little ones that they said only weighed 40 pounds. I'd love a pair of those, if Larry and I could figure out how to get them on top of a car. Maybe two stepstools?


Evan was still working through his little boat apprehension issues, so he and I started out in a tandem. We were on a large "pond" , really more lake-sized, with lots of birds soaring overhead. We saw swooping ospreys fishing, ( that's fish entrails in the photo) and several kinds of herons.Our guide told us a lot about the ecology of the area, local history, and more about the serious environmental threats posed by septic systems and runoff.


We slipped through a narrow stream, and then into the larger pond. The water was very choppy here and we were meeting a lot of headwind. We all got quite a workout. Evan did great, and was very knowledgeable about turning to take advantage of wind and currents. After resting on a landing, he went out in Larry's single and Larry took the second seat in the tandem. We got a good pace going, and got up to a nice speed once we turned out of the headwind. The trip was three hours, long enough for a blister and tight shoulders. We got soaking wet, but had a lot of fun.


We had sandwiches at the cottage, and then drove over to Fort Hill, where there's a short hike over the meadows to the marsh, with lovely views to the ocean barrier beach beyond. Lots more birds here, wildflowers, and the 19th century whaling captain's house, the Penniman's Mansion with whalebone gate. We then met up on the beach with friends Kristi and her daughter Sara, biking the Rail Trail in training for Kristi's bike ride in Israel to raise money and awareness for bone cancer.



Dinner was at an old institution of ours, the tacky Red Barn on route 6. They have remarkably good pizza, decent mini golf, and the boy's favorite, a very wholesome arcade room. We shared a great pesto pizza and a salad, the boys made out like bandits in the arcade (combining their winnings to get a disco ball and a lava-lamp sort of thing), and no one would play mini golf with me. Party poopers. Dan did let me take a photo of him on his favorite toddler-era icon, the quarter-fed rocking horse.



Cape Cod Tuesday--Gone Fishin'

One of Dan's requests for the week was to go fishing. Hiring a boat on the Cape can get into serious money, but the Naviator out of Wellfleet does reasonably-priced trips, if you don't mind a crowd. We had a reservation on the 1-5 trip, which luckily gave the boys opportunity to sleep in to recover from being kept up by the violent thunderstorms of the night. Also luckily, Laura and Sue's tents stayed dry. Larry and I went for a long walk along the bay.




We boarded the Naviator at the pier. The water was incredibly smooth, barely a ripple as we moved out past Jeremy Point. We passed a sandbar with seals, probably here to avoid the sharks that have been chasing them in Chatham.


We started off slowly, but were soon getting lots of nibbles. Most of what people were pulling in was undersized. Larry got a flounder, Evan, Dan, Sue and I all got baby stripers, Sue got a huge starfish, Evan a cluster of crabs.




When we moved into another spot, we all got to battle dogfish, a small harmless shark. These guys put up quite a fight, and were challenging to bring in. Lots of fun, even though they're not good eating.


At The Catch of the Day in Wellfleet, we had nice blackened bluefish sandwiches and grilled scallops, caught by better fishermen than us.


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