Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Cape

We spent the week before Memorial Day visiting Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard and loving it--even though it was sweatshirt weather. I had never been to either place, so that's one more item checked off my non-existent bucket list. 
Marconi Beach
I was prepared not to be too easily seduced by "The Cape," since that might imply some disloyalty to my own Jersey Shore. I remember standing on a jetty in Ireland years ago with my Aunt Eleanor at an inlet reminiscent of Manasquan and my aunt simply stating: 'It's nice, but it's not Point Pleasant." But the Cape's combination of dunes and beaches, marshes and great sunrises and sunsets, the charm of New England villages and the slow, peaceful pace was very appealing. Part of it had to be that we were pre-season and didn't have to cope with crowds or excessive traffic on Route 6. The Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, we both commented on the oddity of finally seeing non-senior citizens. Look, young people, families, kids!

I decided there's never been a beach I didn't like whether it was the Outer Banks or Florida, Capetown or St.Maarten. They each have their appeal and sometimes a downside. But there's nothing like being near the water and a lobster dinner never hurts! Growing up every summer on the Jersey shore has special memories for me and these easily translate whenever I see an ocean view.

Is this guy famous?
We saw no one famous on Martha's Vineyard, although I had sworn beforehand that I was going to capture a celebrity's photo in a baseball cap, oversized sunglasses or a gray hoodie.  It rained on and off most of the day we were there, so that may have been  a reason for celebrity hibernation.

We stayed at the Oak Bluffs Inn and went there immediately from the ferry. Our host greeted us and I commented that my son's name was also Eric. "With a C or a K?"  "C", I replied. "Wrong," he said. "It should always be a K.". Quirky guy, our Erik with a K, but we loved the insider map he gave us with scribbled notations on what not to miss while touring the island.
Gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs

At one point on Chappaquiddick Island we were turning up an unmarked sandy, gravel road that Erik had assured us would lead to an impressive overlook of both sides of the bay without having to go the long way around and have a beach driving permit. We were skeptical at first, and a little nervous when a truck coming the other direction asked if we lived on the North Neck, but in the end Erik proved to be right.

Of course, we had to view the fateful Chappaquiddick Bridge and google the events of 1969. I clearly remembered my father back in the day, harping about it every night at the dinner table, but I had forgotten many of the details. The bridge now has guard rails and the water seemed too shallow to swallow a car, but it was eerie to be there.

Another highlight for us was the Province Lands area of the National Seashore. Gary biked through the dunes and scrub pines on one of the best bike trails he'd ever been on. I enjoyed Race Point Beach and the fact that the dune shacks from Eugene O'Neill's day still exist and are rented out to artists and writers who crave the wildness and solitude of the dunes for creative inspiration. There are still 19 shacks with no electricity or running water, locations not generally known, in order to maintain privacy. A few are visible via jeep tour or hiking, but I preferred my imagination's version to the real thing. Little known fact, but Eugene O'Neill had spent the winter of 1918-1919 in West Point Pleasant at his in-laws house and described the Jersey shore as flat and boring, compared to his beloved Cape Cod. I could appreciate the wildness O'Neill described.

We stayed in Provincetown at the Lands End Inn in the tower bay room which had magnificent views in every direction.
I was the Princess of the Tower, enjoying the late afternoon and a well deserved nap while Gary golfed after we had risen at dawn to see sunrise over the bay.

I'll end with my first BobbyPin map which will show you the highlights of our itinerary. (Bobby Pin is an offshoot of everyone's favorite scavenger/tour

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