After my recent ponderings of life’s little mysteries and pleasures, one of my best brings me back to summers on Cape Cod. Born a New Yorker, raised in California and then venturing off to college and Paris, and various cities abroad and in the USA, the nomad in me had to be quenched. Namely, I moved back to coastal CT to raise my daughter. Just us! A tag team of two.
So we started a summer tradition, a trip to the Cape. When she was a toddler she was content with a tiny rental house, no AC, no TV, just a wading pool in the backyard and the joy of a warm outdoor shower ( the house had one). Going to the WellFleet drive-in clean and fresh in her pj’s to ride the swings on the playground and run around with the other kids. Only to fall asleep before the movie began. I think she most looked forward to the singing and dancing hot dog, soda and popcorn trailer.
For those who don’t know, the WellFleet Drive-in is one of the last in existence on the Eastern Seaboard. During the week in summer it hosts a huge outdoor flea market. Things changed, she got older, the ocean no longer scared her so instead of spending the day at the Wellfleet harbour beach, we ventured to Nauset Light Beach in Eastham. Gorgeous beach! Killer flight of stairs, especially coming back up lugging all ones beach gear!
We soon progressed to getting a hotel room for a week with an on site restaurant, heated pool, hot tub, AC, HBO, Disney, pizza delivery, video arcade, bike trail, hotel bar ( for mom) clearly our priorities were evolving. Plus the movie theatre across the street had “rainy day” matinees. They were not current films, just whatever the theatre could procure to show for cheap. I remember someone admonishing me for taking her to see Edward Scissorhands, telling me it was not appropriate for one so young! She was 5. I believed I replied with a” get stuffed.” La adores Tim Burton and all his movies, and I like to think that rainy day screening had something to do with her love of film and all things dark and strange.
Now we get to the important part! Cape Cod Eats. My all time most favourite place, is Arnold’s Clam Shack on RT6. The belly clam roll, and mountain of thin crispy onion rings is worth the 4 hour drive up there. Trust me.
Fluffy blueberry pancakes at The Lighthouse, Fra Diavlo at Serena’s, sadly no longer in business, a bucket of mussels at The Rookies, Van Renesslars for a super thick, juicy steak and the best salad bar on the planet, The Atlantic Spice Co for an amazing array of spices and odds & ends. The Bookstore on the harbour in wellfleet, with an actual antique bookstore around the back, road side stands selling beach plum jam, finding a desolate stretch of beach in Truro and having a picnic with goodies from The Wellfleet General Store.
Poits for a game of mini golf to be followed by a basket of fries and clams and a lobster roll. Flemings Donut Shack for warm sour cream donuts and the NYC Times on Sunday morning. Whale watching and people watching in P-Town.
Sadly, during our last trip, I got an amazing tan, La an amazing sunburn, and we spent most of our days at the pool or watchingDVD’s. Time certainly had evolved. Before we left we went into P-Town, for one last wander, enjoyed a slice of pizza at Spiritus before heading home down RT6 and calling it a day. It was a very quiet drive back to CT, both of us lost in our own thoughts of what the Cape meant to us.
Swollen Summer by The Bravery