Cape Cod is one of those magical places that takes residence in your soul and your heart. While this one not my first visit, every time I am “on the Cape”, I realize how much I enjoy it. Cape Cod is the peninsula in Massachusetts that juts out into the ocean and the cities that comprise “the Cape” are unique, interesting, and abundant with original residents. Cape Cod is not your typical beach town. It is a thriving community made up of businesses both old and new. You can discover new places all the time-both along the ocean and bay as well as in the many towns along the Cape. The beach is wild and free and speaks to me in a special way. When I am on Cape Cod, I am returning to the Mother Ship.
You can reach the Cape a few different ways. I fly into Boston and am picked up by a friend Charlie who drives me to the Cape. You can take a bus or a ferry as well. From St. Louis, I look for nonstops on Southwest Airlines. This trip I landed late afternoon and after stopping for dinner in Boston we headed to the Cape, avoiding Bridge traffic. You want to avoid Bridge traffic if possible.
Reaching Eastham, we drove up to Coast Guard Beach to check out the stars. One of my favorite activities as I have seen the Milky Way from this vantage point. Tonight, was no exception. The Milky Way, and Saturn were out to say hello.
And…I saw a shooting star!
Yes, I actually do check the time on the sunrise and head to the beach each morning in order to watch it. The ocean is beautiful as the sun rises and only the hardy are out and about at that time! I am not a morning person, so this is intentional and usually 4-5 days in I’m exhausted!
After stopping at the coffee group at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow to catch up with friends, we headed to the grocery store and then back to Coast Guard Beach for the day. It was beautiful, sunny, and warm. Gorgeous beach day to start my trip! Fun fact, seals also use the ocean, although the rangers are quick to point out NOT to get near them or try to touch them. It’s fun to watch their heads pop up and check us out. Often, we voice their thoughts. “Oh, it must be Tuesday, the humans are here!”
After an outdoor shower and if you have not experienced this on or near a beach, you don’t know what you are missing!
We headed to The Beachcomber, a legendary outdoor bar on Wellfleet beach. When you sit at the bar, you face the ocean and there is nothing like enjoying a mudslide gazing at the ocean. After grabbing two coveted seats, I asked the woman sitting next to me what she was having. Turns out I made a life-long friend when Glee (see podcast) and I struck up a conversation. A traveling nurse, she was headed off the Cape the following week. While we enjoyed mudslides and fish tacos, she told me about her job and life philosophy. JOY and GLEE!!! Before saying goodbye, she agreed to a StoryCorps interview before she left.
After a quick walk to the beach stairs to see the sunset, we headed to Nauset Ice Cream in Orleans. Coast Guard Beach was the last stop to check out the stars-Saturn and the Milky Way were shining bright once more!
This morning we headed to Fort Hill for sunrise, a beautiful bay area view.
After coffee at The Hot Chocolate Sparrow, we headed to Nauset Beach for sunrise yoga. I had googled yoga and found out that between July and Labor day, yoga was available Thursday-Monday through Orleans Yoga. I wasn’t going to pass this opportunity up.
I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, if I could, I would practice yoga on the beach every day! It was a gentle yoga class guided by Julie who spoke about the 5th season: late summer. I was in 4 layers of yoga clothing as it was 7:15 am and a little cool. We practiced on towels and then Julie had us step onto the sand, grounding ourselves into the earth. She suggested when on the beach to sit or lay on sand for this reason. During the class we faced the ocean and the rising sun; the only noise we heard was the ocean.
At the end, with our eyes closed we listened to the ocean and Julie told us after class that a flock of birds flew over us. I was breathing easier. And floating.
We headed to our favorite Coast Guard Beach with our supplies, including lunches. Once I’m camped on the beach, I am there for the day. Charlie left to go swimming and it was quite lovely to be on my own for a few hours. Coast Guard Beach is my favorite because it’s close to where I stay, and I can even ride my bike via a bike path to the beach. It is also one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen.
Another chance for an outdoor shower!
That evening, we sauteed fresh sword fish in a cast iron skillet and enjoyed fresh corn, green beans and tomatoes grown in the garden. The meal was delicious and a perfect ending to a Friday. We then headed to sunset at First Encounter Beach, THE place for sunset on the Cape. The beach changes size depending on the tide. And it’s always full of people which makes for great people watching. This sunset put on quite the show!
Third night in a row to see the Milky Way and the shining stars were out for their visit. Once more, I thought how fortunate we are to be able to see and appreciate such beauty.
Sunrise today on Coast Guard Beach was stunning. We took pictures in yoga poses which always make me smile.
After coffee club at The Hot Chocolate Sparrow, we headed to the Orleans Farmers Market. This Farmers Market includes farmers and other vendors which I find very fun. Shawna from The Mix was there and after a big welcome hug we talked about making challah. Hers is delicious-she is also baking trail mix cookies, which honestly are healthy, so they don’t count as sweets!
We also wandered into Cape Cod Chokers owned by Katie. She makes jewelry and clothing all with a Cape Cod influence. I’ve been looking for a multi-color beaded necklace and she agreed to make me one! The plan was to pick it up the next weekend.
After breakfast we headed to Coast Guard Beach for the day, taking the tram to and from on this holiday weekend. This is such fun because you never know who you might meet. And sure, enough, we met a cute three-generation family from Connecticut, who had been vacationing on the Cape for years. They asked where we were from, and Charlie answered this was home. The grandfather commented, “So you live in paradise.” Pretty much.
Once more there was an outdoor shower and then dinner before sunset. We also enjoyed star gazing at Coast Guard Beach talking about the Milky Way and infinity.
After sunrise at Coast Guard beach, we headed to The Chocolate Sparrow for a StoryCorps interview with coffee club.
They had agreed to be interviewed as a group about Creating Community and I was extremely nervous. They have read my work and they know me as a guest however, this was a work thing and I wanted to be as professional as I could. I had not interviewed a group before and explained the process to everyone-this was their choice, they didn’t have to speak if they didn’t want to. To add more angst, the people who were not participating were observing. So, I had to keep the interview on target as well as be aware of the entire group. We decided the best place was in the pavilion in the parking lot which was quiet at that time of the day-8am!!!
I didn’t need to worry. Everyone enjoyed listening and sharing and a number of us learned the history of the coffee group. After I was definitely breathing easier and was proud of myself, that even though I was very nervous, it turned out to be one of the best interviews. In addition, I had Charlie to observe and who provided valuable feedback about how I handled myself, as well as my interviewing technique. “You did a great job! And as a benefit, everyone really saw how professional you were. They haven’t seen you in pro-mode, but once you slipped into it, I could tell, they relaxed and were impressed with how you managed this.”
After this we headed back for French toast and omelets, because it was another gorgeous beach day!
We took a break in the late afternoon heading into The Chocolate Sparrow Store for gifts for my airport drivers and a t shirt for me. We also stopped in The Chocolate Sparrow for coffee ice cream which…was amazing! That evening we had seared scallops, one of Charlies’ specialties and headed to First Encounter Beach for sunset. We decided we needed hats for this event. And yes, later that evening, after a few episodes of Murder in the Building, we headed out to the midnight stars.
We decided to sleep in and then headed to the coffee group at The Chocolate Sparrow. We were going to recreate a picture from five years ago with the help of a friend! This was more fun than I could have imagined.
Though it was Labor Day, and the beach was as crowded as could be, we arrived at Nauset Light Beach early enough to get a parking space.
In order to get to this beach, you have to follow a steep path down to the ocean. And though it is only down the street from Coast Guard Beach, cell reception is possible! Not that you need it when you are on the beach, just good to know. When we arrived, someone had stacked Zen stones near the water. Very calming.
We met Glee Branstetter, a travel nurse at The Chocolate Sparrow for a StoryCorps interview and then headed to The Lost Dog Café for dinner. Glee is a ball of energy and light and such fun to be with. She was leaving the next day for her new assignment in Lake Tahoe.
After we left Glee, we watched more Only Murders in the Building and then went star gazing.
We slept in once again as we woke up to…. rain. NO! After the coffee group, we decided to head down the coast to Provincetown located at the very end of the peninsula.
I had been many years ago and was looking forward to the chance to re-visit. Donning raincoats the drive down was beautiful. We wandered around as tourists, chatting with people and admiring the architecture. In one store, I spotted a man carrying a recycled bag with Union Station St. Louis on it and said, “St. Louis!!!” indeed, they were from St. Louis visiting. You can take the girl out of St. Louis but not the St. Louis out of THIS girl.
Stopping for lunch after I found a Cape Cod sweatshirt Charlie ran down the street to check out a cool leather backpack. Meanwhile, I wandered into Three Heathers and found…. a black leather mini skirt. As one of the Heather’s wandered over, I laughed and said, “Heather, looking at me, can I pull this off?” You can tell from my photo I was in my usual uniform of comfortable yoga wear. She smiled and said, “without a doubt” and proceeded to suggest how I could wear it.
We stopped for ice cream at Lewis Brothers and headed back to Eastham.
Too cloudy for star gazing, we indulged in Only Murders in the Building.
We slept in once again and then headed to the beach. It vacillated between cold and windy and sunny and warm.
We decided to head back to Provincetown so Charlie could visit the leather bag and I needed to pick up a gift for my sister. After cooking swordfish, corn, and homegrown tomatoes, we finished Only Murders in the Building.
After waking early for the sunrise on Coast Guard Beach and coffee club, we decided to drive to Chatham an old fishing village.
I told myself I was on the Cape for an extended time and didn’t need to be on the beach 24/7. Also, I was curious to visit other towns on the Cape. So, we headed out to Chatham trying to locate The Filling Station, after many suggestions that this was a great place for breakfast. Using GPS, we missed it twice realizing the sign was hidden. GPS didn’t give up on us, though and we found it. A cute, funky place, the food was good as well as the service.
We then headed down to main street for a chocolate company (and yes, we felt like we were cheating on The Chocolate Sparrow), purchasing four truffles. Which we proceeded to enjoy before we got out of the place! Then, we headed into Sundance, a clothing store which lured us in with their “Shackets,” a cross between a shirt and a jacket. Though we didn’t buy these, we found the BEST and softest winter leggings: Anenmone was the brand. At $15 it was a bargain I couldn’t pass up. (I have since spent the day in these and I have to say, they are also the most comfortable leggings I’ve ever had.) After laughing at the signs and stickers we drove over to Chatham Fishing Pier.
A real, working fishing pier, many years ago, people could come to the pier at the end of the day and purchase fresh fish off the boats. It has become somewhat modernized, and you can still buy fish and cooked meals at a little shop right on the grounds. The boats were bobbing in the water alongside the seals that knew this was a good place to hang out. In addition, though we often saw seals while at the beach, they were swimming alone past the shoreline. At the fishing pier, were two seals here who didn’t leave one another’s side. It was sweet. This pier has a history and honestly, I need to know more!
What I was finding out is that each town/city on the Cape had its own personality and history. And they were all fascinating.
It even ended up being a pretty day to go to the beach!
We had dinner with neighbors that evening and then headed to Coast Guard Beach to see the almost a full moon. We knew the moon would be full the next night, however, it was still spectacular!
Sunrise was beautiful this morning on Coast Guard Beach. I can never get enough sunrises or sunsets.
At coffee group, I met up with Mary McDermott, a Cape Codder who agreed to be interviewed. We had a lovely conversation and after this, it was back to the beach.
John Mead had also agreed to be interviewed and so after the beach, before we headed out, he was kind enough to come by to talk about being a Cape Codder and a deep-sea fisherman. He operates Flying Mist Sportfishing. What an interesting story! Growing up on the Cape, he has an education degree and enjoys his job taking people out onto the ocean to fish. I am hoping at some point to be on his boat!
That evening we were invited to join other coffee group friends at Winslow’s Tavern for dinner. We sat outside enjoying the beautiful weather and the company! This was the evening that you could see the sun setting and the moon rising within five minutes of one another. We figured out we could head to Marconi Beach to see this OR we could go to dinner with friends. We choose the friend option, and I am so glad we did! We did go to the beach to see the moon once it had risen on our way back to the beach house.
We had learned that on this morning very early we would be able to see the sun rising as the moon was setting across from one another. On the beach. (does IT get any better?!) The only hitch was that Charlie had agreed to help a friend that morning. Thinking outside the box, I decided I could be dropped at the beach before sunrise so that I could enjoy this. I would be alone, however, I felt completely safe.
Alone on the beach for a good three minutes, I felt peaceful, happy, and content. I could breathe. Most importantly, I was in a place that I was beginning to feel increasingly comfortable.
Gradually other humans arrived, and we all watched the sun rise across the horizon as the moon began setting behind us in a light purple sky.
I love the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars. This today, was one of the most beautiful skies I ever had the opportunity to see.
We headed to the coffee club and the Farmers Market, hugging Shawna goodbye, and picking up my very cool beaded necklace from Katie at Cape Cod Chokers.
Spending the day on the beach we had a fun time on a gorgeous day.
And, to top it off, we had another opportunity to see the sunset on First Encounter Beach and the moon rising on Nauset Beach. The catch: they were 20 minutes apart. Charlie dropped me at First Encounter Beach to watch the sunset about twenty minutes early in order to pick up the same friend. Once again, alone on the beach, I enjoyed people watching and the solitude. In addition, I met Kris Kringle and Mrs. Claus who were trying to take a selfie to send to their six children who, “Need to see proof we are still alive.” I offered to take their picture and they asked where I was from. Mr. Kringle knew all about SLU which was fun to chat about.
Charlie made it back to the beach and we set off for Nauset Beach. Would we make it?
According to our apps, we would not. However, my intuition was telling me to go anyway.
Arriving at Nauset Beach we ran up the embankment as a family was leaving. “it’s too cloudy, you can’t see anything,” they said.
I knew better.
And sure enough, among the parties and bonfires and the kids playing in the ocean, there was a giant cloud bank where the moon was rising. I walked down to the water as if pulled by magnetic fields.
And then I stood and watched.
Slowly and leisurely, the moon rose out of the cloud bank, giant, blue, and happy to be seen. It was a little like Linus waiting for the moon to rise. And boy did she ever! I felt peaceful, happy, and content.
How could this be? My trip was coming to an end, and I couldn’t believe I would have to leave Charlie, the beach and everything that I was beginning to love.
We headed to Coast Guard Beach for the sunrise and was gifted with a sighting of the moon setting once more.
After stopping in at coffee group and saying goodbye, we headed to the beach for my last day. It was a spectacular sunny day and I loved being at the ocean. After an outdoor shower, I packed, and we went to the neighbors for a pizza party. It was a lovely way to end one of my favorite trips.
On Monday we would leave the Cape at 5am to make my 9:30am flight back to St. Louis. We made it, cutting it close because of traffic! And while we did spend quite a bit of time on the beach, besides falling asleep most days listening to the waves, we were also walking along the surf. One day as we walked by a rock tower being built by little kids, I commented, “hey, this is cool.” One of the little boys ran up to me and handed me a rock, “This is for you,” he said. Just one of the gifts from this beach trip.
I am a Beach Girl through and through. I breathe easier near the ocean and the open sky. Once you find Cape Cod…Cape Cod finds a way into your soul.
I am also a St. Louis Girl through and through. Finding comfort in my familiar surroundings. St. Louis lives in my heart. I sat on the left side of the plane coming into St. Louis…and smiled as the Arch always welcomes me back. I see it looming out the plane window. Home…
Lucky me… I can be both…at the same time. Girl on the GO!