Day Seven – Cape Cod National Seashore and Coast Guard Beach

We had a very leisurely breakfast before heading out. When we did, we went to the beach. We headed in the direction of Provincetown, near the town of Eastham, and went to the National Seashore Information Center near the Salt Pond. There we picked up a few books, saw a movie on Cape Cod, and then went to the beach.

The beach we went to was Coast Guard Beach. The National Seashore (put into place by President Kennedy) was a protective measure to keep Cape Cod’s seashore from becoming a mass of habitations. I believe that it covers almost forty miles. It is a national treasure, to say the least.

We lathered up with the sunscreen and walked out onto the beach, following a path with a blue woven set of rugs which the sand climbed through, making the trek to the beach so much easier. We were able to park since it is not really the summer season since June 23rd is the date when kids are out of school. We were thus able to park in a small area by the Coast Guard House which is a former whale captain’s abode. In the summer, it is necessary to take a shuttle to get from beach to beach, a great idea which helps keep the traffic and cars to more of a minimum.

We had a great time and I left Mary Kay to walk way down the beach. While doing so, I was able to see the seals swimming out in the water. The seals came because the water is warmer and with the arrival of the seals came the sharks. It didn’t seem to matter to the paddle board people and surfers. It is so interesting how one change creates a domino effect with others.

We went to Arnold’s for lunch and munched on calamari. This is a decidedly quiet day for us. We came back and decided to read our books, blog, and do some travel blogging via Trip Advisor.

Dinner was at Mooncussers Tavern in Harwich. When we arrived, they asked if we were the anniversary couple. MK had mentioned that our Cape Cod trip was kind of a forty-third anniversary celebration and Pamela, our B&B host, must have told them. We were taken to a newer part of the Jordan Marsh (of department store fame) home, much of which was built in the 1700s. We had a wonderful dinner with a bit of French flair and soon met the owner, born in Cape Town, South Africa, multilingual (speaking French with me), who told us of the house’s history. His wife is French so I spoke to her in French upon our departure. It was a lovely to end a lovely trip to the Cape.

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Day Six in Cape Cod – Whale watching

Our whale watch boat.

The weather had truly cleared. Although it remained in the low sixties, it was as if Heaven had decided to shine upon us.

We drove the twenty something miles to Provincetown, took in views of the narrow streets and lovely homes, and went to the wharf to get ready for Whale watching.

We were a little early and decided to stay on the wharf.

We boarded around noon. Before doing so, in talking to people, many recommended taking Dramamine to avoid seasickness. I realized that it was not in my best interest, since Dramamine is an antihistamine,can cause me problems, and was a little worried. I have never been seasick, but I cannot say that I have spent numerous hours on huge waves in boats, so I was concerned. Carsickness has plagued me since I was a kid. I remember one time in particular when I had to get off a bus when I was sixteen. I was working in downtown Cleveland and the heat (pre-air conditioned buses) and standing was about to do me in. To this day if I drive I am fine; if I am a passenger and have any sense of hunger, I am prone to feeling queasy.

We grabbed a coke (I thought it might be good just in case) and a muffin to share and MK took some Dramamine. It was provided as were ‘barf bags,’ but the latter were not provided until later.

It was a sunny day with blue skies and the sea was not particularly choppy, at least not at departure. The boat was well staffed and had a great narration from a naturalist. There were open areas and also enclosed areas so we didn’t have to freeze outside.

Within an hour of so, we were in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary where the whales come to feed during the summer months, wintering somewhere around the Dominican Republic. Waters, by this time, were much choppier and I can see why people might easily get sick.

We saw numerous spouts of the whales expelling water and even a mother and baby. All of the whales we saw were humpback whales. Nonetheless, it was quite exciting.

Afterwards, we got in our rental car and went to Wellfleet, on the way back to the B & B, to have dinner at Mac’s Shack. In all of the cool air, we were quite tired and with faces reddened by the wind. We were not seasick at all, fortunately. This was a highlight of the week.

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Day Five in Cape Cod – JFK Museum, Hyannis, and Hyannis Port

JFK Museum.

Yesterday was our day event on Nantucket so taking it a bit easier today was the idea.

After breakfast and the usual conversations with fellow B&B compatriots, we went to the town of Hyannis, where we had been the day before. It felt much more like autopilot as we went there.

Our original intent was to take a harbor tour, thus allowing us to possibly glimpse the seals and check out the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. As someone pointed out to us, many people think that Hyannis is the town associated with the Kennedys but it is actually Hyannis Port, which is a village in Barnstable, a short bit away from Hyannis.

Our boat trip was not to be, because for whatever reason, they temporarily suspended the trips.

We did have Groupon tickets to the JFK Museum and we didn’t want to miss that (in Hyannis). As it turns out, it was quite memorable, as they had a very unique exhibit from the official photographer of JFK and his family, Jacques Lowe. Joseph Kennedy had chosen Jacques Lowe to do the work before JFK assumed the Presidency. Jacques Lowe was born in Cologne, Germany.

The significance of the exhibit has to do with the tragedy of September, 2011. According to Wikipedia, 40,000 of his negatives were destroyed as they were being housed in a vault in the Twin Towers. This happened several months after Jacque’s death. In any case, and according to what we were told, only a few photos escaped and they were only those not in the vault.

These photos were showcased in Hyannis.

The mood of the exhibit was almost somber and respectful and as MK and I noted, the people were almost more interesting than the exhibit. There were photos and info from JFK’s youth, from the courtship of Jack and Jackie, and from the campaign and subsequent Presidency.

So, although Hyannis didn’t impress us as our favorite Cape City, the museum was amazing.

Afterward, we went to Hyannis Port to see if we could see anything of the Kennedy compound and we think we were successful in seeing it from afar.

We then returned to Orleans, checked out some art galleries, came back and took it easy, sitting on the lawn and admiring the sea.

Dinner was in Orleans at the Beacon Room. Scallops and Shrimp for MK and duck in pineapple and blueberry sauce for me, landlubber that I am.

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Day Four on Cape Cod – Nantucket

Our whale watch boat.

We awoke to find that the rains had abated. Thank goodness for that. We had breakfast, once again a really great one, and then set out for Hyannis, some sixteen or so miles away. We had reservations on a high speed ferry for Nantucket, some thirty miles off Cape Cod, and taking about an hour to get to. The cost of getting there was a bit more than I would have thought, about $70 per person.

We had reservations at 11:20 and got into Nantucket Harbor at 12:20. We sauntered toward our appointment with Val, the lady leading our tour via van. She has several businesses and one of them is a Nantucket Taxi Business.

We grabbed a quick panini and had some water at the Hub, a coffee and bagel establishment and saw Val go by right about 1:15 PM. She told us not to hurry, that she would wait down the street for us.

We finished up and got in her car. She is almost eighty, looks and acts younger, and talked of coming to Nantucket with her husband and starting a family and invariably buying a piece of land and building a small home. She now owns three. In her time since arriving in 1983, she has seen many changes and a good many hurricanes, some of which were quite destructive. She told us of the climate change and its ramifications. At one time she spoke of incredible snowstorms, but the island no longer even gets snow in the winter, at least not for the last few years or so. She spoke of beach erosion and beaches disappearing. She also talked of the Concord grapes that no longer provide fruit since in order for them to turn that purple-black color, they need a frost, something that the island has not had in many a year. Poison Ivy growth (I saw it myself) was rampant and has hampered the harvesting of the berries growing wild. Cranberries are grown here as well.

She was amazing and told how it was a fishing community of less than four thousand and is now normally around the size of Deerfield, Illinois, around 17,000 or so. It is an island that is about fourteen miles long and two miles wide. In the summer, the population soars to some sixty thousand or so, making it crazier than I think I would like.

She talked of being very lucky, but also of her tragedy of being twenty-nine and losing her thirty-five year old husband to an embolism that happened following a routine flu shot. It left her with children to take care of and somehow she managed to turn her situation into a good one.

We went to the Whaling Museum afterwards, a wonderful explanation of the reason for the being of Nantucket for such a long time. Whaling oil was used, apparently, world-wide to make whale oil candles. As our guide had told us, Nantucket managed to ‘light the world’ for quite a long time. They had some unique exhibits, one of a whale’s skeleton, another of the only existing press for producing quality whale oil, and wonderful examples of the uses of just about every part of the whale’s body. They also had a great view of the town from the observation point at the top of the building.

We had just enough time to have dinner before our 7:05 PM departure, going to the Straight Wharf Restaurant with a view of the harbor and just down the street from the ferry taking us back to Hyannis.

We had a great day. Nantucket is a jewel and the only thing that might prevent me from really wanting to spend a lot of time there is the craziness of the apparent midsummer crowds.

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Day Three on Cape Cod – Peter Rabbit, Sandwich, and the Glass Museum

Thornton Burgess, not as well known as he should be, was quite the famous author – Peter Rabbit.

Day three was wet from the get go.

I thought it was going to let up, but it really did not until past 8:00 PM or so. Meteorologists had promised one to two inches of rain and they were not kidding.

We had a great breakfast with our new Britacquaintances: Barbara and Bill. After breakfast, we made a change of plans and instead of going to Nantucket for the day, we headed to Sandwich to go to the Green Briar Nature Center of Thornton Burgess’ fame, to a teahouse for a quick lunch, and then to a Glass Museum.

The Green Briar was probably my favorite part since it was a garden yet we never really had a good view of it since it was so rainy. We walked in and ended up being pulled into the kitchen where they had jam making. We talked to the guy who donates his time and learned all sorts of things within the few minutes we were with him. From there we went into the gift shop and then saw the museum. The whole place is of interest since it is about Thornton Burgess, the American author who wrote of Peter Rabbit. Apparently he was considered to be a premier American author and it is too bad that for whatever reason people have somewhat forgotten about him. We glimpsed the garden through the windows and in passing in the rental car, but unfortunately could not really enjoy it as we wanted.

We were cold and wet from the trip so we had a quick lunch at a teahouse, the Dunbar House Restaurant and Tea Room. MK and I had ale and hard cider, some soup, and topped it off with Assam tea, perfect for the cold rainy day.

We then went to the Sandwich Glass Museum which told of the famous factory in the town of Sandwich and all of its history. They had a glass blower there and also a movie about the factory and town history. They had quite an amazing display of glass from the factory as well. it was perfect as not being too huge and yet not that small.

Dinner was at a Brewster Fish house and once again we were delighted. We are a bit surprised as we expected eating out to be a bit more expensive than it actually is.

We are hoping that the rain is done.

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