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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Day Two on Cape Cod – Transatlantic Cable and being Transfigured

The weather started out cold and sunny and quickly morphed into more of a cold, windy, and overcast day. What does it matter though, when you are at the Cape?

Breakfast at the Inn was beyond belief. The fresh fruit and the best pineapple I have had in years awaited us. Coffee was available to us very early and we enjoyed it on the front area of the Inn, with the Pleasant Bay within our sight. We spoke to one fo the visitors, who was playing with Quigley, the resident Maltipoo (half Maltese, half poodle). It was lovely. Just an afterthought, all of us want to dognap Quigley as he is adorable and does not shed. Back to the B&B, this one sets the bar, surpassing anything I have ever experienced.

Once breakfast was served, at 8:30 AM, we had the fresh fruit, various cheeses, artisanal bread, homemade jams, and charcuterie. Pancakes were made to order and were quite delicious. After breakfast, although we were sated, we realized that perhaps we might not need to eat for a long time.

Afterwards, we went into downtown Orleans and then went to the Church of the Transfiguration, a new church, an ecumenical one at that, to have Sister Martha take us on tour. Tours are free and quite informational. We saw the beautiful frescos painted by an Italian artist, beautiful mosaic floors with biblical stories, and a church that was truly inspiring.

After the church visit, we went to the French Transatlantic Cable Station Museum, which operated up until 1959 and allowed for telegraph messages to be sent directly, via cables laid in the Atlantic Ocean, from France to the U.S. It was quite amazing. We watched a twenty minute video and then were taken on tour of the station. It was amazing to think that American General Pershing could communicate directly with the U.S. during WWI without issues. I highly recommend this free museum.

Arnold’s was our next choice, a very casual place to eat and MK had some chowder and we munched on hot and delicious fried clams and onion rings. It was so delicious and so naughty.

We then went to Fort Hill, a lovely area with a scenic view of the area and water and with a path to take a nice walk. It was a great way to end up the afternoon.

Dinner was had at the Del Mar Bar and Bistro after seeing a lighthouse in Chatham and the site of a shipwreck during a storm. Once again, food was spectacular. I must also say that for somewhat comparable dining on the North Shore, the Cape was less expensive.

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Day One, Cape Cod – The Little Inn on Pleasant Bay

The huge pizza oven at the Rock Harbor Restaurant.

We set the alarm for 4:00 AM as we had a 7:15 flight to Boston. In retrospect, perhaps we should have tried Providence, RI as the trip from the airport to the Cape on an early day in June was full of pockets of heavy traffic. Nonetheless, it was worth the eighty some miles of driving from Boston as we are now on the middle of Cape Cod, in the town of Orleans.

We arrived at the lovely B&B operated by two lovely sisters from London, England. We were served afternoon tea under a pergola facing the east and Strong Island in the town of Orleans. We are at the Little Inn on Pleasant Bay.

After a few quiet moments reading while enjoying the beauty of an English garden overlooking a protected mini-bay, we went into the town of Orleans, checked out Nauset and Skaket beaches and then had a wonderful dinner in a local restaurant recommended by the sisters. It was the Rock Harbor Restaurant and both the atmosphere and the food were delightful.

Despite being told by the meteorologists that it was going to be cold, we were actually almost too warm at first, the sun having come out to warm our hearts, spirits, and bodies.

We had a lovely day and since I actually awoke around 3:00 AM instead of 4:00 AM as planned by Alexa, I am heading to bed soon. I am exhausted and was apparently way too excited to fall asleep in the plane, which I usually do.

I am writing this while sitting in a Adirondack chair overlooking the bay and despite the chill I now feel, I am enjoying every minute. It is great to get away.

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Rental Cars

Has anyone noticed as I have, that there is a distinct learning curve when you get a rental car?

I realize now that I have to take a deep breath, when I first get in, and make an attempt to get the ‘lay of the land.’ It takes more than a few minutes to get acclimated. Part of the reason for this is because we currently have two cars at home that are eight and ten years old. The Technology is such that there have been many changes.

The biggest change in the current rental car was the fact that there was no key, just a fob. It is the type that means that when you are near the car, the car opens itself up to you. I was acquainted with that from the few times I have driven cars belonging to my daughters-in-law.

Usually, the fob’s icons are easy to follow, but as we found out with this one, when we wanted it to beep so we knew where it was, the pressing of the button to open the door locks didn’t do the trick. With this car, we also had a sun roof, so we had to figure that all out too.

Then there was the Sirius Radio programming, which wasn’t too hard, but it was only several days into our trip that I knew that there was a GPS within the system. I kind of thought there would be but had avoided it by bringing my Garmin that I use when we go to Canada.

On this car, I also had to get used to using the back up camera, which overall is wonderful. I just never managed to figure out how much beeping meant serious issues of colliding with something. Luckily I stopped before I ever found out.

About five days into using this rental car, I finally realized that there was a designation on the dashboard, a light up icon that was meant to tell me I was going into the next lane. That is a fascinating help.

By the end of the trip, you finally seem to have figured out everything that you need to know.

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