Not surprisingly, she happily suggested spending time in Cape Cod.
“The Cape” is a special place to all New Englanders, but particularly to us born in Massachusetts (me) and Rhode Island (her). We’ve spent a lot of wonderful times traversing that hook of land at the far east end of the Bay State.
I know there are many “Capes” here in Florida, from Cape Coral to Cape Canaveral. But there’s only one “Cape” in Massachusetts – and apparently a lot of Floridians are aware of its charm.
I’m hoping to visit friends who live in the town of Sandwich. That is one of the quaintest of the communities. It’s probably most famous for its Sandwich Glass, and a museum honoring its heritage.
There are similarities between Cape Cod and Florida, particularly at the far end of the Cape where large sand dunes line the sides of Route 6, the major highway that takes visitors all the way to Provincetown. Both Cape Cod and Florida have an abundance of beach sand, but along the Cape, it seems most prevalent as you approach the end. If you do visit and plan to stop in Provincetown, you might want to ride out to Race Point. It’s the last bit of land in Massachusetts before you reach the Atlantic Ocean.
P-town is very quaint, particularly the main street. It has tiny shops and boutiques that my wife is particularly fond of. A lot of artists gravitate to Cape Cod, and their presence is evident by the quantity of their work. Author Kurt Vonnegut spent a lot of time on the Cape, and his daughter’s paintings are on sale at one of the stores.
The locals do cater to the tourists with souvenirs and oddball items. I recall you can buy a bottle of Cape Cod air at some of the shops. I’ll probably get a copy of the local newspaper, the Cape Cod Times. A reporter I worked with many years ago headed east to work at that paper.
Plenty of other communities on Cape Cod will grab your attention. Hyannis is the biggest and probably the most cosmopolitan. It’s the location of the Barnstable County Airport and a large memorial wall honoring John F. Kennedy.
The Kennedy Compound is still there, in the neighboring village of Hyannisport. I visited once. The property is surrounded by a very tall, wooden fence, and guards keep the curious from venturing onto the sacred land.
I remember a day very long ago when my parents and I spent a Sunday at the Cape and were heading home. My dad pulled the car over to the side when we heard the roar of a large jet overhead. We could see it was Air Force One, which had just left Otis Air Force Base carrying President Kennedy back to Washington, D.C.
Hyannis was a draw for my dad and me. We used to leave the dock in Hyannis aboard a ferry for the three-hour trip to Nantucket. He loved boat rides, and it became an annual journey.
Last I knew Hyannis was also the terminus for a Cape Cod rail tour. There was a time when you could ride the rails all the way to Provincetown, but miles of rail were torn up during the dark days of railroading. A few years ago, Amtrak used to run a train to the Cape, but I think that has stopped.
Readers may remember my love of trains. There’s a beautiful old train station in Buzzard’s Bay (That’s a section of the town of Bourne). It looks like it could have been built in Boca Raton, with its Spanish architecture and stucco exterior.
If all goes well, my wife and I should be heading back to our old haunts later this summer.