Category: Family

Labor Day eating on the Cape

Monday, September 4th, 2006 | All Things, Eats, Family, Travel

Our last day in Cape Cod. Last night, the town experienced a brief power outage, causing all the alarm clocks at the Cove to reset. As a result, we slept through our planned deep-sea fishing trip on Nantucket Sound. Ah well, there’s always next year…

After catching up on a couple more installments of 24, the five of us set out to explore some of the other Cape towns. J’s and my previous day’s work studying Chowhound’s New England boards seemed to pay off when we were able to suggest the widely recommended Brewster Fish House for lunch (after being denied a table over the phone the night before.)

We arrived, fully expecting a peak-lunchtime crowd at the popular no-reservations eatery. As we pulled into the near empty parking lot, though, we realized pretty quickly that something was amiss. Sure enough: a fellow would-be diner informed us that the restaurant was closed for Labor Day. Boo.

Brewster Fish House

On to our fallback: The Impudent Oyster – another recommendation from the foodie boards, located just off Chatham’s main thoroughfare. Steamers (slightly gritty), still more fish and chips (“London style,” i.e., thickly battered), scallop sandwiches and shrimp wraps – all fresh and all tasty.

Impudent Oyster

Steamers

Afterwards the five of us strolled through the center of the picturesque Cape Cod town, which took all of fifteen minutes. We happened upon a book-signing in progress at the Yellow Umbrella bookstore, and I chatted briefly with local author Dorothy Leone, an interesting older woman who was there promoting her book, “Where the Herring Run,” a historical fiction based on the life of Albert Crosby. Leone worked in the Brewster town clerk’s office for many years and used to lead tours of the 1888 Crosby Mansion, which provides the setting for her novel.

On Chatham’s Main Street, two of the fifty-eight whales on The Whale Trail, Cape Cod’s summer public art project. Mr. Whalevedere…

Mr Whalevedere

… and Dr. Wellbe. (“Whale-be” would have been punnier.) With caption: “Get Whale Soon!”

Dr Wellbe

For dessert, we rounded out our list of eating recommendations with mixed-to-order soft serve cones — 24 flavor choices: I had the Creme de Menthe — from old timey Kream N’ Kone, home of the self-proclaimed “Best Fried Seafood Anywhere.”

Kream N Kone

Another afternoon of shop-hopping, and then dinner at Lobster Boat, per family tradition, before J, J and I set out on the hour and half ride back to Cambridge. As usual, my luggage had expanded considerably during the trip, and I had no choice but to leave behind my new towels and dirty laundry for Mom and Dad to cart home later in the week.

Fish Mkt

Lobsters

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Gone Shopping

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006 | All Things, Family, Travel

It rained almost the entire day on Sunday – remnants of the hurricane making its way out to sea – so we spent most of the day indoors: hitting our favorite Cape Cod eateries and shops (including the new-to-me Trader Joe’s in Hyannis), and breaking into Season 2 of 24 – the first year J did not see in its entirety.

Gone Shopping

Somehow watching the episodes back-to-back without the usual week’s respite made the already tense action and violence seem more over-the-top than usual. Dad had never seen a single episode, and was quickly and almost inevitably sucked in. J left him with the remaining three discs when he, J and I left the Cape the following night.

I think that one of my favorite things about the show is Kiefer Sutherland’s voice.

Seafood Sams

Beach

J and I stayed up until later than everybody else, talking into the night. I’ll be happy when she and J move back to New York next summer.

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To Provincetown

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006 | All Things, Family, Travel

After a breakfast at Hearth ‘n Kettle — or “H ‘n K,” as I see them refer to themselves on occasion — we set out for a leisurely drive up Route 6 to Provincetown. On the way we made several stops to visit the old familiar sights (and a couple of yard sales.) Here, the iconic Nauset Lighthouse (and adjacent privately owned lightkeeper’s house) in Eastham, instantly recognizable from its countless postcards, calendars and potato chip bags. This 48-foot cast iron structure was built in 1877 and painted its distinctive red and white in 1940. The lighthouse was originally set in Chatham, high on a cliff over Nauset Beach, but steady erosion forced its move farther inland in 1923, where it replaced the last remaining of “The Three Sisters” lights at the Nauset Light Station. By the early 1990s, the lighhouse was in danger of falling into the sea yet again after decades more of erosion brought the coastline precariously close to its edge. After a groundwell of public support formed to preserve the structure, the Nauset Lighthouse was relocated over two days in November 1996 to the site 200 feet from the cliff edge, where it sits today. At the time of the move, just 35 feet separated the lighthouse from the water.

Nauset Lighthouse

These identical 15-foot tall lighthouses date from 1892 when they served as a trio, guiding ships from a bluff over Nauset Beach. When the Bureau of Lighthouses opted for a more efficient single lighthouse formation in 1911, the two defunct sisters were taken out of service and sold to a private family in 1918 for $3.50, who incorporated the lighthouses into their summer cottage. By 1923, the remaining sister was replaced by the red-striped Nauset Lighthouse above (though it was all white at the time), also passing into private owndership. In 1975, all three sisters were purchased by the National Park Service, who reunited them in their original configuration on Cable Road about 1,800 feet from Nauset Lighthouse in 1989.

Pictured here are two of “The Three Sisters,” only one of which still has a light atop.

Three Sisters

En route to Provincetown, we passed the Wellfleet Drive-in Theatre. The last drive-in on Cape Cod, it is open seasonally from mid-May to mid-October (like the much of the Cape,) and has been in continuous operation since the 1957.

As of June, there are 406 surviving drive-in theaters in the United States — five in Massachusetts. I still have yet to experience this rapidly disappearing bit of Americana. Too bad I have no interest in seeing Barnyard and I’ve already seen Talladega Nights (the day I visited an entirely different Lighthouse in NYC…)

Provincetown photos. This one reminds me of the last — and only — cruise my family took all together, just before the first of the weddings. Our last night in the Caribbean, J purchased five sailor-hatted or begoggled rubber ducks from the ship’s giftshop and left one on each of our pillows to find at bedtime. I still have mine.

Duckies

Lobster Pot

Malassadas from the Portuguese Bakery on Commercial Street — the bustling main artery of P-town. The bakery has been around forever, but I only discovered the tasty treats a few years ago… and have bought them every time I’ve been in Provincetown since. These fried dough fritters — think: giant zeppoles, down to to the generous sprinkling of powdered sugar — originate from Portugal’s Azores (Açores) islands.

Malassadas

The Pilgrim Monument (right), symbol of Provincetown, and the tallest all-granite structure in the United States. On a clear day (which today certainly was not) it’s said that you can see Boston’s skyscrapers from the top of the 252-foot tower. It was built between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown on November 21, 1620.

Commercial Street

Starfish and Porcupinefish for sale at the Marine Specialties store:

PTown Starfish

John’s Foot Long on the pier:

PTown Johns

Provincetown Theatre

A typical Provincetown scene:

Drag

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