‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cape Cod Vacation: Storm Version

It seems we have to rethink the ultimate Cape Cod Vacation. Because Mother Nature is not cooperating, even a little bit.

Oh it's great for my garden, don't get me wrong. I watch the rain come down and think of all the savings I'll see on my water bill (a dollar? amortized?). I also watch the rain come down and think of all the families with their noses pressed to their cottage windows. And I feel kind of bad for them.

Before I lived here, I vacationed here. We always rented a cottage in June because it was "less crowded," which is code for "cheaper." Sometimes it would be sunny, sometimes it would not. When it was not, we did jigsaw puzzles. We raided bookshelves. We had fires in fireplaces and on beaches. Honestly? Even as a kid I loved it here so much I didn't so much care about the weather.

It is with this thought that I bring you A Cape Cod Vacation: Storm Version. It's the storm version because there is a nor'easter out there, people, and it is trying to blow our chickens into next week. Holy mackerel.

Yesterday being Father's Day, we braved the elements and went to the Wellfleet Beachcomber for an afternoon of clam chowder and Incredible Casuals. Until we were safely inside, I hadn't realized what a spectacular afternoon it would be.

A long time ago I noticed that when the weather is really bad - when saltwater is blowing and treetops are thrashing and waves are dragging entire houses into the sea - people find themselves inexplicably drawn through the elements and into the safety of the bar.

The Beachcomber had some of the ocean-side shutters closed, making the outside deck marginally habitable, but we (being sissies) did not sit out there. We and a hundred or so of our closest friends chose to hang out inside, where the wind blew through the doors and reminded us where we were. Really, when all that's breaking loose, where do you want to be? You want to be in a life saving station, wrapped in a woolly sweater, eating lobster. You can look around and imagine the surfmen sitting there, doing their surfmen thing. It makes you feel sort of rugged. And hungry. Do surfmen eat oysters Rockefeller?

By the time we left, the car was coated in a fine mist of salt spray and sand. It is not dirt, it is a badge of courage and honor. I may never wash my car again.

Another Storm Version adventure might be to go ahead and book that fishing trip. Dress warmly and pretend you are on Deadliest Catch. If you don't like fishing, you could get the same degree of seasickness from a whale watch.

You can also hole up with a book. Recommended thematic reading includes Henry Beston's Outermost House and Thoreau's Cape Cod.

In my heart of hearts, I hope if you are here on vacation you get to see some sun. But until then? This is about as authentic a Cape Cod vacation as you can get. Thoreau would be proud of you.

If you ask nicely, I'll loan you a jigsaw puzzle.

Photo of Cahoon Hollow Life Saving Station, by Herbert W. Gleason, 1903
Stolen fair and square from the Beachcomber's website


Celia said...

I love rain. You are kinder than I am. I grew up on the Jersey Shore and have a big grudge against tourists. Not nice tourists from like Japan or Germany, awful tourists from North Jersey or the tri-state area.

Every year I saw the garbage they left behind, most pitifully their "summer kittens", and watched them leave tourist dollars- but also garbage and traffic. I LOVED the day after Labor Day.

Do you know they have all kinds of parties down here where they clean up and celebrate the end of tourist season? They call it Shoobie Tuesday.

I a, re-reading The Egg and I right now and thinking of you.

TwoBusy said...

You're making me very nostalgic for a Cape experience I never actually had.

Rose Brier Studio said...

Before we lived here, we spent the whole month of June one year renting a condo in Brewster. It seemed odd to have carpeting and a working fireplace, but as it rained everyday but two, it turned out great. We really liked the fireplace! Rain on a Cape Cod vacation is an adventure. This much rain when you live here is just annoying!

Janine said...

I loved this post. It brought back memories of family seaside vacations during unseasonably rainy weeks. Sometimes it was torture, sometimes wonderful.

Last year we went to Maine in March. It was still snowing. Our room had a fireplace. It was absolutely wonderful.

JAbel said...

On rainy days we used to hole up for the afternoon in the Old Surf Club in PTown before they gutted it and ruined the atmosphere when it still had hats and bric a brac from around the world hanging from the ceiling.Pick up a NYTimes a copy of that weeks New Yorker and we'd drink Dollar bottles of Heinies.At night it was always Bar bottles of Ballantine triple x ale but during a rainy day we went dutch.I really really miss those rainy afternoons at the Surf Club without a care in the world.