Traveling Dog Lady: Road Trip Travelogue: Return to Cape Cod

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Road Trip Travelogue: Return to Cape Cod

Before the summer ends, I figured it might be a good idea to return to Cape Cod. I hadn't been there since I sold my beach cottage last September, and a visit was long overdue.

The first thing I did was stop in Stoughton to pick up a print of Nauset Lighthouse that I had found by sheer happenstance while dropping off some old tapes to a local musician who played on those recordings many moons ago. Well, somehow the painter and I got our signals crossed, and the print was not waiting for me to pick up at the cafe where it was supposed to be. In hindsight, I should have purchased the one that was on their wall, and told them to just take the replacement when it arrived, since I don't live anywhere nearby. As it turned out, the artist was actually in Eastham, where I was going, but the print was sitting on his fireplace mantel at his home! Oh well. Wasn't meant to be. We will figure out a way for me to get the print.  In the meantime, here's a picture of it that I snapped with my phone while at the cafe. See the reflected light in the background? That is NOT part of the painting.... it's a wall sconce in the hallway of the cafe. Freaky, right? This view of Nauset Lighthouse was my view from my back yard for 12 years (see photo of Charlie below!). It is no coincidence that this painting was hanging in the little cafe where I met the musician to drop off the tapes! No coincidence at all.




Photo from my back yard a couple years ago!

This should have been a signal to me as to how the rest of the day was going to be, because everything that could go wrong, did.

For starters, it rained all day. Not heavy rain, but certainly not a beach day. Nevertheless, I have always felt that Cape Cod is beautiful no matter what the weather, and that includes winter. Off-season (before Memorial Day, or after Labor Day) is the best time to visit the Cape. I lucked out that the crowds were non-existent on this day.

I was thinking that maybe I wanted to own property again on Cape Cod, and so I combined my trip with a looksie at a mobile home in an RV park in the town of Dennis. I am somewhat unfamiliar with Dennis, other than just passing through on beautiful Route 6A (if you ever get a chance to drive Route 6A from Bourne to Provincetown, I highly recommend the trip -- it is gorgeous). The RV park is in a more-or-less industrial section of Dennis. I kept driving up and down Great Western Ave which is an industrial area, and I couldn't seem to find the beaches of Dennis. I visited the mobile home. It was really cute! I strongly considered buying it at the amazing price of just $10,000!! But, after much, much consideration, I realized that Dennis is not my cup of tea, and that my dogs would not do well in the RV park because the sites are very close together, and there are a lot of people and children riding bicycles. My dogs and bikes do NOT get along, unfortunately. My dogs are super reactive, and we need wide-open spaces with a secure fence, like we had in Eastham, and like we have at home. So, nope, this RV park lifestyle, while appealing for some reasons, isn't a good fit for me right now. Not to mention that the trailer needed a lot of work. The toilet needed to be replaced immediately, the floors and walls needed updating, and the outside was a big mess that needed major cleaning up. With my fibromyalgia and arthritis, I cannot take on such a project, physically. Also, one of the main reasons I sold the Eastham cottage was because of the "money-pit" aspect, and all the upkeep and the distance. I'm not ready to take on a "project" right now, and especially a long-distance one. It hasn't even been a year yet.


Pictures of the trailer I looked at. Cute, but unsuitable for a lady with crazy, large dogs.






After seeing the mobile home and talking at length with the manager (I really was serious, but in the end decided not to buy), I tried, desperately, to find the beaches in Dennis. What in the world? They were impossible to find! When I finally did, I realized one side is the bay, and the other is Nantucket Sound, and neither is my kind of beach. I'm kinda a beach "snob" -- meaning that I like long, long, long walks on wide open beaches, such as Nauset Light Beach, or Salisbury Beach, Gloucester and Duxbury that I visited earlier this summer. When I pulled into the parking lot in Dennis and the attendant asked me for twenty dollars, I just knew in my heart that I wanted to spend my twenty dollars, and my afternoon, in Eastham instead. I politely thanked him and asked if I could just turn around. I then made a bee-line for Eastham!

The wide-open space of Nauset Light Beach/Coast Guard Beach in Eastham. 

Arriving at the parking lot of Nauset Light Beach (ahhhh! my favorite place on Earth), it was the first time ever that I had to pay to park. Since it was a cold and rainy day, there was plenty of room (in August!). I paid my $20 and decided to mention to the attendant that I used to own the house across the street. He, in shock, asked me why I sold it, and I told him I couldn't afford the mortgage and upkeep anymore. I parked my car, and packed up the things I needed to carry with me, and made the familiar trek to the beach. I certainly felt like I was home.


Snail in Eastham at my old cottage (photo taken a few years ago)

Being on the beach itself was fabulous, even though it was cold and overcast and drizzly. I needed to wear my long-sleeved sun shirt but no hat! I forced myself to swim, even though it was incredibly cold. But afterwards, washing off in the not-private ladies' shower/changing room; and using the toilets that did not flush properly and were (to put it bluntly) gross, really bummed me out. I used to be the "elite" cottage owner. I felt as though I were slumming.

To top it all off: no seals! I always used to say that the seals were my past dogs, reincarnated, and I always imagined they were "walking" with me on the beach. I spent the whole afternoon there, and didn't see one seal! Since I've been gone, they left, too, evidently.

A seal, saying goodbye to me in 2016.

About 10 days before my trip, I had seen on the news that a whale had beached itself on "my" beach. I did not realize that the whale was just left there to deteriorate (and feed the wildlife), so I was a little surprised when I saw the carcass on the beach! ("What's that smell?!" Ewwww). I did take a few photos of the remains. The birds and sea creatures certainly will be well fed, and the sea will take back its whale. It made me harken back to about 30 years ago when Timba found a whale carcass on the beach in Truro... you should have seen me trying to get her to stop rolling in it! Ah, dogs. Glad (for that reason) I didn't have Charlie or Cooper with me on this day. I stopped and said a prayer to the sea gods, on behalf of the whale.

Charlie, chillin' out on the porch at the Eastham cottage. Memories! 



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Of course, I had to go look at "my" house since I was right there across the road. The new owners have it listed for rent online (not pet-friendly!), and I saw photos of the inside on the rental website. They did a nice job (other than taking out the fireplace and taking down the fence!). It's not something I could have afforded to do (renovations) and it's nice that someone took it over and are keeping it maintained. They even added heat and air-conditioning. From the outside, I could see how they had replaced some windows, had enclosed the modern outdoor shower, and a few other things. I miss the place, but not much. Not enough to own it again, that's for sure!

Someone was trying to tell me something, all day that day, and it made me realize I'm not ready to return to Cape Cod permanently, yet. But I still love it, and will always make it a point to visit at least once or twice each year. I'll just make sure I have better plans when it comes to bathrooms and parking!


Want to know more about Cape Cod? 
After living there for 12 years, I know a lot. 
Ask me some questions in the comments! 

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