cape cod

Truro
  • Sunrise, Sunset

    (originally published on September 14, 2012)

    The Mr. and I crossed off an item on his Life List recently: watching a sunset and sunrise over water in the same day. I don't think there are many places where you can do this as easily as you can in Ptown, which sits on a sandbar in the middle of the ocean.

    We had set the alarm for 5:00 am the night before and were pretty efficient about grabbing clothes and some coffee before jumping in Black Beauty for the short ride to Head of the Meadow beach. When we arrived, there were a few other people there and a handful of seals out in the water (so cute! and so scary these days with those Great Whites swimming about in our waters).

    I decided the best thing to do was to climb the empty lifeguard chair and watch from there. I had always secretly wanted to sit in one. As it turned out, it was super buggy up there and we decided to walk around instead. So I did something else I always wanted to do: a Baywatch-style dismount. Mistake. My back went into a spasm and I spent the next two weeks not able to bend. Here we are sitting on the top of the chair in the dark before my sports injury ..

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    When the sky started to lighten up, it looked like this. Puffy and pink.

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    And THEN! a red dot of a sun appeared above the horizon! We thought it would appear over to the right in the center of the streaks so we were shocked that it popped up where it did.

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    So pretty! And totally worth getting up in the dark and the hobbling I had to do for weeks afterwards.

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    On the way home, we saw a group of turkeys! So wild. (Heh! Heh!)

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    For the sunset, we picked up pizza and sandwiches from Twisted Sister and drove over to Herring Cove. A couple of things about this photo: 1) The cooler was my grandfather's. They don't make them like this anymore! 2) You can see that Tipper is laying in the sand rather than on the blanket that we brought for her. She clearly gets by on her looks.

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    There are always a lot of people here for the sunset, many of them doing exactly what we were doing. Some only there for the grand finale. Others with beach fires set up for the long haul.

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    It was a pretty sunset. Not super dramatic, but nice.

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    There was some cloud coverage preventing us from seeing the sun actually go over the edge, but the aftermath was quite lovely.

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    I'm so glad we took the time to do this. Such a simple thing.

  • Cape Cod Modern House Tour *part two

    (originally published on August 25, 2012)

    Let's continue (if you missed part one, start here) .... so, it turns out Young Whippersnapper and I made a pretty good house touring team. She managed the directions (following the dot on her smartphone) and I drove, making more left turns on Route 6 than I ever have in my life. Not fun. YW was also pretty good at snagging the cookies at each house and sharing them with me.

    Our fourth stop on the tour was the figure eight-shaped Zindler House, built in 1977 and designed by Elenore Petterson (who apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright.) One of the cool things about Modern houses is that you never quite know where the entrance is. I love that!

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    The path leading up to the house was lined with wooden posts, each displaying a different rock cluster. This particular vignette is so Cape Cod -- beach rocks, pine needles, pine cone, and drift wood.

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    Inside was the swankiest, 70s-est sunken living room I've ever seen. It was fabulous! Why don't they make these anymore? I want one.

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    And the house, like the others, was filled with art. Or plastic doll chairs on a table. As soon as I saw them, I said to YW, "This was just made for instagramming," as I pulled out my own smartphone and snapped away. And smirked.

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    The only way to get upstairs was to use these wonderful spiral stairs.

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    More of the fun art inside ...

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    This view is outside from the back. It's hard to see the figure eight plan, but you get a sense of it better from the inside.

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    And they had a lovely pool.

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    The last house on the tour was YW's favorite. To get here, we had to go down yet another questionable road and drive over a huge asphalt bump that almost gutted Black Beauty. 

    The Ozbekhan House was built in 1974 by another female architect, Anne Ozbekhan, who studied with Mies van der Rohe. The "house" is really a compound with three buildings - the two you see here and the studio which is behind me, up the hill.image

    This place was filled with art and creative touches, too!

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    Don't you just love that wood stove?

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    The woman who lives here is an artist. I loved catching glimpses of the huge sculptural faces randomly placed around the complex.

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    And inside the studio was some of the owner's amazing work! 

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    Pretty fantastic! In the end, I dropped off YW and her smartphone at Castle Hill and made it back to Ptown for my boat home. If you are interested in doing the tour next year, be sure to stalk the Castle Hill web site in late April/early May when tickets go on sale. It's definitely worth it!

  • Cape Cod Modern House Tour *part one

    (originally published on August 24, 2012)

    This past weekend, I completed number 108 on my Mother List. I've wanted to go on the Cape Cod Modern House Tour for a few years now but it was always sold out. I bought my ticket in May this time! (If you want context, you can read all about the Modern buildings on the outer Cape here.)

    Those of us lucky enough to get tickets met at Castle Hill in Truro (which I drove past no less than 3 times until I finally figured out where to turn. Not off to a great start.) For carpooling purposes, I was then paired with a PhD student in the History of Architecture who did not have a car. I asked her if she was a good navigator. She replied, "I have a smartphone. I'm young." In my mind, I said a million things in response (like, "Child, I have a blog that people read in Ethiopa!" or "I have 648 followers on Pinterest, how many do you have?") but in reality, I smiled, put my hand on her shoulder, and said, "I'm not that old." (So get in the car and buckle up, sister! And get that smartphone out while you're at it!)

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    Our first stop was in Wellfleet at the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman, built in 1957 by the architect/designer Olav Hammerstrom. The Cape's Episcopal Bishop charged him with designing a rustic chapel where no one would sit more than four seats from the Holy Table. Here's what he did ...

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    Couldn't see the seats? Yeah, it was freakin' dark in there.

    The second stop on the tour required us to travel on a dirt road. With huge bumps and tricky piles of sand and craters filled with water and only enough room for one car. Our trusty Honda, which we all affectionately call "Black Beauty," was put through the ringer. As were my nerves. But, oh my, was it worth it! 

    Hatch Cottage was built in 1961 and designed by John Hall. The Cape Cod Modern House Trust bought it and is currently in the process of restoring it. Take a look at the views!

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    After we traveled back on the dirt road from hell, we headed for our third  --and what was to become my favorite -- house on the tour. The Sass House, designed by Charlie Zehnder, was built in 1963 and the artist's studio next to it, in 1976. A pool and extended deck area were completed in 1985. 

    The house is filled with art, the views are incredible, the pool is amazing, and the studio (THE STUDIO!) is a dream.

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    I think I let out a little "Oh, s$%&!" when I walked back the hallway and saw this sunken walk-in shower. I mean really!! And the green striped towels? Killing me.

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    Love the owner's bangle collection!

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    The view of the studio from the outside. Look at that window! And there is a roof deck!

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    The studio in proximity to the main house.

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    AND ... the pool! Swoon. Le fabulous!

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    Tomorrow I'll share the rest of the tour, including another amazing artist's studio! 

  • Grape Stomp!

    (originally published on September 24, 2011)

    This past weekend, the Mr., my mom, and I had an absolute blast at Truro Vineyards annual Grape Stomp and Jazz Fest.

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    We got there about 10 minutes after its official start and found it to be completely packed. Parking was a bit of an issue but in the end we found a spot on the road.

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    The brand new sparkly stomp pit.

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    Mom practicing her stomping skills.

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    A number of area restaurants were there selling tasty bites. Looking around, I noticed a lot of people had brought picnic food as well. There were definitely some intriguing spreads.

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    Moby Dick & the Whalers played wonderful jazz music and a number of people were up dancing. Such a happy time!

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    Obviously, there was plenty of wine to be enjoyed!

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    And tasty treats!

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    The Mr. and I sampled the clams with Portuguese sauce. That sauce was amazing! So flavorful.

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    Sliders in progress.

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    Crowne Pointe was offering up some mussels.

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    The grounds are so well managed and I found this beautiful flower by the patio. Just stunning!

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    This is usually the wine tasting area but was housing some of the local restaurant fare that day.

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    The grapes looked really good!

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    And then ... it was time to STOMP!

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    First, a few bins of grapes were added to the stomp pit and the younger kids had first dibs. A few looked traumatized but most seemed to enjoy making a mess.

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    Post first round of stomping.

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    More grapes were added and the older kids were allowed in. We all stood back. 

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    And then it was time for the adults! I was the second one into the stomping pit. The Mr. followed shortly there after. These are our feet. The grapes were really, really cold but it was so much fun!

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    My mom got in, too. I think she may have been the oldest one in there! Here she is, stomping away.

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    Our feet, post stomp. The wonderful people at Truro Vineyards had a power hose set up for all of us so we could clean up a bit.

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    When we got back to our area, I laughed at our little pile of stuff, wine glasses toppled. Seems like such a great representation of how we were feeling after our adventure -- carefree and joyful! 

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    Related post:
    Truro Vineyards

  • Atlantic Spice Company

    (originally published on August 31, 2011)

    One of my At-Least-Once-a-Year stops on the Cape is at the Atlantic Spice Company in Truro, just outside Ptown.

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    Inside a rather non-descript blue warehouse-esque building ...

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    ... is a treasure trove of fun kitchen stuff and ...

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    ... SALT! ...

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     ... and a wide array of every possible spice, herb, flavoring, additive, and seasoning you could possibly want.

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    And some snacks, too!

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    It's a fun place and is always packed. We usually go home with at least one new salt to add to my giant collection!

  • Truro Vineyards

    (originally published on July 31, 2011)

    On Thursday, we headed down the road to the Truro Vineyards for their late afternoon tour of the winery and a winetasting, featuring some of the sixteen wines they produce. Always enjoyable, its a great excursion that provides a wonderful opportunity to get up close to the inner workings of a family-owned vineyard. 

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    Their signature lighthouse bottle is popular with tourists. People even make lamps out of them.

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    Two limited realease wines: Right White (named after the North Atlantic Right Whales that migrate through the area in the spring) ...

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    and Right Red.

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    The grounds are really beautiful and welcoming. The original farmhouse was painted by Edward Hopper in Rich's House. The Chinese mulberry tree on the right was there and represented in the painting.

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    This is the windmill in the painting.

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    The vines ... they grow chardonnay, merlot, and cabernet franc here and import the rest of the grapes from California, New York, and Westport, MA.

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    After the tour, we had the opportunity to taste some of their wines. Ten were available for tasting that day and, due to Massahusetts law, each person could only select five to taste. I buddied up with the Mr. so we could taste all ten -- as was suggested by the winetasting leader.

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    Of all the wines we tried, I like the unoaked Chardonnay the best, much to my surprise. Usually I find Chardonnay a bit blah, but this one had a crisp green apple-y taste to it. The Mr. liked their Vignoles and the Meritage.

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    This wine is really sweet and tastes just like grape juice.

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    I could have sat at this lovely table all afternoon, sipping wine, and exclaiming "tastes good to me!"

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  • Highland Light, Truro

    (originally published on July 20, 2011)

    Lighthouses and Cape Cod. You can't have one without the other. One of my favorites is the Highland Light (known also as the Cape Cod Light) in Truro. Two reasons for this:

    1. We used to visit it when I was a child and it sits at the hazy fringes of my early Cape Cod memories along with the smell of pine needles around the cottage, bundling up for the ferry ride to Nantucket, quails nesting in the grass, the fear of silverfish crawling in my bed with me, and climbing Doane Rock (actually I was probably carried, my usual mode of locomotion back then); and
    2. They MOVED it. 

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    There's a golf course where the Mr. often plays.

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    Here's where it used to be ...

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    ... by the crumbling cliffs.

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    Is this photo not depressing? Beach erosion. Not a fan.

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    The Highland Museum is nearby.

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    We did not get to visit it or go into the lighthouse because a wicked storm was approaching. Personally, I would have loved to watch its progress from inside the top of the lighthouse!

  • Truro's Cold War Past, or a really cool movie set

    (originally published on July 19, 2011)

    Yesterday morning we took a tour of the decommissioned North Truro Air Force Station, now Highland Center, a part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. It is a place like no other on the Cape -- decrepit and abandoned in places, REALLY cool in others, and burgeoning with new purpose in spots. It would also make an awesome set for a JJ Abrams project. Perched on a gorgeous vista overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, it was built somewhere around 1948-50 with the sole purpose of tracking unwanted aircraft intruders during the Cold War via radar. Now, its being reimagined as a science, art, and education community through the National Park Service.

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    The abandoned barracks ...

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    ... soon to be refurbished as an Americorps headquarters.

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    This building housed a bowling alley and is now decorated with a work by Helen Strong and ...

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     ... a mural painted only a week ago.

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    This is a wood-fueled kiln.

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    The whole place has an I Am Legend vibe going.

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    And there's some SCIENCE going on ... mostly water and soil quality sampling.

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    A joint project with the local 4H-ers (didn't know they had that on the Cape) growing heritage beans, corn, and squash.

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    You can see the radar building (still working and operated by the FAA) from most places on the grounds.

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    And the Jenny Lind Tower in the background.

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    Another mural on another decaying building.

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    More art, more neglect.

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    The former operations center was built with double-thickness concrete walls in case of a blast.

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    I love how it looks.

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    Wind sculpure ... each string plays a different note when the air strikes it.

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    More wind sculpture ... the top rotates in the wind like a pinwheel.

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    The amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. At one point, there were several Texas Towers in the water that would give them an extra 30 minutes warning should a bomber come flying at them. 

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    Such a spooky yet beautiful place. Although it would be great to see a rich science and art community flourish here, I kinda like it the way it is.