We’ll Be Back . . . Probably: A Cape Cod Story

In the above photo snapped last week, the grubby guy with a confused look in his eyes and elegantly deep creases in his forehead is none other than me. The shot is a selfie, and I have to say that it came out a whole lot better than many of the selfies that I take. Half the time I can’t figure out how to angle my phone’s camera so that each person’s head is fully in the frame along with a decent amount of background scenery.

The severe terrain in which I was standing is a section of Cape Cod that doesn’t fit the seaside-y, romantic image of the Cape (a 65-mile-long peninsula in Massachusetts) that quite a few people hold. I was out among Provincetown’s enormous sand dunes, a wide and lengthy expanse that separates Provincetown’s village from the Atlantic Ocean. In a few days my wife Sandy and I would be heading home to the Philadelphia suburbs, after a two-week vacation on the Cape, and I didn’t want to leave without a dune walk, which to me always is a fairly otherworldly experience.

Shit, it was cold out there, about 45°F (7°C), and windy as hell too. My fingers were losing sensation, and my ears didn’t feel terrific either. That’s because your genius reporter had left his gloves and earmuffs in the car, which was parked at one of the very few official access points for the dunes. Sandy was in the car along with my gloves and earmuffs. She had taken a look at the access point’s mountain of sand that must be conquered in order to enter the wonderland, and declined to join me on the expedition. She just wasn’t in the mood that day. In past years, though, she joined me in several of my dune adventures.

It was great being in the wilderness, despite the raw elements. How often do I get to immerse in environments like that, after all? Not a lot. I’ve scampered about 15 times over the years in the Provincetown dunes, or in the equally imposing dunes within Truro, which is PTown’s neighboring area. It’s one of my favorite things to do on Cape Cod, where Sandy and I have vacationed nearly annually since our first visit in 1998.

Yeah, we fell in love with Cape Cod pretty much right from the start. Never in my life had I expected to find a locale that I’d want to return to over and over, one that would soothe my soul and whose natural beauty and man-made charms would make me sigh in a good way. I discovered all of that on the Cape.

But earlier this year, six or seven months after a Cape vacation in October 2017, I began to think that I needed a rest from Cape Cod, that everything there was taking on too much of an air of familiarity. “Yo, Sandy!” I yelled. “Something fishy is going on inside my hard head. Call my shrink! Cape Cod burnout might have settled in!”

Unfortunately, my shrink had problems enough of his own and wouldn’t take the call. And so, Sandy, stepping in for the good Dr. Wazzup, analyzed my emotional and mental states and concluded that a change of vacation scenery indeed might be in order. We thereupon began to investigate regions where we might happily deposit our bods in autumn 2018. Denmark seemed like a good idea. Ditto for Scotland. I believe that the latter would have been our destination were it not for the fact that we got derailed by various unexpected situations that sapped the energy we’d have needed to plan and mount that trip. We therefor reverted to Cape Cod, an easily arranged vacation for us. Virtually no planning was required, so familiar are we with most of the Cape’s nooks and crannies.

Well, Cape Cod in October 2018 turned out to be a delightful trip. Sandy and I did all of the things we enjoy: Walks on ocean and Cape Cod Bay beaches; walks in woods and marshlands; poking around charismatically quaint villages; visits to museums and art galleries and music venues and cinemas; and chowing down each night at a different restaurant.

Believe me, I know: I’m a highly fortunate guy to possess this sort of a life. And I often feel guilty and uneasy about it, what with all of the human misery and unhappiness on our planet. But, even if I make it into my 90s, I don’t have an amazing number of spins around the Sun left to me. So, having a good ol’ time while I’m physically and mentally able, and also giving back as best I can, seems like an A-OK way to live.

Will we return to Cape Cod in 2019? I don’t know. A break for a year or two probably wouldn’t be a bad idea. Although this most recent visit was a winner, I suspect that Cape burnout is still quietly festering within me. No relationship is perfect, that’s for sure. Some require temporary separations. Cape Cod will understand and forgive me if it comes to that.

And variety is the spice of life. What’s more, it’s a big world, to cite two of the duh-est of clichés. Sandy and I have done a good amount of non-Cape traveling during the 29 years that we’ve known each other, but spreading our wings even more might be where it’s at. I mean, going to Scotland would be cool. Denmark too. And Arizona and Colorado and Montana and Portugal and Spain. Not to overlook dozens of other places that I won’t bother mentioning.

Originally I was going to decorate this essay with photos taken throughout our just-ended Cape Cod sojourn, images of gorgeous ocean vistas, of forest trails, of quirky and fabulous Provincetown village, of a primo eggplant parmesan entrée that I scarfed down at Front Street (one of PTown’s best restaurants), etc.

But I’ve changed my mind. Instead, all of the pictures herein are from the aforementioned ramble through Provincetown’s dunes. The Provincetown/Truro dunescape is one of Cape Cod’s most remarkable features and is deserving of pictorial shoutouts. Will I be back in the dunes again in the foreseeable future? Hopefully. Probably. We shall see.

(Don’t be shy about adding your comments. Or about sharing this article, for that matter. Gracias.)

(If you click on any photo, a larger image will open in a separate window.)

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86 thoughts on “We’ll Be Back . . . Probably: A Cape Cod Story

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 9:28 am

      Hey, I had to look up Arrakis in google. Had never heard of it before. Maybe this means that I should read Dune.

      Like

  1. Lynette d'Arty-Cross October 31, 2018 / 12:29 am

    Fabulous photos (nice to see you, too). 🙂 Sometimes we have to leave a place for a bit in order to appreciate it more. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Audrey Driscoll October 31, 2018 / 12:38 am

    Dunes are cool. If they change enough between visits, does it feel like a new place? Is Henry Beston’s Outermost House still there? I seem to remember reading that it got wrecked by a storm. I know what you mean about places you keep going to for vacations. Mine is Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island; can’t get enough of the great beaches and huge waves. Good food too. But it is a big world…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 9:35 am

      Hey there, Audrey. Beston’s house was about 25 miles south of dunesland. And you’re right — long ago, a storm wrecked the house. Have you read his book? It’s excellent.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Audrey Driscoll October 31, 2018 / 7:06 pm

        The Outermost House is one of my favourite books, along with his Herbs and the Earth. Thanks, Neil!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Paddy Tobin October 31, 2018 / 4:27 am

    Sand dunes are hard to beat for that experience of being away from it all. It is possible, and I have managed it in smaller systems than you describe, to get completely disorientated and do the shameful walk of circles. I have cancelled my plans for the Australian outback walkabout as I feared I might never be found again.

    A beautiful place you describe and well worth returning there time and time again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 9:37 am

      Hi. I’ve worried about getting lost in the Cape’s dunes. You have to pay attention, or you might get into a bit of trouble.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Paddy Tobin October 31, 2018 / 11:05 am

        In latter years I have walked sand dunes in search of native orchids and so combine two pleasures!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheree October 31, 2018 / 4:48 am

    Great photos! A visit to Cape Cod is on the cards.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 9:38 am

      Sheree, you’ll have a blast if you go. There’s a lot of natural beauty, cute villages, good restaurants, etc., etc.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. GP Cox October 31, 2018 / 7:13 am

    Only been to Cape Cod once, a long time ago. So thanks for the pictures of the dunes.
    And – have a great spooky day!! Wah-hah-hah

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Hi GP. Thanks for dropping by. In a little while I’ll be heading to the store to get candy for tonight’s trick-or-treaters. See ya’ —

      Liked by 1 person

  6. cath October 31, 2018 / 7:35 am

    I love sand-dunes, and these look fabulous, though happy as you seem to be, you do look cold. Not sure I’d be so keen on that – or cold winds with sand – not a good combination. Tourist areas out of season have a special charm though. Well done for persevering, and love the photos – particularly the second one, with the clouds. Nice.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 10:28 am

      It was unseasonably cold for much of October in northeast USA. Traipsing around in the dunes for sure is better when it’s a little warmer outside. Many thanks for adding your thoughts, Cath. Take care —

      Like

  7. Cristina Crawford October 31, 2018 / 7:42 am

    What a lovely post! I so get the itch to separate from the familiar. For example, after visiting the Outer Banks for years I wanted to spice things up and go anywhere but there. So a trip to Myrtle Beach was the destination that particular year. Let’s just say absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder and back to Outer Banks it was the following year. Still, I have yet to find THE one, perfect, favorite place to return to. There are so many! Our stepping-out-of-the-box adventure for this year has me excited (and nervous) beyond belief….We are going to spend 7 days in June cycling in Scotland!! Stay tuned…. Have a wonderful Wednesday 🎃

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 10:31 am

      Your trip to Scotland sounds terrific. It’ll be a whole lot of fun. Enjoy the rest of the week, Cristina.

      Like

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 10:34 am

      Hey there, Brad. If you want me to, I’ll ask Dr. Wazzup if he can fit you into his schedule!

      Like

  8. vprofy October 31, 2018 / 8:04 am

    For ten years, Nantucket was our annual escape. In early 2005 or so our hidden cottage was sold, moved, to build a big house. We settled on the Cape and having been going there for years.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Steve Higgins October 31, 2018 / 8:55 am

    Liz and I have an annual debate about going somewhere new or returning to well known places. I do like going somewhere new but the comfortable idea of returning to places we know and love is usually too strong, especially when we go back to Cafe Beruggo in Lanzarote and all our friends who run the bar are so pleased to see us. It’s nice to be remembered . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 10:38 am

      Right, it’s good to know the lay of the land and to know that you’re going to feel comfortable. There’s a whole lot to be said for that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Laurie Graves October 31, 2018 / 8:59 am

    Wonderful to see a picture of you! I always enjoy seeing what my blogging friends look like. We humans love to visit other places. This seems to be part of who we are, along with a love for stories. Enjoy every innocent pleasure that you can. That’s my motto.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Robert Parker October 31, 2018 / 9:08 am

    I hadn’t realized there were big,undeveloped stretches like this. I’d always pictured it as packed to the gunwales with rose-covered cottages. This dunes area looks great.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 10:42 am

      Hi Robert. I like pretty much all of Cape Cod, but my favorite areas are the more remote ones. You can sort of get away from it all in those locales.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. greenpete58 October 31, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    Our daughter, Holly, lives in Scotland, outside Glasgow. If you do decide to visit that great country, let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. SandyL October 31, 2018 / 12:22 pm

    Lovely photos but you do look cold. I emphasize with my namesake: Hubbys can do weird things, it doesn’t mean we have to follow them.

    If you’re considering other wild and naturally wonderful places to visit, I suggest the Pacific North West. Come visit Vancouver Island in Canada and experience the Wild Pacific Trail (you can find photo’s in my blog.) There’s even decent views on the US side of the PNW 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 3:01 pm

      Afternoon, Sandy. I was on Vancouver Island about 20 years ago. We stayed in a small town, Port Alberni. There was a boat trip from there that went down a river to the Pacific Ocean. A fantastic boat trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Debra October 31, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    Great pictures. A different dune experience is White Sands in NM. Maybe you can fit it with your next trip to visit your brother. Please go to Scotland so you can pass on some good tips before we go there in a couple of years as part of our European Grand Tour.

    Debra

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 3:02 pm

      There’s a good chance we’ll be in Scotland in the pretty near future. I’ll make notes for you!

      Like

  15. joyce hamilton October 31, 2018 / 12:53 pm

    Of all of the many times going to the Cape l have never walked on the dunes. That will be on my list for next year .

    Liked by 1 person

  16. cincinnatibabyhead October 31, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    “Holey shit, What was I thinking? A hot chocolate in the car with Sandy sounds good right now” (Caption for the selfie). Hey stick with what works and what feeds your soul. Good to shake it up but familiar comfortable things feel good and right. I would have went on the “Dune walk” with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ann Coleman October 31, 2018 / 8:24 pm

    I think it’s always a bit of a challenge to decide whether to vacation in our “happy place” which we know and love, or to head off to somewhere entirely new. Personally, I’ve tried to solve that problem by mixing it up a bit…going to Sanibel (my happy place) every other trip, and somewhere new on the trips in between. So far, it’s working. My guess is you would really enjoy a vacation elsewhere, but you will be returning to your beloved Cape before too long. And don’t forget to write about it on this blog, so we can see how it goes!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger October 31, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by. Yeah, Cape Cod is in my blood after all these years. It fits very snugly with Sandy’s and my sensibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. jeanleesworld October 31, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    A beautiful wild place where one can ponder the landscape without and within. xxxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2018 / 6:42 am

      Very true! And when you make your way eastward through the dunes, you eventually come to the ocean. It’s a pretty remarkable area.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Fran Johns November 1, 2018 / 12:14 am

    What’s wrong with San Francisco? I mean, yeah, Cape Cod is gorgeous and I loved your piece, but maybe next year you should try the Left Coast, even if the ocean is on the wrong side of the street.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2018 / 6:39 am

      Hi Fran. Your city is one of my favorite places. I’ve been there quite a few times over the years. The first time was in 1970 — I saw The Grateful Dead at the Fillmore West during that visit!

      Like

  20. Isabelle November 1, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    7 grads Celsius is cold, but Cape Cod has got everything I associate with a decent holiday. Beaches, ocean, woods, museums, cafes…
    We were in Copenhagen a few weeks ago, it’s a favourite spot of Norwegians. Scotland is high on my list too. And Ireland, Australia… the list could go on and on, sigh…Great pictures including your selfie, Neil! Catch up soon, Isabelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2018 / 3:09 pm

      I know — there’s loads of enticing places around the world to visit. The planning, the airports, the plane rides that many trips involve, though, are things I’ve gotten to like less and less.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. selizabryangmailcom November 1, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    Wow! I LOVE that shot of the dunes, the sky, and the clouds with your shadow standing mysteriously in the center of it all. How beautiful!

    You guys’ vacay to the Cape sounds like pure heaven to me. Love beaches. Love woods. Love museums. Love movies. Love restaurants. Love your story.

    And you earned it. You deserve to love and enjoy your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      Thanks for all of that, Stacey. Appreciated. And I like that photo too. I was about to take a picture of the landscape when I noticed that my shadow was part of the picture. Right place at the right time.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. America On Coffee November 1, 2018 / 7:41 pm

    Cape Cod was obviously a great choice. So glad you are enjoying. Can’t wait to hear more about the delicious foods and lighthouse stories. Take care and thoroughly enjoy!😊☕❤

    Liked by 1 person

  23. D. Wallace Peach November 1, 2018 / 8:17 pm

    I have great memories of Cape Cod, Ptown, and rolling down those dunes as a kid, when I lived in New England. It’s a wonderful place to visit. The pictures brought back memories. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2018 / 8:47 pm

      You wouldn’t believe the erosion taking place on the tall oceanside sand cliffs in Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro. Many houses that used to be decently far from the cliff edges no longer are. They are in big jeopardy.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. tylerus November 2, 2018 / 10:04 am

    As always, wonderful photos and a great post. And it’s so nice to put a name to a face. 🙂 (I hear you about selfies – I take a few maybe once a year and quickly discard as they’re so not in my “favor”. LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 2, 2018 / 10:41 am

      Hi Tyler. I was lucky that this selfie turned out pretty good. Enjoy the weekend. Be seeing you. —

      Like

  25. Jacqui Murray November 2, 2018 / 11:08 am

    Delightful post. For some reason, I don’t get bored with the same thing over and over. I’m more the other direction. For example, I’ve never been to Cape Cod and it will be stressful to organize myself to get there! Interesting, hunh?Love the pictures and the feeling you share about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 2, 2018 / 12:06 pm

      Getting it together to plan some trips has become more and more burdensome to me as I get older. Booking hotels and air flights, dealing with airports, doing a lot of research — ugh!

      Like

  26. Alyson November 2, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Whenever I read your Cape Cod posts I am reminded of our Scottish stretches of sand dunes. The 7 degree temperatures sound about right too. So, if you do come to Scotland there would be much that is familiar yet much of it would be new and interesting too – best of both worlds. A warm welcome awaits you here in the Highlands in 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Alyson November 3, 2018 / 6:27 am

        Oh Neil they are everywhere, just like the ones in your pictures. Some of our very fine golf courses (dare I say it, the best in the world) are Links Courses which border these long stretches of dunes.

        Liked by 1 person

  27. johnlmalone November 2, 2018 / 11:24 pm

    I enjoyed this thoughtful rumination through the Cod. My partner and I also enjoy travels to the nearby familiar — now there’s a good title for a post 🙂 — but this summer we are doing something outrageous: a 5 day trip across the Tasman to Tasmania, good old Tassie. No doubt it will appear on my blog. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 3, 2018 / 7:16 am

      Hello John. Your upcoming trip sounds like a great one. I’ve never been to that section of the globe. Maybe one of these days . . .

      Liked by 1 person

  28. alhenry November 3, 2018 / 5:18 pm

    Hey Neil, glad to know I’m not the only person on the planet who takes “abstract art” selfies. As for dune walking, I agree 100% that it’s a beautiful thing–I walked many a dune along the beaches of Lake Michigan in my formative years, and a fair stretch of the Cape dunes, too, back when I had friends there. As for wise Sandy in the warm-ish car, well I hope she had the foresight to bring a good book.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Helen Devries November 4, 2018 / 11:52 am

    Super post and photographs….it looks a wonderful place to walk.
    Travel loses its charm, I find…not the places to visit, but the sheer hassle of modern travel…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 4, 2018 / 7:03 pm

      Hi Helen. You’re right about modern travel being a hassle. I’ve gotten to the point where I find even trips to the supermarket to be a hassle. There’s so many cars on the road!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Still the Lucky Few November 4, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    Nice that Audrey mentioned Tofino. It’s right in my backyard (so to speak), and I love it too. BTW, you nailed the selfie!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 4, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Hi Diane I was on Vancouver Island once. Very beautiful there. Didn’t pass thru Tofino though. Many thanks for adding your thoughts. See you.

      Like

  31. tanjabrittonwriter November 6, 2018 / 11:28 am

    It sounds and looks like a wonderful excuse for repeat vacations, Neil. And your selfies complement the scenery perfectly. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  32. pjlazos November 7, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    It’s okay to change once in awhile. As much as we love Ocracoke, we also take a break now and again. It assures you’ll see the place with new eyes when you return. And Scotland sounds great, Neil. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  33. acomediansguidetoenlightenment November 8, 2018 / 2:20 am

    I loved this! I’ve actually never been to Cape Cod and have now added it to my list. Some of my best vacation memories have been in nature, an 8 mile hike on the big mountain to see the lava flow or a 10 mile bike ride through the hills of Catalina Island. I think it’s great that you got to do the dunes solo this last time, really immerses you into it. I will say if you explore other options next year that Spain was one of my all time favorite places to travel. The food, the food, the food! And the culture, and beautiful cities, but also, the food! 😜

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 8, 2018 / 6:49 am

      Hi. Spain is definitely on my list. I think that it’s a country where you could happily spend weeks and weeks, because there’s so much to see. Take care, and many thanks for adding your thoughts to this story. I appreciate that a lot.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 17, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Hi Laleh. I’m glad you enjoyed this story. I apologize for the delay in answering, but WordPress delivered your comment to my Spam folder. I noticed it there today. Take care —

      Liked by 1 person

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