Some Walks Are Better Than Others (A Cape Cod Story)

Well, another Cape Cod vacation almost has reached its conclusion, as my wife Sandy and I will be back home just as this story hits the presses. We have had a wonderful time. We’ve done a lot and seen a lot on the 65-mile-long peninsula that we think of as our second home, and which we have visited almost annually since the late 1990s.

In some important respects, Cape Cod (which is part of Massachusetts) far surpasses the suburban jungle, in Pennsylvania, where we reside most of the year. You can find genuine peace and quiet on Cape Cod, for instance, and gorgeous waters, sands and marshlands too. In our overpopulated and overdeveloped home base? Fuhgeddaboudit! If health care were better than it is on the Cape, we would consider moving there permanently.

We pursue all sorts of activities on Cape Cod. We stroll through charming villages, play mini golf, fly our kite at beaches, watch sunsets, eat and drink well at taverns and restaurants, go to movies, concerts and plays . . . holy shit, I nearly feel guilty about how good I have it on the Cape!

If I had to place one activity above the others, though, it would be immersing myself, via hikes, in the natural world, which exists abundantly on Cape Cod. These explorations usually set my mind at ease and my heart aflutter. That being the case, I try to make a walk part of my game plan for nearly every day that I spend Cape-side. Now and then I trek alone. In most instances, however, Sandy is my companion.

We’ve been on a number of especially good walks these past two weeks. Magic, or who knows what, was in the air, elevating the experiences to special heights. We oohed and aahed in unison and fed off one another’s energy. And we each made a few pretty sharp observations about Nature that wouldn’t have occurred to the other party.

One of those excellent hikes took place on the eastern coast of Cape Cod, where the Atlantic Ocean, sands and sky make beautiful music together (except when raging storms are doing their thing). They are in harmony because most of the Atlantic coastline is government-protected territory, meaning that hotels, boardwalks, amusement rides and concession stands ain’t to be found. That’s just the way I like it. Another bonus is that not too many humans are on the beaches in the off-season, which is when Sandy and I visit the Cape. I’m down with that too.

There we were, then, on the stretch of coastline known as Nauset Light Beach, located in the town of Eastham. This particular beach is one of my favorites on Cape Cod, partly because of the mighty sand cliffs that back it. The cliffs, ranging from about 30 to 80 feet in height, are part of a chain of cliffs that covers at least half of the approximately 40-miles-long Atlantic coast. They never cease to amaze me. And that day, at Nauset Light Beach, I was struck especially hard by the deep grooves and primordial shapes that storms have sculpted in them. Those storms have pummeled all the cliffs on the Cape’s Atlantic coastline for time immemorial. It’s estimated that they strip away an average of several feet of sand from the cliff-faces every year. As a result, houses and other structures at cliff-top level keep growing closer to the edges of the cliffs. Over the years, some structures have had to be relocated farther inland, and some currently are in worrisome situations. Nature, in no uncertain terms, rules. (Erosion is an ongoing process and concern on many sections of the Cape’s sandy coastlines, not just its Atlantic Ocean side.)

The skies were cloudy as Sandy and I made our way along the beach, sometimes stopping to gaze at the uneasy waters. A strong wind blew, but it didn’t bother us. On the contrary, it energized us, boosting our awareness of the surroundings. As pompous as it sounds, we came pretty damn close to becoming one with Nature, as close as suburbanites have any right to be. We absorbed the unceasing roars, gurgles and hisses of the ocean, the imposing grey skies, and the haphazard array of stones, shells and driftwood on the beach. Everything seemed perfect, exactly as it was meant to be.

Our mini-adventure at Nauset Light Beach went by in a flash. We’d have stayed longer, probably should have stayed longer. But we had other places to go, other things to do. Till we meet again, NLB!

151 thoughts on “Some Walks Are Better Than Others (A Cape Cod Story)

  1. November 7, 2022 / 6:20 am

    Ah…thanks for taking us on the walk to the beach. That’s a fascinating beach. When I think of beaches, I end up going down the path to a tropical one. The beach you took us on is intriguing and fascinating to see. I can see why you two enjoyed it so much. Plus it’s not crowded with people who may or may not look so great in their beach attire. 😉 I’m happy to read you had a wonderful vacation! 😍🥰😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 7, 2022 / 10:01 am

      Hi. Right, the ocean-side beaches on Cape Cod are pretty austere. They are powerful because of that. I guess that’s not true in summer, though, when visitors descend upon the Cape. (My wife and I go to CC only in off-seasons)

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 8, 2022 / 5:25 am

        Yes, indeed, austere and powerful, yet welcoming in such an intriguing way. I’d be one to go on the off-seasons too. It’s so nice you and your wife share liking the off-season adventures together. I love the lines where you described how you shared observations together.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. denisebushphoto November 7, 2022 / 11:30 am

    Nice post and photos! I’m glad you had an enjoyable vacation and came so close to becoming one with nature!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Linda Pearce Griffin November 7, 2022 / 12:24 pm

    Oh, how I enjoyed your hike. Thank you for recounting the adventure and for adding the pictures. I don’t believe that you were pompous in saying you felt one with nature – I suspect that you were experiencing the oneness that is always present but we are usually too busy to notice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helene Brennan November 8, 2022 / 5:52 pm

    I’ve heard such a lot about Cape Cod, partly from your posts Neil, that I feel sure it’s a marvellous place to visit. Your writings always make it sound so inviting – but also so familiar in many ways – sandy beaches, wind, storms, erosion, Atlantic wildness….. Very enjoyable reading, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 8, 2022 / 9:52 pm

      Hey there, Helene. It’s a good place to hang out in. There’s a nice combination of environments there. Cape Cod keeps drawing me and my wife back!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 11, 2022 / 1:53 pm

      Hi, Mark. “Rugged beauty” describes Nauset Light Beach, and other Cape Cod coastline sections, to a tee. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pam Lazos November 11, 2022 / 10:45 am

    Nature is the most restorative thing on the planet! So glad you got to regroup and revisit your happy place, Neil. Happy weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Image Earth Travel November 12, 2022 / 3:24 am

    Walks in nature are the best! Looks wonderful.
    why is it that a working day seems long but when you’re on holiday, the day is short…

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Jeff the Chef November 13, 2022 / 10:17 am

    When I used to live out east, some friends and I would always rent a place on the ocean in the very late fall, when prices were rock-bottom cheap and just about no one was there. I alway loved walking along the beach at times like that.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Lisa at Micro of the Macro November 13, 2022 / 12:14 pm

    Very nice. I enjoy places like the Cape, as well, that are protected from development. There aren’t many to be found anymore, especially along our coastlines. Thanks for sharing your vaca! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2022 / 3:43 pm

      Hi, Lisa. It’s been back to realty for over a week. The vacation was real good and pretty long. But I think it would have started to feel forced if we had stayed any longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. rkrontheroad November 13, 2022 / 1:28 pm

    Beautiful descriptions. I was walking along the beach with you. And in fact, I have walked that beach. So wonderful that the Atlantic beach coast is protected. It is such a special place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2022 / 3:49 pm

      Right — I’d forgotten that you were on Cape Cod a year or two ago. I might have asked this before: have you read the book titled Cape Cod, by Henry D. Thoreau? It came out circa 1850. I found it to be delightful.

      Liked by 1 person

      • rkrontheroad November 14, 2022 / 9:36 am

        I found a copy of Thoreau’s book recently but haven’t read it yet. We have talked about the other two I have read: The Outermost House by Henry Beston and The Outer Beach by Robert Finch. They both are so evocative of the beach environment, a joy to read slowly. Looking forward to reading the Thoreau.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. D. Wallace Peach November 13, 2022 / 5:11 pm

    When I lived in CT, we used to make trips to the Cape. That was probably 45 years ago, but from your photos, it seems there are spots that haven’t changed. Off-season must be wonderful and I can understand why you love it there. I hope you get there again next year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2022 / 8:35 pm

      Hello, Diana. My wife and I first went to CC in 1998. We’ve gone there almost every year since then (I think we missed two years). We’re hooked!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. annieasksyou November 13, 2022 / 5:57 pm

    I’m late to this post because of my election immersion (and I thought of more answers to your question, but they’re out of place here). I love the Cape too–haven’t been there for years. We did get to Martha’s Vineyard this summer, but it was so damned hot that we didn’t go out much. Your pictures are wonderful; there’s nothing like those moody sand dunes. Your first photo looks like it has a lion’s face in the sand.

    And since I always connect you with streaming entertainment, I wonder if you’ve watched “The Durrells on Corfu.” It’s a Masterpiece Theater series on Amazon; my husband and I are enjoying together–a rare happening for a non-spy program.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 13, 2022 / 8:42 pm

      Thanks for the TV tip. And speaking of Martha’s Vineyard: I haven’t been there in years, but it has a special place in my heart. That’s because my wife and I honeymooned there.


  12. alhenry November 17, 2022 / 10:30 am

    Always happy to hear how much you love our great state of Massachusetts–well, the sandy, duned shoreline anyway. Your photos made me realize something I hadn’t quite connected before–how much the Cape’s shoreline, especially its dunes, mirrors the Normandy coast in France (which I just visited for the first time in September, though it’s been my longtime dream to do so). The only thing missing is the ruins of Nazi bunkers from WWII, which I think is a strong vote for the Cape, though I did find them fascinating, as 1) I’m a major historical junkie, and 2) we won. Happy Turkey Day to you and Sandy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 17, 2022 / 2:10 pm

      Hi. Other than Cape Cod, I don’t know Massachusetts all that well. I know the Berkshires a bit. Haven’t been there in many years, and would love to explore them again some day. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Misti November 18, 2022 / 8:40 pm

    Looks like a wonderful place to visit! I’ve not spent a lot of time in NE beaches, and by Atlantic beach time has been in Florida. Having those special places are the things that hold us together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 29, 2022 / 7:37 am

      You know, old stuff maybe washes ashore there now and then, because dozens and dozens of shipwrecks happened off that coastline in past centuries. We haven’t found anything from those shipwrecks, though.


  14. tanjabrittonwriter November 29, 2022 / 4:28 pm

    I’m so glad you and Sandy made it back. Your post makes it clear how good this visit is for your soul.

    Liked by 1 person

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