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. Lynette d'Arty-Cross November 1, 2022 / 12:22 am

    A very enjoyable post, Neil. You write so well of Cape Cod and your photos show how beautiful it is in autumn with its empty beaches and silver skies.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. cindy knoke November 1, 2022 / 1:40 am

    Loved you coastal walk Neil. It is not even odd to me anymore, how opposite places could look so similiar. Your coast looks so much like my coast in La Jolla where I was born. South Africa looks so much the same as The Holler. We may focus on differences, but it is the similarities that interest me.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 9:16 am

      Hey, Cindy. I never really thought before about what you say. You make great points! Thanks for the input.


  3. ellie894 November 1, 2022 / 1:52 am

    I didn’t know about the sandy cliffs along Cape Cod’s coastline. They’re very beautiful. It sounds like a really wonderful trip. Take care!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 9:20 am

      Hey there. Some of Cape Cod’s topography is very unexpected. For instance, there is a landscape of incredibly large sand dunes in the far end (Truro and Provincetown) of the Cape.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Paddy Tobin November 1, 2022 / 4:10 am

    A beautiful place; it is no wonder you enjoy it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Parker November 1, 2022 / 6:11 am

    Boy you’ve really conveyed your deep enjoyment of this place, it really does sound just great. Do you ever see horseshoe crabs?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 9:25 am

      Yes. We saw a couple yesterday, for instance, on a beach near the house we rented. We saw quite a few during the vacation.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. vprofy November 1, 2022 / 6:14 am

    So many memories. We always go in August. We need to plan a Fall trip. Always a mix of the familiar and something new. Art’s Provincetown Dune Tour was the best this year.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. joylennick November 1, 2022 / 6:35 am

    Very enticing, Neil…Sounds lovely. When readers can actually ‘feel’ the `power of your words, it’s even better! Thank you. x

    Liked by 1 person

  8. gabychops November 1, 2022 / 6:36 am

    Thank you, Neil, for your brilliant portrayal of Nature and Cape Cod!


    Liked by 2 people

  9. swabby429 November 1, 2022 / 6:43 am

    I’m glad Cape Cod receives official protection. it’s great that you are able to enjoy the beautiful environment with your beloved spouse. Such is the stuff of treasured memories.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 9:35 am

      Hi. Much of the Atlantic coast is protected. The rest of CC isn’t. JFK had a lot to do with getting federal protection for much of the Atlantic coast.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 9:38 am

      Hi, Maggie. You can’t beat blue skies, but grey ones can be beautiful too. We had blue skies about 80% of the days during the vacation.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Anonymous November 1, 2022 / 7:50 am

    Happy you are enjoying! I miss being there again this year. Great photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie Graves November 1, 2022 / 8:32 am

    Beautiful description of your walk and of an experience many of us have experienced in nature, when we completely lose ourselves in our surroundings. Sublime! Also glad to read about how well the beaches on the Cape are protected from development.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 9:45 am

      Hi, Laurie. Only the beaches on the Atlantic side are under federal protection. Let’s hope that the disgraceful right-wing majority on the Supreme Court doesn’t interfere with that. Those five or six so-called justices are sickening.


      • Laurie Graves November 1, 2022 / 10:33 am

        Yes, they are. Sigh. Fingers crossed for the Atlantic side of Cape Code. How glorious to have broad stretches without development.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 12:25 pm

      The Cape is a really good place to wander around in. There’s a lot of natural beauty, among other things, there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Denise Denton Thiery November 1, 2022 / 2:18 pm

        I’ve belonged to a walking/hiking club for 36 years. We meet every Sunday all year and walk 4-6 miles. I take pictures and post them on my Facebook page.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. thelongview November 1, 2022 / 10:21 am

    Nice post, Neil! Cape Cod sounds like my kind of place! Can’t see the pics, but will come back and try again later.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Jacqui Murray November 1, 2022 / 10:22 am

    It is wonderful to find a place you are so comfortable in. I love what you said about its natural side–“we came pretty damn close to becoming one with Nature, as close as suburbanites have any right to be. “

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 11:33 am

      My wife and I never anticipated that we’d find an area that we would want to return to again and again. But it happened when we visited the Cape for the first time in 1998.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. shoreacres November 1, 2022 / 11:15 am

    I’m a great fan of off-season travel myself. If fall and winter are the time that the crowds disappear, it’s of no concern to me. The beauty of those seasons is remarkable, as your post clearly shows. I’ve never been in this part of our country, but if I could I’d be there next week. It seems that appealing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 11:51 am

      Hi. Much of New England has a lot going for it. Vermont, for instance, is amazingly beautiful. Mountains, forests, beautiful small towns.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Helen Devries November 1, 2022 / 12:09 pm

    Great seeing it all through your eyes. What a super place.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. rivertoprambles November 1, 2022 / 12:57 pm

    Glad you had another fine visit to this special place. Autumn is the time to stroll beside those wondrous dunes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 5:21 pm

      I had an excellent trek through Provincetown’s dunes a few days ago. I ended up walking a good bit more than I had planned. Those dunes are huge and always amaze me. Going up and down and up and down and up and down, etc. pooped me out!


  17. Paula B November 1, 2022 / 1:28 pm

    I didn’t know that much of the Atlantic coastline is government-protected. That’s great to hear, especially considering the beauty you’ve shown us. On another note entirely, I’m on your page when it comes to the consideration of good health care when figuring out where to live. It’s really, really important, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 5:27 pm

      Absolutely. It’s very valuable to have access to good doctors and hospitals. Many folks, unfortunately, don’t.


  18. Rosaliene Bacchus November 1, 2022 / 1:29 pm

    Neil, how wonderful that you and Sandy were able to spend another vacation in Cape Cod! Without a doubt, the seaside is invigorating for the soul. It’s great to have a “happy place” to escape to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. JT Twissel November 1, 2022 / 2:46 pm

    I haven’t been to the Cape since I was a child but I still remember the clam bakes and the eerie shuffling of the grasses. It’s definitely a magic place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 5:34 pm

      Because of Cape Cod, I discovered that I love the ocean. The house we rent on the Cape is very near the ocean, and you see only a handful of people, if any, on the sands there. Which is great.


    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 5:37 pm

      Hi Anabel. The one drawback is that we don’t live close to Cape Cod. It’s 360 miles from our home to the house we rent. But it’s worth the drive!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman November 1, 2022 / 4:55 pm

    Your love for Cape Cod comes through in every sentence of this lovely post! It’s not often we’re able to feel “at one with nature,” but when it happens, it’s one of the best gifts there is. So glad you and Sandy had such a nice time!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 5:39 pm

      Evening, Ann. As always, the Cape didn’t disappoint! I suppose that my next article will be Cape Cod-related too.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. June’s Travels November 1, 2022 / 5:19 pm

    Fabulous Cape Cod! I want to visit there after reading your post😊 It is always lovely to walk along the beach!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. stargazer November 1, 2022 / 6:16 pm

    It looks like a wonderful place! To some extent, I think you appreciate a place more, when you only visit, compared to when you live there, because it’s a change of scene compared to what you are used to and it offers a sense of adventure and opportunities to explore.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 1, 2022 / 7:30 pm

      I agree 100%. If I lived on Cape Cod, for instance, I’d probably become fairly blasé about the things that excite me as a visitor.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Alyson November 2, 2022 / 4:23 am

    Glad your annual pilgrimage is fully back on track after the restrictions of the last two years. Spiritually it seems to be ‘your place’ in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 2, 2022 / 7:07 am

      i think it’s the waters and beaches that get to me more than anything. And I love forest ponds too.


  24. kegarland November 2, 2022 / 8:10 am

    Neil, I’m ecstatic that you and Sandy were able to visit Cape Cod once again! I had no idea this part of the Atlantic Ocean was protected. I wonder why there, but not further south, where I live? The erosion is also interesting. I always say humans seem to carve out places where humans probably shouldn’t be living.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. talebender November 2, 2022 / 9:31 am

    Your post brought back so many memories of beach-walks my wife and I have enjoyed in your country, Canada, Europe, and South Africa. The allure of the sea is mystical and eternal.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. EvelynKrieger November 2, 2022 / 11:49 am

    First introduced to Cape Cod by my college boyfriend. This midwestern girl was hooked. I love Nauset Beach, Truro, dunes, especially in the fall when the crowds are gone.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. selizabryangmailcom November 2, 2022 / 2:07 pm

    Man, I haven’t been to the beach in years now. I really miss it. Your pictures are so alluring, even without the sun shining. If we had a go-to place with lots of memories to parallel yours and Sandy’s, it’d probably be Santa Monica. Lots of magic there, too.

    Liked by 1 person

      • selizabryangmailcom November 2, 2022 / 3:54 pm

        A lot of it is, yes. It’s not rustic like Cape Cod. Tall buildings almost up to the edge where the cliff is across the street. Down from the cliff is the beach. The pier is somewhat famous. Lots of movies shot there. You can see Malibu in the distance.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 2, 2022 / 3:36 pm

      Circa 1850, Henry David Thoreau spent a lot of time on Cape Cod, much of it on the Atlantic Ocean beaches. And he wrote about his experiences in a book titled, needless to say, “Cape Cod”. It’s a delightful book.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. fauquetmichel November 2, 2022 / 5:03 pm

    I understand your happiness brought by this Cape Cod where you both go for 30 years .
    Why not a picture of you both in that very suggestive nature ?
    In friendship

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Dave November 3, 2022 / 8:58 am

    Inspired writing, Neil. I think the most powerful aspect of this post is how your daily agenda on Cape Cod changes almost 100% from the one you choose “back home”. That’s an indication of a special place, and one we all need in our lives for regular mental and physical rehabilitation. Good for you and Sandy, and thanks for sharing your version of nirvana with your readers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 3, 2022 / 11:29 am

      Thanks for the thumbs-up, Dave. Cape Cod has large areas of natural beauty, unlike my home base. So, I try hard to take advantage of that while I’m on the Cape.


  30. Ally Bean November 3, 2022 / 9:05 am

    Beautiful photos. I like the serenity of an empty beach. Some say it’s lonely, but I find it centering. I’m glad you got to visit Cape Cod again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 3, 2022 / 11:31 am

      Morning, Ally. Right, we can really get in tune with Nature, and maybe with ourselves, on empty beaches. They are therapeutic.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Americaoncoffee November 3, 2022 / 9:42 am

    I see variations in foundations, heights and interesting composites. Nature r really speaks profoundly and spiritually in so many artistic and virtuous expressions . Cape Cod. Is a great!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Christie November 3, 2022 / 11:38 am

    A lovely walk! I cannot recall where or when I’ve heard about Cape Cod, but I will certainly add it on my list. I love the endless beaches and the music of the ocean, although I prefer a sunny sky.. it makes the Atlantic so special😊

    Liked by 1 person

  33. sniderjerry November 4, 2022 / 3:18 am

    Hey there Neil, I could hear Roy Rogers and Dale evans singing Happy Trails as you ended your great essay. All the best. Jerry

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 5, 2022 / 3:23 pm

      Hi. My wife and I have returned to reality. That is, our Cape Cod vacation is over. We always have a good time there.


  34. estricsek November 5, 2022 / 10:17 pm

    Hello Neil. As a year-round Cape Codder (a wash ashore though) I thoroughly enjoyed your story. My wife and I have enjoyed walks at exactly the same places you visited. Have you and your wife hiked the trails at Monomoy Nature Preserve in Chatham? Despite a large chunk of it getting washed away in a winter storm 2 years ago, there is still enough remaining to enjoy beaches, marshes and scrubby pines. Great story, thank you for liking mine. Best Wishes, Ernie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 6, 2022 / 6:54 am

      Morning, Ernie. We’ve been to Monomoy Nature, but not in recent years. We should go there again. Have a good day!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Anonymous November 6, 2022 / 2:17 pm

    Have never been to Cape Cod. Heard a lot about it so am pleased to read your post about it.
    I had an adventure too. I visited friends who moved to Denver, CO. I’d never been there before. It is HIGH. It was great! I was spoiled. Stay well, Muriel

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Fictionophile November 6, 2022 / 6:07 pm

    So glad that you and Sandy could enjoy your latest Cape Cod getaway. I look forward to the time when I am well enough to travel again.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. ckennedy November 6, 2022 / 7:32 pm

    Cape Cod sounds wonderful! So glad you had a fantastic time.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. eden baylee November 6, 2022 / 11:47 pm

    Hi Neil, I was in Cape Cod years ago and until your blog, had completely forgotten about it! It was definitely enjoyable and new for me. I was also in Provincetown during that trip, another fun place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger November 7, 2022 / 7:11 am

      Hi. The village part of Provincetown is terrific. Quaint, funky, beautiful. And Provincetown’s giant sand dunes, which are not far from the village, are just plain unbelievable.

      Liked by 1 person

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