No, not the red little riding-hood variety but CAPE COD, Massachusetts. I decided that I needed a quick get-out-of-town adventure and at midnight booked a cottage by the sea (three nights for the price of two) in South Yarmouth for the next day. Just packing, getting in the car and turning on the tunes puts me in a different head space. I left behind the never-disappearing list of things to do and cast off on a road trip and found myself sipping rosé out of a wine glass with a lobster painted on it. Bliss.
The three-hour drive zipped by as I caught up on the latest pop tunes on Sirius XM and enjoyed the freedom of the open road. Pulling into Seaside Cottages, I found that I was upgraded to a nicer room because of a cable of some sort being out, no complaints there! Stashing my stuff in my room I dashed to the beach, tore off my shoes, breathed in deep and walked with my toes in the sand, picking up shells and waving at seagulls.
It was a delightful evening and I could feel the cares dropping away with the sun. The next day opened without a cloud in the sky. I asked a fellow cottager for ideas to spend the day as I had left without a plan and internet did not work at the Seaside. She recommended Provincetown, where there were whales being seen from the beaches. I also had heard about a hike in a swamp (who wouldn’t want to hike in a swamp?!). So off I went driving DOWN the Cape, which I was informed is what the direction is called even though you are driving east and north.
Provincetown was cute but I was in no mood to fight for parking (or pay for parking) or shop for touristy miniature lighthouses, so I drove down the main drag and kept the headlights pointed to the beach.
These beaches, part of the National Seashore, are gorgeous and endless and I was awash in awe. I went to a few and then stayed for a while on Race Beach to watch the whales spouting, but to my dismay they were really only visible by binoculars and I didn’t have any. So I lay down on the sand and baked my sun-deprived body for an hour.
Once on the road again, I stopped at the Visitors Center and heard that there were LOTS of whales being spotted at Head of the Meadows Beach, so off I dashed following the ranger’s directions to catch the whales. I haven’t seen whales since vacationing in Hawaii when my kids were little. They hold such great mystery and magic and I wanted a chance to experience their presence again.
I wasn’t disappointed! There were many spouts and splashes off shore and gulls hovering about, so I knew they were frolicking in the sea and it made me happy.
Next stop was at the Highland Lighthouse. This was the first site of a lighthouse built on Cape Cod in 1797. The original was replaced with a bigger, better version in 1831 and the current one had to be moved back off the edge of the cliff in 1996 because of erosion. It’s a beauty.
I wanted to sing and dance around the light, like they did in one of my favorite Disney movies, Pete’s Dragon (also referenced in Les Girls), but it was closed for the day. Instead I stuck to singing in my best Helen Reddy imitation…
“I’ll be your candle on the water, my love for you will always burn..”
After all this fun I ran out of time for my swamp hike, so headed back to my cottage to clean up for an evening at Gina’s By the Sea.
Gina’s has been in existence since 1938! It is iconic and I had been there once before and looked forward to a return. Small, eclectic, old school, quaint, local, are all words I would use to describe it.
I bellied up to the bar between two gentleman. Dennis, on my left, had been a patron of the restaurant since 1990 and recommended the pasta cannelloni and Paul, on my right was eating spaghetti with sausage. Kat, the bartender was as welcoming as you can get and introduced us all as if we were old friends. I ended up being invited on two dates the following day. Dennis offered to take me to another bar to hear piano music and Paul asked me over for tea to see his 1741 home and meet his cat. Not a bad night!
Day two was stunted by pouring rain, and I’m not talking Seattle drizzle but down-pour and wind that umbrellas are no match for. I hopped out to a cute town, Chatham, and spent time in a sweet bookstore and then went back to the cottage and read books and colored in my adult coloring book.
Today it was still raining as I left and I must say that I was not too sorry to leave my lighthouse infested cottage and find some sunshine. Blue sky peeped through about halfway home and I felt the wisdom of John Muir…“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”