12 Oct

RV Family Travel Atlas: A Cape Cod Adventure Guide

In this week’s special podcast, we discuss one of our favorite RV destinations–Cape Cod. The episode includes a review of Atlantic Oaks Campground, best picks for amazing lobster rolls, and great family activities.

Homemade donuts, a great state park, and more in Episode 4 of RV Family Travel Atlas, A Cape Cod Adventure Guide!

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17 Jul

Campground Shrimp Boil: An Easy Summer Dinner for a Crowd

While planning our trip to Cape Cod, I was lucky to connect with a dear friend from childhood. When Simone found out where we would be staying in Eastham, she booked a nearby campsite with her family, and they drove out from the Boston area to meet us.

I had invited them over to have dinner at our campsite one night, and I realized I needed to pick a meal that was easy to make so I could spend as much time with Simone and her family as possible. I also needed to pick something that could feed a crowd since I would be cooking for 13 people.

Immediately I knew I would do a Shrimp Boil, my go-to meal for easy entertaining in the summer. I make this dish often at home, and the recipe I used in Cape Cod is by no means original. There are many different versions, but my favorite is this one from the Food Network.

Why does this make a great camping dinner?

  •    Everything is cooked in one pot. (I use my outdoor kitchen stovetop)
  •    The ingredients are simple. (No long list of items that you don’t keep in your RV)
  •    The food is best eaten with one’s hands. (Fewer dishes equals more happy)

What will you need in the kitchen? (For those of us who don’t keep much in our campers)

  • A large stock pot
  • A good knife and cutting board
  • Slotted Spoon and Ladle
  • Colander
  • Large serving platter (if you don’t normally keep one in your RV, one of those large disposable foil trays will do just fine.)

How do you make a Shrimp Boil?

I eyeball everything in this recipe (no measuring) and it always comes out great. I also increase or decrease the amount of shrimp, potatoes, and corn depending on how many are eating.

1. Fill your large stock pot with 4 quarts of water. Cut two lemons in half, squeeze in the juice, then throw the lemons in the water with 1/2 cup of Old Bay, 8 crushed garlic cloves, one quartered red onion, and a bunch of sprigs of thyme. Bring it to a boil and let it cook for 5 minutes.

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2. Throw in a pound of baby potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.

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3. Throw in your corn on the cob, shucked and broken in half, and cook for 5 minutes.

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4. Throw in your pound of shrimp (I also use much more!), and cook for 2 minutes.

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5. Put a few tablespoons of butter in the bottom of your serving dish and place a few ladles of your cooking stock over it. Mix it together so the butter melts.

6. Drain everything from your stock pot in your colander and place the corn, potatoes, and shrimp in your serving dish. Mix with the butter sauce.

7. Dive in!

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I usually serve this meal with grilled clams and watermelon, extra melted butter, hot sauce and slices of lemon.

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If you have some none seafood eaters, you could easily throw a steak or chicken on the grill alongside the clams to make everybody happy.

Let us know if you try it!

Happy camping. Happy Eating.

 

 

15 Jul

Cape Cod Family Trip Planner: Beaches, Biking, Baseball, and More!

Planning a trip to Cape Cod? We spent a magical week there this summer and can’t wait to return. Here is our list of suggestions for where to stay, what to eat, and how to have tons of family fun.

Where to Stay

 

Atlantic Oaks RV Park

A great campground at a great price with super-clean facilities. Direct access to the Cape Cod Bike Trail.

Where to Eat and Drink

 

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Get in line early for Cape Cod’s best breakfast splurge. The Glazed Old Fashioned? Yum.

Beanstock Roastery

Buy enough for your whole trip. Then buy some more to bring home. We love the Wellfleet Blend and the Bali Blue Moon Organic.

Arnold's Lobster and Clam Bar

Try the hot lobster roll. Please. Bring extra cash for ice cream after lunch.

Friendly Fisherman

Let the kids romp on the playground while you enjoy lobster rolls and crab cakes. BYOB.

MoJo'sP-TownSeafood Shack

The town librarian told us this was the quintessential Provincetown lunch. We couldn’t agree more.

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Perfect for lunch after hiking at the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. Ask for Janine for your waitress. She’ll recommend the Cape Cod Reuben. Order it.

 

Family Fun

First Encounter Beach

This bay beach is perfect for low-tide exploration. Bring the kites and kayaks for a perfect day on the Cape.

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The five dollar entry fee is the best bargain on Cape Cod. Hike around one of the kettle ponds or just settle in at Flax Pond for a family swim.

Cape Cod National Seashore

The visitor centers alone are full of fun activities and educational resources. Our favorite feature was the Nauset in Eastham Bike Trail that brought you within steps of the beach.

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Our boys are still learning to ride bikes and this was a wonderful way for us to embrace this fun family activity. We can’t wait to return without the training wheels.

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife sanctuary

The landscape and trails here are stunningly beautiful. The nature center and educational activities are an added bonus. Make sure you go during low tide so you can enjoy the Boardwalk Trail.

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Who doesn’t love a lighthouse? This one is conveniently located in the National Seashore just north of the popular Coast Guard beach.

Provincetown Public Library

We had to drag our boys out of this library because it was long past lunchtime. It is just simply a beautiful and fun place to spend a few hours.

Baseball League

Nothing beats the crack of a wooden bat. We recommend that you skip the hotdog and buy a cup of clam chowder. Admission is free, but a donation is recommended.

As always, we love to hear from our readers. If you go to Cape Cod, please let us know any other places that you recommend. We can’t wait to add to this list when we return next June!

 

 

13 Jul

Coffee from the Magic List: Beanstock Roasters, Eastham, Cape Cod

Two years ago I found myself back in contact with my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Joe, whom I hadn’t spoken to in 22 years.  When Nancy found out that we travelled to New England every summer she insisted that we would LOVE Cape Cod, where she and Joe had retired, and she encouraged us to visit.  Stephanie had always wanted to travel there anyway, so I knew it was just a matter of time.

Now fast forward two years…

We finally reconnected with Nancy and Joe, and another aunt, and two cousins!  It really was quite lovely.  It turns out that Nancy and Joe only live a mile from Atlantic Oaks Campground, where we stayed.  But my family history is not the point of this post.  So why do I bring up Aunt Nancy here?  Because she became our aider, abettor, and accomplice for all things Cape Cod.  And everyone needs a family travel insider on a destination as crowded and complicated as the Cape, don’t they?

She wrote up a magical list of places for us to visit that was perfect for our family.  We didn’t make it to half of them, but you better believe that we did made it to Beanstock Coffee’s roasting facility, which happens to be tucked away on a quiet, and mildly industrial street, less than a mile away from our campground.

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Better yet, it was easily reachable via the Cape Cod Bike Trail, which is directly connected to Atlantic Oaks.  When I asked Nancy if there was good coffee on the Cape she told me that Beanstock was “within sniffing distance” of our campground, and she was right.

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The first thing that you need to know about Beanstock’s facility in Eastham is that it is decidedly not a coffee shop.  It is a small warehouse on a dead end street with zero foot traffic.  They roast their coffee there and ship it all over New England.  But they also sell it by the bag, have a full range of coffees, and are sooooo well stocked.  You should also know that you can’t actually buy a cup of coffee there.  But you can pour yourself a free one at a charming little station next to a shelf full of coffee related gifts.

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During our week on Cape Cod we stopped by several times and sampled a wide variety of Beanstock’s delightful coffees.  Stephanie loved the Bali Blue Moon Organic, and I loved the Wellfleet Blend and their Organic Guatemalan.  Though my uncle is devoted to the Black Fish Creek Blend, I found it too dark and robust for my taste.

Free coffee by the cup? Fresh roasted beans from the world over?  Creative blends named after Cape Cod locales? No one there but me and the roasters?  And a short bike ride back to the campground to share the booty?  What a perfect way to start a summer day on Cape Cod.  But we learned quickly that there are many perfect summer days on Cape Cod, and many ways to start them.  You just need to find yourself an aunty to make you a magic list.

Onward.

09 Jul

Well Done, Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, Cape Cod

One of the wonderful surprises that Cape Cod offered us on our first visit was the great diversity of landscape. I think we expected to see beautiful beaches and dunes and not much else. However the kettle ponds, bay inlets, marshes, and wild National Seashore genuinely caught us off guard…and captured our hearts.

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So after you have had a few days at the beach, on the kayak, and in the sun, it is rather easy to find another outdoor diversion on Cape Cod. That is truly a remarkable thing to say about a beach vacation.

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, run by Mass Audubon, is the perfect place to visit if you need to stretch your legs after logging in some serious beach time. I would recommend visiting in the morning or late afternoon since many of the high-interest trails are not shaded. It is also best to go at low tide, when you can walk the Boardwalk over the salt marshes to the beach.

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The Nature Center has puzzles, books, and lots of tanks full of fish, turtles, and rare blue lobsters. The boys could have spent much more time inside, but we wanted to explore the Boardwalk before high tide rolled in.

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Our readers know I love a good scavenger hunt, and the Wellfleet Sanctuary came through with one that kept Max and Theo interested from the beginning to end of our visit. It was great for readers and non-readers alike, offering pictures for the boys to circle as the frogs, flowers, and crabs were spotted.

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There are many different options for walks both long and short. We, of course, wanted to go into the salt marshes where the boys could poke around for critters and pretend that the mud was quicksand sucking them into the bay.

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The best part about the walk we took was the variety of landscape. We started off in a garden of grasses, shrubs, and trees, then meandered down to a pond full of frogs and lily pads.

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Next the path led through a wooded area that opened up every once in a while for some great views of the salt marsh.

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Eventually we were on the boardwalk headed toward the bay where we watched fiddler crabs scurry away into their holes and sand crabs float in on the tide.

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The Wellfleet Sanctuary is a place that you could return to again and again with your children (or without!). If I lived in the area, I could easily see us visiting once a week. There are so many different high-interest areas to explore and paths to walk, we left feeling like we had only scratched the surface.

 

Next time we visit, I will look at the activity schedule ahead of time so we can hopefully take advantage of the many kid-friendly programs.

 

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And don’t forget to visit the Marconi Beach Restaurant just up the road for some hearty chow after your visit. If you are bringing along unruly kids make sure to ask for Janine. She’ll take care of you…unless we sent her into early retirement.

06 Jul

Four Hours in Provincetown, Cape Cod: The Walk, Play, Eat Tour

If you have been a reader of this blog for some time then you know downtowns are a bit tricky for us. We love local culture and enjoy exploring the bookstores, galleries, coffee shops, and restaurants of an area. However, our boys have never been stroller junkies and with three kids five and under, we try to avoid adding more stress to our lives. In other words, our visits to civilized areas with stores and restaurants usually revolve around the following principle: in and out and nobody gets hurt.

Our first morning in Cape Cod was overcast and drizzly, though, and following the recommendations of some locals (Jeremy’s aunt and uncle retired to Eastham over a decade ago), we decided that Provincetown was the perfect place to spend a day when rain was threatening.

If shopping is your thing, you need no further direction from us. Head into town and park in the municipal parking lot down by the docks. You will be smack dab in the middle of things and the rates are reasonable.

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We like to bless the local businesses by avoiding bringing the boys into shops, so after parking we took a beautiful walk out the pier to see the local fishing boats.

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Then we ambled up the street to find the library–a must see according to our local intel. We spent over an hour and a half in the library and basically had to drag Max and Theo out when it was well past lunchtime. The Provincetown Library is one of those places you dream about having in your hometown.

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Dress up clothes, puppets, tumbling mats, and puzzles ensure total library envy. The half-scale model of an actual schooner is just the icing on the cake.

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The boys kept stalling once I told them it was time to leave, asking for another book and asking me with sad-sack eyes why they couldn’t borrow books from this library.

After we pulled them away from library nirvana, we enjoyed a delicious seafood shack lunch at Mojo’s looking out onto the water.

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The view was far too enticing for the boys, and we ended up  spending some time on the beach directly across the street from Mojo’s so the boys could do a little splashing and playing.

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After our jaunt in P-town, we headed over to the Visitor Center at the Cape Cod National Seashore, where the views were inspiring even on a chilly, cloudy day.

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Driving out of the National Seashore, I spotted a red fox running across the dunes. I couldn’t help but think that this was my perfect kind of downtown experience: lots of walking and playing, good eating, beautiful views and some glimpses of wildlife.

Provincetown is a great example of why we ended up loving Cape Cod so much. Everything there, from the beaches to the restaurants to the National Seashore is beautiful, fun and cultured. The perfect combination for the Lively Little Campers. P-town…see you soon.

 

05 Jul

My Kayak Thwack: Atlantic Oaks R.V. Park, Eastham, Cape Cod

It was our fourth glittering summer morning on Cape Cod and I was brewing up a pot of coffee from Beanstock Roasters, whose headquarters was located about a mile up the bike path from our campground.  We were almost out of beans and I was considering pedaling over to the roastery to reload.  Then I heard a loud THWACKING noise coming from the rear of our camper.  Max and Theo were already up so I quickly filled a mug and headed outside to see what kind of trouble they were up to.

They were playing nicely with their action figures on the picnic table.  Then I saw them.  A rowdy group of 9 or 10 year old boys, all decked out in Red Sox t-shirts, playing kickball in the road on Beach Street.  They were using my bright yellow kayak as third base.  Thus the THWACKING noise.  As they ran past my trusty skiff they were giving it a good belly slap so that everyone knew they had touched base before heading home.  There was a small part of me that wanted to yell at them and their parents.  But there was a larger part of me that just didn’t give a flying hoot. I was in my blissed-out, Zen-like, road-trip induced, camphappy place.

My RV was parked at a near-perfect little gem of a campground, and my family was enjoying perfect summer weather on Cape Cod.  Our new favorite place.  My heart was filled with good will towards these young denizens of Red Sox Nation.  After alI, I was on their home turf.  Eating their chowder, kayaking in their bay, riding on their bike paths.  I considered lending them my new camp chair for second base, but instead took a sip of my dark roast and watched the next inning of their game.

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We ended up adoring Atlantic Oaks R.V. Park for several key reasons:

1. The management and crew were delightful.  While we were setting up a crew member named Dick, from Idaho, pulled up to our site and told us to ask if we needed anything. That warm and welcoming tone continued throughout our week at Atlantic Oaks.

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2.  The office, lounge, and game-room were comfortable and meticulously clean.  I spent a productive evening writing in the lounge while a father and son played checkers nearby.  It was a perfect space to get some work done or spend quality time with the kids on a rainy evening.  More campgrounds need lounges just like this one.

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3.  The price was excellent.  Under fifty bucks a night for a full-hook up site?  In one of the sweetest towns on Cape Cod?  Sign me up for next summer, and the summer after that, and the summer after that. Seriously.

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3. The location of this campground was just off-the-hook awesome.  It was close to the National Seashore, the Cape Cod Bay, great seafood restaurants, a drive-thru theatre, a world class coffee roaster, and several of the Cape Cod Baseball League teams.

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4. But Atlantic’s Oaks best feature is its direct entrance onto the Cape Cod Bike Trail–which is the second loveliest bike trail that I have ever traveled on. It glides through tunnels and over bridges, past quiet ponds, noisy miniature golf courses and sinfully delicious seafood shacks.

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It also connects, almost directly, to the National Seashore Bike Trail. Which is the loveliest bike trail I have ever traveled on.  It curves up and down for a fast ride through a magical little forest filled with birds and rabbits and even the occasional red fox. And once you cruise past a stunning view of Nauset Bay and Nauset Marsh the trail deposits you almost directly onto Coast Guard Beach in the legendary Cape Cod National Seashore.  These beaches are as beautiful and romantic as you have imagined them to be.  Maybe more so.

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We left Cape Cod feeling like we had barely scratched the surface of its beauty.  But we left knowing we would return, and return to Atlantic Oaks.  It made the perfect base camp for our Cape adventure.  When we get back home from this long New England road trip I am going to check my calendar for next year and book our site.  But next year I’ll provide all of the bases.  And ask if my sons and I can play.  In the meantime, I’ll practice my kayak THWACK.

Onward.

03 Jul

A Tale of Three Lobster Rolls in Three Towns: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Every summer when we head into New England, we systematically work our way through the local seafood shacks. This tradition started four summers ago in Maine, where we happened to eat the best lobster roll of our lives at Marriner’s Restaurant in Camden.

Then the quest began. We couldn’t help ourselves. Every lobster roll thereafter has been compared to that exemplar. Many have been delicious, but none have measured up to the memory. At this point we don’t even know if we are being fair. Perhaps our nostalgia has gotten the best of us. Nevertheless, there are worse things than feeling compelled to sample lots of lobster rolls in New England, so I have a feeling the search will continue.

We tried the lobster rolls at three different seafood shacks in Cape Cod last week and all three were delicious. You can’t go wrong at any of these road food joints, but your own favorite will probably depend on personal preference in the age-old ‘perfect lobster roll debate’.

Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar, Eastham

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This is the place that comes up again and again when you ask people for recommendations or read about this particular area of Cape Cod. It has a reputation for being the ‘go-to’ place for seafood and for good reason. You can get all of your staples here–clams, scallops, oysters, and lobster. You can also get the standard burger and fries fare for those in your party not keen on the bounty of the sea.

We ordered the hot lobster roll here and it was ridiculously good. There was so much lobster on the bun that I actually questioned (only for a moment) if I would be able to finish it. I liked the mix of claw and body meat, which gave it perfect texture for my taste. Overall, it was a rich and satisfying lobster roll.

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There is an attached ice cream parlor and miniature golf course which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective. All food and activities are cash only. Oh, and it was a convenient 500 feet or so from where we were staying at the Atlantic Oaks campground.

The Friendly Fisherman, North Eastham

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While the tourists flock to Arnold’s, it seems that the locals head to The Friendly Fisherman. This seafood shack was recommended to us by local relatives, and then we met a few year-round residents of the Cape while we were eating there. The lobster roll here is overflowing with claw meat and done in the traditional northern New England style, with mayo but none of the other add-ons (celery, etc.). It was another delicious experience that left us simultaneously stuffed…yet considering ordering more.

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The restaurant is BYOB, and there is a liquor shop right next door. We loved the outdoor picnic tables, and the staff was very friendly. The best part? If you have children, you will love the small playground right next to the eating area. Let them play while you finally give in and decide to try the stuffed quahogs with that beer.

Mojo’s, Provincetown

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While we were hanging out in the Provincetown library, a kindly librarian told us where she would eat lunch in town. This happened to be Mojo’s, a seafood shack with picnic tables and seats that look straight out on a beach where it seems a lot of kite flying takes place. Here you will also find a wonderfully surly and simultaneously chatty couple swinging barbs behind the counter for added entertainment.

The lobster roll was excellent, but definitely had less meat on it than the other two we sampled. In all fairness, though, it was notably cheaper. The fish and chips and the fish sandwich were absolutely the scene stealers for all of the boys here, and Max and Theo shared with their father remarkably well.

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I’m going to be honest and admit my favorite item on the menu. The homemade onion chips were perfect and abundant…I was able to pack up leftovers and heat them up later over the campfire. Yum. Yum. Yum.

We know we will be returning to Cape Cod soon, so tell us if there are any other lobster rolls we absolutely must sample. We are always up for a challenge!

Happy eating…

01 Jul

Dip Your Camping Cup into a Kettle Pond: Nickerson State Park, Cape Cod

It would be easy to spend a week on Cape Cod, as we have done, and miss Nickerson State Park entirely.  Why not just return to the golden beaches of the National Seashore, or spend another warm afternoon exploring the kid-friendly tide pools of Cape Cod Bay? Because then you wouldn’t get to take a deeply relaxing swim in one of Nickerson’s eight crystal clear, Zen-like Kettle Ponds.

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Where the ocean and the bay beaches of Cape Cod are constantly in a state of dramatic transition, the Kettle Ponds are soothing and still.  They are perfect for a long swim, or a paddle with the kids on board.

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The sand beach is small, but so were the crowds at Flax Pond on the perfect summer day when we visited.  Stephanie and I will always love the beach best, but it is so nice to let the kids play near the water without having to worry about waves, or currents, or tides.

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The entrance fee at Nickerson State Park was only five dollars for our entire family.  It was the best five dollars I spent on the Cape. Period. Three ice creams at the camp store cost more than admission to this little slice of paradise.

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We only had a small taste of what Nickerson offers.  We had time to visit one pond and the super sweet playground.  But we did take a drive around to check out some of the more than 400 campsites–many of which boasted water views.  We both agreed that we would love to camp here one day.  And we have already started plotting for our early retirement on the Cape.  We figure we are just a few years away from that dream, right?  Wrong.

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So what is a Kettle Pond anyway? They are ponds “formed as glaciers retreated from the Cape over 10,000 years ago.” A Kettle Pond is also a place where a family can go to splash and swim, and refresh their collective soul. The water is that clean. That clear. That pure.

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Onward.

 

 

01 Jul

Dear Janine (Lovely, Long-Suffering Waitress at Marconi Beach Restaurant)

Dear Janine,

You probably don’t remember us.

The minute we pulled out of your restaurant, when calm and quiet was once again restored to the Marconi Beach Restaurant in particular and the entire Wellfleet area in general, I’m guessing you willed yourself to forget that staggeringly awful 45 minutes of your life that you simply would never get back at any price. I bet you looked at the long shift ahead and thought, let me just block that particular family out of my mind so I don’t wind up rocking back and forth in the corner of the kitchen muttering strange things about coleslaw.

But just in case you didn’t successfully erase our family dining event from the annals of your waitressing career, I wanted to write you a letter of thanks. I initially thought about writing a note of apology, but then I realized that might focus too much on our atrocious behavior and not enough on your angelic posture and dignity in the face of utter absurdity and chaos.

So Janine, thank you.

Thank you for welcoming our circus into your establishment with a warm smile and kind tone, assuring us that you had the perfect table for our family. Thank you for knowing that the perfect table was next to the kitchen where the clanging and banging of pots and pans might do us the favor of blocking out the intermittent screeching noises that Wes was experimenting with at that moment.

Thank you for bringing Wes an extra box of crayons even though he is clearly far too young to color. You knew they might save all of us from just a few of those screeching sounds. Thank you for not looking at the ground pointedly and with judgmental eyes when he proceeded to hurl those extra crayons on the floor and scream for more. Oh, and thank you for politely looking the other way while my 5 year olds were fighting over a blue crayon…even though there were two in plain sight.

Thank you for offering me–and no one else at the table– a beer, and silently letting me know that you understood how a cool, refreshing sip of heaven would transport me, if only for a second, to a restorative place far, far away from the loud, messy mob at my table.

You see, we don’t usually get ourselves into these predicaments. We take our children out to eat, but only when they are well-rested and have some fighting chance at decent behavior. Yesterday we ran our kids ragged biking and hiking and, oops, it was almost 2 o’clock and no one had eaten or napped. There was your BBQ smoker outside, and the restaurant smelled good and looked cozy. We couldn’t resist.

But I digress.

Thank you for barely blinking when you walked up to the table and found me nursing Wes in the hopes of stopping all of that awful screeching. You didn’t miss a beat when you asked me if I wanted some milk for him, despite the uncomfortable irony.

Thank you for cleaning up the entire cup of milk that one of my older children spilled. Of course, it was bound to happen and you just swooped in with rags and towels and told us it wasn’t your rug and you didn’t care. There was no sighing, no huffing and puffing, not even a sideways eye roll.

Thank you also for recommending the best ever comfort food for our particular situation. You let us know that the Cape Cod Reuben was indeed messy, but completely worth it. Seriously, you recommended the most messy item on the menu to the most messy table in the restaurant. And the sandwich was amazing.

Thank you for being in cahoots with me on getting broccoli onto my children’s plates despite the inconvenience of substitutions and additions. Everything was no big deal to you and you even whispered to me conspiratorially which made me feel really, really normal even under the circumstances.

Thank you for not looking at my husband oddly as he ate his sandwich while fiercely bouncing a baby over the half wall behind our table. We took up far too much space and air and yet you just kept bringing napkins and extra silverware to replace whatever was hurled onto the floor.

When I thanked you at the end of the meal, you told me it was no big deal because you are a mom. Well, Janine, there are plenty of moms out there who would not have the same grace and dignity in the face of our obnoxious lunchtime assault.

The restaurant was cozy and adorable. The food was delicious. But you, Janine, were divine. SImply the best family waitress out there. You made me really happy in spite of my children’s ridiculous antics.

I wish I would say we would be back. Unfortunately I think the only way we can truly repay you is to never return.

We shall see. I think the Cape Cod Reuben will draw us in again. And then you can kindly and graciously find us the perfect table. In someone else’s section.

With Gratitude,

The “Lively” Little Campers

27 Jun

A Perfect Day on Cape Cod Bay (First Encounter Beach, Eastham)

Cape Cod, where have you been all of our lives?  It’s hard to believe that we have never had the pleasure of walking your windswept beaches, bicycling along your wooded paths, and swimming in your sparkling bay.  But it’s our fault Cape Cod.  The Siren Song of the South has called us away for too many summers.  So it’s time to make up for lost time.  The Lively Little Campers apologize for neglecting you for so long.  Will you still welcome us into your sunburnt arms?

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Today we headed over to First Encounter Beach in Eastham–and it was near heaven.  This historic beach is called First Encounter because its sandy shore was where the Pilgrims first set eyes on Native Americans.  We arrived near high tide and set up a slightly less historical camp in the sand.

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And we played for a while as we like to do.  After lunch the sun warmed up and the wind died down.  So we headed into Cape Cod Bay for a surprisingly comfortable swim.

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As the tide dropped and the sea grass emerged from underwater the bay began to show off its most brilliant summer colors.  Cape Cod, I almost felt as if you were showing off just for us! Welcoming us into your waters as if we were long lost friends.

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Cape Cod, once you made us feel so warm and welcome we decided to tear down fort kayak and go for a paddle, or two, or three.  Everyone but Wes had a chance to man or woman the oars.

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The bay sounded like it was singing all day long.  And it felt so good to be skimming across your water and kicking up your sand. It was not just another day at the beach.  At dead low tide we put the kayak aside and soaked up all of your salty beauty.

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So thank you First Encounter Beach.  Thank you Cape Cod Bay.  Thank you family.  Life can occasionally delight us with perfect days. Today was one of them.

Onward.

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