In August of 1985 my family would pack up our luxury Chrysler Fifth Avenue for one last summer vacation to Cape Cod . We always left Friday in the afternoon and would settle in for the eight hour trek from our house in Upstate New York and head to the sandy dunes of New Seabury in Cape Cod. The ride itself always felt like a four day journey when I was younger but as I got older it just felt like pure torture. My parents had decided that this would be our last family outing to the cape as it was apparent that my sister and I were indeed getting older. I was only ten at the time but my sister was now fifteen and losing interest in the whole family vacation thing. I didn’t really understand what it meant that we wouldn’t be going to the cape anymore but as I got older I knew it meant that I was growing up. I remember when I was younger being in the car and always asking the frequent question to my parents of are we there yet when in fact we hadn’t even been on the New York State thruway for more then hour. I’m sure my father loved hearing that every hour. After seven and a half long hours the Bourne Bridge would be in view and that meant we were finally about to cross the bridge into Cape Cod. The anticipation of arriving would always begin to settle into my car cramped body. We would drive down Route 28 & Route 6 and I would see nothing but large dark pine trees on both sides of the road that hid the coastal life of the cape on the other side. My parents would instantly pop in “Puttin on the Ritz” by Taco into the tape deck. For some odd really disturbing reason this was our Cape Cod anthem song and embarrassed as I am to admit it now we all sang the words to it as my dad found his way through the dark swirling roads that lead us to New Seabury. Now the New Seabury of today is a lot different then the one I remember back then. There were no multimillion dollar homes, there was no golf course the only thing there was that of tiny Cape Cod cottages that were placed sporadically throughout the area and each cottage provided that classic look of grey wooden shingles that showed their stress from the wind and salty mist air that were compliments of being to close to the ocean.
The roads were mostly covered with little white sand shells and pine cones from the large trees that surrounded the cottages. The pine scent filled the hot summer air with an aroma that only costal living could create. Our cottage was located on top of the road and my dad would just park the fifth avenue right on the half sand-half grass lawn. The cottage was the same every year. Inside it offered us a small kitchen area, a pull out couch that my parents would sleep on, a couple of chairs, one bedroom with two single beds where my sister and I slept and one bathroom. It had what you needed but our plan was to never be in the cottage except to sleep. There was no television something that would be almost impossible not to have in this day of age but back then it was about one thing, being a family. In the back of the cottage was a fielded area of sweeping sea grass that exposed a narrow trail that lead you right down to the beach and ocean. The minute you stepped out of the car the ocean air filled your soul and you knew at that moment Cape Cod was a special place.
Cape Cod in August is known for its high temperatures and high humidity and when the two combine with that of the salty ocean air everything just sticks to your skin. So I would start my mornings by throwing on my swim trunks immediately and gathering all my toys that I considered beach worthy for the day. The sandy path in back of the cottage would already be gaining heat from the morning sun and as the day wore on the sand became an inferno and my walk would quickly become a fast dash in seeking relief for my feet. My parents, sister and I would place our beach chairs and towels on the sand and claim our spot for the day and take notice of what the Atlantic Ocean was doing in front of us. My day at the beach would consist of two things; burying all my toys in the sand and then walking down to the ocean to let the rip tides take me in then drag me back out. Years earlier when I was only five years old I still didn’t know how swim so my dad would carry me into the deep depth of the ocean. One time my father was holding me and suddenly he began bouncing around on one leg and was trying to grab his foot with his free arm while holding me in the other. Till this day that story makes me laugh because his bouncing around was due to the honor of a crab that latched onto his big toe with one of its claws. My sister and I would sometimes walk down the beach to this little ice cream shop that was on this pier and buy some popsicles. Then on the way back we would pick up sea shells we found and throw them into a pail to wash later and take them home for souvenirs. But my favorite place in New Seabury was that of the Popponesset Marketplace. I would go with my dad because they always had all sorts of shops that you could walk around to and one year my father bought me two kites. One was called a box kite for obvious reasons it was shaped like a box and the other was a Garfield kite. I’m pretty sure the box kite was more for him then me but none the less I was excited to fly them both on the beach. When the day was over we would head back to the cottage and shower the sand off us that always found its way in mysterious places and get ready to go out to eat. I loved going out to eat because we would always get dressed up. My favorite place we always went to was The Flying Bridge Restaurant located in Falmouth . The restaurant is smack dab in the Falmouth Harbor and overlooked the marina offering me the view of watching boats sputter by while I eat. I never eat seafood when I was younger probably due to the fact that everything looked like it was still alive and just crawled up onto your plate from the depths of the ocean. My mother on the other hand didn’t mind at all and was anything but eager to order her lobster with a smile on her face. My mother was never one to bring attention to herself but she never blinked twice about wearing the traditional red and white lobster bid. She wore it with great pride. I would sit there and just stare at the beady eyes of that lobster and wonder what it was thinking and how my mom could possibly eat him or her. Thank god I got over the whole seafood thing because there is nothing better then eating a good lobster in the cape. We would finish the night off with a relaxing walk on the boardwalk that ran the length of the marina. We would enjoy looking at all the fishing boats and luxury boats that were nestled into their docking slips for the night and before I knew it we were back at the cottage getting ready for bed and I was already eagerly awaiting for tomorrow.
As always vacations never seem to last and as soon as you leave you feel like you need another vacation. We would leave Cape Cod one last time as a family with our summer tans, our summer memories and our long ride home. Through it all the one thing I never forgot was what the cape offered me as a kid and what it now offers me as an adult. Sure, when you’re a kid you take everything for granted but as you grow up you realize what it really meant and you cherish it. I was fortunate enough to build new memories with my wife. Before my wife and I got married I took her to Cape Cod because she had never been there. I was so excited to show her everything the cape offered me when I was younger and was so happy that she fell in love with the island instantly. I proposed to her in Chatham at a beautiful place called the Cranberry Inn located right off Main Street . The room was set up with champagne and roses and she said no! I’m only kidding she said yes and a year later we got married at the beautiful Wequassett Inn Resort also in Chatham overlooking Pleasant Bay and the Atlantic Ocean . For the old memories I have and the new memories that I will create this is why I love Cape Cod .