We made it to the USCG Air Station in Buzzard’s Bay, MA ready to do some aggressive sightseeing and soon learned that it’s not easy to be aggressive in Cape Cod on Labor Day weekend.
We drove up from our previous stop at the New London Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT, and spent some time in Mystic Seaport, CT (too beautiful to describe), and in Newport RI for lunch and some browsing. Posts about both of those stops will have to wait until we return home, with some great pictures that really are too good to sit on since the weather was an absolute “10”, but no time now, so stay tuned.
After our drive we decided to do take-out for dinner and catch our beloved Tennessee Volunteers playing football via WatchESPN on the Macbook. Both the dinner and the football game turned out just as we had hoped. (Vols win 59 – 30).
Helen had scoured Trip Advisor for some food choices, but the choices were limited in Bourne, and Buzzard’s Bay. We went to Eastwind Seafood, a very small restaurant with a take out counter above a large holding tank for live lobsters…we had arrived! The lobsters were placed in four tanks according to size from about a pound to huge…maybe five pounds or more!
We really weren’t that hungry after lunch in Newport, so we went in for soup and salad–lobster of course. Helen ordered lobster bisque and a lobster salad for us to split. The bisque was very creamy and was loaded with lobster claw meat. Exquisite is how I would describe it. The salad had more lobster than we could eat. It also was claw meat and tasted fresh, definitely not frozen. We put away over half of it in our refrigerator.
I ordered a bowl of the seafood stew. OMG! This delicious concoction consisted of a wide variety of seafood–lobster, scallops, clams, oysters and fish, as well as small potatoes, in a tasty tomato based stew that was the most flavorful dish I have had in a long, long time. I hit the bottom of that bowl all too quickly. To say it was awesome is a vast understatement.
The next day we set out for the Cape Cod National Seashore. In order to see as much of the Massachusetts coastline as possible we took a route that brought us to the town of Sandwich. We were just passing through, but I wanted to stop and take pictures of of some very beautiful old churches and a windmill. We happened to stop next to a small public water fountain where an elderly couple were filling water jugs and loading them in their car. We were told that the water was from a well deep below the ground and we quickly filled our travel mugs and drove on. Aquafina never tasted this good.
Our two lane highway (6A) led us through the towns of Hyannis, Yarmouth, Dennis, and Brewster. We came upon an art and craft fair in a well manicured park in Brewster and Helen had to stop. There were approximately 50 artists displaying their wares under 10 x 10 white canopies. The crowd was impressive, and we were there in mid morning on a sunny day. Some of the items were tempting, including an offering of some delicious virgin olive oils, but we held out and continued on our way.
When we got to Eastham we ran into terminal gridlock. Ahead of us was bumper to bumper traffic en route to Provincetown and the National Seashore. After a picnic lunch at the Seashore visitor center, we admitted that further travel north was hopeless and turned around.
We went back to Hyannis and checked on ferry boat transportation to Nantucket Island for the next morning – Labor Day. The attractive young lady at the ticket booth looked at us and said “Well, we can get you over there, but we have no way to get you back. The return ferries are full”. Another lesson about Labor Day on the Cape is that the summer residents on Nantucket leave on Labor Day. She also told us that we would have no problem getting back and forth on Tuesday, so we made a reservation for the 8:15 ferry, and drove back to Buzzard’s Bay.
That evening we wanted to try a restaurant called the Lobster Trap, but couldn’t get in there either…two hour wait. This disappointment called for a return trip to Eastwind Seafood where I ordered two bowls of Seafood stew and a Lobster roll for Helen. Great ending to an otherwise frustrating day.
Determined not to be denied a beach day, we rose early on Labor Day morning and lit out again for the National Seashore. Our hope was that most of the traffic would be coming from the opposite direction. We were rewarded for our persistence.
The first stop was Marconi Beach, named for the man who sent the first transatlantic wireless telegram from a cliff high above this beach in 1903. We stood on the spot where the transmission occurred while looking at the Atlantic Ocean below the cliff. Breathtaking is the only description I could think of.
Helen and I took the steps down to the beach where there were a few people enjoying the day, but it was by no means crowded. In fact, after walking a few hundred yards up the beach, there was no one there but Helen, me, a couple of curious seagulls, and a few large seals who would pop their heads above the surf on occasion. Solitude reigned! (Photo at top of post)
Accustomed to looking for seashells when beaching it, we soon realized that it was futile. There weren’t any, only small stones, deposited thousands of years ago by the forward march of the glaciers during the ice age. The rocks were pretty, smooth, and found in a variety of colors. Someone had placed a group of larger stones in a circle and stacked a few of them to make a nice greeting to newcomers who arrived at the bottom of the steps. It was a fun thing to see.
Reluctantly, we left Marconi Beach and drove on toward Provincetown at the tip of the Cape. Traffic was medium to heavy, but moving, and we arrived there with no delays. Stopping first in the town of North Truro to take pictures of Provincetown and the Bay, we were taken in by the beauty of the boats and the water.
Provincetown is a lively place with architecture typical of that found throughout the Cape, and VERY narrow streets. On Labor Day, the town was still quite crowded and we found that navigating our way along the streets we shared with the many pedestrians to be quite a challenge. I wanted to run into a few of the tempting shops to look for souvenirs, but there was no parking available anywhere so we had to improvise. I hopped out and left Helen to Ease Along in the car while I shopped. With the traffic and the crowd being what it was (slow and heavy), I had time to buy a few things and still catch up with her just a few blocks away.
Provincetown was fun, but we still had a lot to do, so we continued our journey back down the coast to Head of the Meadow Beach just a few miles away to eat our picnic lunch and grab some more beach time in the afternoon sun.
Head of the Meadow Beach is so named because of the large salt meadow that lies just over the dunes guarding the beach. The salt meadow is about 100 yards wide and extends north to cover many acres with short trees, shrubs, and a very tall grass with tall stalks topped with a purple plume. Very striking in its beauty.
We changed into swimsuits in the bathhouse, grabbed our beach chairs and took off for the beach. The beach was plenty crowded. Being the last day of the season, the lifeguards were hustling about removing signs and placing barricades needed for the winter. I saw a few of them trade hugs and handshakes as they were about to part ways for another season. I spoke with one young lifeguard who told me she had been working at Head of the Meadow for eight years (since she turned 17) and was now headed back to her “real job” as a teacher in Springfield, MA.
The water was on the cool side, but still felt pretty good on a hot day. There were some tidal pools around, but still no shells. We gathered rocks instead, and watched the surf roll in.
Back at our chairs, we chatted with a very friendly couple from New Haven, CT who had rented a beach home in nearby North Truro for a week. An hour or so later, about the time the lifeguards loaded the last lifeguard stand onto a truck, we realized that it was time to work our way back to Buzzard’s Bay, hopeful again for good luck with the traffic. We got it, but we sure hated to leave…this was one great beach day!
One more thing about this day…we went back to the Lobster Trap and were seated after a half hour wait. A good time and great meal was had and a food review to be posted later on Easin’ Along.
One other thing…please see the picture gallery following this post for more pictures of Cape Cod and the National Seashore.