Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cape Cod

Highland Lighthouse, North Truro
Last weekend we had the opportunity to visit Cape Cod with a dear friend and his family, including his youngest brother, future sister-in-law, mother, and grandmother.  We stayed in a lovely cottage near the sea in Dennisport and proceeded to have an amazing time, dare I say "Best Weekend 2013".

Getting to The Cape from New York City without a car is pretty straightforward.  One can either take a train or bus to Providence and then take a bus to Hyannis from there.  We opted to take a bus to Providence, purchasing on Greyhound's website because they had the cheapest fare.  (Side note: apparently, Greyhound is no longer Greyhound because our bus was labelled Peter Pan and, though the driver would mention Bonanza in conjunction with Peter Pan ("thanks for choosing Peter Pan / Bonanza"), we never heard anyone say anything about Greyhound.)

The Port Authority (aka bus station) in New York City is very reminiscent of the bus stations we experienced in Europe (actually, there's a lot about New York that reminds us more of Europe than of the US, but I digress); buzzing with activity as though riding the bus is really a thriving transportation alternative (though most people in the US would not consider it an option at all because, if you're going to use the road, why don't you just drive yourself?).  Though our experience was relatively painless, it could have easily gone the other way.

First of all, the Port Authority does not have a departure board telling you where to go for your bus, nor is the information printed on your ticket and, at 7am on a Saturday morning, all information booths are closed.  Luckily, while retrieving our tickets the day before, we had been told what terminal our bus would be leaving from (though the Peter Pan insignia on our bus made us doubt the information for a bit).  Secondly, apparently bus companies will intentionally and regularly oversell their buses.  If you're one of these sad fools who don't get on the bus you bought a ticket for you may be lucky and another bus will be brought in to accommodate your reservation relatively quickly or, and just as probable, you may have to wait for the next scheduled bus.  Without knowing about this custom of overselling, we barely made it onto our bus.  The poor fools behind us were not as lucky.  Whether another bus came for them or they had to wait until the next bus, a whole 2 hours later, we will never know.

The bus ride was 3 hours and 45 minutes from New York City to Providence and another 2 hours to Hyannis.  Leaving New York at 7am, we were in the welcoming embrace of our friend by 1:30pm Saturday afternoon and enjoying our first Cape Cod feast by 2pm.

lobster roll and chowder
One of the things that made me instantly fall in love with Massachusetts, or maybe just The Cape but, as I've never been to other parts of MA before, I'll assume it's the whole state until otherwise disproved, was that beer is served everywhere.  You're in a family friendly diner?  Want a beer?  Yes, please!  You're at a tent party in a random, isolated area?  Want a beer?  Yes, please!  And, not just any beer.  You get variations of Sam Adams.  Know why?  Because Sam Adams is The Boston Beer Company and (another thing that made me fall in love with Massachusetts) the people here have great pride in all things Massachusetts.  (We saw "Go Bruins!" alternating with the destination on city bus display boards.)

Our time on The Cape was relatively short - we were on our way back to New York City by 4:45pm the next day - but we packed a whole lot of good times and memories into what also felt like an incredibly relaxing weekend. In just over 24 hours, we were able to do all the things one does whilst enjoying The Cape during The Season. We lounged on the beach for hours, we sat drinking mimosas on the back porch for an entire morning, we played a leisurely game of mini-golf, we bought salt water taffy and attended drag karaoke in P-Town, and we went to a benefit concert for the local radio station which included seafood gumbo, amazing zydeco and, of course, Sam Adams beer. Seriously, Best Weekend 2013!

After a lifetime of hearing references to The Cape, my first visit did not disappoint.  This area has been in the common American lexicon since at least the Kennedy administration but it doesn't look like an aged seaside retreat at all.  Instead, it is thriving and modern, achieving the latter without having changed much over the past few decades (at least according to our hosts).  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to visit such a great place with such a good friend and his fun family.  Enjoying The Cape with the added benefit of generational knowledge turned a lovely weekend into a memorable one.

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