That Old Cape Magic
I first visited Cape Cod in August, 2001, for my honeymoon. A month before 9-11. A decade before cell phones. We didn’t even have GPS, just printed out directions from Map Quest that were useless if you took a wrong turn.
Luckily, the trip from Binghamton, NY to Orleans, MA was fairly straight forward, although, clocking in at over seven hours, a bit on the long side for your small-bladdered newlywed. I don’t remember much from the drive, just the fact that there weren’t many rest stops once the Mass Pike ended (and that is still true today). But I do remember that feeling when we crossed the Bourne Bridge, officially leaving the mainland and entering Cape Cod, boats bobbing on the sparkling water of the canal, that I heading somewhere special.
Later, watching the waves crash on Nauset Beach, I said, “We should come back here for our five-year anniversary.”
Of course, five years came and went in a blink. Twenty-two years later, we’ve been back to the Cape countless times. In the years between 2001 and 2010, we lived in a few different cities, and so some vacations were in Ocean City Maryland or Lewes, Delaware, but we did go back to Orleans for our five-year anniversary. In 2010, We even managed to move within a two-hour drive of Orleans, a much more bladder-friendly road trip.
So much of the Cape, and Orleans, has stayed the same. We ate at the some of the same restaurants, went into the same stores. My favorite coffee shop is always a must, right on the bike trail with the best frozen hot chocolates around.
Of course the Cape is not without its problems, and as tourists we mainly see the idyllic side of a place like any other—not perfect. But I will always spend my winters dreaming of the sea and crossing the bridge one more time.
Lucky for me, I will be spending a few days very soon back at Nauset Beach, where I plan to put a dent in my TBR pile when I’m not staring at the ocean. This year, I’ve packed my beach bag with “The Castaways” by Elin Hilderbrand, “Back When We Were Grownups” by Ann Tyler, and “The Daydreams” by Laura Hankin. One of my favorite books set on the Cape is “That Old Cape Magic” by Richard Russo. If you can’t make it to the Cape this year, check it out. And if you have any recommendations of other books set there, please let me know!
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