the Cape Cod

Sunday, August 10, 2003 – Before leaving Boston this morning Mom and Dad took a walk through the Boston Commons and Public Garden area. On our way out of town I convinced them to stop at the little pub on the north side of the Boston Public Garden that was the inspiration and exterior for the hit TV series Cheers I was able to take a few photos there before we drove south out of the city and on to our next destination. After about an hour we found ourselves just outside of the town of Plymouth, MA at the “Plimouth Plantation” [sic]. This plantation contains a town representative of Plymouth in 1626 complete with characters that lived there and know nothing of events past 1626. It was very interesting for me to be able to apply the knowledge gained in my American History courses through the years and have intelligent discussions with them regarding New Amsterdam/New Holland and other events of the era to test their knowledge. The plantation also contains a sample Native American settlement that might have been found in New England during the 1620s complete with people to describe the settlement and what would have gone on in those early years of European settlement. After spending a couple of hours at Plimouth Plantation we continued on to the modern city of Plymouth, MA home to “Plymouth Rock” and Mayflower II. Our first stop was to see the ship Mayflower II, a replica of the Mayflower sailed by the Puritans that was built in England in 1957 and sailed to Plymouth without escort or modern conveniences. I was especially interested in the building and sailing of a 17th century ship in the 20th century but there were also plantation staff on hand to answer questions about the original voyage. After seeing the ship we walked down the street to see the famous “Plymouth Rock” which is supposed to be the actual rock where the Puritans first touched America, but I have my doubts about that, as do a lot of scholars. It was a quite ordinary, quite boring rock; I didn’t even bother to take a picture. After seeing the rock we walked back up the street to Isaac’s where we were meeting Miss Daisy from Leoville for dinner. Meeting someone who you’ve only written to and never seen is quite an experience and we had fun trying to guess which person coming up the stairs to the restaurant was her, in the end though it was she who immediately spotted me. We had a very good dinner, my Dad said his seafood was fantastic, being a very small seafood eater myself I opted for steak which was also very good. Even better than the food was the conversation, Daisy and the family hit it right off and we had a great conversation about all sorts of things, it’s also great to make that human connection with someone after simply corresponding for so long. After leaving Isaacs we continued south along the Massachusetts coast to Cape Cod. It was getting pretty late by the time we found West Yarmouth and our hotel, partly because of the lack of adequate signage on the cape (read on for more on that!) in any event we soon retired for the night.

Monday, August 11, 2003 – We were able to sleep in a bit this morning but after we got up and had breakfast our first stop was one of the candy companies on the cape. We all picked out ten pieces of salt water taffy and got some fudge to share in the car. It was still pretty gray and rainy, weather we picked up in Illinois and haven’t been able to shake all trip so we decided to try visiting Cuffy’s Factory outlet. Cuffy’s is a Cape Cod company that makes many of the t-shits, sweaters and other souvenir clothing items for the cape. Many of us found some nice t-shirts at fantastic prices and by the time we were finished the clouds were starting to break up and the sun was coming out. This made our next stop the Mayflower beach near the city of Dennis, MA. Here the sand was fine and smooth but the water was cool so we waded in the ocean but didn’t get too wet. Our next stop was at Pizza by Evan which is supposed to have the best pizza on the Cape. They did have some of the best pizza crust I’ve had in a while, but the sauce was nothing special and could probably have been improved some; nonetheless it was quite good. As it became increasingly sunny and warm we decided to try and find a water activity. Eventually we settled on renting two Jet Skis to take out in the ocean and hop over some waves. It took us a while to find the rental place, we’ve found the roads are narrow, winding and not well marked at all on Cape Cod, it’s a very difficult place to get around if you’re not a local, good maps are also hard to find. Once we were situated we ended up with a four person and a two person jet ski. Papa drove the two person jet ski with Noah riding and I drove the four person jet ski with everyone else. After about halfway through our thirty minute rental Mom decided she wanted to get off because she wasn’t having any fun so after dropping her back off at the beach the rest of us returned to jumping waves for another fifteen minutes. After returning the jet skis we all agreed that it was quite a fun activity and I especially enjoyed it. We were all pretty tired and wet from the Jet Ski adventure so we turned back to the hotel to clean ourselves off and relax for a little bit. After we had all showered we drove to a local supermarket and got some cookies and milk to eat in the car on the way to see the movie Seabiscuit. It took quite a long time to find the (poorly marked) theater and we almost missed the beginning of the movie after stopping to ask for directions from locals several times. I would say that the movie is pretty good, especially if you just go to see a good movie. If you attend with the preconception that you’re going to see a horse movie you’ll probably be disappointed. It’s clear that the movie is aimed more at the connections between the life of Seabiscuit and the jockey than a movie about a horse. After a full and tiring day we made our way back to West Yarmouth and our beds.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003 – Because we were so tired last night we decided to take the noon ferry instead of the nine-thirty ferry to Nantucket Island, this allowed us to sleep in, at least for a while. After we got up and had breakfast we drove down the cape a bit to get to the ferry, but it took less time than we had anticipated so we stopped at a Reebok outlet store where Mom got a pair of shoes and I got a polo shirt (for $6.99!) After a while we headed back down to the docks with our ferry tickets and soon were aboard the ferry. It was pretty grey out and rained while we were on the ferry but stopped soon after we landed in Nantucket about an hour later. Nantucket looked much more like how we had envisioned the rest of the cape would look. Lots of small seaside businesses and homes covered in weathered cedar shingles. It was still a bit rainy so our first stop was to get some lunch at the Fog Island Café. After eating we walked around Nantucket Town for a while and then stopped at the Juice Bar for ice cream, they had delicious hand rolled waffle cones and a good selection of ice cream to go along. Finishing our desert we walked across the street to one of the bus stops on the island and all bought one day passes for the island bus system. We rode one of those busses out to Jetties Beach which was warmer than Mayflower beach on the cape but it had coarse sand, lots of shells and seaweed which made it much less inviting for wading but a better swimming beach. We spent about an hour on the beach and in the water before it started to sprinkle and we took the bus back into town. After talking to the bus driver Mom and Dad decided to take the bus to Sisconset(sp?) while the rest of us took a walk around the town and read some magazines and newspapers in the local library before taking another bus out to Madaket beach to watch the sunset. As it turned out they were back before we needed to leave for Madaket so they were able to join us. Madaket beach turned out to have nice sand similar to the sand we found at Mayflower beach, but it had big waves and a strong undertow. We chased the waves for a while; unfortunately, it turned out the sky was too cloudy for a sunset which would have been fantastic from this vantage point. After we took the bus back to Nantucket Town we checked out desert at a few places before settling on “The Tavern” restaurant near the wharf. I had Hula pie which is an island specialty made locally by the Juice Bar. We finished just in time to catch the 10:00 PM ferry ride back to the cape and drive back to the hotel exhausted from another full day.

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