Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cape Cod-Day 1-Sunday

We had just arrived, caught our breath after conversing with our landlord, Kathy, and then decided to get a feel for our town. I'm not wholly familiar with Cape Cod, but I get a sense it's a big place, bigger than I imagined. We got the lowdown on the area from Kathy, and there's much going on, but we were mainly interested in hitting the beach.

Now the nice thing about the Cape is that it has two types of beaches, if not more if you're going to get really technical about it. For our purposes, there are the Atlantic beaches, more of what I'm accustomed to with sand and lots of surf, and there are the Bay beaches, which are calm and serene, with lots of ocean life to explore. Both have their merits, but with kids, sometimes the Bay approach works best, especially when you have curious and inquisitive kids, like all kids.

We went for a drive and checked out the neighborhood. It's really nice, almost like a quiet burb. Eastham is what is really the beginning of the Outer Cape, the first part of the forearm that ends with Provincetown. I rather like it here, actually, it seems more down to earth than places further out, where you can really begin to sense the air of exclusivity. This is a community, albeit one filled with tourists, including ourselves, many of whom are obnoxious city folks with their SUVs and cell phones.

Either way, I wonder what the locals make of all this. There is a tennis court across the street, and though we have access to it, the "members only" sign is beyond obnoxious. We located a small library, very important for our young readers, a small store just down the road, and the big supermarket about ten minutes away. And of course, there are the greasy fish restaurants, but more on that later.

We went to First Encounter Beach, getting there in the afternoon to avoid the parking fee while. Apparently all the townships have different rules regarding who can park and how much each car must pay. The area seems divided up into town beaches and park beaches, with park meaning US National Forest parks. There is a huge swath of coastline that is a protected preserve, and the beaches are left undeveloped and pristine, though open to the public. These beaches seem to be on the Atlantic coast, where there are waves. We started out in the Bay.

Kathy told us to pass the main lot and go to the end, where it's not only more secluded, but you have access to the rivermouth where lots of sea creatures dwell. And it's there that we decided to go. First Encounter Beach is a quiet beach where a swamp or salt marsh of some sort drains into the Bay, and along the river and near the rivermouth there are all sorts of living things, perfect for the inquisitive mind of a child.

We spent the greater part of the afternoon there, well until sundown, and got to watch the sun melt into the horizon. Lovely, actually. The kids had fun playing and splashing in the water, we kicked back and relaxed, and a fun time was had by all.

On the way to the beach we stopped at one of the ubiquitous fried fish joints on the Cape. They are everywhere, it gets silly. How do you choose? Kathy recommended Arnolds, but the line was 45 minutes long, no thank you. We drove around and couldn't decide, they all look the same, and how different can fried fish be? We finally found a quiet, non-descript fish market in Orleans, of all things, that had fish and chips, and we stopped. There was virtually no crowd save for an older woman waiting for her order, while the Mexican food place across the parking lot was bustling. Hmm...

The fish and chips were GREAT! I forgot the name but would eat there in a flash, good crispy fish sticks with big, thick filets of white fish. Great fries, the breaded, salty crispy kind.

We came home, the kids conked out, and we had a nice first day, or rather afternoon in Cape Cod. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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