Dean Clough

May 19, 2021

Portico Darwin: Shoulder Seasons Forever?

As our stay continues here on idyllic Cape Cod, and specifically, in the perfectly located Town of Eastham, a recurring theme is that there is hardly anyone here. 

The many restaurants, that seemingly appear around every turn, are empty or not open at all on some days (yet every one has been Killer, including the very-much-open Van Rensselaer's and the marvelously fat cat Outer Bar & Grill).  Restaurant, store and beach parking lots designed for hundreds or even thousands of cars have 2 or 3. 

And the beaches themselves?  Beaches that are so beautiful that they rightly draw people from around the world are empty.  Like nada.  Zilch.  Screaming kids?  The only screaming we've heard has been from the gazillion birds that are here with us.

For the record, we've visited 5 completely different and BIG beaches on the Cape as of Wednesday, 19 May early AM (with still more today) and I'm not sure we've seen more than 10 people on any of them.  I'm talking MILES of powdery sand, with weather that can only be described as Californian - but better because there are few if any other Californians here.  Low 70's, blue skies, and a light, cool ocean breeze. 

And did I mention there are no crowds?

I give you two illustrative snapshots from Marconi Beach (look at the size of that parking lot!), and for good measure, a knock-out sunset photo (unaltered) from Monday night on the Bay side (and of course deserted) Campground Beach.  Note the tawny color of the sand at sunset precisely matched the color of the Tawny Port I was enjoying at the time.




So what's the problem?  COVID?  A tourist industry decimated by the same?  Perhaps some, but the fact is this is how Cape Cod and other truly seasonal places remain.  While many locations across the US and Canada have (rightly or wrongly) diversified in to 4 season destinations, that's not really the case here.  It is obvious the people we see in restaurants and out and about are locals.  Equally obvious is the neighborhood we're in is probably only a third occupied, by those same locals, with the rest being either summer homes or rentals that are empty now.  The other big clue is all of the signs on closed restaurants that say "See You May 21!". 

And on and after May 21?  Well, judging by the sizes of the parking lots at many/all destinations, and the draconian rules during the summer for beach access of any kind, well, let's just say it wouldn't be my cup of chowdah.

So here's to pre-Memorial Day and post-Labor Day travel.  You can have the seasonal lobster shacks and Jersey Shore-level crowds (with demographics to match); I'll keep the solitude, beauty, and peace - and the lobster roll at Outer.

The influential jet setter Lauren Ryder passed along her own memories of Cape Cod - for some reason, she suggested a place for us to party.

"Love the Cape!  We have stayed in Wellfleet twice at a friend's house. 
If you guys get there, try The Bookstore. Good seafood and Bloody Mary’s. "

It's great to hear from Lauren - she'll understand when I say the only beaches of this quality that I've seen this empty were in Bermuda, when we were fortunate enough to stay at her and hubby Max's cool condo there.

And I evoked a 


from the noted life saver and Fave cousin Dr. Shelly Murphy when I texted her the sunset photo above. 

We will soon be at The Murphy Manor, with the doyenne of The ADK herself at the helm.   Eleven nights and Julie's first visit to the Manor, while it will be my third(!).  And with Woodstock Inn in the middle.  But I'm getting ahead of myself - today it's Down Cape to P'Town, and tomorrow, Up Cape to Hyannis Port and then Nantucket Thursday!  (Any fellow OCD'ers out there should look up "Down Cape" and "Up Cape" for kicks.)

Here's to being fully vaccinated, a milestone Julie and I passed last Friday, 14 May.  It's going to be great getting up close and personal again with everyone, unwashed or not.

Thank you to anyone that is reading this blog.

Another super easy one.  Beach parties (indeed, we powered down two bottles of Pinot Gris in one beach sitting early this week), lobsters, and mid-century colors and traditions?  Here, on their eponymous first album, are The B-52's.  This album is unique for many reasons, among them how truly huge a debut it was, as well as the big retro phenomenon the album helped spawn.  Everybody had matching towels, indeed.  

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.