I went to the Cape this weekend. For those not up on their Massachusetts vernacular, "the Cape" is also know as Cape Cod, and is that part of New England that narrows into a penisula into the Atlantic ocean and looks a bit like a hook. It's a vacation mecca, and this is where people wear tiny whales on their pants with little to no irony.
I used to hate the Cape. I found the preppiness both annoying and intimidating, it always takes much longer to drive there than one thinks it will, and the endless fudge shops and tacky galleries left little to be desired.
I love Martha's Vineyard, but because I lived there for a few summers and because its island location isolates it from some of the hustle and bustle of the rest of the cape (this is even more the case for Nantucket), and it has a more bohemian feel than the mainland cape, I generally feel more comfortable there.
So, I was bracing for the worst this weekend. Instead, I found myself pleasantly surprised. Much of it could be attributed to the company on this particular journey, but I found the Cape more delightful than I ever had in the past.
The purpose of this excursion was a bird/whale watching trip. We drove down on Friday night and arrived at about 7 p.m. We walked around Hyannis (a touristy and slightly honky tonk town), and settled on a fancy dinner at the Black Cat. It was a pleasant respite from the rest of the noisy clam shacks.
We got up the following morning and were on the boat by 6 a.m. Although the departure time was a bit early for my taste, we did get to see a lot of birds. I focused on the whales--humpbacks and fin. It was pretty amazing. A humpback breached right in front of us and two finbacks came right along the side of the boat. All told we probably saw at least 15 whales.
Back on land, we napped for a few hours and then went out to explore again. We embraced the honky tonk nature of the town by drinking some beer, eating ice cream, and playing miniature golf and skee ball. I heart honky tonk. To balance out the tackiness, I was also pleased to find a cute store that sold very pretty silkscreen t-shirts.
The next day we headed out to Sandy Neck Beach and walked along a marsh trail where a coyote darted out in front of us. Eventually we made it to the beach and changed into our bathing suits behind some sand dunes. We spent a good hour in the water and on the rocks and then trekked back to the car. We finished out the day by watching the World Cup in a British Pub.
All in all, the weekend was the perfect mix of natural and more material pursuits. The Cape never looked so good to me.