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» Wednesday, October 13, 2010By the Sea, By the Sea...
We should have gone to bed earlier last night, but James was scanning his netbook for viruses (none, thankfully) and we were enthralled watching the trapped Chilean miners being rescued one by one. It is wonderful that this rescue was able to take place. Mining accidents usually end dreadfully.
So we didn't get up until eight, and weren't on the road until after nine, and then got stuck in a couple of miles of rush hour traffic. However, we soon broke free of that and were zipping on our way to Cape Cod.
Last night James had surfed around and found a small military museum located in Bourne, which is just on the other side of the Cape Cod Canal. So we decided to go out there the "quick" way, through Route 6, which is a pretty bland ride until you get to the Lower Cape (that's the "forearm" part), all the way to the tippety-tip, and then amble our way back via 6A, the more scenic route, and stop at the little museum on the way back, since it was open until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.
It was a long trek, down Route 128 (I don't care who says it's really I-95; it's still 128 to me) and then via Route 3 past Hingham, Duxbury, and Plymouth, and finally to the Sagamore Bridge over the canal, so we didn't arrive at Race Point, the very edge of Cape Cod, until after noon. We parked at the edge of the dunes and climbed up and then down to the beach. The view was magnificent: the pale, soft sand meeting the sea in an undulating line, the waves flickering dark and darker blue, the sky a vivid blue above it. The Atlantic was relatively calm today, with rare foams of surf rolling upon the shore, and it was just perfect, cool enough for me to wear my new sweatshirt but still pleasant in the sun. The breeze was mild, and smelled of warmth and brine.
From there we thought we might get a bite to eat in Provincetown, so we first stopped at the Pilgrim monument (despite what some people believe due to Victorian legend, the Pilgrims did not initially set foot on Plymouth Rockthey first landed at Provincetown), which is a tall tower like an Italian campanile. All it needs is the bell.
Alas, we kept getting turned around. We did go past the Pilgrim landing spot, at which a wedding was taking place, and a very pretty place for a wedding indeed, a little flower-decked park at the edge of the water, and through the back neighborhoods of Provincetown, where every home seemed to be some type of an inn or bed and breakfast, some with standard names, some with cute beach theme names.
Eventually we just drove south again, consulting the "find" function on the GPS. Problem with this was that most of the restaurants we found were closed for the season; there is a disadvantage to coming to Cape Cod on the off season. We finally found a place called the Wellfleet Bookstore and Restaurant (yes, leave it to us to find a place to eat attached to a bookstore). The place was informal, but the food was goodI had some huge broiled scallops along with a mild rice pilaf, while James had "steak frites." When we were finished, we did stop in the bookstore, which was a trip: it's been there since 1934 and is crammed ceiling to floor with old wooden shelves and bins full of used books and magazines of all descriptions, including old National Geographics andgood heavens, what flashbacks!1970s issues of "Tiger Beat" with "Bobby" (Sherman), "Sadjid" (Kahn), the Cowsills, Barnabas Collins, etc. on the cover. There was even a 1920s automobile review magazine, and old comic books. It definitely would have needed hours to look through, and we didn't have them, but I did find the first of the Beany Malone books in an inexpensive paperback and a James Thurber volume (The Middle-Aged Man on the Flying Trapeze) I didn't have.
We also stopped at another small bookstore in an old house, but weren't there long, either.
Since it was getting late and we did want to stop at the little museum in Bourne, we didn't go out to the Marconi Beach site, nor did we stop at some of the delectable-looking Christmas and book shops on 6A between Orleans and Sandwich. It was a pretty ride, though, through those towns and also Brewster, Dennis, and Barnstable, passing tidal inlets, salt marshes, restaurants and other seasonal businesses buttoned up tight, smallholdings with a horse or two, big summerhouses, homes decorated for fall and with the same "hospitality candles" as in Pennsylvania last year. (Oh, on the way in we stopped at a gas station to use the facilities, and I struck up a conversation with a woman from Pennsylvania, who just happened to live in Paoli, where we took the train!)
We reached the little museum, housed in the building of the Bourne Historical Society, just about 5:30, but it turned out it didn't open until 6:30. How odd! So we wound our way through rush-hour traffic queued in a rotary (that's New England-ese for a traffic circle, or a roundabout if you're British) and heading for the Bourne Bridge, found a Dunkin Donuts (this is New England, after all; you can't go more than a few blocks without finding one), and both had one of their "flats," a sandwich-type thing, and some cocoa. We found an alternative route back.
When we arrived at the museum, a lively older lady was just getting out of her car with some supper for her friends. We helped her carry it inside, and this is when we found out the museum, which was originally built as a town library (one of those delightful old-fashioned ones, made of yellow brick, with dark paneling everywhere), wasn't just small, it was just a tiny thing. Besides the DUKW WWII-era vehicle outside, the only other really military memorabilia they had was a glass display case of medals, a couple of pamphlets, and other little things. James was so disappointed!
However, there were two walls of display cases set up very nicely in a "now and then" fashion: children's toys, women's purses, clothing, hats, housecleaning items, travel, and a few others. One display was a bit macabre: it was a display of dolls dressed to represent the characters in a bizarre murder case, in which four members of a family, a woman, her husband, and two of their daughters were poisoned with morphine and aconite by the nurse who was supposed to be caring for them! Another case contained memorabilia from a young 19th-century widow named Rebecca Burgess. Her husband was a sea captain and died during one of their voyages, and she took over command of the ship, navigating it safely into port at Chile. She was 22 when he died and never married again.
So by now it was late and we had a long ride to go in the dark, made longer by road construction down in Dedham. There was no place to pull over to swap drivers, so James had to do the whole distance on his own. By the time we got to the hotel he wanted a plain burger, but he could not get into the right-hand turn lane in time, so we stopped at the Barnes & Noble instead for about 20 minutes: this is a huge store, two stories, larger than the B&N on Akers Mill Road. And what a selection of magazines...I saw ones I never knew existed, including two devoted to watches. There were at least ten shelf units of local interest books. Wow.
And then James got his burger and we were finally able to roost.
NB...we saw some places with odd names today, which we swore we would remember and of course we have forgotten, but I do remember the one place we saw yesterday in Vermont and did a double take: it was the Celtic Buddhist Center! Well, they say you can find anything in Vermont...)