6968 reads
Posted by Jessica on Apr 23, 2009
That Time of Year Again

On our walk down to the water last night, I noticed something was different in our little town. Houses that sit silent in the fall, winter, and spring months had movement inside them again. And instead of our path to the water being lit only by the light of the moon, the soft glow of lights from front porches showed us the way.

The tourists have arrived. And this year they're a bit early too.

After our round-the-world trip, I suppose it's quite fitting that Tim and I moved to a place where tourists from around the world flock to each year. From the pilgrims to the Kennedys, from the National Seashore to the artist colonies, Cape Cod is home to an amazing amount of history, culture, and natural beauty. And every summer like clockwork, new and familiar faces appear, dozens of languages are spoken, and incredible memories are made when the tourists come to town.

I first came to the Cape when I was a child: it's a place that holds meaning in my family's history. My mother grew up coming here as a child, as did her parents before her. And my father fell in love with the Cape too, right around the time he fell in love with my mom. In fact, they loved the Cape so much they honeymooned here. So it was only natural after they started their own family that they'd make the yearly 14-hour pilgrimage from Ohio to Massachusetts with their three daughters (and sometimes a few pets too) packed ever-so-precisely (and sometimes precariously) in the family car.

I learned from an early age that there are two Cape Cods: one in the off-season and one in the tourist season. The tourist season means the Cape is stunning and the temperature is high, but so are the prices. The off-season holds the same amount of beauty (if not more so because there's no traffic and the beaches are empty), but the prices are drastically reduced. In both seasons, it should be noted, the water is freezing.

I love being able to see both Cape Cods: the Cape Cod where childhood memories are made and honeymoons are taken, and the Cape Cod where wonderfully quirky people live all year-round. And now that I'm a "year-rounder" too, I get to watch the sea change that happens between the seasons.

The little village Tim and I live in is mostly a tourist town. When we walk down to the water at night, only 1 out of every 4 houses we pass will have lights on inside during the winter. The docks at the end of our street (have I mentioned our street runs into the water?) are empty and we can see clearly to the horizon.

But come late spring and summer? The front porch lights turn on and the boats arrive. And instead of seeing clearly to the horizon, we see sail boats outlined by the setting sun.

Either way, it's definitely not a bad deal for us. The tranquility and slumber of the off-season are comforting and familiar. But the activity and energy of the tourist season are exciting and contagious. And no matter where we look the stark beauty of the Cape surrounds us...even when a few million other people surround us too.

If you enjoyed this story, you might also like these ones:

April 24, 2009 at 8:50pm
gorgeous, both ways :) i think it's so neat that you're living somewhere that holds so much personal history (and is so beautiful and inspiring to you!)

when i was a child, we had a condo up in the mountains (lake arrowhead) -– it was only a 2-hour drive, but very special to me. the first time we went there, i was in utero! i was 13 when they sold the condo, and felt undeniably sad about it -– visiting friends in the rockies always seems like i'm reclaiming a little bit of that arrowhead feeling :)

Jessica the hedgehog
April 27, 2009 at 9:56am
The Rockies are a place we definitely have to visit one day! I especially remember my Dad telling me stories about driving through the Rockies, they sound so idyllic.

i think it's so neat that you're living somewhere that holds so much personal history (and is so beautiful and inspiring to you!)

I think so too! When we realized we could move here, it was if everything clicked. :)

I'm glad the Rockies are able to remind you of your childhood days in Lake Arrowhead. I just did a google image search of Lake Arrowhead and it looks stunning!

April 27, 2009 at 4:39pm
you should post pics of cape cod! i've never been there, but am aware it is beautiful. (our family trip was put off, but my dad told me i would love it there. if only for whale watching.)
there is a little peninsula of wisconsin (door county) that we drove around last fall. we decided that it is what it would be like along the capes of the east coast :)
Tim the hedgehog
April 28, 2009 at 7:45am

you should post pics of cape cod!

Heh. Duly noted – we'll have to make a post of "Our Favorite Photos of Cape Cod" or something. :)

In the meantime, you can see at least one photo of where we live right now. The header image along the top of the "Notes From Home" section is what the end of our street looks like, where it runs into the water. :)

May 2, 2009 at 9:06am
The header image along the top of the "Notes From Home" section…

Ooh Pretty! thanks!

May 2, 2009 at 8:59pm
When I was between the ages of 9 and 14, we spent the summers at my parent's place outside Middletown, NY. The man-made lake community had few year-round dwellers (perhaps 1 in 10). As much of a native New Yorker as I am, I would sometimes envy those who got to enjoy the more rural environs when there weren't lots of seasonal residents around.

Of course, during the summer itself, I would sometimes envy my friends in Queens who were enjoying our neighborhood while school was out. I guess there was no satisfying me.

Jessica the hedgehog
May 5, 2009 at 1:39pm
Yeah, we definitely feel really lucky to get to see the Cape in the off-season too. It's such a marvelously beautiful place and it changes so much throughout the year.

That said, I can definitely imagine that a teenager would be bored out of their mind on the Cape in the winter! I imagine many of the teenagers in Middletown envied you living in Queens for most of the year. :)

May 8, 2009 at 7:50pm
its fun to watch you growing in your writing, you both have become very good with descriptions making it possible to visualize what you've seen. love always daddy mommy and gang. ps they say hi to miss china and belly
Jessica the hedgehog
May 11, 2009 at 11:25am
Awww! Thanks Daddy! :)


Miss China and Mr. Belly say hello to your woof woof and meow too! We miss you! :)

Comment:     No HTML, just [b]bold[/b] and [i]italics[/i]
Except where otherwise noted all text, images, and videos are copyright © 2004–2023 by Jessica McHugh and Timothy McGregor