I am interrupting my Acadia broadcasts with an unexpected development: Mark and I recently stumbled upon a six-day house and pet sitting assignment in Truro, Cape Cod. We couldn’t resist applying and within 24 hours, we secured “the job”. The timing was perfect: we didn’t have much planned at our home base the last week of September and, usually, this is one of the best times of the year to visit the Cape. We also, coincidentally, happened to be asked to babysit our twin nieces, right over the bridge onto Cape Cod on Friday, so we had a decent start on Saturday, September 24th, to explore the sights between there and Truro. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was out. And of that, we took full advantage!
On the Upper Cape (which sounds like a misnomer, because it is the first part you drive through – on “the bottom”) we only visited Sandwich. I had read in a guidebook from the library that this was a cute historic town, settled as the first one on the Cape in 1637. We stopped for a quick stroll to check it out. The glass museum and the mill attracted hordes of tourists arriving in buses, but we managed to skip them and enjoy the sights at our own pace.
Chatham is a popular, quaint town on the Outer Cape, which runs from the elbow up to the tip of Cape Cod. The Mid-Cape and the Lower Cape did not have anything to attract us, so we drove straight through. Not that these different areas are marked anywhere… Chatham is located exactly on the pointy elbow and has a few things going for it. Main street, while looking quite fake to me, is a shopper’s paradise. Our favorite moments include a funky store full of plastic duckies and petting big dogs trying to find new owners via the Humane Society.
Along the coast, Chatham Light, located at the Coast Guard Station is quite picturesque and the beach is long and wide, just like all the other ones we would encounter on the “outside” of the Cape. Across a narrow channel begins the Cape Cod National Seashore, vast expanses of beach, dunes, swamps and pines running all the way up the length and almost the width of the Cape. In my humble opinion, this reserve is the highlight of Cape Cod and most of our explorations took place here.
Since we recently saw the movie “The Finest Hours”, we appreciated looking out over the location where the heroic Coast Guard rescue of 1952 happened. We ate our lunch at the Fish Pier and gazed at the Coast Guard vessels, resembling tanks on water. Despite similarities with the ones from the fifties, I’m sure their construction and safety gear have improved since then.
When you follow Route 6 north, you pass the windmill of Eastham. It is easy to miss when you happen to look at the “wrong” side of the road, but, since every commercial plaque has the word “windmill” in it, you know you have arrived. After a quick glimpse, we turned onto a road marking “Fort Hill” on a brown national park sign. I remembered reading about a nice viewpoint here, so we left the car and hiked a short trail.
Next up was the Salt Pond Visitor Center, where we received a beautiful National Seashore map. I love those maps, since they show all the sights worth visiting.
We started with Coast Guard Beach, followed by Nauset Light Beach. We didn’t have time or the desire to go for walks along these long stretches of sand, but just enjoyed the view. Our interest was captured by Nauset Light and the Three Sisters. I don’t know what it is about lighthouses, but I love photographing them!
Only one quick stop remained. The Marconi Station Site is where the first US transatlantic wireless telegraph (to the UK) originated from in 1903. An amazing feat that was made possible by an enormous set of radio masts. The original structures are long gone because of coastal erosion – a phenomenon we noticed all along this “outer” coast of the Cape – but informative signs tell the story.
From this historic “wireless” location, we drove to our Truro cottage, where the road ended that day and where communicating over WiFi was a breeze. We settled in for the week and met Tui, an amazing dog we would take care of for the time being.