Massachusetts natives come in two flavors: those who own summer homes on Cape Cod and those who have been to the Cape once or twice to visit those first people. I fall into category 2. I can count the number of times I’ve been to the Cape on one hand.
My friend Noelle, bless her heart, is from New Jersey. She’s been in New England about 25 years, but every once in a while she brings up something I totally take for granted and makes it new. Like last summer, when she decided to check out “a place called Hampton Beach.” Being horrified there as a child, teen, and adult, it was awesome seeing it through her eyes. I’m not suggesting anyone else go to Hampton Beach. But it was fun introducing it to an innocent.
And so it was when Noelle put her drink down mid-conversation one day, walked over to her computer, and rented a cottage in East Sandwich. And now, two months later, here we are. At the Cape. Staying in a totally cliché and wonderful gray shingle cottage just a short walk over a dune to the bay.
Several characters will be rotating through this week, starting with our friend Kate. She has graciously been carting our asses around and showing us the sights. A Buffalo-area native, even Kate knows more about the Cape than I do. See? Proper Masshole.
On the way into town for dinner on the first night, Kate’s XM Radio station was set to the 80s. And the song “Never Gonna Let You Go” came on. Noelle sang with heart…
I’m never gonna let you go
I’m gonna hold you in my arms forever
Gonna try and make up for all the times I hurt you so
Gonna hold your body close to mine
From this day on we’re gonna be together
Oh, I swear this time I’m never gonna let you go
“Wait, what if she wants him to let her go?” Kate asked. “Yeah, what if he farts?” Noelle wondered aloud. “Jesus, it’s a death trap!” Noelle exclaimed. “No, girl. Don’t do it!” Kate pleaded. For the girl in the song. I watched the scenery out the back window and smiled. This is vacation with my girls.
Also indicative of vacation with my friends is the painfully obvious lack of nutrition.
But we have the cutest sugar cubes for our morning tea.
Noelle and I dig kayaking. But bringing her hard-shell kayaks down was becoming an expensive and logistical pain. So she followed my lead and bought the same inflatable I have. We suited up and took to the water in our matching kayaks. We checked out a nearby river, fought currents, and watched crabs float by just under the surface. I wouldn’t take these things out on anything too choppy, but otherwise, they’re perfect for our needs.
Day one was marvelous and neverending. A morning walk followed by a kayak ride followed by a trip to the grocery store for a smidge of nutrition and a million unhealthy impulse buys. (Kate insists the ice cream sandwiches are a matter of health and responsibility because, “What if we have a few drinks and then someone wants ice cream? No one will be able to drive to get it.” So we HAD to get them. It was the responsible thing to do.) The afternoon was a series of naps punctuated with some reading and mild banter. We read and slept on the beds, couches, beach…or maybe they both read and I slept. That’s probably more accurate. And in the evening, we made our way to the beach and shared a bonfire with a clever, handsome young guy named Connor who knows that the way to an old lady’s heart is with banter and well executed Monty Python lines. We looked at each other over our full wine glasses and marveled over this perfect day. Kate asked what could possibly make this day any better. Noelle and I both said, “Maybe if a unicorn came out of the sea right now…”