Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nickerson State Park Brewster MA Cape Cod with Chatham, Provincetown, Barnstable and Hyannis May 25 to Jun 2 2015

When we left Norwell, it was not an auspicious start!  We had to get gas and for the second time had a problem with our electric cord for the towing set up.  I drove the MoHo and Don followed in the car but the line, which had only been loosely wound around the tow set-up, dropped and dragged all the way the the gas station.  When it came time to hook it up we found it worn through to the wires. Because our car is lighter than the legal limit requiring a brake set up we were not violating the law but from a safety point of view we feel better with it.  But we had a reservation and could not find one locally so Amazon to the rescue!!   I went online, ordered a new one and had it sent to the campground on the Cape.  And so we continued on our way.

We had another easy trip and Don even drove over the Sagamore Bridge with ease.  The route on the Cape took us down Rte 6 and we arrived easily at the Nickerson State Park in Brewster, which is about 2/3 of the way down.  We found our site with ease and after a bit of backing and filling and changing directions we found a level enough spot in our site that we were satisfied.  The park has no electricity so we'd be dry camping and then we found that our hoses stretched EXACTLY long enough for us to hook up to the spigot across the street and not have to move to fill our tank.  Our neighbors on the site were in a tent.  Retired for several years they loved kayaking and would be gone most days but we had lovely visits with them when we were all there.  It could have gone the other way because we have a motion activated solar light on the back of our MoHo that kept going on and off all night as our towels (on a drying rack below it) blew in the breeze.  Our neighbors, ever so nicely, asked us if there was any way to turn it off as it had flashed through their tent all night long.  I felt awful because of course we could turn it off and we'd been completely unaware.  It was so nice that they did not suffer with gritted teeth for the next several nights and throw eye daggers at us each day.  Speak up and's really so much easier.

The first day was beautiful and we had rain in the forecast for later in the week so we decided to go to Provincetown.  It was sunny and warm and we figured we'd make a day of it and see the Cape Cod National Seashore sites too.  What a fantastic town!  I'd been there briefly in the 70s but had not spent time walking around.  We went to a shop owned by a Turkish guy who is tired of winter so he's planning to move but in the meantime I had fun taking pictures and drooling over the crafts from Turkey. We went from shop to shop.  Funky, beautiful, FULL of life and great restaurants, too.  we roamed all over, ate lunch and walked along the harbor before getting back in the car and driving over to the Province Lands Visitors Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Scenes from Provincetown

shell bracelets

 This is a house with a yard filled with wonderful sculptures.  The walls are also beautifully created and filled with hidden treasures.   

When we arrived at the Visitor's Center, we saw fog coming in on the horizon and the temperature was noticeably cooler.  After touring the small center and reading about the flora and fauna of the park we stepped back outside.  There was so much fog we could not see the ocean and Provincetown was obscured from view as well.
The clamshell and ocean beyond when we arrived-the fog is just coming in

Looking toward Provincetown after we came out.  In the other direction, where the clamshell is there was so much fog we could not see it.

Because we wanted to get to Skaket Beach at low tide and planned to have a picnic lunch we decided not to stop at each site along the road but each one of them looked interesting.  I regret not stopping at the Marconi Station site as the next week I read Thunderstruck by Eric Larson, both a fascinating story of Marconi and the development of wireless communications on the high seas as well as a murder mystery, and wished that we'd stopped to see the site.

However, we did decide to stop at Nauset Light Beach and walked down to the water. It was not a beach day and I had to laugh as three young men in wetsuits paddled their surfboards around in tiny waves hoping to catch one that would barely carry them before fizzling out.  I was, however, in awe of their ability to withstand the water and air temperature which were to my measure... freezing!  The fog was in there, too, but there were people enjoying walks and playing with their children. We went over to Coast Guard Beach and then to take pictures of the Nauset Light which, as an excited Japanese tourist said to me, was just how it should be: shrouded in fog.

We left there and stopped at Salt Pond Visitors Center where we watched a fascinating film about the formation of the Cape, called the Sands of Time.  We walked through the other excellent exhibits at the center and then, because we could not take Phoenix to the Salt Pond, drove to Doane Rock and had our picnic lunch. By then the sun was out again and we had clear skies.

 It was mid-afternoon and we'd been talking about going to Skaket Beach which is known for its low tides and sunsets and in Orleans which was right on the border with Nickerson State Park. So that's where we headed. We were getting there in time for the low tide.  I have been to beaches with significant tides but this was awesome.  The sand stretched out and out and we walked along with shrimps and clams squirting their water through their air holes as we past.  Children were running all over having fun as parents sat way up on the dry sand watching them.  After that it was time to return for dinner and an early turn in.

 When the tide is in, the waterline is just beyond the green area.  We would see it the night we went to watch the sunset but this was so much fun to see.

The next day we decided to take a walk around Flax Pond the one, of several ponds in the park, closest to our site.  It was lovely and along the way we met a young couple from England whose kids were splashing in the not very warm waters and having a great time. The lupines were still in bloom along the pathways in the park along with all the other vegetation.

One plant we saw in abundance was sassafras.  Sassafras is the only plant with three different shaped leaves on the same plant.  The oval and the 3 "fingered, visible here, and a mitten shaped leaf all grow on the sassafras.  It is sassafras root that is used to make root beer.

Don called a childhood friend, Jamie, who lives in Falmouth which was the other side of the Cape, and we agreed to meet for lunch in Barnstable the next day. It was a change, having been visiting mostly old friends of mine, for Don to be able to see one of his.  We had a delicious lunch at Mattakeese Restaurant overlooking the water and memories and news were shared so we all had a great time.

The next days we filled with visits to Osterville (where I spent the summer of 1976 before starting nursing school) and Chatham (where my sister spent the summer of 1974 after our dad died, working at Chatham Bars Inn) and all the other large and small towns I remembered from my summer there: Wianno, Hyannis, Cotuit, Centerville, and Barnstable.

We stopped for lunch in Barnstable another day and a woman's compliment of my jacket lead to a lunchtime conversation with her and her husband and his stories of working for the town government and all the changes that had taken place.  

We decided to stop at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on one of our trips and were thrilled with the depth of information and research on display.

As we drove toward Chatham the sky was blue but when we got there it had already moved in to the horizon 

Chatham Bars Inn AKA CBI provides summer jobs for many young people and, as in my sister's case, a chance to develop lifelong friendships.

There were a number of people fishing off the rocks in Wianno

Cape Cod is a special place with great people, changeable weather and wonderful beaches and towns.  The last night there we decided to catch the sunset at Skaket Beach.  This time the tide was in and it was a different place.  A young couple was trying to capture pictures of themselves at sunset with a camera set up on a tripod, a man brought his new Ethiopian wife and her mother to see watch the it and a sailboat sat moored off shore.

On the road to Skaket Beach is the Crosby Mansion

We were able to walk down one evening to watch the sun set and it was peaceful and beautiful.  As we left we could see the almost full moon rising

We'd decided while there that we should have the MoHo serviced since we'd be heading to ME, and Canada after that, and should have it done.  We were able to extend our reservations an extra day and so on the last day drove the MoHo to a nearby truck service business and left it for the day.  We piled Cadbury, Phoenix and 4 bags of dirty laundry into the car and set off for Chatham where we'd experience the most expensive laundromat yet.  I resolved then that when we were in "high rent" areas I would NOT strip the bed, including comforter, to wash it all.  Chatham, while it has its charm was a disappointment after Provincetown and even Barnstable.  We walked up and down main street after finishing the laundry and then drove back to the park where we hung out with the animals until it was time to pick up the MoHo.
Since they did only engine servicing and we had some MoHo specific questions I also found an RV service center in Saco, ME which would be on our way and made an appointment for the following day so when we left we headed for Boston and then Maine beyond...

NOTE" so no-one gets confused, we ended up not going to Canada and that is another story...later.

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