Summer House

A vacation spot out of season always has a very special magic.

Max Von Sydow

Most people think of the Cape as a summer destination. However, people are discovering that it is wonderful to visit all year long.

Each season brings its own special light and beauty, which is why so many artists through the years love coming here to paint. There is something magical about the way the light plays in the dunes and water.

As summer becomes a memory and we step into autumn, time slows down a bit, a peacefulness takes over almost like a sigh. The beaches are quiet; gone are the beachgoers’ laughter and noise, replaced by the sound of the waves as they gently break against the shore. Walks on the beach become more leisurely, the warm ocean breeze felt a couple of weeks before begins to cool down.

We treasure the weekends we get back to the summer house throughout the year.

September, people frequently say, is one of the most coveted months on the Cape. There is a stillness; however, the days are still warm and so are the waters of the sound, so you can still get a swim in and use the outdoor shower after that swim.

It is always sad to see the osprey nests start to empty. Each fall, our friends fly to South America and the Caribbean for the winter. They return in the spring to the exact same spot.

One thing we love to do in the fall is get the car over to the Vineyard for the day. There are usually no lines in Woods Hole to get on the ferry, and one can easily make a reservation.

We drive up-island with a stop at Alley’s in West Tisbury and then the alpaca farm. Through Chilmark to Aquinnah which leads us to Menemsha in time for lunch where we get our lobsters and little necks at Larsen’s and sit on the dock and eat them. There are great sales in many of the shops that will close for the season. Then back to Vineyard Haven for a quick snack at the Black Dog, as we head back over Vineyard Sound.

As the sun begins to set over the Elizabeth Islands I remember my dad telling me as a child, “Do you know how the islands got their names?” “They were owned by a sea captain who had three daughters, the oldest being Elizabeth. She got first choice and picked the island closet to home and named them the Elizabeth Islands. The middle daughter picked the next closest island and named it Martha’s Vineyard. The youngest daughter was Nancy, and since there was only one island left, Nan Took It.” I always loved this story!

Being curious I decided to research the origin of this story and found it appeared in Lippincott’s monthly magazine in 1868 in an article about Nantucket, “an absurd story? Append to the Indians’ story of the origin of the Islands, the sailors’ tale of the concoction of their names.”

“A certain man with three buxom daughters and the owner of three groups of islands, he gave the dowries to the damsels. To the oldest Martha, Martha’s Vineyard, to Elizabeth, the Elizabeth Islands as for the other island …Nan took it! and so it has been declared!”

So many wonderful things to do and see in Falmouth and throughout the Cape. Cape Farm and Cranberry Company in Harwich offer guided tours of the bogs. There are many antiques and flea market sales.

Sandwich Flea Market, at 34 Quaker Meetinghouse Road, runs through October 19 every Wednesday. If you have never been, I suggest a ride over to that town. There are many cool treasures to be had.

Pumpkin picking at Coonamessett Farm and Pumpkin Day at Bourne Farm are always a fun fall outing in Falmouth.

Walk out to the Knob and bike ride along the Shining Sea Bikeway, or hike Beebe Woods.

The Falmouth Historical Society does a great Halloween Haunted House, which is a definite must-do if you have children.

It has become a tradition for us to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in Falmouth. At Thanksgiving we tell the kids we are just like the Pilgrims.

Our Christmas tree is now an “ocean tree,” with blue lights that glimmer like the ocean on a beautiful summer’s day.

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