Tag Archives: Cape Cod

Cape Cod #5

The big event snuck up on me.

It turns out I arrived at Provincetown, on the tipy tip of Cape Cod, on the Thursday of Labor Day weekend. The place was busy but, it turns out, it was just gearing up. By Saturday what had been crowds were mobs.

And then the Great Abandonment began.

Sunday lunch was as busy as Saturday had been. By six o’clock there was room on the sidewalks. I figured it must be dinner time so most folks would be off the streets.

The hustle and bustle Monday morning was half-hearted at best. Then, hour by hour, Provincetown became more lonely. By five o’clock many shops had put out Closed signs. By seven even the gay bar was empty.

A gay bar ? Empty ? Come on now …

Tuesday morning the grocery store was open. And the gas station. There were no cars in the street.

Closed signs had added For The Season. The bustling burg had pulled up the covers and closed its eyes. The winter nap was neigh.

I had never been in a resort town on closing weekend before. Wow.


Cape Cod #4

If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air

Quaint little villages here and there

You’re sure to fall in love with

Old Cape Cod

The song Old Cape Cod had me looking forward to an enchanting, tiny sand dune tucked into the lapping sea.

If only!

Once I got across Massachusetts I started up Cape Cod. For sixty miles I didn’t even see the sea!

Apparently there were quaint little villages here and there, but they were on the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay, not along US Highway 6. Today a freeway for half the distance of the cape, in 1969 Hwy 6 was a two-lane affair running smack up the middle of the massive sandbar.

The only tiny things I noticed while hitch hiking Cap Cod were the short little rides I got from summer home owners heading back from whatever chores were keeping them in a scurry.

Yet I was rewarded—at the end of those sixty miles was Provincetown, the enchanted town Patti Page had promised.Entering Provincetown w

Provincetown, right at the very tippy tip of Cape Cod, was, indeed, a quaint little village. Yes, it was filled with good looking tourists in bright colors carrying every sort of beach paraphernalia one can imagine. It was busy. And it was quaint.

As busy as the town and the grocery and the shell shops were, they were roomy compared to the gay bar.

Which was perfect for me!

What can I say? I was young and tall and carrying a pack. Finding a place to crash was no problem at all. And, folks, after months of the agrarian beauty of living in an isolated Catskill Mountain retreat, I was ready to pursue some lust!

Before long I was invited to a most fun and accommodating crash pad. For three days I was out every day enjoying the sun and sea and dunes and salty air.

As for the nights? Well. My host was most accommodating. You’ll have to wait for the book …

Cape Cod #3

It was early to rise the morning after sleeping in an unknown military barracks somewhere in Connecticut or Rhode Island. The handsome guy who had offered me a bed gave me a ride back across the border to Massachusetts and a highway heading east. I stuck out my thumb.

Massachusetts is a long state, some 250 miles west to east, but I remember nothing about getting through it. No hunger pains. No particularly long waits. No particularly memorable rides (as long as you don’t count the three fast-driving, heavy drinking party jocks who pulled up in a convertible. I didn’t feel safe refusing a ride, so I joined the guy in the back seat, held on, and shut up. Fortunately I was too boring for them to put up with and they soon told me they were turning off the highway. I was glad to say thanks for the ride and once again be alone, terra firma solidly under my feet). Patti INT

The only reason I had lit out across Massachusetts was a Patti Page song. In 1957 Patti put Old Cape Cod to vinyl, an act which no broadcast system could resist. Radios treated us to it every hour while every TV variety show had its own black-and-white set of a seaside restaurant to feature their star crooning —

If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air

Quaint little villages here and there

You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod

Patti continued —

If you like the taste of a lobster stew

Served by a window with an ocean view 

You’re sure to fall in love with old Cape Cod

The song put Cape Cod on tourists’ maps.

Twelve years after Patti first sang of quaint villages and salty air, the song was still stuck in my head. I followed it east, to the tip of a long, long state. A tip, it turned out, that was a long, long cape.

One wild ride and being impressed with how long Cape Cod is. Those are my recollections of hitch hiking Massachusetts.

Don’t take my word for Old Cape Cod getting stuck in one’s head. Check it out — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HT2ao0rcxoA