Tuesday, October 28, 2014

How You Know You Are in the Right Place

Nickerson Park
Because of my knitting groups I have met a lot of different people who are living on the Cape. Some are "Cape Codders", born and raised here. There are some of what I call "Summer People", snowbirds who don't stay here for the winter. Then there are some people who are here by accident, mainly military spouses, mostly Coast Guard. The accidentals are generally year round residents for a few years. I am always surprised how many of them do not like living on Cape Cod.

I guess there are a lot of things not to like, and I do grouse about a lot of them. The summers bring a boatload of tourists who outnumber the residents four or five to one in July and August. Cape access comes in the form of two smallish bridges that back up something awful and clog the roads.  If you need to go off Cape and come back you have to time your trips across the bridge for times of slightly reduced traffic. There are few main roads to get around on, so the summer traffic sends the residents to the back roads and a trip to Falmouth must be structured so you never have to turn left.

Even though we are within fairly comfortable driving distance of Boston Cape life, especially in winter, is fairly rural. The sidewalks roll up at 6:00. The Cape is not cosmopolitan - ethnic restaurants other than Italian are thin on the ground. Movies do not play for long here; see it right away if you plan to see it at all! Major retailers are a small part of the economy, so you may have to make more stops to locate oddball items. Gasoline and most other things are a little more expensive on this side of the bridge too.

Income inequality is very noticeable here. Many of the Summer People are extremely wealthy, and many more others are poor. Lots of jobs are seasonal and winters are hard for many. Drugs and homelessness are  major issues. Professional jobs here are few and most ambitious young people have to leave the Cape for their careers.

Sandwich Harbor
For me, many of the drawbacks are positive things. Being able to go out to the beach for an hour any time I like is wonderful.  From the day after Labor Day to the end of June the beautiful beaches are nearly empty and used only by locals. Locals go out in any weather to enjoy the beaches and peaceful conservation lands. When natural beauty is so readily available it takes the place of many more expensive pursuits. The marine climate that many find unpleasant is very good for gardening and the sandy soil while nutrient hungry is not difficult to work. The light on the Cape is like nowhere else, as many painters have discovered. When the weather is nasty it is so dreary, but when the weather is fine it is like nowhere else.

I like the quiet, and since I am fortunate enough to be able to go to Town (Boston) whenever I want I don't feel trapped by the rural atmosphere. Since I grew up in small town Ohio near Cleveland I am accustomed to living in a quiet place with access to city life. For a middle aged lady who can't run very fast I like the (possibly illusory) feeling of safety in a quieter place.

I am posting a lot this week as an experiment. Sometimes I feel like unless something exciting has happened I do not have enough to justify a weekly post. The stakes seem lower for (nearly) daily posts. If nothing thrilling happens today a boring post will do until something amazing happens. I might feel OK about a rambling or speculative post with more dog pictures. I might ramble on about ongoing knitting projects. We'll see if that holds true. I am not sure if more frequent posts will result in more or less traffic - my family is in any event used to my rambling ways and tunes me out or not according to the content. I don't know how long the experiment will continue.


naomi dagen bloom said...

Admirable you're into all this posting. And so I learn that you grew up in northern Ohio where I went to college, returned years later as faculty wife, had first child. Very cold winters near Lake Erie, steamy summers.

Reading of all your pleasure from knitting groups, I miss that. Favorite were in Manhattan (not Kansas)--first in a Starbucks right after 9/11. Only one I've ever known to close; rent too high even for them. The other was Knitty City, yarn shop unlike any other with men's knitting group, much outreach to community causes. Oh, probably ought to write again on own blog about it.

Like the idea of reminding self what one does like about where we live. Thanks!

Meryl Baer said...

I also enjoy small town living in a beach resort that swells summers. People from out of town wonder what we do all winter, but activities exist, it is easy to get in the car and go, and meanwhile the laid-back, quiet time is wonderful.