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Spa Time

Spa Time

Spa Time Soothing touch—whether it’s massage, energy work, a facial, or a glorious combination of the many treatments available—offers a bevy of therapeutic benefits beyond simple relaxation. Therapeutic bodywork can relieve stress, body aches, and joint pain, as well as provide an overall sense of well-being, thanks to the release of opiate-like endorphins. Some people walk out of a massage looking like they’ve had a three-martini lunch. Read more…

Fabric of a Community

Dated between 1890 and 1900, the “Log Cabin”  quilt includes 42 blocks  of colors with black  embroidered lattice strips and a crochet edging.

The historic quilt collection at the Atwood House Museum in Chatham holds a treasure-trove of stories in its folds. Study the quilts’ intricate patterns, deep colors, rich textures—and sometimes even handwritten messages—and a swirl of history passes by.

Consider Marjory Smith, who bought the material for her gorgeous red and green quilt in Boston, when she traveled there to shop for bridal clothes for her 1833 wedding to John Atwood. Or Mehitable Atwood, whose friends and relatives pieced a multicolored “friendship” quilt in honor of her 1848 marriage to Benjamin Boylston and wrote bits of wisdom on its back (“Remember me when night closes in on thee” and “True friendship is everlasting” are just two of many).

With their captivating visuals and messages that were sometimes inked or stitched onto the back, the quilts give a glimpse of Chatham life in the 1800s and early 1900s—life that is as profound as any history book.

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Small Spaces, Big Ideas

“We wanted to keep the essence of the house,” says Donna Gryzwoc of the recent remodeling of her small Cummaquid kitchen in a historic 1850 home.

“The truth is that big kitchens are just easier to design,” admits David Flanagan, owner of Wychmere Woodworks in Orleans. However, Flanagan concedes that many homeowners on the Cape may lack the luxury of unlimited funds and abundant square footage for their dream kitchen. In this region in particular, small homes are de rigueur—saltboxes and seaside cottages, many historic, are often defined by confined spaces. When it comes to remodeling these kitchens with modern conveniences, woodworkers and kitchen designers can have their work cut out for them.

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Home Sweet Holiday Home

Home Sweet Holiday Home “There’s no place like home for the holidays.” Those words ring especially true for Denise Barker of East Sandwich. Her charming Cape is a constantly evolving expression of her love for Cape Cod, photography, nature, and her family, especially during the holiday season, with two crackling fireplaces spreading warmth and freshly baked Christmas treats piled high on pretty pedestal plates displayed on the kitchen counter. Denise makes the holiday season special with all her festive, uniquely creative touches.

In 2002 when Denise and her husband, Scott, were house-hunting they had a punch list of wants and needs for their family of five. The couple loved the historic character of East Sandwich, and coming upon an unfinished Cape with a yard full of pear and apple trees they knew they had found the right place.

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Love’s Branching

Susan Branch's Books

Susan Branch clearly remembers her early, fairy tale impressions of Martha’s Vineyard. Wanting to heal her newly broken heart as far away from her native California as possible, Branch landed almost 3,000 miles away and found safety and solace watching the ocean defend the island like a moat protects a castle.

Slowly but surely, Branch found a new home, a new love, and a new career as a cookbook author and illustrator in which she celebrates what makes her happy—family, food, home, and nature. Now, almost 30 years later, Branch’s appreciation for life’s unassuming delights resonates with readers worldwide who cherish her lovely handwritten and watercolor-adorned cookbooks and calendars as well as a successful line of quilting fabrics and other charming products for the home.

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Cape & Islands Cuteness: The 2012 Vineyard Seadogs Calendar

2012 Vineyard Seadogs Calendar

We just love the 2012 Vineyard Seadogs Calendar, available here. Says calendar creator and wildlife photographer Lisa Vanderhoop:

“The cover dog this year is Ensign, an adorable little Border Terrier. He is owned by Ben and Maria Batsch who captain and run Maurice Templesman’s yacht the Relemar during the summer months here on the Vineyard. Maurice just adores Ensign and can be seen walking the little guy everyday during the summer in Menemsha.”

Buy calendars ($16) and other artwork at vineyardseadogs.com. Part of the proceeds from the calendars will go the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard!

 

A High-Flying Christmas

Edward Rowe Snow peers out the window of a Cessna T-50—bearing the Flying Santa emblem—while flying past Boston Light in 1947.
The light went out long ago at Seamond Ponsart Roberts’ lighthouse home on Cuttyhunk Island, but memories of her childhood Christmases still sparkle. Like other children of lighthouse keepers sprinkled around remote Cape and Island outposts in the 1940s, she grew up without running water, electricity, or neighbors. She describes the keeper’s house at the west end of the island as “the end of the world,” a place where “visitors were very, very welcome.” Beginning every October, she scanned the sky for the red plane bearing the most welcome visitor of all: the Flying Santa, hero to lighthouse children from Maine to Long Island.

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Warm Winter Reads

The Chatham School Affair
by Thomas H. Cook
Bantam, 1997

Travel back to the 1920s as the narrator recounts a life-changing year of love and murder in a mystery that takes place in Chatham when an all-boys school hires Elizabeth Channing, the school’s first, and last, art teacher. “It was first published in 1997, but remains one of my best-selling ‘local flavor’ books,” says Mark Leach of Now Voyager Bookstore and Gallery in Provincetown. Read more…

Let There Be Light

Let there be Light For Provincetown and even beyond, it’s definitely a symbol that Thanksgiving is here. It’s always the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The lights always go on at 6 p.m., and it’s always kind of a surprise to see who’s going to light the monument.

It’s definitely a time when the town is hopping. We probably had over 1,200 people at last year’s lighting event. Little by little, it becomes big—the museum fills and the crowd swells outdoors. Unfortunately, the weather’s always a little unpredictable. Sometimes it’s a little cold.

We’ve had rain and we’ve had snow. Last year was pretty good—it was blustery, but people enjoyed it. It’s a very brief ceremony. We don’t hold them out for long speeches. And as we say, there’s plenty of room in our 10,000-square-foot museum for people to warm up.

There are 19 strands of light and they each have 166 lights on them. The trivia is that it totals 3,154 lights. They’re all hand-put-in and hand-taken-out every year—Carlos Silva has done it for many, many years now. And they take a fair amount of abuse up here in the winds.

Clearly, the best seat is right up here [on High Pole Hill]. It’s kind of an unprecedented view, and you’re up here with a thousand of your closest friends. It can be seen from afar—people can watch from downtown—but the real treat, I think, is up here on the grounds of the monument.

People sometimes come dressed up as pilgrims—the whole garb. One time we actually had two people that had gotten married here talk all of their family into coming as pilgrims.

I think it symbolizes the beginning of winter. It marks that change of the seasons, when those of us that live on the Cape kind of reclaim the Cape. The lighting certainly brings tourism in, but it’s a chance for residents of Cape Cod to assemble and have a moment of cheer before the Thanksgiving holidays. It’s preparation for everyone, to know that winter’s coming. It’s a bright moment.

Visit www.pilgrim-monument.org for more information about Share the Light 2011.

Riding the Holiday Rails

Riding the Holiday Rails

The gentle clickety-clack rocking while passengers take in panoramic views of cranberry bogs, salt marshes, and quaint Cape Cod villages transports riders on the Cape Cod Central Railroad holiday excursions to a world far removed from the season’s hustle and bustle. From elegant dinners and dramatic murder mysteries to magical rides on the North Pole Express, travelers of all ages can ramble on Cape Cod’s generations-old tracks and experience the romance of the rails.

On the Thanksgiving Dinner Train, departing from Hyannis at 1 p.m. on Nov. 24, the passing scenery of hidden Cape Cod creates a captivating setting as the train makes its way toward the canal and over the railroad bridge, before returning to Hyannis three hours later. Bring an appetite: A leisurely five-course meal featuring a choice of traditional turkey, pistachio-encrusted salmon, herb-encrusted tenderloin crevette, or vegetarian roast vegetable manicotti is served onboard.

On Dec. 2, 3, and 4, the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce sponsors seven trips for children and families aboard the North Pole Express as part of its Holly Days festivities. During the 45-minute ride from Sandwich to West Barnstable—Cape Cod’s North Pole—Santa strolls through the train and his helpers read The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. When they arrive at the North Pole, volunteer elves and reindeers greet the children at a tent where they enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and have their picture taken before returning to Sandwich station. “The children firmly believe they have been to the North Pole and back,” says Dede Kiely, Cape Cod Central Railroad vice president for sales and marketing. All children receive a bell as a memento of their trip.

Grown-ups have their own fun on the Murder Mystery Train, which takes place on Dec. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. Costumed cast members from the Cape Cod Cabaret mingle with guests during a five-course dinner as they try to solve a Dickens-themed murder. “It has a good plot and festive holiday music,” Kiely says. “And usually, someone gets decked in the halls.” For information and reservations on the dinner trains, visit www.capetrain.com or call (508) 771-3800. To reserve a seat on the North Pole Express, visit www.sandwichchamber.com.
–Susan Spencer

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