Before we lived on Cape Cod year-round, I wondered what it was like here in the winter-time. I used to think that after Labor Day, the Cape must be a ghost town. I imagined tumbleweeds of sea grass rolling down the empty streets of Hyannis, all the shops boarded up tight. I can remember asking a Centerville friend, “Is there any traffic at all here after Labor Day?” He looked at me with gentle frustration, having heard this question too many times before and said, “There really isn’t that much difference. There are still lots of people around.”
Of course, even though Hyannis continues to bustle all year-round and the rest of the Cape stays very busy during the “shoulder seasons,” Cape Cod’s natural world is very different in the winter time. In some ways, I like it even better then, when we walk the beaches alone, reveling in boundless expanses of sea and sky, streaked with icy silver in the low winter light. The cranberry bogs freeze sometimes and when we go skating, we can see next summer’s bushes branching beneath our feet.
During the holiday season, every town comes alive with Jolly Jaunts or Holly Days. At Centerville’s Christmas Stroll, parents and their children wait by the hour in a long line to see Santa Claus, a very merry man who gives every single child a stuffed animal. My husband and I have worked as Santa’s elves the last couple of years, putting treasures into eager hands. All along the village’s Main Street, volunteers roast sausages, serve hot chowder, make music, and spread a lot of cheer. It is always a magical time.
This issue is full of holiday enjoyment for all our readers. Find gift ideas Cape-wide, like the beautifully wrought, intricate kaleidoscopes created at Mashpee Common’s Cape Kaleidoscope, the elegant glimmering Cape Cod Christmas trees created by West Barnstable’s Pastiche of Cape Cod, or the array of new books at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. And if you’re looking to make your own gifts this Christmas, savor the sweet cranberry treat recipes cooked by Judy Shortsleeve, our publisher’s wife.
Cape Cod’s natural wonders may look different this time of year. But the people here during our winter season—in the villages, behind shop counters, holding the hands of Santa’s children—are the same. Wherever you are, over the bridge or beside us on a village street, we hope your spirit is warmed by this Cape Cod Life. All of us wish you a merry holiday season and a Happy New Year!
Best wishes,Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor, 508 419-7381, ext. 19, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Posted in Philanthropy
The small and unassuming exterior might lead one to think that the Samuel Fessenden House is just another historical home. But once inside the circa 1840 house on Main Street in Sandwich, a treasure trove of antiques and wonderful collections abound—and come Christmas, those treasures are on full display. Read more…
This well-known holiday symbol is actually one of the most diverse and intriguing members of the plant kingdom. Over the last 30 years, Cannon has managed to cultivate over 300 varieties of holly at his Brewster residence, and in the process has become known as Cape Cod’s Holly Man. Read more…
The Captain Ezra Nye house has been much more than a lovely home in its more than 180 years on Main Street in Sandwich. It has served as a dentist office, a boarding house, a law office, and a bed and breakfast over the years. Still, its essential inviting character has always endured. Last year, during the Sandwich Holly Days Home Tour, homeowners Ellen and George Park opened this historic home to let visitors experience that inviting character firsthand. Read more…
Home is a very important place during a Cape Cod and Islands winter. When the temperatures fall to freezing, the north winds howl, and the occasional snow falls, most of us long for a cozy refuge. All summer-long we have spent as much time as possible out in the elements, loving life on the beaches and the ocean. Home is a just a place we cruise through on our way outside. Then, usually sometime in late October, we wake up to the first frosty morning. We drag the lawn furniture into the garage, pull down the storm windows, dig out our sweaters, and hunker down for long days at home.
Many homeowners work especially hard during the holiday season to make their homes welcome havens for family and friends, full of comfort, festive decorations, and delicious cuisine. In this issue, we talk to two homeowners whose homes are show places during the holiday season. One homeowner uses everything she has to make her house a holiday wonderland, from a prized collection of antique blown glass to primitive antiques and folk art. Another turned to local interior decorators and shop owners to help her transform a historic home into a must-see on last year’s Sandwich Holly Days tour. For great ideas for your holiday decorating, be sure to take in this year’s Holly Days tour and others like it highlighted in this issue’s Fieldtrips.
Winter in the kitchen is such an emotionally evocative time, with favorite recipes taking center stage for eagerly anticipated celebrations like Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and Valentine’s Day. On the Cape and Islands, seafood is often the star of holiday meals, whether its clam chowder for busy family members on Christmas Eve or oysters and champagne for a special soiree with close friends on New Years Eve. In our Cape Kitchen section, we share a cherished recipe straight from Cape Cod for superb stuffed quahogs that will fill you up and keep you warm.
If you do need some invigorating time outdoors, don’t miss our story on Brewster’s holly man, Bill Cannon, who has transformed a one-acre Route 6A backyard into a holly fairyland. More than 300 varieties of holly are a botanical delight here, colorful berries in a rainbow of colors and bright foliage gleaming along winding paths, even on the darkest of winter days.
All of us at Cape Cod HOME wish you the happiest of holidays and a promising new year. And we hope this issue helps make your house even more of a home.
Associate Publisher & Editor, email@example.com
- Posted in Philanthropy
From Cape Cod’s earliest “half houses” to contemporary mansions, A History Through Houses: Cape Cod’s Varied Residential Architecture ($19.99) provides a glimpse into our region’s rich architectural heritage. Inspired by her fascination for Cape Cod’s historic architecture, author and native Cape Codder Jaci Conry guides the reader through this unique architectural world. Conry details the first homes that coined the “Cape Cod” style, explores Victorian and Gothic Revival homes, and gives fascinating details of two of the Cape’s first mansions: Highfield Hall in Falmouth and Fieldstone Hall, now part of Brewster’s Ocean Edge Resort. She also showcases today’s grand mansions and delves into Cape designs by world-renowned architects. Illustrated with black and white current and vintage photography, the book is a valuable resource for homeowners, historians, and students of the Cape’s quintessentially American architecture.For more information, go to www.historypress.net or call (843) 577-5971.
Old world charm and superb craftsmanship make these finely detailed Santas by Vallaincourt of Sutton, Massachusetts, the perfect gift for someone special on your holiday list. Fashioned from vintage chocolate molds by Judi and Gary Vallaincourt and a team of talented artisans, these hand-painted, one-of-a-kind Santa and Father Christmas collectibles range in price from $85 to $300. It’s easy to see why these Vallaincourt treasures are prized by collectors worldwide. Available at Kindreds Antiques and Folk Art in Osterville.Visit www.kindredsantiquesandfolkart.com for more information.
The 9th Annual Goreyfest & Gala in South Yarmouth. See the whole gallery →Visit www.edwardgoreyhouse.org for information on next year’s event.
Cape Cod has more than 1,000 nonprofit organizations. Add to that number the nonprofit groups located on the islands and just over the bridges, and you have an enormous cadre of workers – many of them volunteers – who are filling gaps in critical areas that include affordable housing, the environment, hunger, and healthcare. Below are seven of these groups, a small sampling but enough to demonstrate the great work that local nonprofits are accomplishing. Now, at the threshold of the holiday season, is a perfect time to show your support for these charities and your other favorite causes. Read more…
I’ve never been much of a walker, unless the journey included 18 holes featuring fairways, bunkers, and greens. When I did walk, I just about ran, as though the undertaking were something to endure-—think root canal surgery-—rather than to savor like a vintage wine. But exploring wonderful Cape Cod winter walks seemed like a fine idea, combining exercise, fresh air, and an opportunity for reflective isolation that is usually unavailable in these parts during peak summer season. Read more…