Speaking of “the best,” I would like to write a few words about Marianna Lynch.
In A Backwards Glance, Edith Wharton quoted Henry James: “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” Read more…
During our school years, summer job experiences are important in many ways. Read more…
FOR MANY YEARS, ONE OF MY HOBBIES HAS BEEN COLLECTING history shots of the Cape and Islands. Read more…
"It is Only With the Heart that One Can See Rightly; What is Essential is Invisible to the Eye"
If you think about it, when we go on vacation, we realize how little we really need on a material level. Time spent needing little on the outside provides opportunity to consider on a more personal level—say, an internal level—how much or how little we really need. Quiet time puts us in touch with ourselves, further enabling us to be in touch with others. What really comes between people is not space and time so much as a lack of space and time to be in touch with ourselves. And when we are strangers to ourselves, we are strangers to others. Read more…
Five minutes from our home as part of Cataumet Crossing, where our son Max, now 15, works summers, sits Michael’s Barber Shop. A few years ago, Mike Flemming bought the business from Wayne Fredrick, a popular and very respected barber and stylist. Like Wayne before him, Mike is very personable and makes friends with you and your whole family. When I am there, Mike picks up the conversation where we left off last time, usually following the exploits of my sons, Max, and Josh, now 18. It is not just small talk: he is sincerely interested and you can feel it. Read more…
People ask what it is that I do when I am on the island of Cuttyhunk. My answer: as little as possible! Read more…
As the June issue of Cape Cod Life was headed to the printer, my 90-year-old mother died very peacefully in the company of those who loved her. At the funeral, my brother Kevin and I were each invited to speak “some words of remembrance.” In honor of all our mothers, I would like to share with you what I said and read. Read more…
My first visit to Cape Cod was in 1955 when I was eight years old. For two weeks in August, my family rented an older three-story “cottage” in the village of Old Craigville within walking distance of Craigville Beach in Centerville. The house was right across the street from tiny Lake Elizabeth, with a small dock where my brother Mike and I would go fishing. Of course, we were not allowed to go on the dock without my parents’ permission. My younger brother John went without permission and I reported this to my mother. John was angry with me and told me I didn’t have to do that. I told him that just because I had a lot of freckles he didn’t have to call me “a speckled hen.”
Old Craigville was magical. On the village green, there were organized volleyball games in the evening. There was also a penny candy store, a tiny post office, and a gracious old multistory inn. My grandmother and great aunts stayed at the inn part of the time we were there, and they would take us kids out to breakfast at the inn. All of this was only a short walk from Craigville Beach where we spent most days. A wonderful, tree-canopied walking path ran between the cottage connecting the village green to a huge bluff overlooking the beach. At night, this walkway was lit by the glowing lamps of bordering cottages, alive with laughter and music.
As the family grew, we spent more time on the Cape and the older children, of whom I am one, got summer jobs at Craigville Beach. We were lifeguards, short-order cooks, waitresses, and parking lot attendants. Evenings were busy with ping-pong in the game room, touch football on the beach, and visits to the 1856 Country Story in Centerville and Four Seas Ice Cream parlor. I learned to sail, won some races, and started a business teaching sailing and renting out small sailboats. In 1964, I was being paid five dollars an hour to go sailing. Maybe I should have stuck with that.
During my college years, I learned how to chart a course and handle a sloop large enough for cruising. A few friends and I chartered a boat out of Mattapoisett and sailed to Nantucket, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Menemsha, and Cuttyhunk. I knew then that eventually I would have to have my own boat and that the Cape and Islands would always be a very important part of my life. Of course, the first cruise was not without incident. The only crew member that could not swim fell overboard when we were moving at a pretty good clip coming out of Vineyard Haven Harbor. Fortunately, he was wearing a life jacket, and we did get him back aboard.
Right after college, I bought a Hobie Cat Catamaran sailboat. It was only 14 feet long and had a trampoline for a deck, connecting two pontoons. Heavens to Murgatroyd was that thing fast! We would trailer to Town Cove in Orleans and sail out of the channel to the ocean facing Nauset Beach. We would sail in close to the beach, and then with the southwest wind at our backs, we would turn out and head into the oncoming waves. The best part was when the entire boat would fly off of a wave and completely leave the surface of the water. We wore wetsuits because it was a wet ride, and thankfully by that time the same crew member had learned to swim.
In 1976, I became a year-round Cape Codder and in 1979 founded Cape Cod Life magazine in hopes of sharing my love of the Cape and Islands with many readers. During the 80s, I met my wife, Judy, with whom I have been most fortunate to share my love of the Cape and Islands ever since. We were married on our beloved island of Cuttyhunk in June 1990. Our boys Josh and Max were born in ’94 and ’97, and we built a new home in ’99. The boys have grown up on the water and I just love to see them both handling boats so well. They sail, they motor boat, and they navigate, in and out of the fog. And, they can both swim.
“The memories we collect and give Brighten our lives as long as we live.”
Brian Shortsleeve, President and Publisher
“Have you had any fun lately?” That is what my brother Connor had the nerve to ask me when we sat down for lunch together. His question gave me cause for pause. I needed a little time to think about what fun means to me nowadays. Operating a small publishing company amidst the economic conditions of recent years has been, shall we say, pre-occupying. So, I thought about his question. Read more…
Following my first long weekend on Cuttyhunk I reported to the Cape Cod Life staff that, “Now, I am permanently relaxed.” Ohh, the ssoundz of the ssurff are soo sooothing.
On the evening of the day we arrived, my wife, Judy, and I drove our golf cart to the highest point on the island just before sunset. Along with maybe a half dozen other sunset devotees, we inhaled, absorbed and lingered in the magical, pastel atmosphere enshrouding the island. From Buzzards Bay to Block Island Sound in the west, all the way up to the Cape Cod Canal, and then down to the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard in the east, the water was calm, the sky was clear, and the colors were soft.
In the morning accompanied by our black Lab, Sam, Judy and I walk on Barge’s Beach, from the MV/Cuttyhunk ferry dock to the Canapitsit Channel. There is always a significant tidal current running through this narrow passageway separating Cuttyhunk from the island of Nashawena. Both shores are lined with rocks and the large rolling and crashing waves at the entrance to the channel have proved at times to be treacherous for passing mariners. However, the salt-laden, energy charged atmosphere is both enticing and enthralling. Seen from a slight distance a spray mist billows above the rocky shore awash in surging surf.
Toward the end of the summer day, I find my way to a secluded spot for a refreshing dip. I don’t actually swim; I prefer to float or stand still in water deep enough to cool me down and feel myself decompress. I am reminded of my father; when I was young, this late-in-the-day ritual was one of his also.
On the evening of the full moon, I relished the moonrise over Menemsha across Vineyard Sound. Everything was very peaceful and the lighted moonbeam on the sound reached seven miles from Martha’s Vineyard to the coast of Cuttyhunk. It is unusual when we experience a few minutes of such natural beauty that it occurs to us that we don’t want it to end.
Following long weekends my son Max, 14, would go home with me because we both had to return to work. Max has been enjoying his job at the Cataumet Light Mini Golf and Bumper Boats. I told Max I really appreciated his help going back and forth to Cuttyhunk. He is very capable and very comfortable with everything aboard our boat, including navigating in a heavy fog.
I was proud to see my 17-year-old son, Joshua’s, photograph of the Long Point Lighthouse in Provincetown Harbor as the front cover of our August issue. When Editor Susan Dewey and Art Director Chrissy Caskey first showed me the photo for the cover, I did not realize that Josh was the photographer. To see “The Cape Cod National Seashore Celebrates 50 Years” featured on the cover and learn that Josh took the cover photo created a special moment for me.
Although I was just finishing grammar school at the time, my love affair with Cape Cod had begun and I was a fan of President Kennedy when he signed the national park legislation in 1961. I believe that the National Seashore has made an enormous contribution to the preservation of fragile beauty on Cape Cod. Since our first issue in 1979, Cape Cod Life has attempted to contribute to people’s awareness of and appreciation of the fragile beauty of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. So, in our 32nd year of publishing we feature the National Seashore 50th and my son provides the cover photo. It felt to me like a family milestone.
Speaking of family, as this issue goes to press, my sister, Mary, and Anthony Dorato are planning to be married on August 13th. My whole family is very happy for both Mary and Anthony. It took Mary years to find Anthony, someone as considerate, as caring and as intelligent as herself.