This year Cape Cod LIFE Publications celebrates its 35th anniversary. In 1979, Brian Shortsleeve, our publisher, had an idea for a magazine he thought readers and advertisers would like, one featuring compelling stories of the people, places, history—and food!—of Cape Cod and the Islands. The magazine would also display stunning images of the scenic region, from Nobska Light to Nauset Beach, from the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown to the Cape Cod Canal.
Brian started the magazine out of his home—for a little perspective, 1979 came one year after The Blizzard of 1978, a year before Cape Cod Potato Chips was founded, and a long time before the Internet, email, and digital photography. In addition to Cape Cod LIFE, over the years the company has added Cape Cod HOME and Cape Cod ART, and in 1995, launched capecodlife.com. For Brian, his staff, and his family—Judy, Josh, Max, and Sam, the family’s dog—the magazine has played a major role in their lives, and its production during the past three and one-half decades has been a true labor of love.
To commemorate this anniversary, we have approached the 2014 Annual Guide a little differently. We gathered 35 ‘fun facts’ about every town on Cape Cod as well as Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cuttyhunk Island. These ‘fun facts’ include historic events dating back to the arrival of the Pilgrims. We researched the Cape’s lighthouses too, when they were built and who the men and women were that staffed them. We looked at the many industries that have flourished here, from agriculture, fishing, and whaling, to catboats built for sailing; from gristmills and glassblowing, to the provision—for centuries—of fine dining and accommodation.
We also studied individuals and the contributions they have made over the years to the region, and the world. The list is long but it includes writer Thornton Burgess, pirate ‘Black Sam’ Bellamy, and the founder of the Harwich Junior Theater, Betty Bobp. President Obama has famously visited Martha’s Vineyard in recent years, while a century ago, President Grover Cleveland set up his ‘Summer White House’ in Bourne. Before them, Henry David Thoreau came for a visit, as did the Pilgrims, and perhaps—centuries before—the Vikings.
For fun, we tracked down some great spots to chat in Chatham, and a few of Dennis’s most prominent dentists. The project has also added some new terms to our vocabulary, and in the coming year we will try to incorporate ‘mooncusser’, ‘wharfinger’, ‘scow’, and ‘smudge pot’ into our intra-office communications.
Our editorial team has been aided tremendously in this project by our two fantastic interns: Lillian Lowe, a Barnstable High and Saint Michael’s College graduate, and Madeline Terrio, a B.H.S. junior. This work was challenging, but also a great deal of fun. We learned so much about the Cape and Islands—this beautiful place we love so much—about the history of the region, its culture, and its people. We’re planning a staff field trip next week to visit some of the spots we have only just learned of. After reading about them in the coming pages, hopefully you will too. Maybe we’ll see you out there, on Route 28 or Route 6A, or perhaps in Eastham, taking a trip down Memory Lane.
<strong>Matthew J. Gill</strong>, Managing Editor
Kitchen Things for the Home..
1. Drained of Ideas
Looking to add one last touch to your nautically themed home? Check out this sink strainer ($15.95) which features imagery from the sea. The topper design is hand cast from pewter, and the basket is stainless steel. Find this item at The Plum Porch, 181 Route 149 in Marstons Mills. For more information, visit plumporchonline.com, or call (508) 420-7118.
2. Service with a Sound
What’s fun, colorful, and capable of serving up a cool drink? A gurgle pot, that’s what. This unique item ($45) has been very popular at M. Brann & Co in Mashpee Commons lately. The pot features a fluid fish design, comes in several creative colors including cobalt, sunflower, and kiwi, and—the kicker—it ‘gurgles’ when you pour it. Great for a gift, the gurgle pot can be used for drink service, or to serve as a vase. For more information, call (508) 477-0299.
3. Hot item keeps serving areas cool
When you are serving lasagna or a casserole, keep the heat off your finished table with Stretch™ ($18), a collapsible heat-resistant pot stand by Joseph Joseph. Though capable of holding large pans and trays, the pot stand—available in black, pink, and green—makes storage easy as it collapses to 7 inches by 2-1/2 inches. Available at Sea Salt & Pepper at 466 Main Street in Chatham. For more information, visit seasaltnpepper.com, or call (508) 348-1864.
- Posted in Shopping
A Nantucket scrimshaw artist hand-crafts collectible Christmas ornaments.
For those unfamiliar with the craft, the art of etching or carving designs into whale’s teeth (ivory) or bone is known as scrimshaw, and those who practice this art are called scrimshaw artists or scrimshanders. Read more…
- Posted in Winter
A resourceful Osterville homeowner helps an architect and a builder design her multi-generational kitchen.
Imagine a new kitchen that is comfortable, spacious, and user-friendly for adults. Now, picture that same room as a safe, warm, and fun space for eight frequent, energetic visitors—who all happen to be grandchildren. Read more…
- Posted in Architecture
Cape residents, weather experts recall the New England Hurricane of 1938.
Ginny Dunham Hutchinson was 14 and a student at the Barnstable Senior/Junior High School when she and some friends walked to the beach on the afternoon of September 22, 1938. Read more…
Winter Photography Tips from our Professional Photographers.
Fearing neither wind, nor ice, nor sleet, nor snow, out into the elements, does the intrepid photographer, go. Read more…
My first 3 months working on Cape Cod, and for Cape Cod LIFE...
My first three months working on the Cape, and for Cape Cod LIFE, have been a blast. I’ve met a lot of interesting people (Charlie Tilton, Nan Stone), learned of several unique attractions (gurgle pots, a nudist campground), and had lunch at Panera approximately 28 times. Remember that number. Learning a new job and a new area, and commuting here from Quincy, and now Plymouth, the last 90 days has been quite the whirlwind for me. And, as a newcomer to the Cape, I’ve taken a few lumps.
One day in late August, for example, my sister invited me to visit her family at their vacation cottage in Dennisport. I printed out directions at the office, jumped in my car, and headed for the rotary near Mashpee Commons. Mapquest told me to turn onto Route 28 North to begin my journey. But, doesn’t ’28 North’ go to Falmouth, I thought, and wouldn’t ‘north,’ in general, bring me to Sagamore? I knew that my destination, Dennis, was basically to the east, but alas, there was no 28 East. I was confused.
I circled the rotary a few times, checking and rechecking signs. It is a busy spot, and it was rush hour. I heard some beeps. I’ve seen the map, and as I circled, I reflected in a roundabout way that if Chatham is the Cape’s elbow and Provincetown the fist, Dennis must be somewhere by the beefy biceps. After some hesitation and with some trepidation, I took the exit for Route 28 South, and muddled along for a mile or two.
Then I immediately began second-guessing the road signs, and myself. Falmouth is to the south, I thought, so why would 28N bring me there? To reach Dennis, in the east, I need to take 28S? Huh? I turned around.
Soon I found myself back at Mashpee Commons, circling the rotary, and feeling I had been there before. Pulling over, I clicked on the compass app on my iPhone. It confirmed I was indeed on Cape Cod, but it didn’t offer much more. Frustrated, I gathered myself, took a deep breath, and against my gut, headed northeast again aboard 28 South. I passed through the villiage of Osterville for the third time in the last 30 minutes.
Eventually, after battling through some traffic and road construction, and an upset equilibrium, I arrived at the cottage in Dennis with some drinks and limes, and a slightly sour disposition. I was an hour late. My explanation? I could offer only shrugged shoulders and headshakes. My niece and nephew cheered me some, with a bike and scooter tour of the complex, and hot dogs for dinner finished the job. I sat back in a lawn chair, and took a few minutes to reflect on my journey, and look back.
I had to look pretty far, too, because my first assignment was to write about 1938, and the great New England Hurricane. September 21st of this year marked the 75th anniversary of the hurricane, which is considered the most devastating to strike this region in modern times. The storm took the lives of nearly 700 people in Long Island, N.Y. and New England, and caused hundreds of millions in damage to homes, businesses, boats, trees, and more.
To learn more, I spoke with Blue Hill Observatory Executive Director Charles Orloff, a Yarmouth resident. I also interviewed ten Cape and Islands residents—all 82 or older—who lived through the storm, and shared with me their memories. Take a look at the article on page 30, and let me know what you think. And if you happen to see a driver circling the rotary in Mashpee in a small, yet stylish silver Hyundai Accent, bearing an upside-down, east-means-west expression, remember me, and hold your beep. I’ll get there. . . eventually.
Matthew J. Gill, Managing Editor
- Posted in Matt Gill's Blog
A vintage photography exhibit at the Cahoon Museum of American Art showcases Cape Cod in days past.
A lot can change over the course of a century, and nowhere is this truer than in the realm of photography. Read more…
- Posted in History
A rabbit species in distress finds a hospitable home on the Mashpee River Reservation.
For a better understanding of what the Trustees of Reservations’s latest project is all about, imagine for a moment, that you’re less than a foot tall. And furry. Read more…
- Posted in Nature