Our Fall Life

Autumn on Cape Cod and the Islands is a special time, treasured by year-rounders and “shoulder-season” visitors alike. The earth, sea, and sky are often glorious panoramas of light, shadow, and color, as if Mother Nature saved summer’s end for stunning grand finale fireworks. Skies are suffused with brilliant purples and blues, seaside meadows, backyard gardens, and even deck planters burst into rainbows of color, marshes turn golden, and cranberry bogs are so incredibly scarlet that you can’t believe such a color is real.

It is a time of year that never grows old, a surprising treat especially for those of us who work round the clock all summer spreading the word about this place we love. “Just wait until September comes,” we say to each other as we envy this world on vacation all around us—visitors relaxed on beaches, barefoot at ice cream stands, strolling through shops. “Come back in October,” we say to friends who hate to head back over the bridge to America—the real world—and life without an ocean and a bay, miles of dunes, bogs round every corner, and the light, the uplifting light all around us.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard people say, “September and October are the best months of the year on the Cape and Islands.” Aside from the autumnal beauty of nature, there are also dozens of seafood festivals, craft fairs, art gallery openings, and outdoor concerts in all 17 Cape and Islands’ communities in the autumn. In this issue, we tell you about lots of those events, from that perennial favorite, Bourne’s Scallop Festival, to Wellfleet’s incredibly popular OysterFest, and out to Nantucket’s third annual gourmand Hogtoberfest.

In this issue, we also explore the wealth of Cape Cod’s multi-season art world in our feature on talented Rowley Gallery artist Lorraine Trenholm (don’t miss her oil painting demo in Orleans on September 24th!), take you along through the thrills and chills of a ghostly tour in historic Barnstable, and keep you warm on cool fall days with fresh bread and roll recipes from Cape and Islands bakers. And if you spent too much time in our famous summer sun, we even share hints from local skin care doctors and professionals on how to rejuvenate your skin.

In our new Social Life section, we share some snap shots of last summer’s fun. Be sure to take a look at one of the highlights of my summer—my first fishing trip ever as part of a fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society, I had the thrill of landing a whopper of a striped bass off Nantucket. The above photo is a preview of that moment. And that’s just the beginning of the fun and fabulous tales we share with you in this issue of your Cape Cod LIFE.

Come back again soon,

May 2011

High on the Hog

Let’s face it:
Our language has given pork a pretty bad rap. If you eat too much and feel sick, you are “pigging out.” Corrupt politicians are known for their “pork belly” deals. If you live in a messy place, it’s called a “pigsty.” We raise our ire at road hogs and male chauvinist pigs. And then there’s The Bible’s famous “Cast not your pearls before swine.”

Read more…

The Art of Living Well

Creativity seems to flourish on Cape Cod and the Islands. Maybe it’s because we live surrounded by water—life seems to ebb and flow here without boundaries, a perfect environment for an artistic imagination.

Think about last year’s American Idol star and Marstons Mills native, Siobhan Magnus. An artist without limits if ever there was one, Siobhan’s multi-octave voice soared above every other contestant’s, sometimes sounding like an osprey’s wild call. Siobhan is just the latest in a long line of Cape and Islands song birds. Dan Dewey

Five sisters from Wellfleet are continuing that tradition. Their band, the Parkington Sisters, is playing to sold-out concerts nation-wide. One of the sisters, Sarah, describes growing up in a house with “a basement full of instruments—there were pianos, banjos, you name it.”  The five girls hold seven musical degrees and their band is becoming a big name on national tours. Read about Sarah, Nora, Lydia, Rose, and Ariel on page 42.

We continue our celebration of performing artists with a story about Osterville native Neil Mahoney. “Neil Mahoney was just one of thousands that head to Los Angeles each year in search of . . . the spotlight,” says Rob Conery on page 46. “Mahoney thought he had a story to tell. But unlike most, he’s now a bona fide film director. Mahoney found his own path to Hollywood . . . In 2010, one of his on-line films won a prestigious award.”

Talk about fame—one of our talented editorial interns, Lindsay Oliver, got the chance of a lifetime this summer, when she interviewed The Bachelorette TV star and Cape native, Chris Lambton. Lindsay talked to Chris just weeks before hearts broke with the news that he is engaged. Get up close and personal with Chris on page 38—you will enjoy Lindsay’s story.

Lastly, in this issue we welcome you to a new section, “Living Well.” Our story on Cape Cod Hospital traces this busy healthcare center’s rise as one of New England’s busiest and best hospitals, kicking off a series on healthy living on the Cape and Islands.

To show you that I am doing my own personal best to live healthy, the above photo was taken in my vegetable garden in early July. You may remember the shot  taken in my just-planted garden in our May issue. I am pretty thrilled with the organic goodness that has been bursting from our little patch of Cape Cod. Luckily, my husband is a good sport about my passion for fresh vege-tables—although he does draw the line at my love for Brussel Sprouts.

Good Living, Susan Sig 7-08


Oh, to Pick the Perfect Pepper!

Susan Dewey There is something so elemental about vegetable gardening, putting a simple seed in the ground, watering and watching over it until one day a tiny green sprout appears. I can still remember the excitement I felt when I planted a row of radishes in my first vegetable garden. One of the easiest, quickest vegetables to grow, the sprouts popped up, flourished in no time at all and soon plump red radishes formed, perfect for salads.

I planted that first vegetable garden when I was around 30, in a small space beside our house on the Mount Hope Bay.  I was lucky enough to inherit the garden from a previous organic gardener who had prepared the soil really well, removing all the sod and New England stones, digging down several feet, and adding lots of well-rotted manure and organic matter to the soil.

Gardening by the salt water is a gift—vegetable plants seem to love the warm moist air. That first year, besides the radishes, I grew several different kinds of lettuce, fat Early Girl and Better Boy tomatoes, sturdy basil—I even had some pretty good peppers. With our two small children, I used to spend hours in the garden. I was hooked, as were my children, who used to love helping me weed, rake, plant, and especially water, the garden. I thought vegetable gardening was a breeze.

Susan Dewey

I soon learned that in addition to patience, gardening can teach you humility. My next vegetable garden was in a field behind our new home in Central Massachusetts. As soon as we moved in, I started dreaming of my huge new garden, even envisioning perfect swaying rows of corn.Perhaps I should have listened to the man in his 80s, a devoted gardener, who had grown up in our house, tilled gardens there for decades, and who had a 1930s degree from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMASS Amherst.

Susan Dewey “Well, you can try,” said Fred, a lean New Englander with a strong handshake. “I never had much luck getting anything to grow there—except gourds. Everyone loved my gourds for their Thanksgiving tables. It’s pretty wet back there and you really can’t plant to August, but give it a try.”

Still in my early 30s, I believed I could get anything to grow anywhere if I tried hard enough, so I forged ahead. Our helpful neighbor plowed and tilled the field with his tractor, my small son seated beside him, watching the dark earth appear in beautiful orderly rows like magic. The garden looked so fertile, as if anything could grow there. We excitedly planted row after row of corn, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

It was a disaster. The corn plants were spindly and collapsed. The tomato plants rotted. I think we had a few puny zucchini, most of which got eaten by a huge healthy woodchuck that lived in the woods behind us. Sick at heart, I faced the fact that Fred was right. The soil in the field was very wet, full of clay, and terrible for growing anything but gourds that only flourished because by August, the soil had dried out enough for germination.

After that, I kind of gave up on vegetable gardening, except for a few planters of patio tomatoes and some pots of basil and parsley. Instead, I tackled the old perennial gardens around our yard, planted with drifts of iris, peonies, wildflowers, and daylilies, which thrived and bloomed happily year after year. But every summer, I longed for the taste of my own fresh vegetables.When we moved to Cape Cod several years ago, my son decided that we should have a vegetable garden. Something about gardening as a toddler must have taken root in him and he is a landscape contractor now.

With his knowledge from a Stockbridge degree, he prepared the soil carefully in a somewhat neglected plot on the other side of our driveway, piling dark rich compost from a local supplier into sandy Cape soil.

Susan Dewey At the center of the garden, he made a small decorative flower out of paving stones, brought back from a stay in New Orleans, when he helped the city replant its parks after Hurricane Katrina. In neat rows we planted some old standbys—tomatoes, lettuce, basil, and carrots. A more adventuresome gardener than I, he planted things like cilantro and arugula.

Our first garden, planted in 2008, was pretty successful. In 2009, we were devastated by the tomato blight that hit gardens all over New England, but we had arugula and cilantro galore. Last summer, the garden began to really take hold. The kale and zucchini plants exploded, taking over the beds. The Better Boy tomatoes were so plentiful I had enough to share with friends and co-workers and ended up freezing container after container, great for winter spaghetti dinners.

We had colorful “Rainbow Lights” swiss chard, tasty fat brussels sprouts, sweet cucumbers—and lots of basil and arugula, which I have discovered I cannot live without. I am still struggling with peppers and my broccoli was a disaster, but all in all, my latest vegetable garden was the most successful ever.

I hope that if I live a few more decades—say to 80 or so—I will figure out how to grow a perfect pepper. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Although I am an old man, I am but a young gardener.” Or who knows? Maybe by then I’ll have learned that it’s okay to settle for nothing more than a harvest of gorgeous gourds for our Thanksgiving table.


When Words Bloom

When our publisher, Brian Shortsleeve, suggested that we launch Cape Cod GARDENS as a new April Cape Cod LIFE issue, I could not believe my luck.  I can work in my Cape Cod garden by the hour without any sense of time. I am imagining bright red tomatoes, rows of vibrant basil, glimmering mounds of zucchini, billowing hydrangea, and perfect velvet-petaled roses as I plant, weed, and prune. I do not stop until the spring, summer, or fall sun goes down, or a blister develops on my hand, or my family and the dog wander by, wondering about a meal. Reluctantly, then, I put down my tools and turn off the story in my head. But I know I can pass through that gate again tomorrow into that imaginary world.

The same thing happens to me when I am writing .  When I am writing at the office and it is going well, I do not hear phones ringing or coworkers talking. I am in whatever world I am creating and reality moves without boundaries just before a blinking cursor on my computer screen. Often, I don’t realize that the day is almost over until it starts to get dark in my office and I notice that my coworkers are heading home. This is what happens when you do not care how many hours it takes to help create a magazine with words and pictures as if it were a garden full of sight, color, and experiences so vivid that others can know it with you.

In this issue, you will see some of my garden world. Just as it is a joy for me to share this passion with you, one of the Cape’s best known garden writers, C.L.Fornari takes you through the world of growing roses, her knowledgeable words guiding you down the path to growing that perfect seaside rose. When C.L. writes about gardening, you can tell that she loves her job, too.

Our photographers move you into the natural world on Cape Cod and the Islands, their images caught in flashes of glory on these pages, so vivid that you want to reach out and touch that hot chartreuse beach grass along a wooded Nantucket path, where a gardener is following his vision of plants and stones and glimmering koi in a small pond…

I hope our very first Cape Cod GARDENS helps you shape your own garden world, perhaps with a little bit of Cape Cod and the Islands beauty from these pages in it, some bright lilies seen in this issue beside a Nantucket pond, or my favorite nasturtiums by our back door dancing in the golden light of a Cape Cod afternoon.

Happy gardening,
Home Spring 2011

Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor


Our Life’s Canvas

Our Lifes Canvas

One of the best things about living on Cape Cod is the diversity of its art world. There are artists of many kinds on the Cape and Islands, and the depth of their talents make it hard to choose who to profile in our arts edition. Some of the people profiled on these pages were suggested to me by friends, co-workers, and other artists. I have met some of them personally at cultural events. I wish that we had endless pages to present more of their work—it is always hard to pick photos reflecting an artist’s talent. Read more…

Summer Dreams

“Although the location was ideal, the old house was in terrible disrepair—a drab, dark shell with little personality . . . the windows were rotted, mold had set in, the electrical system was outdated, and a colony of mice had taken up residence in the walls.”

When I read this description in one of this issue’s stories about a Chatham fishing cottage’s transformation into a coastal retreat, I shivered a little. I could imagine the rotting windows, smell the mold—writer Nancy Berry paints a compelling picture of a Connecticut couple’s ability to envision a lovely getaway for summer days in Chatham Harbor.

Summer Dreams

One of the best things about this job is that I get great ideas for our own Cape house from the stories written so artfully by writers like Nancy. Ideas like “She actually painted the floor with a sea foam green rug design accented with sail rope and native seashell motifs” (the background image seen here) become wishes that I write down for the day when we decide to redesign our old Cape. I look at clean, sun-washed rooms painted in serene sea tones in this story’s photos and I wistfully imagine the day when our house might look as lovely as that featured in “Tide and Time” on page 26.

It makes me smile when I read that the new cottage’s “stairs are spattered, a traditional paint treatment found in older New England homes.” Many of the floors in our house are spattered, bright patterns still gleaming on ancient wide pine floors despite wear and tear from generations of sandy bare feet, like those of my children, who perfected walking in this house when they were tiny. I wish that I could hire someone like Marsha Malone of Chatham’s Nautique to transform the marvelous bones of our old house into a brighter, less cluttered, more serene oasis.

It would also be wonderful to have the imaginative vision to decorate my house on my own, like Brenda Lee, whose amazing Hyannisport cottage is like something out of a movie or a fairytale. “I’m not afraid to use color, and I wanted there to be a surprise in every room,” says Brenda, who designed a colorful, fun kitchen around existing red formica counters bold against “nacho cheese yellow” walls. Brenda, a friend who also gardens with painterly profusion, inspires me—some of her ideas are in my House Wishes notebook, too.

Maybe someday I will share thoughts here on what we should do with our outdated kitchen, how we should redecorate the living room. Until then, I hope you enjoy reading about lots more inspiring stories for home and garden in our summer issue. And let me know if your house has a story and ideas that we should share on the pages of Cape Cod HOME.

Best wishes,

Susan Dewey

Summer Breezing

It took summer a long time to show up on the Cape and Islands this year. At our house in Centerville, we didn’t really get into the swing of life outdoors until Memorial Day. On the morning of the Barnstable Parade, which winds right past our house, we were still scrubbing the cobwebs off the lawn furniture. Even though I am writing this on a sunny June day, it is still cool here in the mornings—when we woke up it was 48 degrees out and the furnace came on. Still, the sun is shining and I know that by noon, Craigville Beach will fill with sunbathers.
As a child growing up in a Mount Hope Bay town called Touisset, one of our rites of summer was getting our sailboats ready for launching. My siblings and I would spend hours scraping, caulking, and sanding our Beetle Cat and sometimes helping Dad work on his Herreshoff 15. We lived on a long street beside the bay and when the boats were ready, neighbors and friends helped roll the boats into the water. That was when summer started for us, the beginning of long days, free on the boundless water. SusanSailboat_001 copy
Today, I love the sight of Beetle Cats—it seems every Cape and Islands harbor has a handful. Last summer, I was lucky enough to sail around the Opera House Cup off Nantucket and I will never forget my first sight of the Rainbow Fleet, the island’s cherished collection of Beetle Cats, each with its own brightly colored sail. Take a look at Terry Pommett’s splendid photos of the fleet in our Great Outdoors section. And if you get a chance, go see the fleet on parade.
We continue this issue’s Outdoor Living theme with Managing Editor Jeff Harder’s fascinating story on a professional surfboard shaper—a Cape Codder who is making waves around the world. And freelance writer Donna Scaglione shares some treasured Cape bike rides for cyclists who want to hit the road.
Wherever you find summer outdoors on the Cape and Islands, I am sure there will be days like this one, when you need to pull on an extra fleece to greet the sun warming chilly mornings on Cape Cod or burning the fog away on Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. That is why we love this place so—summer here is spectacular, yet fleeting, a gift of anticipation that keeps us warm all year-round.
And speaking of gifts, I hope you will enjoy my mother’s story about long-ago summer days on the Cape in our Pages of History section. She is the one who set my sails for loving life—and writing about it—on Cape Cod.
How great for all of us to be able to finally say . . .
Happy Summer!
Cheers, Susan Sig 7-08

Nantucket’s Finer Union

Cape Cod Life When you meet innkeeper Ken Withrow at his highly regarded bed and breakfast, Nantucket’s Union Street Inn, it is obvious that this is a guy who loves his job—which is probably the reason why Union Street is a perennial award-winner in travel and lifestyle magazines from coast to coast.

On a warm June morning, Ken welcomes guests to Union Street’s outdoor dining patio nestled beneath a green hillside of ivy and sheltering trees in one of the island’s elegant neighborhoods right off Main Street. While guests start off their day with heaping plates of pancakes bursting with blueberries or fresh salmon cool with cucumbers on fresh bagels (Union Street is the only B&B to offer complete gourmet breakfasts on Nantucket) Ken walks from table to table.

“What would you like to do today,” this urbane, former Manhattanite says to guests who look rested and happy having slept in one of Union Street’s 12 rooms in this painstakingly restored 1770s antique residence. Each room here is a masterpiece of carefully selected furnishings and amenities, ultra-comfortable beds beside fireplaces piled high with Frette linens, baths gleaming with imported Italian marble. Read more…

Our Life’s Canvas

Our Lifes Canvas

One of the best things about living on Cape Cod is the diversity of its art world. There are artists of many kinds on the Cape and Islands, and the depth of their talents make it hard to choose who to profile in our arts edition. Some of the people profiled on these pages were suggested to me by friends, co-workers, and other artists. I have met some of them personally at cultural events. I wish that we had endless pages to present more of their work—it is always hard to pick photos reflecting an artist’s talent.

Of course my own personal taste in art influenced the selection of the artists profiled in this edition, as did that of our Contributing Editor Mary Grauerholz, and our Art Director Patty Dysart. We poured over the images sent to us and sometimes disagreed with each other’s choices, but for the most part the paintings, sculpture, fine jewelry, and handiwork on these pages represents a wonderful array of talent encompassing as many styles and mediums as there are creatures in our ocean.

If you are like me, you will look at this issue and long for a Paul Schulenburg or a John Clayton to hang on your wall. Patty Dysart loved the work of Francie Randolph, but after reading Francie’s story, Patty felt that the paintings the Truro artist submitted did not accurately reflect her talents. Patty took the time to contact the artist for more examples of her work. The end result is a profile where the images and the text, written by our talented contributing editor and wordsmith, Mary Grauerholz, come together beautifully.

When it came to choosing the cover for this issue, I asked Patty to design six or seven potential covers to be displayed in Cape Cod Life’s lunch room and asked the staff members (including our Publisher Brian Shortsleeve, who always jokes that he gets at least TWO votes for a cover) for their opinions. We went through several viewings before we chose Jack Goldsmith’s iconic Cape Cod painting of three little girls playing on a bright Cape Cod beach. Something about this painting spoke to everyone.

Whatever your taste, I hope you will be dazzled by this array of art that spans all styles, mediums, and price points, yet is uniquely of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. This issue is its own diverse work of art—just like this ever-surprising coastal world we all love.

With artful best wishes,

Susan Dewey
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