Every summer since 1992, we have asked our readers to take part in Cape Cod Life’s “Best of the Cape & Islands” Readers’ Poll. Recently, I dug out the very first Best Of issue to try and get a sense of what it was like to manage this annual deluge of data in the days before computers. Reading through that magazine, shown here in all its pre-digital glory, my eye was caught by a headline saying “Blank Ballots” in the Letters to the Editor section. The long-ago letter made me laugh out loud.
Apparently, a few of the thousands of paper ballots painstakingly printed by staff members, then mailed to subscribers, were sent out with ‘We Need Your Help” on one side and Best Of choices on the other. Several mailings were mistakenly sent out with blank ballot sides, prompting humorous responses from subscribers. My favorite line was that sent by an anonymous subscriber who simply responded to our query for help with a succinct one-line response; “You sure do!”
Believe it or nor, several of the people who worked on that long-ago Best Of still work for Cape Cod Life. When I asked them what it was like to handle the first Best Of results nearly 20 years ago, they simply rolled their eyes and said things like “I’ve blanked it out.” I gather it was quite a laborious process in the days before computers, taking months of work.
Year after year, Marianna Lynch, who is still our super-efficient office manager, made it her personal mission to do her personal best for every lucky winner. This year, Marianna’s job and that of everyone in the office who helps process more than 500 winners, was made miraculously easier when our IT Manager, Anthony DiSpezio, figured out how to streamline the online voting process. The end result was that we were able to double the amount of votes in our computerized ballot box this year.
Of course, readers in 1992 could never have imagined that they would be able to carry a miniature hand-held telephone to the beach and if they wanted to find the best places to eat, shop, picnic, or do just about anything on the Cape or Islands, all they would have to do is click on a picture of a Cape Cod Life Publications lighthouse app . . . and every 2011 Best Of winner would appear right before their eyes. As of this June, Cape Cod Life’s Apple iPhone app makes that possible for any one who wants to find the best of anything.
For all of us at Cape Cod Life, the excited responses from Best Of local businesses will always be our best reward. That and the sight of those shiny award plaques placed in windows all over Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. We haven’t figured out yet how to affix all those hundreds of shiny gold and silver stickers to the glossy plaques—but give us time.
May this summer be one of your Best Ofs ever!
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.
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.
Susan Dewey, Associate Publisher & Editor
People who have never been to Cape Cod can still envision a haven of tidy little clapboard houses, a sight so familiar to many that people from all over can picture what a “Cape” house looks like. From Florida to San Diego, you can find Capes in almost any neighborhood. The first Capes were built centuries ago to survive tough winters like the one that we are slogging through as I write this during the eighth winter storm we have endured this year.
Sitting beside a living room fire on a wild February day in our 250-year-old Cape, I try to imagine all the people who lived in this house before us. We are lucky enough to know who lived here for most of the last 100 years because my husband’s family has owned the house since the 1920s. We have heard that the house was owned for a long time before that by women—but we have not traced the home’s complete history all the way back to Captain Bearse, who built the house in 1730.
Still, I am grateful to those unknown Cape Codders who cared for this sturdy, compact home. It is built low to the ground with a crooked staircase to the second floor, which is tucked under the eaves for warmth. Every room in the original house hugs a big center chimney that still draws effortlessly. A mile from the ocean, the house faces south, placed there to capture every bit of sunlight on long winter days.
This house—just like the handsome new Wellfleet home featured in this issue—was built to make the most of the physical world around it, to exist in harmony with nature. Of course, our Captain Bearse wouldn’t know what you were talking about if you told him that his house had an environmentally sensitive footprint. But there is something wonderful about the fact that the Los Angeles architect who designed this issue’s sophisticated, yet comfortable Wellfleet home on the dunes returned to the wisdom of those who first loved this wild, fiercely natural place.
As the wind howls, I know that soon great grandmother’s lilacs will burst into bloom along our driveway, sweet promises of yet another spring unfolding outside our back door. The more things change, the more they stay the same—at least for those us lucky enough to live in a home of any kind on Cape Cod.
Associate Publisher & Editor,
Cuisine on the Cape and Islands is as varied—and as fascinating—as the region’s ever-changing weather. Whether you are hungering for an innovative entrée like American Seasons’ Seared Day Boat Scallops with Butternut Squash Puree, Bacon Cider Vinaigrette and Pickled Apples or wishing for a tasty comfort meal like the Beachmoor Inn’s Littleneck Clams with Lemon, Thyme, Pesto and Pasta, there are a bountiful array of options in restaurants from Buzzards Bay to Nantucket. We asked six chefs to share some of their favorite recipes that will delight your taste buds, no matter what Mother Nature is cooking up outside. Read more…
Cape Cod and the Islands have always been melting pots for people from different cultures, starting with the Pilgrims and simmering in a multicultural stew through the centuries. Recently on a walk through Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, I noticed that more than half of the conversations around me were in foreign languages—Spanish, French, Portuguese, and several Eastern European dialects that I didn’t recognize.
Perhaps its because we live in a community that attracts tourists from around the world, but it is notable how many people from far away places seem to settle here. Our newcomers bring with them tastes and talents and we all benefit from such additions to our lives as Portuguese and Asian-inspired food, galleries and shops full of art and collectibles by artists from China to Romania, and homes designed, built, and decorated by professionals and artisans with international flair.
In this issue of Cape Cod HOME, you will find a stunning Asian-style home tucked into the woods of Truro with interiors that look like something out of an ancient Eastern scroll. Designed by Chinese-born architect, Andrew Miao of Orleans’ Architectural Designs Inc., the flowing floor plan and soothing natural spaces of the house seem perfect for a coastal environment, even though the homeowners frequently sit cross-legged on the floor with dinner guests and the gardens do not feature billowing hydrangeas.
Cape and Islands’ kitchens have long tempted the taste buds of New Englanders who have learned to love our region’s seafood and local farm-grown fare transformed by international chefs. Mexico’s Carlos Reyes at the popular Naked Oyster in Hyannis has attracted crowds to the relocated Main Street spot with dishes like Wagyu flank steak and Sushi grade tuna in a spicy sriracha sauce. In this month’s feature, we asked our food consultant, Judy Shortsleeve, to contact six chefs from Bourne to Nantucket to contribute their favorite seafood recipes.
We have a new feature in this year’s annual guide, a Cape and Islands ACCENTS section offering products and services that will give your coastal home unique distinction—whether you are an architect from China, a chef from Mexico, or a lifelong New Englander puzzling over Eastern European conversations in the mall.
We would also like to share some news about diversifying our world that should excite our HOME readers. In April, we will publish our first ever Cape Cod GARDENS, a magazine dedicated to making our world a more beautiful place—inside and out. Follow news of GARDENS on our freshly designed web site, www.capecodlife.com—or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
Associate Publisher & Editor, email@example.com
“In 2010, the kitchen is the heart of every home,” says Rebecca Brown, Design Manager for Classic Kitchens and Interiors of Hyannis, the kitchen design and installation company of choice for the highly regarded Cape Cod architecture and construction firm Polhemus Savery DaSilva (PSD). The firm’s President, Peter Polhemus, says “For more than ten years we have engaged Classic Kitchens and Interiors for the majority of our projects. They are our preferred kitchen company because they provide consistently high quality design, products, installation, and service. As a firm that insists on working with consultants that share our commitment to thoughtful design and well-crafted construction, we find the relationship with Classic serves both us and our clients very well.” Read more…
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
Quahog. Just saying the word makes you smile. Of course, depending on whether you live in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, you might call this large hard-shell clam a “qua-haug” or a “qwo-hog.” The name actually comes from the Narragansett Indian name “Poquauhock,” but this culinary favorite’s Latin name is much fancier: Mercenaria mercenaria, derived from the word meaning “wages” because the Indians fashioned beads from the quahog’s purple inner shells for their currency, known as wampum.
- Posted in Food
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