Harvest Home

As I write this in early August, my vegetable garden is about to burst with tomatoes, squash, and basil. I have so many cucumbers that I plan to make jars of sweet pickles to give to out-of-town guests when they arrive on the Cape for our son’s September wedding. I will also be harvesting some sunflowers for the wedding—one variety that we planted is so tall it towers over my head. It has been an amazing summer for gardening—day after day of warm sunshine, followed by brief cooling showers. It is a perfect recipe for garden plentitude. Read more…

The Privilege of Feeling at One with the Natural World

People ask what it is that I do when I am on the island of Cuttyhunk. My answer: as little as possible! Read more…

Stop the World... I Wanna Get Off

We are most fortunate to have the summer weather we have on the Cape and Islands. The old timers in Maine describe their year as “nine months of winter and three months of damn poor sleddin’.” However, summer is a short time on the Cape and Islands as well. We long for it much of the year, and now that it’s here, as they say in Rome, carpe diem, or seize the day. Read more…

Dine With Us!

One of the best things about being on the Cape and Islands is the huge buffet of dining choices that extend from the canal all the way to the tip of Provincetown. Everyone seems to have their favorite choices, although year after year thousands of Cape Cod Life readers do seem to agree on such winners as Best Fried Clams, Best Pizza, or Best Romantic Restaurant in our annual Readers Poll. Read more…

Summer Healing Summer Healing

I am not kidding when I tell people that I have the best job on Cape Cod. There are many times—especially during the summer months—when I think how lucky I am to get paid to do things like cruise around Nantucket’s waters on a big ship, watching stately yachts compete in the Opera House Cup. That is what I was doing in the photo on the right while watching the races aboard the beautifully restored Nantucket Lightship last summer. Read more…

A Perfect Day That's Worth the Cost

Where can we find the Cape and Islands at their essence? Step outside, inhale deeply, and look around. It’s right in front of us.

A Perfect Day That's Worth the Cost

Getting outdoors in the summer is what we wait all year for. In the spring, we fork over paychecks for a Thule rack and fix the dings on the gear in our basement. We cut back on carbs and hit the gym to get the looks and the stamina to enjoy the warmest months. We book the cottage and give thanks for so few snow days piled on to our kids’ school calendar. We count ourselves among the lucky because we found a mooring. Read more…

Beholding Beauty

If there is one thing I have learned as the editor of Cape Cod ART, it is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Everyone, it seems, has a different idea about what makes a work of art compelling. This truism was underscored for me again when our staff reviewed possible cover choices for this issue.

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Camp Memories

There is something about camps and cottages that seems the essence of Cape Cod and the Islands. Everyone seems to have a story about a special place where they spent part of a summer, from vacation cottages to cherished family camps perched on the edge of beaches or at the end of wooded sandy roads.

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Best of Memories

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.”

My best,


Brian Shortsleeve, President and Publisher

Our 20 BEST OF Years…and Counting!

Best of Years

This summer,  Cape Cod Life is celebrating the 20th anniversary of our Best Of Readers’ Awards poll.

Since 1992, we’ve reached out to our readers for their Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket favorites. In our first Best Of issue, voters mailed back paper ballots with hand-written choices for attractions, beaches, and restaurants in just 16 categories. This spring, the voting is completely digital and the categories have expanded considerably to include 50 categories for everything under the sun. Read more…

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