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.

Most of us have, by this time, found our favorite “getaway corner of the world.” Somewhere on Cape Cod, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, or the Elizabeth Islands, we have discovered our “world apart.”

Stop the World... I Wanna Get Off

I love to walk the shore very early in the day without another soul in sight. As the beach stretches out in the distance, there is a natural curve in the shoreline. A very peaceful, enormous quiet is interrupted only by the intermittent soothing sound of the surf. The cool, shallow water rushes around my ankles. I stop for a minute, inhale the salt-laden air, and think, “The day is mine.”

Once back at the cottage, if Judy and the boys are up for it, we all go out to breakfast. With Josh, now 18, and Max, 15, both working summer jobs, we don’t all get to breakfasts as often as we used to. As Erma Bombeck likes to say, “We had bad luck with our children. They all grew up.” Our favorite vacation-time breakfast includes a large, open-air porch, where every table offers views of the coastline and the water beyond. Nobody eats in a hurry here. Everyone savors the pancakes and the panorama.

On a sunny day, Judy packs a picnic lunch and I find a big beach umbrella. We go just a few minutes by small boat to a nearby beach. When the tide is low, the sun reflecting off the soft sand below warms the shallow water. This creates the perfect combination for a game of keep away, where the boys can dive and catch and trounce on one another. Sometimes we bring a tube and a towrope for tubing behind the boat.

Later in the day, when the sun gets a little lower in the sky, Judy and I take Judy’s black Lab, Sam, for a walk on the beach. Sam walks out of the house, checks the temperature, and if it’s still too hot, goes right back in. Otherwise, he loves the beach. I agree with him. My favorite time for a dip is late in the day. I think Judy would live on the beach if she could. Or, at least until she has collected all of the beach glass and all of the pretty shells.

After dinner, the most popular local spot is the ice cream stand down by the harbor. The harbor is crowded with boats, many with small white lights above the cabin tops. Homes on the surrounding hills begin to light lamps in the windows. The western horizon sky is melting from soft blue into warm pink.

We like to visit the top of the highest hill as darkness settles in. Barges and tugs in the distance on the bay are lit with surrounding lights and inch forward at a pace in tune with the setting sun. On a night when the sky is clear and there is not a huge moon, the star-filled sky sits overhead like a dome down to the lighthouses on surrounding horizons. When the boys were younger, on a night like this, we would wrap up in sleeping bags and lie out on the porch and watch the shooting stars. I’m not saying that the boys are no longer looking up at the star-filled sky on summer nights. It is just that wherever that may be happening, Judy and I are no longer included.

Hope you have a wonderful summer!

My best,


Brian Shortsleeve, President and Publisher


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