Fall is the Perfect Season for exploring Cape Cod...
With warm weather and a fraction of the crowds, fall is the perfect season to explore Cape Cod. In this edition of our annual autumn activities round-up, we’ve compiled weekend itineraries outlining some of the best celebrations from the Upper Cape out to the Islands as well as must-do diversions to enjoy during your trip. We’ve also gathered insights from experts to make your experiences as rich as possible, like the physical characteristics of bird species making a southerly migration through the region to the flavors that distinguish one variety of oysters from the next.After another bustling summer, the off-season is here. Savor it!Barnstable County Harvest Festival - September 29–30
The 18th Annual Barnstable County Harvest Festival welcomes the change of seasons with a full weekend of autumn activities. Enjoy an arts and crafts fair, live music, hayrides and pony rides, beverages in the beer and wine garden, locally grown vegetables at the farmers market, and more. The festival is held on the Barnstable County Fairgrounds in East Falmouth. barnstablecountyfair.org, 508-563-3200
Enjoy can’t-miss jazz concerts in venues around Falmouth during JazzFest Falmouth 2012, held from September 25 to September 30. One of the highlights is a performance by the Grace Kelly Quintet at the Highfield Theatre on Saturday, September 29. jazzfestfalmouth.org
Glasswork is part and parcel of the town of Sandwich, so take a trip to the Sandwich Glass Museum to see how it’s done. Glassblowing demonstrations take place every hour while the museum is open, allowing visitors to get an up-close glimpse of this time-honored craft.The museum also features a variety of permanent exhibits. sandwichglassmuseum.org, 508-888-0251
“Glassblowing is seen as an art, but it is also a science,” says David McDermott of McDermott Glass Studio in Sandwich. McDermott, who has been working with glass for 40 years and occasionally exhibits at the Sandwich Glass Museum, talks to us about the glassblowing process. Visit mcdermottglass.com for more information about the artist.
Q. What goes on during the glassblowing process?
First a sand mixture is melted down at 2350 degrees (Fahrenheit) to create molten glass, which has a honey-like consistency. The glass is then gathered up on a five-foot rod, which must be continuously turned so the glass doesn’t drip onto the floor. During this time the glass cools, but must remain at about 1800 degrees so it can be shaped either manually or by blowing through the rod.
Q. How do you form a blob of glass into a piece of art?
We use gravity to help shape the glass, so if I want a piece to be longer, I’ll point the rod at an angle towards the ground. If I want it to be shorter, I’ll hold the rod up at an angle.
Q. How long does it take to learn this entire process?
An apprenticeship usually lasts for seven to nine years. After seven years a glassblower will probably have the skills to create pieces that are more complicated, like a wine glass. Glassblowing has a bunch of tricks that have been passed on through generations of glassblowers. People have spent thousands of years figuring out all of these tricks, so it is important that an apprentice learns them.
Q. What is the biggest challenge for you in the glassblowing process?
After 40 years, the biggest challenge for me is maintaining my concentration. If a customer orders a set of wine glasses, they want the glasses to be exactly the same size. This means I have to repeat the same motions exactly to recreate a glass. One small change can alter the entire shape of the glass.