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Two days in Dennis—a Cape Cod photo essay

Online only: Expanded story plus more photos of Dennis!

Dennis Cape Cod

Mayflower Beach is one of the many colorful attractions in Dennis. Photo by Charles Sternaimolo

Located on the Mid Cape, the town of Dennis stretches across the Cape Cod peninsula from Nantucket Sound to Cape Cod Bay. Surrounded by water, the town has amazing beaches and nature areas, and recreational opportunities in abundance. For two days last September, photographer Charles Sternaimolo and I had the opportunity to explore Dennis, from Corporation Beach and Sesuit Harbor in the north, to the village of Dennis Port and breezy West Dennis Beach along the south coast. We visited the Cape Cod Rail Trail and the Cape Cod Museum of Art, and scrambled to the top of Scargo Tower. We explored the shops on Routes 28 and 6A, which both run east to west through town, and enjoyed marvelous meals at several great restaurants. We crossed paths with dog-walkers, golfers, vacationers and lots of interesting and friendly people, and we saw some pretty attractive homes—and birdhouses, too! We hope you enjoy this photo essay on the town of Dennis.

One of our first stops was at the Dennis Public Market, a general grocery store and deli with all the fixings. “We want everyone who visits to be happy,” says Cheryle Larocque, the company’s controller and a graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth High. “It’s a community store. It’s still your old-fashioned store where everybody knows your name.” The market is known for its meats and sells steaks, chops and sausages as well as pies and muffins, newspapers and Frisbees. Located near several Dennis beaches, including Chapin Memorial, Mayflower and Cold Storage, the market is a good place to stop for food heading to or from the beach. In the deli, patrons can order sandwiches named for most Cape Cod towns, including the “Harwich,” which features homemade chicken salad and granny smith apple slices, and the “Dennis,” a tried and true tuna melt. Another option is “The Great White Shark,” a spicy combination of chicken breast, Colby jack cheese, bacon and southwest sauce. “It’s got one hell of a bite,” Larocque says, “and that’s why we call it ‘The Great White.’”

Christopher “Rock ‘n’ Roll” Crowell, the Dennis Public Market’s deli manager, has worked at the market for a quarter-century and is a recognizable character in town. A summer employee once filmed a documentary about Crowell, which would later be screened at Cape Cinema, the town’s movie theater. The title? Cold Cuts.

Next up, we paid a visit to Ross Coppelman, Goldsmith. “Driving to work every day on Route 6A is a wonderful experience,” Coppelman says, adding that he particularly enjoys Mayflower Beach, the oyster chowder at Fin Cape Cod and many of Dennis’ small businesses. “People are really committed to what they’re doing,” he says. “It’s not just jobs.” In his shop, Coppelman hand fashions rings, necklaces and other pieces from precious metals and stones. He says many of the jewelry pieces he has made recently have been inspired by nature, whether it’s birds or wildlife or different sand patterns found on the tidal flats. One technique he uses involves hammering rocks found in his garden on a ring or other piece to give it a texture—and then adding tiny shimmering diamonds into the newly formed crevices.

Janice McBride has worked for Coppelman since 1986. She grew up in Dennis and her father, the late Joseph McAlaney, once ran Joe Mac’s, a popular Dennis Village establishment that preceded Chapin’s Restaurant. She likes the creativity her work calls for and enjoys working with others. She says her current boss is the best she’s ever had—including her dad—and notes that visitors are usually happy when they walk in the studio. “This is a happy business,” Coppelman adds. “You’re not handing a check over to the dentist.”

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