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Sandwich Photo Essay: A slice of life in one of Cape Cod’s prettiest towns

A slice of life in Sandwich, May 2017 Cape Cod LIFE |

Dexter’s Grist Mill – Photo by Charles Sternaimolo

At Beth’s Bakery & Café, we eyed a number of treats including strawberry shortcake and cranberry apple bars. If patrons could try just one confection, we asked baker and executive pastry chef, Tom Lannan, which one should it be? Lannan suggested either a chocolate éclair or a Bismarck. “A Bismarck,” he says, “is a doughnut. They used to call them long johns. It’s split open—and filled with raspberries and whipped cream.” Lannan, who began baking at 14 and studied at Ecole Le Notre outside Paris, has been working in kitchens a teaspoon over 55 years. He describes Sandwich as a tranquil town with a healthy serving of tourists in summer. “It’s got the best of everything,” he says. “For me, working here every day is like a holiday.”

Sitting on a bench in front of The Weather Store on Main, we met three generations of one local family: Nancy Fitch, her daughter Trina Desruisseaux, and Trina’s son Jacob. Nancy moved to town in 1979. “I love the quaintness, I like the architecture, and I love the people,” she says. During the holidays the family often gathers at Nancy’s home, fishes in Shawme Pond, and listens to the town band perform at the Sandwich Bandstand. To celebrate birthdays, the moms in the family usually dine at the Dunbar Tea Room.

During our time in town we had the good fortune to eat at Fishermen’s View and Café Chew, and don’t forget, for a hearty breakfast, the Marshland Too! Nancy Fitch also recommended Sweet Tomatoes Restaurant, which her other daughter, Carrie Yetman, owns, as well as Captain Scott’s Seafood Restaurant, The Pilot House, and The Dan’l Webster Inn.

Another tasty option is The Dan’l Webster Inn, which has three restaurants, including The Tavern, a cozy pub with a rustic, old-timey décor. It’s a good spot to enjoy a meal and watch a game, or sip on an Old Fashioned. “Customers like coming here,” says bartender Cheyne Keene. “It’s quaint, it’s been here for awhile, and it’s within walking distance if you’re staying in the village.”

Speaking of walking, mornings at the Sandwich Boardwalk are a fresh-air flurry of activity. There are runners and cyclists, and lots of walkers and dogs stretching their legs. The historic boardwalk, which allows visitors to cross Mill Creek and the marsh to get to Town Neck Beach, has sustained a good amount of damage in storms over the years, but replacement planks are always installed—most sponsored by local individuals and “dedicated” to certain groups or loved ones. Some fun ones we saw included “Hilda and Salty,” “Sandwich Dive Hogs,” “The Curtis Clan,” and “The Jackson 4.”

At the boardwalk, we met a group heading out with Justin Aldrich of ECOtourz. In the summer, the company rents kayaks at the boardwalk and hosts guided kayaking tours around the creek. The tours focus on the history of Sandwich as well as the ecology of the estuary the group paddles through. “This is a very special waterway,” Aldrich says, describing how the creek has components of both fresh and salt water environments, and is home to osprey, striped bass, razor clams, and various other wildlife species. While offering paddling instructions, Aldrich also comments on how the town was really built up around the creek. Aldrich started ECOtourz a decade ago with the goal of showing visitors what local folks do in town when they’re not working: “kayak” he says, “and beach it.”

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