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Up and Away

A Cape Codder climbs into a biplane's cockpit and rediscovers her home from a fresh vantage point.

Photography by Dan Cutrona

In the weeklong adventure of a lifetime, the father-son team flew the plane from Carson City to Cape Cod. Both admit the trip was grueling and at times scary—especially going over the mountains at the beginning of the journey, in a plane that generally, Chris says, “doesn’t fly that high.”

“When we finally smelled the salt water over New Jersey, we looked at each other and smiled,” Chris says. “We knew we were getting close to home.”

From an altitude of just 1,000 feet, my own home couldn’t look more different. The green expanse of Sandwich’s Great Marsh gives way to the bright blue of Cape Cod Bay and the white sands of Sandy Neck, where the idyllic, dune cottages entice with their quaint remoteness. As we whiz up the coast at 80 miles per hour, I am surprised by the warmth of the engine and how comfortably the windshield and high sides protect us from the wind.

I give my first thumbs-up as the three beautiful and distinct bridges spanning the canal come into view. No longer glimpsed through slats as my car speeds within narrow lanes, the canal suddenly appears as the man-made wonder it is. I click so many pictures from both sides of the plane my battery is almost dead in no time at all. But I know I must save some juice for the late afternoon light on the white cliffs of Plymouth I’ve been promised.

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