Cape Cod, MA

Sometimes we all need an escape.

After the stresses of overlapping work deadlines, social obligations and an upcoming corrective eye surgery, I was in desperate need of a mini-vacation. Back during the second week of May, an opportunity presented myself: it was my friend E.’s birthday. Now, E. is a lovely lady who has the amazing fortune to live in an area of the USA where, with the exception of West, every direction leads to a beach.

So, I asked E. what she’d like for her birthday. After the initial surprise and pitching some ideas, she ended up settling for me visiting her in June. It was no heart-shaped rock, which was her original request, but it would have to do.

May flew by and that June weekend arrived much faster than anticipated.

I packed my bags and prepared to take the 9-hour drive southeast to Massachusetts – the land of Christmas and country music. Armed with a plaid flannel shirt, a bag of snacks and a 200-song playlist of video game music, I was ready for anything.

8 hours later, after crossing the Sagamore Bridge, I knew I’d arrived in paradise.

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Sagamore Bridge carries US Route 6 across the Cape Cod Canal.

For the most part, I stayed in and around Barnstable County. I only had three days to explore this region with E., and I was going to take advantage of the glorious beaches, the homemade ice cream parlours and the historic part of downtown.

But nothing could prepare me for the beaches.

I’ve been seen some beautiful sandy shores in my time – I’ve traveled Cuba extensively, after all. But Cape Cod, especially before it’s saturated with tourists, is another world. There are hundreds of footsteps in the sand but the area is almost deserted. All you can hear are whispers of the soft summer breeze and the gulls flying about. Walk around and you’ll find hundreds of small shells, little crabs and, if you’re lucky, pieces of sea glass.

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The beaches were filled with soft, white sand and ocean was still cool to the touch. 

After some amazing ice cream at Four Seasons, E. and I headed to her family’s home to spend the evening watching Nausicaa with her two younger brothers. After conversing about video games, the importance of not forgetting items cooking on a burner and Cinnamon Bun Oreos (my gift to their family), we made a gigantic bowl of popcorn together and ended the evening watching the film.

A perfect ending to a perfect day.

The following days were filled with exploration. E. and I frequented local restaurants and cafes, got henna tattoos done by an incredibly interesting Albanian man from Kosovo and went for long walks on the beach. We also explored the historic area of Main Street in Hyannis and laid down in the grass at a park with large, beautiful trees.

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Bonfires on Sandy Neck Beach in Sandwich, MA.

I also hung out with E.’s family – her mother and two brothers – for the majority of the trip. Together we dined at Chipotle, went for long walks on a rocky shore, made nachos and built a bonfire on the beach. We also roasted marshmallows!

After an amazing weekend taking in the sea breeze, getting sand between my toes and filling my belly with lobster rolls, it was time for me to head back to Canada. Rest assured, I’ll return to Cape Cod again some day. After all, the best adventures involve good company (and a bottle of Maple Whiskey).

Next Stop: Ottawa, ON

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