Sunday, March 05, 2006

Walking again, through the National Seashore

This weekend’s Seagull Cottage guests left for Boston, contented with their stay in Wellfleet and eager to return. That’s the way we like it. With satisfied customers, Sven & I become happy campers. Today spring is in the air. Soft breezes waft through the pines as we set off for another walk through the Cape Cod National Seashore. Our destination: Long Pond. Once there, I photograph the view for insertion into a January episode. Again we were awed by the clarity of the water.

The "Seashore" was created by President Kennedy in 1961. There are still some 600 private homes within the park boundaries. The government used Eminent Domain to acquire 100 cottages built after 1959, granting owners a 25-year lease. 40 of these owners saw that lease come to term in the last three years. Any structure built before 1959 received “improved property status,” which allowed owners to renovate, expand or sell as long as the property was not increased more than 50 percent.

At the assessor’s office last week, I learned the modern house at the southeastern corner of Long Pond was among the homes seized by the government and will, at some point, be removed. It must have been really hard for the owners to lose the place. They will not find another spot like this, ever. It is so-o-o-o beautiful here.

No one had moved any of the downed trees along the path. The top half of a pine hung eerily above our heads, cut by a chainsaw somehow, and left there, dangling in space, craddled by another tree that must have caught its fall. So very many pines were broken in two during the freak storm last December. They say that with climate change, we can expect more bizarre weather, and hurricanes, mightier than Bob, which blew 13 trees down in our yard in the late eighties.

We continued on, up up up a rise to what must be one of the most desirable locations in the area. Twin cottages sat perched at the top of a hill overlooking not one, but two ponds. We read the name “Idle Ours” beside a window. On the Great Pond side, the owners even have their own private beach. Whenever I see real estate like this, I am grateful Chez Sven does not have a waterview. Friends on Slough Pond are obliged to rent their house in the summer to pay the taxes. I imagine the town now levies a much higher tax on "Idle Ours" than when it was built. Still, how amazing to own such a piece of paradise!

Luckily the National Seashore is a jewel everyone can enjoy. We certainly appreciate its beauty. Both Sven and I regularly encourage guests to explore this marvelous nature park, located within walking distance of our bed & breakfast.