Monday, July 31, 2006

The Work-Hard, Play-Hard Month of August

Summer on Cape Cod is great for the license plates game. You know, when kids amuse themselves in traffic by spotting license plates? Here is the most unusual plate I have spied recently. Not that I go out all that much. Now that July is over, I think I will stay home even more. August is traditionally the month for natives to hunker down and wait for the tourists to leave. Why does everyone want to come at the same time? I actually know the answer to that question: summer camps. Children go to camp in July. August has become the chosen month for family vacations. Chez Sven is fully booked, and the phone keeps ringing. Whenever people ask for advice on the best time to come to Wellfleet, I suggest they plan their summer vacation next year in June, July, or September.

If our neighborhood feels different this year, it is because many of the neighbors have decided to rent out their homes. The influx of strangers feels like an invasion. Cars with kayaks on the roof or with a sailboat in tow attempt to negotiate the tight curve at the top of a nearby driveway. Old King’s Highway has become so busy that Judy at Winterwood put up a sign in an effort to preserve our wild turkeys. Tenants raise their voices without taking any of the other people holed up in the woods into consideration. No wonder we locals start looking forward to fall!

The cars in the town hall parking lot come to Wellfleet from accross the nation. Connecticut is a popular state of origin. There are also a lot of New Yorkers. On one recent trip downtown I saw plates from Virginia, New Jersey, Michigan, and Florida. Non-resident homeowners often have second cars with plates that boast of their place of summer residence. People who live here year-round would never buy special plates with the name of our town spelled out!

Not all the neighbors have deserted though. This lovely family lives across the road in summer. They do not rent out their second home. And having figured out that the best time to be in Wellfleet is off-season, they make a point of journeying to Cape Cod during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and spring vacations …