Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Destination, Nantucket – Or, Should That Be Wellfleet?

Guests from abroad have no idea how much nicer it feels to spend a holiday in Wellfleet, so I thought I would explain why the Outer Cape is, to Americans – who did not inherit a home on Nantucket – the obvious choice for a summer vacation. So-o-o-o, let’s ask Wellfleet and Nantucket to step into the ring. In the far corner, we have an island with miles of sandy beaches, and the remnants of what was once a booming whaling port, now a town that lives off tourists, extremely overpopulated in summer, and only attainable by ferryboat or airplane. In the near corner, we have its trendy contender, our quaint little village, located mid-way between the two ends of the National Seashore nature park. Brrrrng! And the fight is on. Wellfleet is the perfect place to anchor oneself and explore Cape Cod. Visitors can go as far south as Chatham for boutique shopping and sightseeing, or north to Provincetown for whale and people watching. Come to Nantucket, stay on Nantucket. Nantucket protests that who would want to leave? Well, when the year-round population reached 10,000, a lot of people did. Kayaking, hiking, and biking are three activities that are easier to enjoy in Wellfleet. Why? 61% of Wellfleet belongs to everyone, land, for the most part, without construction, open space forever thanks to President Kennedy. Is, Nantucket knocked out yet? Nope, it gets up and swings back with acres and acres of land. Wellfleet counters that Nantucket’s conservation land may be preserved forever, but it is not in a people’s park, like the National Seashore. What’s more, Wellfleet has magnificent deserted ocean beaches, serene kettle ponds, which kids love, and a shoreline along Cape Cod Bay optimal for swimming, not to mention top-notch theater and affordable restaurants. While both destinations are beautiful, a trip to Nantucket involves more hassle than a trip to the Outer Cape, and a much greater outlay of money. Nantucket is so chi-chi businesses even have to import service staff, unable to afford housing, who arrive in the morning and depart at night. You get more bang for your buck in Wellfleet. Friendly natives, spectacular scenery, great value. If you are looking for a status-driven place where everyone dresses to the nines, Nantucket’s for you. Should you prefer a real small town atmosphere, try Wellfleet, a community where the living is still good. … And, the winner??? Wellfleet! Hurry on up!