Saturday, June 30, 2012

Zen Moment: View While Watering

Exploring Lieutenant's Island in Wellfleet

Lieutenant Island is a part of Wellfleet that was unfamiliar to me until Thursday. Last year, Alice, a regular blog reader, offered to give me on a tour. We started out at her beautiful home, which offers quite a spectacular view from the roof deck, above.
Water on three sides! It was extraordinary to see Great Island to the east, and tiny cars on Route 6 to the west. Here Alice points towards the one house that was believed to have been moved to the island from Billingsgate. The other dwellings are much more modern. Many have been renovated several times over the past twenty years.

The island is supposedly named after an early inhabitant, a Native American. Wellfleet Conservation Trust explains the full story on its Box Turtle Wood and Marsh Conservation Area web page: “Offshore across Loagy Bay, lies Lieutenant Island, a name adopted from a 17th century resident, an American Indian named Lieutenant Anthony. According to Durand Echeverria’s A History of Billingsgate, Anthony claimed to be the sachem of the Punonakanits, a tribe historically located in Billingsgate, lands that are part of present day Wellfleet. Local lore has it that he was the last of the American Indians in this area, and had contact with an English Lieutenant. Observing the respect the lieutenant received, he named himself Lieutenant. When asked who owned the land, he said: ‘I own it, I am a Lieutenant.’”

Alice and husband Julian are retired but have been coming to Wellfleet, and, in particular, Lieutenant's Island, since the 1980s.
(For those of you who are not familiar with Lieutenant Island, access is via a narrow bridge, shown here.) The couple used to stay in Truro, but always brought their kids to Wellfleet for our marvelous Fourth of July parade. Then one day, a real estate agent said, “There’s a house available in my favorite place in the world.”

Access is via a private road, so I do not recommend anyone try to duplicate this itinerary unless invited by a resident. Check out the narrow bridge. Also, knowledge of the tides is crucial.

The sand path, bordering the marsh, was pockmarked with fiddler crab holes and strewn with dried salt hay. I admired a huge horseshoe crab shell, discarded by its owner, and marsh grass, to our left. Alice said the blue boxes are set up in the marsh to discourage green-headed flies. There were none out yet.

We reached the southern tip of the island, where several people, knee-deep in a rushing stream, were catching crabs for bait. A brisk breeze began to blow. Alice pointed out that the island has a lot of history. Her son found a Dutchman’s pipe on the beach. The son's friend found an arrowhead. So, both Dutchmen and Native Americans were early residents. What Alice and I found were jingle shells.

We proceeded north towards a house that was perched at the top of the dune. Alice told me erosion has been a problem for the owners, and their rock embankment is no longer as ship-shape as it had been when originally installed. I couldn't help but wonder about the cost of installation of this sea wall. Sea walls are controversial, but let's save that topic for another post. We saw a pair of kayakers in the distance. There was only one family sitting on the beach in beachgoing-mode. Alice said there were many more in season.
A rogue oysterman pushed a wheeled contraption. Every once and a while he would lean down and pick something up. Clam? Oyster? Don't know.

A mother left her three blond children on a ridge of clay, playing with shells.
It occurred to me this was the real benefit of Lieutenant Island: privacy, not worrying about one’s kids, playing in shallow water. They showed us their treasures as we walked past. On the way back, I spotted blooming cactus and these unusual orange flowers (Does anyone know the name?) Thank you, Alice!

Have you ever visited Lieutenant’s Island?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Crossing the Bridge ....

Tomorrow we are going to cross this bridge and explore Wellfleet's Lieutenant's Island. For today, I invite you to stop by the Grub Street Daily and read my post about why I decided to write an eBook, another type of bridge.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Banner Reporter Praises E-book on Wellfleet

Do you have your copy of the Provincetown Banner yet? Open to page 16. There I am, looking very much like my brother. The headline reads “Local writer touts ‘trendy’ Wellfleet in new e-book.” Reporter Marilyn Miller did an excellent job of informing her readers about the first e-book written exclusively on Wellfleet: “Cape Cod travel guides typically describe all 15 towns, but Grabbe focuses intensely on Wellfleet, and digs deep to provide information.”

You can read a review of the e-book on Irene Levine’s blog More Time to Travel.

Now, if that review and Marilyn's article don’t make you want to read Wellfleet, An Insider’s Guide to Cape Cod’s Trendiest Town, I don’t know what will. What? You don't have an e-reader? Never fear. My son tells me that it's possible to read e-books on a computer. Find directions on my author's site, fifth paragraph down.

If you are visiting this blog for the first time, please check out some of my earlier posts this spring to get a flavor of Wellfleet in off-season.

We do activism on behalf of the environment.

We attend local events, like the Prez. Hall Birdhouse Auction.

We share innkeeping secrets and personal milestones, like Sven's discovery of a first cousin he had never met, a man known across Sweden for his excellent work in television.

We take walks.

We admire photos of beautiful Wellfleet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where in Wellfleet Are We?

Only Amy ventured a guess, and she was not far off. Yesterday I made it to the shindig the Harbor Stage players threw for B&B owners and enjoyed a glass of white wine in the company of Lewis, Brenda, Amanda, Jonathan, Stacy and Robert. First off, I was surprised by how young these actors are. For some reason, I had assumed them to be veterans of the first days of WHAT, so how could they be in their thirties? Does not compute, although Amanda did tell me she had been in some of the WHAT productions for kids. Anyway, they are a busy bunch and have transformed the decrepit venue at the harbor into a marvel. The walls of the lobby and backrooms are freshly painted, creating an inviting space for anyone who happens by. As for the stage, I was astounded by the detail and effort that had gone into creating the 19th century world of Hedda Gabler, their first production of the summer. These actors are jacks-of-all-trades. Not only do they paint and stencil. The men installed salvaged parquet floors over a two-day period. The set looks amazing, intimate, and extremely inviting. According to our guests Ann and Tim, who saw Hedda on Saturday night, the team also can act. With a rave review under their belt from Cape Cod Times, they are on their way. What’s more, they plan to make the theater as green as possible. I asked Amanda about competition with WHAT, and she explained relations are quite cordial, that WHAT even lent the Harbor Stage Company two doorknobs for the set. Hedda Gabler will run until July 14th, Wednesday through Sunday. Tickets are $20.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mystery Shells Make Duck Harbor Visits Worthwhile

I have always loved these shells. Yesterday, when I visited my friend Femke, I spotted a whole basket of them on her porch. It may take a while to drive to Duck Harbor, but these shells make the trip worthwhile. I love to search the beach for shells. Now, anyone who collects shells knows that this amount, a basketful, represents numerous trips out Chequessett Neck Road. There are not many available on the beach there, and usually the take is less than a fistful. They shimmer in the sunshine. There’s something about their fragility that moves me. They're precious, like rare coins in a fantasy world for little girls. Femke’s husband told me that his family collects these beauties. Some family members use them in the creation of jewelry. I've also heard of a woman who glues the shells around a mirror as a border, and someone used them for the decoration of a birdhouse roof at the 2011 Prez. Hall Birdhouse Auction. After so many years of admiring these shells at Duck Harbor, I realize I do not even know their name. What are they called? Does anyone know? Why are they so scarce? Do you collect shells while at the beach?

Monday, June 25, 2012

How to Enjoy Your Wellfleet Getaway

How to get the most out of a weekend away? That’s easy. Come to Wellfleet. Book a room at Chez Sven. Swim in Dyer Pond. Go see a play or two. Read my e-book.

The couple above did not stay with us because they live here. Say hello to Jonathan Fielding and Brenda Withers, two of the six movers and shakers at Harbor Stage. They dropped by with an invitation to a get-together planned Tuesday late afternoon, a “Hospitality Open House.” I hope to be able to attend. Plays at Harbor Stage are only $20. Now, that’s a steal. You will shortly learn why …

This weekend some delightful return guests arrived sweaty, hot, and tired and immediately headed for Dyer Pond. By Saturday, they had relaxed. Worries were forgotten. On Sunday, Ann and Tim fairly floated into the breakfast room. They were already talking about their next visit.

Here are a few delicious quotes from Ann:

Saturday morning: “It’s nice to come here and chill out. Tim said to me, ‘Sandy must put something in the air.’ A chill-out drug.”

Saturday afternoon, after a bit of shopping: “There’s a store, a few shops down from Marketplace. I got a summer shift, I got a blouse, I got a wallet.”

“For me, Seagull Cottage is perfect. It’s private, and beautiful, and rustic. I love that there are different levels. And, the art!!!!”

This couple has now stayed in all three of our rooms.

Friday night they went to see The Consequences at WHAT and loved it. Saturday night they got tickets for Hedda Gabler at Harbor Stage and loved it even more. I think the adjective used was “spectacular" theater.

It’s great when guests are this happy. As soon as they get home, Ann and Tim plan to download my e-book about Wellfleet. Have you gotten your copy yet?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Blogger Publishes First E-Book on Wellfleet

This weekend is special for me because my first book has now been published and you, my dear readers, are the first to know. Last week I mentioned the photo shoot. Everyone was very curious about why I was having my photo taken. The reason was I needed a professional photo for my new author’s site, created by my son Paul Boutin. The “white” photo is still up, Sven’s favorite, and it is growing on me. Photographer Steffen Thalemann took a number of photos, including a series where I hold a pink umbrella. For the time being, we will content ourselves with a photo that shows me in the National Seashore, on the path leading to Duck Harbor, one of my favorite places in Wellfleet, above.

I was moved by the comments left on this blog, how Wellfleet means so much to so many of you, how you get through the rest of the year by checking in here to stay in touch with “your favorite place in the whole wide world.” Now you can carry Wellfleet around with you on your e-reader. Yes, I have written the first e-book about our favorite town.

The first question that comes to mind is probably how to obtain a copy. Very simple. If you have an e-reader, go to my author’s site and download the eBook. This page provides installation instructions. We decided to keep the price low to give anyone who is hesitating an extra push.

The second question is how can I help Sandy sell her eBook. That’s easy. Tell everyone you know. Shout it from the closest dune. Since 114 people follow my blog at last count, how about everyone convince 10 friends, who also love Wellfleet, to download the eBook? That makes over 1000 copies sold the first week. Can we do it? Let’s try. The proceeds go to a good cause. I am going to donate 75%, after tax and expenses, to the Wellfleet Food Pantry. The other 25% will go to Paul, in thanks for his help, so that he can increase the amount of organic fruit and veggies he buys every week for my grandkids.

If you do not own an e-reader, never fear. It is also possible to read Wellfleet, An Insider’s Guide to Cape Cod’s Trendiest Town on an iPhone. Since I have neither, I have not had a chance to check out the text again and admire the photos. I hope you like them. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Walking to a Wellfleet Kettle Pond

“How do we get to Dyer Pond?” (I provided directions.) “What time does PB open for dinner?” (“5:00 for dinner. Can I help you make a reservation?”), “Do we need a beach sticker today?” (“Not today, but Saturday and throughout the summer until Labor Day, yes, everyone needs a beach sticker.”) Yesterday I felt like I was answering questions all day long. Two of our couples are from France, so I’ve actually been answering many of the questions in French. These two French girls, for instance, went biking, using the map of Wellfleet that I provided. They love it here. Who wouldn't? Wellfleet is so beautiful. We also have return guests who were hot and sweaty upon arrival yesterday. They couldn’t wait to get into Dyer Pond. After a swim, they headed for the ocean, which was, and I quote, "As flat as a pancake." Then it was off to dinner at Winslow's Tavern. Ah, for the life of a tourist ...

Friday, June 22, 2012

Should Wellfleet Eliminate the Marina Benches?

What!, I hear you cry with indignation. Why in the world would Wellfleet consider removal of the marvelous memorial benches that line the marina walk? The answer, according to yesterday's P-town Banner, is someone sued. Someone managed to trip while walking (clumsy!) and fell into a bench. Therefore, everyone else, including the infirm and the elderly who love the marina walk, may be deprived of a place to sit and watch shellfisherman at low tide, birds, and boats. The Banner will be conducting a poll to ask readers whether the town should keep or remove the benches. I hope you will be numerous to vote in favor of the benches. I called Town Hall this morning and was told removal is highly unlikely. But anyone who feels strongly about this can send a letter to the Board of Selectmen.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wellfleet Innkeeper Serves Organic Foods

Time to talk organic food again. Last time we did that I was making organic green smoothies. Summer is here, as of yesterday, and it’s hot. Too hot. Wilting-flower hot. I just produced a bowl of fresh fruit for my guests. At Chez Sven, we try to serve as organic as possible. Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that organic trumps non-organic any day. The problem is that obtaining organic fruit, in summer, in Wellfleet, can be a challenge. Hatch’s secures a nice selection, when their food source offers it. Wellfleet Marketplace also has a few organic bins in the produce department. It's more expensive, I hear you call? If we all ask for more, there will be more and the price will come down. (While you’re at it, ask Paul to put up a larger sign on the door to remind customers to bring their own tote bags!)

When I see guests return to the B&B with a couple peaches, I cringe, because I know they are laden with pesticide residue. Now the Environmental Working Group has published a new food summary in time for summer. This year strawberries drop down to #5. (Anyone remember how many pesticides non-organic strawberries can contain?) Peaches screech in at #4 on the Environmental Working Group ‘s Dirty Dozen. Number 3 is red peppers. Two is celery. (Always buy organic celery, especially if you have children.) This year the biggest offender is apples. Americans eat so many apples and often forget to peel them. I buy organic apples and peel them. I was surprised to see domestic cantaloupe on the Clean 15 list. Read all about the conclusions and their consequences on Global Post.

Have you been heeding my warnings and buying more organic food? Do you choose restaurants that serve organic food?

PS. The Senate is voting on the Sanders amendment today to require the labeling of genetically-modified foods. Please call your senator's office and make your opinion known. Everyone living in Massachusetts can use this easy formula from Food Democracy Now.

Update: The labeling bill was defeated. Check out how your Senator voted and voice your opinion on his/her vote, again. I just called Senator Brown and told his office I'm voting for Elizabeth Warren in the fall.

Akaka (D-HI), Yea Alexander (R-TN), Nay Ayotte (R-NH), Nay Barrasso (R-WY), Nay Baucus (D-MT), Nay Begich (D-AK), Yea Bennet (D-CO), Yea Bingaman (D-NM), Nay Blumenthal (D-CT), Yea Blunt (R-MO), Nay Boozman (R-AR), Nay Boxer (D-CA), Yea Brown (D-OH), Nay Brown (R-MA), Nay Burr (R-NC), Nay Cantwell (D-WA), Yea Cardin (D-MD), Yea Carper (D-DE), Nay Casey (D-PA), Nay Chambliss (R-GA), Nay Coats (R-IN), Nay Coburn (R-OK), Nay Cochran (R-MS), Nay Collins (R-ME), Nay Conrad (D-ND), Nay Coons (D-DE), Nay Corker (R-TN), Nay Cornyn (R-TX), Nay Crapo (R-ID), Nay DeMint (R-SC), Nay Durbin (D-IL), Nay Enzi (R-WY), Nay Feinstein (D-CA), Yea Franken (D-MN), Nay Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay Graham (R-SC), Nay Grassley (R-IA), Nay Hagan (D-NC), Nay Harkin (D-IA), Nay Hatch (R-UT), Nay Heller (R-NV), Nay Hoeven (R-ND), Nay Hutchison (R-TX), Nay Inhofe (R-OK), Nay Inouye (D-HI), Yea Isakson (R-GA), Nay Johanns (R-NE), Nay Johnson (D-SD), Yea Johnson (R-WI), Nay Kerry (D-MA), Yea Kirk (R-IL), Not Voting Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay Kohl (D-WI), Nay Kyl (R-AZ), Nay Landrieu (D-LA), Nay Lautenberg (D-NJ), Yea Leahy (D-VT), Yea Lee (R-UT), Nay Levin (D-MI), Nay Lieberman (ID-CT), Yea Lugar (R-IN), Nay Manchin (D-WV), Yea McCain (R-AZ), Nay McCaskill (D-MO), Nay McConnell (R-KY), Nay Menendez (D-NJ), Nay Merkley (D-OR), Yea Mikulski (D-MD), Yea Moran (R-KS), Nay Murkowski (R-AK), Yea Murray (D-WA), Yea Nelson (D-FL), Nay Nelson (D-NE), Nay Paul (R-KY), Nay Portman (R-OH), Nay Pryor (D-AR), Nay Reed (D-RI), Yea Reid (D-NV), Nay Risch (R-ID), Nay Roberts (R-KS), Nay Rockefeller (D-WV), Yea Rubio (R-FL), Nay Sanders (I-VT), Yea Schumer (D-NY), Nay Sessions (R-AL), Nay Shaheen (D-NH), Nay Shelby (R-AL), Nay Snowe (R-ME), Nay Stabenow (D-MI), Nay Tester (D-MT), Yea Thune (R-SD), Nay Toomey (R-PA), Nay Udall (D-CO), Nay Udall (D-NM), Yea Vitter (R-LA), Nay Warner (D-VA), Nay Webb (D-VA), Nay Whitehouse (D-RI), Yea Wicker (R-MS), Nay Wyden (D-OR), Yea

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Photo Shoot in Wellfleet? Yes, Indeed!

Last week I did something fun, and you will soon learn how it is related to Wellfleet and this blog. A professional photographer took my photo. Steffen Thalemann has shot celebrities like Sebastian Junger, Ethan Hawke, and Bill Murray. Steffen was accompanied by his wife Christine Fromm, a fashion designer. The two Germans had stayed at our B&B in 2007. Sven and I were delighted to have them back. Since we could not travel to New York, they came to us. Every woman dreams of being a model. Guess what? I quickly learned having your photo taken by a professional is hard work. I realized that fact when I posed for a headshot. But, let’s back up a couple days ...

I chose Wednesday for the photo shoot because I had an appointment with the hairdresser that day. It was cloudy, misty and not warm at all. First Christine did a very gentle application of make-up, which I have not worn for a dozen years. She is dabbing my cheeks with powder, above, and positioning me for the first photo, below. Christine assists Steffen artistically. It was great to have her encouragement as I took my place beside our blue steps. Click, click, click went Steffen’s camera. Click, click, click. Should I smile? Act flirty? Wear a smirk? Look serious? Assume the wisdom sixty-five years of life bestow? Try to look younger? Click, click, click.

“That’s beautiful,” Steffen called out from the brick walkway, busy trying to find the best position, changing his lens, looking down to avoid knocking over a flower pot. Click, click, click.

He took photos of me sitting on the eighteenth-century settee as well, dressed in a marvelous floaty gown I bought several years ago at Karol Richardson. Christine draped the scarf I purchased for my daughter’s wedding around my neck. Click, click, click. Surely there would be enough photos soon?

“When he gets started on an idea, there’s no stopping him,” Christine confided.

“How about the beach?” Steffen exclaimed. “Do you mind going to the beach?”

“Ah, no, but it’s raining.”

“Bring an umbrella. The light at the beach is awesome, even in the mist.”

Off we went to Duck Harbor, after a bit of clowning around with Lucas, the couple's son. Fortunately the rain let up for an hour. Two hundred photos later Steffen was very pleased with – my umbrella. It became our main prop. I don’t go walking on the beach very often in an elegant Karol Richardson gown, holding a pink umbrella, but who cares? The photos are perfect for an article about me. Problem is, I’m not famous yet. What I need right now is a headshot.

So, the next day, with the sun shining, Steffen, Christine and I went at it again. Click, click, click. I posed among the flowers. Click, click, click. I sat in a chair in the garden, with Christine holding the reflector to focus the perfect light on my face.

“Sweet! That’s beautiful. Just like that. Yes.”

By the end of the afternoon, I felt exhausted. We did one last series by the shed door. It did not seem like the perfect place to pose, but hey, I’m no expert. The “white” photo was the result. Good job, Steffen!

Right now we have this photo, the one Sven likes best, on the bio page of the new author’s site my son Paul designed. What do you think of the "white" photo?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cape Cod Life Announces 2012 Winners

Every year Cape Cod Life Magazine holds a contest to choose the best everything on Cape Cod. Readers make nominations in a diverse range of "Best of" categories, but not Best Blog. Hmmm. Wonder why? I’ve already suggested the creation of a blog category, since it is 2012 and 6.7 million people publish blogs. Not necessarily every day, the way I do. Cape Cod Life even awards a walking/bike trail and a park/nature area. Place-blogs can be a way of staying in touch with Cape Cod all year long. I think we should be able to vote for them on the Reader’s Choice Ballot. What do you think? How about everyone give a call and ask Cape Cod Life to add a blog category for 2013?? (508-419-7381)

Congratulations to Wellfleet's 2012 gold winners:

Bakery: PB Boulangerie Bistro

Children’s Shop: Abiyoyo

Farm Stand: Hatch’s Produce

Fine Arts Gallery: Left Bank

Flowers: Kelley’s Flowers (My flower garden isn't bad either.)

Gift Shop: Periwinkle

Motel: Even’Tide

Nightlife/Music: The Beachcomber

Rainy Day Activity: Wellfleet Drive-in Theater

Restaurant Reachable by Boat: Mac’s Seafood at the Pier

Shop for Arts and Crafts: Wellfleet Flea Market

Monday, June 18, 2012

One Last Walk

One last walk at the beach for Sven prior to his two-week vacation in Sweden.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wellfleet/P-town Shuttle Bus for Bikers Starts Today

A new bike shuttle bus started operation yesterday between the Cape Cod Rail Trail, in South Wellfleet, and Provincetown. There are eleven stops en route. Frequency is every 90 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays during the summer of 2012. The bus ride costs $2. Read all about it in today's Cape Cod Times. Would you make use of this shuttle?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Harborfest 2012 Open for Business

I went down to Harborfest early, right after the clouds rolled in. Last year there was rain all day, so clouds, with intermittent sun, isn't too bad. Vendors were still setting up stands as revelers began to stop by. The marina parking lot was already full at ten when I left. The most popular early destination was the Nautical Flea Market. These two early-birds walked off with gear that was practically new. Sven sold his kayak for $400, the yellow one in the top photo. Further down the marina, I learned what Russian oysters are: add a dollop of sour cream. Nancy O'Connell manned the OysterFest stand and told me this other great Wellfleet festival is in desperate need of volunteers. The organizers have worked hard over the past ten years. Can you imagine the town without OysterFest? Me, neither. Totally impossible. So do sign up to help out. I noticed the Curley family raising money for a rare bone disorder and hope many of you will contribute to this cause, too. (Dollars, this time.) Plan to have lunch at Harborfest and be sure to check out the "authors' tent," new this year.

Friday, June 15, 2012

What's Happening in Wellfleet This Weekend?

It's not even summer and already there are choices to make on evening activities in Wellfleet. Thank you to everyone who sent in suggestions and please feel free to add more in Comments.

Friday evening: Violinist Alexandre Brussilovsky will perform at 7:30 at the Wellfleet library. This concert will be a real treat, so don't miss it. If you are not into classical music, head for Flying Fish for a sing-a-long with Denya LeVine and Stephen Russell.

Saturday: HARBORFEST! Buy a boat, or a kayak, or maybe a piece of nautical-themed art. The second annual festival to celebrate Wellfleet Harbor will begin at 9 and end at 4. This year there will be an "Authors' Tent." Drop in and say hello to a dozen authors who call Wellfleet home. After Harborfest, head for Prez. Hall where Payomet will host David Wax Museum, a hot new talent described as "Mexico meets Americana music." There will be two shows, for your convenience. One at 5 and another at 8. And please take note of this great initiative: $5 off for teachers, students, seniors and union members!! (Thank you, Kevin Rice!)

If none of the above hits the spot, go see the new play at WHAT and remember the P-town Film Festival is in full swing ,,,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Prez. Hall Clothing Swap a HUGE Success

In Which I ask Governor Patrick a Pointed Question

Yesterday Governor Deval Patrick journeyed out to Cape Cod, an impromptu visit that was only announced a couple days ago. At the "Tourism Roundtable," he received the "key to Provincetown." He also learned why the spraying of herbicides under the power lines to control vegetation will pollute our sole source aquifer ...

The Governor had visited with restaurateurs in Dennis and farmers in Truro before meeting with hospitality service members in Provincetown. Guess who was invited? Little old me. The Governor was prompt. He arrived at Provincetown Town Hall five minutes ahead of schedule. He’s handsome and looked younger than I expected. I was also surprised by his sense of humor and quick repartee. Governor Patrick spoke of his good rapport with our darling Rep. Sarah Peake, who sat at his side, then suggested we keep the discussion “breezy and light.”

The first question was actually four. A Provincetown restaurateur, named Astrid, asked about 1.) the likelihood of an improvement in transportation during shoulder season, 2.) visa restrictions for international workers, 3.) their eligibility for unemployment, and 4.) smoking regulations in restaurants.

“This is your list of standard unnegotiable demands?” the Governor quipped.

I agreed with the thrust of restaurateur’s first question. We need to consider what kind of transportation service we want in the future, for Wellfleet as well as Provincetown. The Governor responded, “Point taken.” After answering the visa question, he said, “We need to reelect this president. The dynamic will change if not. The country will have rejected bullying politics, and we can get down to business.” (From the way he phrased the response, I could not help but wonder whether the Massachusetts governor, might be on a short list for a future Obama administration???)

There were more questions, all related to Provincetown. Most of the audience was from Provincetown. Topics raised: expansion of the room tax, already collected at guest houses in P-town, to weekly rentals; support for the celebration, in 2020, of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Pilgrims in Provincetown, before sailing on to Plymouth; support for the Pilgrim Monument; support for the jazz festival; an invitation to stop by the theater.

I had raised my hand and not been called upon. After answering a prior question, suddenly Governor Patrick turned to me, asking what I wanted to know. Who me? So, I plunged, although I’m afraid my question was not so “breezy and light.”

“I write a blog about living green on Cape Cod. The Outer Cape,” I corrected myself. “I run a green bed-and-breakfast in Wellfleet. We serve organic food and filter our water. I have a book here that I give to guests who are interested in the environment, and I wanted to give a copy to you. My question is about NStar and whether you could help prevent the utility company from polluting our sole source aquifer …”

The Governor was not very well informed on the issue and turned to Rep. Peake who quickly filled him in, explaining that there is a pilot plan in place this year, for Cape Cod, to control vegetation under the power lines without the use of herbicides. That Senator Dan Wolf and herself were waiting for the smoke to clear after Nstar’s merger with Northeast Utilities to pursue the issue further. Rep. Peake explained that the testing on herbicides had been done in the mid-1970s. Emerging science indicates endocrine disruptors are more dangerous than previously thought. Cape Cod has a sole source aquifer and sandy soil. She and Wolf would like to see the pilot program made permanent. Rep. Peake also mentioned the possibility of replanting low-bush blueberry bushes and beach plum, a more natural solution than herbicides. “I’ll make you a blueberry pie,” she concluded.

The Governor left with my book, Our Stolen Future. Or, rather it ended up in the hands of his assistant. I found her outside and explained the author, Theo Colborn, is the expert on endocrine disruption in the USA. That she is eighty years old. That I hoped the Governor would pass the book on to President Obama once he had finished reading it.

What did you do yesterday?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crabs Galore but No More Bear

Overnight, the famous tweeting bear was discovered in a Wellfleet garden, tranquilized and shipped off Cape ... Over the weekend Sven and I took a walk over Uncle Tim’s bridge and proceeded down the sand path. The tide was coming in. The afternoon sun shone brightly. Sparkles lit up Duck Creek. Pedestrians were out, taking in the beautiful day, included two tourists from Scotland, who chatted with us for a while. We walked on and suddenly I noticed something at my feet. As I looked around, I realized there were hundreds of tiny crabs, many with one huge claw, making a mad dash across the path. You would think they would have been heading towards the marsh, but no. They rushed toward the wooded shoreline. Does anyone know why? Have you witnessed this migration of fiddler crabs, or one similar?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Art in Wellfleet (Part 2)

Art can be created anywhere in town, even sitting on a picnic table at Mayo Beach! Zealous promoters have called Wellfleet “the art gallery town.” It’s true there are two dozen galleries to visit in summer, and Saturday night openings to attend. Not all the art is Made in Wellfleet, however. That may be about to change … Remember how Wellfleet Blossoms turned out to be such a huge success? One of the most popular workshops was “How to Make a Living as a Starving Artist,” a seminar that sought to provide tips on how artists could stay on Cape and live from their art. Attendees were inspired to regroup as the Wellfleet Artists Exchange, or WAX. Like a mother hen, Judith Stiles has taken this group under her wing. WAX has already met four times since April. Then came an unanticipated invitation to exhibit at Truro Vineyards’ WAAM (Wine, Appetizers, Art, Music), on Wednesdays, late-afternoon-evening, starting June 27th.

The second development for this newly formed group was the realization WAX could serve as an information exchange. The first results of collaboration will be greeting cards, sold at Stiles’s Newcomb Hollow Shop, on Main Street, as well as other shops through town.

The artists, aged from 20 to 65, meet once a month.

“Everyone is somewhere on their journey of making art,” explained Judith. “There’s a nice variety of art in the group: stained glass, pottery, photography. We have a cartoonist, someone how makes furniture. Oil painters, print makers …” Judith also mentioned beach collectibles by Sarah Miller, so keep your eyes peeled for those as well.

It’s fabulous that the Blossoms festival lit the way for the future of art in Wellfleet!

You might also like to read about the past of art here.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Art in Wellfleet (Part 1)

In 1933 Edward Hopper painted the Bluff Cottages, built by Lorenzo Dow Baker, west of the Chequessett Inn for “overflow” guests. Hopper lived in nearby Truro. The Outer Cape has long attracted artists, inspired by the quality of the light.

In the 1960s, Edwin Dickinson and Xavier Gonzales opened Tag Carousel on Route 6. (When I was a child, my parents rented a cottage, off Cove Road, from Dickinson.)

Wellfleet’s Cherry Stone was one of the first galleries in the country to show work by Jack Tworkov and Robert Motherwell, who died in P-town in 1991. Wellfleetians Peter Watts and Helen Miranda Wilson showed at the original Cherry Stone, on Railroad Avenue, in the Sixties and Seventies. This legendary gallery, founded by Sally Nerber and Lizzie Upham, is now located on Commercial. Cherry Stone has had an online presence since 2006 as CherryStoneGallery&FineArt, thanks to the efforts of curator Brenda Correia.

Audrey Parent, owner of Left Bank Gallery, writes on her Web site: “The artists’ use of light and the way they use their materials are critical, but we are looking for more than a faithful rendering of an object. Art should send you on a journey, make you think, evaluate and respond, even if that response is subconscious. The artists we chose to represent have something to say. That’s why they do what they do.”

Today many established artists like Watts and Wilson use agents and galleries, based in New York or show their work in Provincetown. Wellfleet still has over a dozen art galleries and a new generation of artists, living from their art. The galleries hold openings on Saturday nights, in summer.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Come Celebrate Wellfleet Earth Day

The town was shoring up the sand beside the pier yesterday. It’s a good time to do cleanup, don’t you think? Have nothing planned for the day? How about stopping by Baker’s Field to help volunteers do spring cleaning? June 9th was chosen for Wellfleet's Earth Day because there are more now people here than there were in April. The event is being organized by newcomer Ann Schiffenhaus, in coordination with the Recreation Department. Ann hopes to stimulate Wellfleetians to think about the environment and make the playground a more pleasant place. Voluntters can help build benches, sand poles on the tennis court, paint the shack. There will be information on energy audits available and boxes for recycling electronics. Stop in and pledge an act of green. The event will close with a barbecue. There's still time to stop by and help or simply thank these busy bees for creating a nicer place for our children to play. Check out what's going on: