That Old Cape Magic

Not too long ago, I read Richard Russo’s novel “That Old Cape Magic.”  It’s about a 57-year-old guy who, in the course of his turmoil-filled life, is drawn back to Cape Cod for a variety of reasons.

I’m a 57-year-old guy who is drawn back to Cape Cod for a variety of reasons.  (I have no turmoil.) 



On the Cape this weekend, I had a couple of hours to myself, so I revisited some places from our happy family vacations.  I found the cottage my parents would rent for a week (and eventually two when times were good).  The white clapboard cottage with red shutters and window boxes is now clad in faded yellow aluminum siding, stripped of its Capey character.  Most of the pines are gone.  But it was that old Cape magic that led me right to a cottage I hadn’t laid eyes on in more than 40 years.

And less than a mile away, Seagull Beach.  Driving on the access road leading to Seagull, it was easy to summon my inner 10-year-old.  The feeling of eager anticipation.  “Hope we find a parking spot quick!”  “Hope we get a good place near the water!”  “Hope the waves are big!”

Snow covered Seagull Beach

The middle of February on Cape Cod is a perfect time to relive the memories.  All the beauty without all the crowds.

That old Cape magic.


About Gerry

I've been covering Connecticut news and sports since 1974. I know, I don't look that old.
This entry was posted in It's all about me, Living in the Past, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to That Old Cape Magic

  1. I just love this post. The before and after pictures say it all. Forty years ago the house had character. Embodied that old Cape Cod style magic. Now it’s vinyl sided, stripped of the boxes that held the flowers. Stripped of the trees. Now it looks like the double wides we see so much of on the back roads down here. Not to put down double wides ( But I guess I just did )

    There’s a touch of the Irishman in ya, lad. We Micks are said to be infatuated with the past. The Cape circa 1970. Ah!

    • Gerry says:

      Thank you. My parents could have bought that cottage for 4 or 5-thousand dollars, but that was too much money for them back in the early-mid ’60s.

  2. p.s. Russo’s Old Cape Magic’s a good one, but his Bridge of Sighs is even better. About the two tribes in life: Those who choose to stay in their home towns all their lives, and those who venture out, beyond the walls and the moat. The perceived Maginot Lines those who stay think will keep them safe from harm and misery. I wrote an op-ed piece for my hometown paper recently. Russo’s idea was the topic. I stirred up a hornets’ nest. Those who stayed didn’t like what I wrote. So it goes with different tribes. Those who stayed in Web Town. And those of us who stood in line to get those exit visas.

  3. graham says:

    Great memories! The cottage my father and two uncles built in Bass River just about the time you were born is still standing and other than having had a sun room added looks just about the same as it did then. We drive by once in awhile just for fun. We could walk to the beach and even take the dog in those days.
    The cottage still has the extra lot on the side where my dad and I would play wiffle-ball by the hours during our vacation every summer. Thanks to Aunt Rose who bought the land so the family could enjoy Cape Cod.
    Glad you had such a good weekend. We are looking forward to getting there again soon.

    • Gerry says:

      It had been a while since I got to cruise that area. I don’t remember Seagull Beach with dunes. They must be man made. But the building that housed the old Lobster in the Rough restaurant is still there. It was a fun few hours.

  4. Cat says:

    Ahh, but did you shout those famous words aloud,,

    “Are we there yet, are we there yet?”

  5. Kevin says:

    ah man, looks like a victim of Soviet era brutalism, bring back the trees, flower boxes, shutters, etc. On a positive note, at least there’s more parking.

  6. graham says:

    Lobster in the Rough? I remember it well. That was fun! Speaking of nearby beaches, remember the old house on the beach at the mouth of Bass River? We were all afraid to go in there. Always wondered what was behind the boarded up windows.That’s where the rum-runners brought their “hootch” during prohibition. Now the town runs the beach which is known as Smuggler’s Beach. Go figure.
    Wow, I feel warmer today just thinking about summer beaches on Cape Cod.

  7. Steve says:

    First Time, Long Time. Like to think our paths crossed many times. Many memories of quohoging at Seagull Beach and collecting seaweed for the clambakes on Higgins Crowell Rd. in the late sixties and seventies. Grew up in Southboro, MA and married to a UMIE. What do you think the chances are that we clinked a glass or two in the past?

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