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The neon lights will turn off for the winter as Four Seas concludes its 75th year of serving some of the New England's finest ice cream.

Even though we are already waist-deep into September, summer only truly ends for me the day Four Seas closes its doors for the season. And today, my dear friends, is that sad day when they hold their annual closing sale where, in order to empty out their inventory, they sell pints and quarts at a 15% discount. The store will remain open until all their ice cream is sold out, which usually happens by 5 p.m. at the latest.

I arrived at Four Seas around 11 a.m. today to what I can only describe as a mad and desperate feeding frenzy. Four Seas had all of its staff on hand, so the service was as swift and cheerful as ever, but there was a true seriousness to be found in the faces of the customers. Stockpiling ice cream, it seems, is nothing to be taken lightly. Almost everyone left the store with large paper bags full of quarts of their favorites to get them through the long winter. I imagine that by the time of this posting, with just a couple hours left of the sale, Four Seas resembles something like End Times meets Lord of the Flies, so if you are brave and want to bid summer adieu properly, the time to get to Four Seas is now.

But, as the old saying goes, when Mother Nature closes a door, Tom Brady opens a window. Or something like that. So, as of today, ice cream is out, but football is in and so Cape residents will just simply swap one addiction for another. Go Pats!

Four Seas was packed. It was a slightly terrifying, sun-filled feeding frenzy.

Four Seas was packed. It was a slightly terrifying, sun-filled feeding frenzy.

Inaho is housed in a sweet little house on 6A in Yarmouth Port

Inaho is housed in a sweet little spot on 6A in Yarmouth Port

It is a sad truth that a girl cannot live on fried seafood and ice cream alone. God knows that during Cape Cod summers I sure have tried. And yes, with my high level consumption of both clam chowder and Black Raspberry ice cream, I’m definitely getting enough calcium, but occasionally I crave something that won’t make it impossible to fit into my jeans. And when this time comes, my first destination is the wonderful and elegant Japanese restaurant Inaho – located on Route 6A in Yarmouth Port. Continue Reading »

Wow - if the 80s are back in fashion, then the Ice Cream Cafe's sign is really en vogue

If the 80s are back in fashion, then the Ice Cream Cafe's sign is really in vogue

As I sat on the porch at Ice Cream Cafe in Orleans, greedily demolishing my cone of Peppermint Stick, I wondered to myself if I had been too quick to declare, as I had done on this blog two months earlier, that Four Seas serves the best ice cream on Cape Cod.

When I visited the Ice Cream Cafe, I did so with a bit of childish skepticism. I knew my favorite ice cream place, and this wasn’t it, so why was I here? And when I saw the woman in front of me in line receive her ice cream in a chocolate dipped waffle cone with a topping of gummy bears (making her cone look more like a Pop-Art installation than a delicious dessert) I questioned the sanity of both the scooper and the customer. Gummy bears on ice cream? Is nothing sacred? But it was my turn to order, so I stuck with a standard that I’ve been ordering at Four Seas since the age of three – Peppermint Stick in a sugar cone, and, for the love of all that is holy, please hold the gummy bears. Continue Reading »

The beautiful green-hued light that comes from the boggy bits of Punkhorn Parklands drew me in like a siren's song.

The beautiful green-hued light that comes from the boggy bits of Punkhorn Parklands drew me in like a siren's song.

You know those visualization exercises where you’re supposed to conjure up a safe and happy place? Well, mine goes something like this: I’m walking through some obscure patch of woods on Cape Cod. No one is around. It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. I’m filled with peace. Then I see a small, unmarked trail and, after deciding to follow it, I stumble upon a perfect, people-free, undiscovered pond where I have a leisurely swim in waters as sweet as honeysuckle and as gentle and inviting as an old cotton t-shirt. So, that’s the pinnacle. That’s what I’m searching for when I incompetently bumble around these conservation lands, and national parks, and random patches of shaggy scrub pines. But, that happy place is pure fiction. What I tend to experience instead is a bit dirtier, more comical, and a lot less placid. It always involves mosquitoes, getting lost, getting found, and getting lost again, yet, sometimes, just sometimes, I get a brief encounter with the happy place I’ve settled on in my mind. And so it was yesterday, as I battled my way through the endless maze of trails in Punkhorn Parklands in Brewster. With my sneakers blackened by bog gunk, my dog about to collapse from dehydration (and resentment) and only the GPS on my iPhone to guide me, I found my way to that perfect pond, took a serene swim, and snatched a moment from time where my real matched my ideal. Continue Reading »

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Cars beware! On Commercial Street pedestrians and bikers rule. So, to all those drivers out there, roll your windows down, go 3 miles per hour, and, for goodness sake, park your car as soon as possible, and get out into the action.

In “Land’s End,” novelist Michael Cunningham’s must-read book about Provincetown, he writes,

Provincetown is, has always been, an eccentrics’ sanctuary…It is the only small town I know of where those who live unconventionally seem to outnumber those who live within the prescribed boundaries of home and licensed marriage, respectable job and biological children…Among strollers and shoppers [on Commercial Street] on a summer afternoon, it is not unusual to see, within a fifty-foot radius, all of the following: a crowd of elderly tourists who have come for the day on a tour bus or have disembarked from a cruise ship anchored in the harbor; a pack of muscle boys on their way to the gym; a vacationing mother and father shepherding their exhausted and fussy children through the shops; a pair of lesbians with a dachshund in a rainbow collar; two gay dads in chinos and Izod shirts pushing their adopted daughter in a stroller; a dread-locked and ostentatiously tattooed young woman who works at the head shop; a man dressed, very convincingly, as Celine Dion; elderly women doing errands; several closeted schoolteachers from various parts of the country who come to Provincetown for two weeks every year to escape the need for secrecy; several weary fisherman coming home from their stints on a scallop boat; a bond trader with three-hundred-dollar sandals up for the weekend from New York; and a brigade of furious local kids on skateboards, seeing how close they can come to the pedestrians without actually knocking one over, a stunt that is usually but not always successful.

Throughout “Land’s End,” Cunningham perfectly and lovingly captures Provincetown in all of its strange and glorious beauty. And I couldn’t help but think of the above description chronicling the rich and vibrant street life found on the town’s main drag as I walked along Commercial Street for an afternoon of window shopping and practicing the underrated art of loafing around.

Now, first let me discuss the limited scope of this blog post. The rich gallery scene, the vast cultural offerings, and the incredible night life will be not be included here. Each deserves its own space – and I will be sure to get to them soon. So, let this blog post act as just a dip of the toe into the ocean of things that can be said about Commercial Street. Continue Reading »

Marconi Beach was packed.

Marconi Beach

The Cape Cod National Seashore waved their usual $15 beach entrance fees last weekend and the timing couldn’t have been better. After a rather chilly and wet summer, the weather has turned hot, hot, hot and I decided that there was no better way to cool off than to spend the day submerged in the bracing waters of the National Seashore. But settling on just one beach on such a perfect beach day simply wouldn’t do. So, yesterday I went to three out of the five beaches of the National Seashore (Race Point, Herring Cove, and Marconi) in order to conduct my own informal, unscientific survey of these incredible treasures. Continue Reading »

Cotuit Park

For two short, perfect summer days, from August 14 to Saturday, August 15th, over a hundred sweet white tents full of arts and crafts will occupy the gently sloping park that surrounds the Cotuit Federated Church and the town library. It is the 39th Annual CraftFest in Cotuit – a compelling combination of local food, local crafts, and local performances. Continue Reading »