I visited Cape Cod last weekend for the first time. With my image of the place based on high-quality programming like “Dawson’s Creek” and “Summer Catch,” I returned to Nantucket disappointed. I pictured Norman Rockwell-esque downtowns surrounded by well-kept, large Cape Cod houses linked together by rural roads that wind through salt marshes. Instead, I found not many communities have downtowns; sprawl is just about everywhere; and the traffic is bad, especially on Route 28. Basically, it reminded me of every other seaside part of the country I’ve been to.
Provincetown was a disappointment. There were a lot of people on Commercial Street getting ready for a parade, but the place struck me as a much less fun version of Key West. Hyannis has a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars in its downtown, but it’s not the magestic place you associate with the Kennedys, who have a compound in neighboring Hyannis Port. To be fair, I spent less than 48 hours on Cape Cod so I really didn’t get a good taste of it. Plus, I didn’t visit any historic places — maybe that’s what I was missing.
I did like some things. There’s hardly any chain stores, a definite plus. There’s a lot of lobster places, and there must be more ice cream shops per capita than anywhere else in the world. Chatham lived up to my romanticized image of Cape Cod with its bustling downtown and large, historic homes. Wellfleet also seemed idyllic. And the Cape Cod National Seashore and other natural areas reminded me of a much larger version of the Indiana Dunes. I hear good things about the Cape Cape Baseball League despite the fact the game we tried to go to in Orleans got rained out.