Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

May 21, 2008

East Sandwich, A bit of Downtown & the Kids

My hometown is broken up into 3 villages: Sandwich, East Sandwich and Forestdale. Although now I understand that there are 2 other new "villages" within the town, but since I've never heard of them, they will get no mention. I grew up in East Sandwich, which was, at the time I lived there, still considered "far" from "downtown". It's really only about 7 miles.

Oh and yes, I have heard all the "sandwich" jokes so there's no need to say them ("is East Sandwich near the crust?", "You live in Sandwich? You're full of baloney!" ad nauseum).

This is an adorable birdhouse that I saw at the local artist's collective gift shop, on Rte. 6A. This was also outside the collective.

This is one of my fave rave stores in the world, Lavender Moon. I could literally buy everything in the shop. I came away empty handed this time b/c I couldn't narrow down what I wanted out of about 20 things, so I bought nothing. I wish they'd allow photography inside the shop itself because it's absolutely beautiful and magical. I can walk here from my mom's house. Too bad it didn't exist when I was living back there.
And what's a trip to the Cape without a visit to Sandy Neck Beach at low tide, to play on the sandbars and beachcomb?
Things that come second nature to children raised on Cape Cod:
* Using the word "wicked" to emphasize something (this is actually true of all of New England), i.e., if something goes wrong, it's a "wicked pissa". Something really good is "wicked good", etc.

* Education in boat and water safety, and for crying out loud, never, ever turn your back to the ocean.

* Swimming in icy cold water.

* How to pick your way carefully, toe-heel, and quickly, across the rocks strewn across the beaches on the Bay side. This is a point of pride for native Cape Codders. To be seen walking to the water's edge in sneakers, then taking them off to wade in, is clearly a tourist thing. Cape kids start toughening up their feet as soon as it's warm enough to go barefoot, so that we can show up the tourists by running across the sharp rocks to get into said icy cold water.
I have no idea what this is supposed to be. Is is art? Did it wash up on shore? Since bonfires on the public beaches are not allowed, I don't think it's set up to burn.
This is the Benjamin Nye homestead on Old County Road, not far from my parents' house. Can you believe in the 24 years I lived on the Cape, and passed by this place literally thousands of times, I've never been inside?
The East Sandwich Grange was once very active, when the Cape was more rural and had small farms. My parents were members of the Grange, but weren't that active in it. The only time I remember going is in mid-November, in the early 1970's, when the Grangers would host an early Thanksgiving dinner, and we'd go there to eat downstairs with a bunch of other town folk. It was nice and very small-town, "back in the day". Many of the Grange families trace their roots back to the original founders of Sandwich.

This is on the same property as the Grange. It's pretty beat up, but I thought it was picturesque.

"Green door, what's that secret you're keepin'....?"

Moving back to downtown, this is the Dan'l Webster Inn, where I worked during my summer vacations & other school breaks while in college. I was a chambermaid and also worked in the laundry. The "Webby" as we employees called it, is a 4-star hotel & restaurant. Mom and I had lunch here and I'm pleased to report that the chicken pot pie is as delicious now as it was when I worked there over 20 years ago.
The thing is, tourists would always remark at what great shape the Webby was in, considering it was established in the 1690's. It was at that point that I had to make the decision to let them live with that fantasy, or clue them in on the real story, which is that the original Daniel Webster Inn burned to the ground in 1971. This photo was taken in 1960. It was originally known as Fessenden's Tavern, in the early 1700's, and was a meeting place for local men to go and discuss their displeasure with the crown, and what they could do to separate from England. Thus, our country was born in places like Fessenden's Tavern. The tavern was renamed "Daniel Webster Inn" to honor its most famous guest.
My mom INSISTED I get into the stocks for this photo. That upper piece is really, really heavy and I was choking. She's all, "Joanne, I can't see your face. Can you look at the camera?" I go, "Mom, I'm being crushed to death by an extremely heavy board and I can't lift my head. Can you please just take the picture?" She thought I was joking.
This is at the entrance of the library. I always take a photo of it each year I visit because it's always wearing something different. One year it was in Red Sox gear. Some people actually make clothes specifically for this statue. And then there are the ones who have to ruin it by stealing the clothes.
Jarves Street, downtown Sandwich. The red brick church was the Catholic church in which I was baptised, received communion and confirmation. It's been de-sanctified and is now a bistro or B&B.

And no trip to Sandwich would be complete without a visit to Twin Acres Ice Cream. The day mom and I went, it was so cold and damp. But I didn't care. I wanted my soft serve chocolate/vanilla twist cone. My family started going to Twin Acres in the mid-1970's, after Frannie & George's Ice Cream closed. Now Diane carries on the tradition by taking her kids to Twin Acres too. That's my mom's car too, btw.

Back in East Sandwich, I had to make my pilgrimmage to one of my favourite places, Spring Hill Beach. I give the east coast one thing over the west coast, and that's the beaches. Better beachcombing, sand bars at low tide, and the salt marshes. My parents had a cottage at Spring Hill, which they sold in 1977, so that dad could funnel all the money into my college fund. I was bitterly disappointed when the cottage sold, although I am thankful for my education and the fact that I wasn't saddled with student loans.

So each year that I visit, I go to Spring Hill, even though it's a private beach and I'm really not supposed to be parking there and trespassing to get to the beach, but too bad. I still feel a sense of ownership & a right to visit Spring Hill whenever I want, even if the asshole who bought our cottage ripped it down and built an ugly home that dwarfs the quaintness of the other cottages.

Whenever I'd get tired of the beach, I'd drift back to the salt marshes on the other side of the road and play till I got too hot, then I'd go back to the beach. I love Spring Hill Beach. It's lonely, but a nice kind of lonely.

The small white sign says, "Beware of attack lobster".
I was so excited for Diane and her 3 kids Adam, age 9, Madison "Maddie", age 7 and Logan, age 6, to arrive from Maryland. Her sister, Sharon, and fiance Paul bought their grandparents' house which is down the road from my mom's. In fact, I was so completely stoked to see everyone, that I forgot to take a lot of pictures of them. I shot lots of pics of the kids, but I realized I didn't take one of Di & Sha together, or one of Sha & Paul, or a decent one of the 3 of us either, although Sha's turned out the best and I'm still waiting for her to email it to me.
Anyways, I cracked up when Adam did this, because one of my famous things as a kid was to put olives on my fingers and then draw a face under the olive hats, and do "changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace." I'm glad to see that zany sense of humor runs in the family and was passed down to Adam.
There's Diane, cozying up to her pitcher of mimosa's.
That's my 94 year old Uncle Dick (Di & Sha's grandfather), and Sharon's fiance, Paul. Uncle Dick is the patriarch of our family at this point, and when we sat around the large diningroom table to shoot the breeze, he occupied his time-honored place at the head of the table. He lives at the Soldier's Home in Chelsea. His choice. Everyone begged him not to go, but he wanted to live there and he really seems to love it up there. But Paul & Sha bring him down to his old home for visits whenever he wants. I don't remember my grandfather, and Uncle Dick was always around in my life and he's the closest thing to a grandfather that I ever had.
Logan wearing Boston Celtics mini-foam fingers.
Here's a shot of of the gang at Outback Steakhouse in Hyannis, left to right:
Adam, Sharon, Diane, my mom, Paul, Maddie, Irene (Di & Sha's mom) and Logan.

Diane, me & Sharon in 1968.....

....and making new memories 40 years later in 2008. Next generation, same (but newly painted) fireplace.
Adam, Maddie & Logan.


  1. what a great looking family! looks like you guys had a great time that night. love the lobster crossing sign;)

  2. Oh we had a blast. We laughed and laughed...went shopping together (us 3 gals and the kidz). I just wish Di could have stayed on the Cape longer.

  3. great tour again, jojo. what an idyllic place you grew up in. i'd never have left cape cod, if my family had a spot like yours.

  4. Annie - You sound like my mom! She's been lobbying to get me to move back for years. But my home and heart are on the west coast. The Cape/Sandwich was a wonderful place to grow up, but I just can't see myself ever living there again.

  5. No Sandwich jokes here - I don't live that far from the original Sandwich in Kent.

    I have to say that the inn that burnt down in the 1960s doesn't look like it was built in the 1690s either. Faking things up is not a new pastime, the Victorians did a lot of it. People are easily conned if it went up some time before they were born.

  6. Anonymous2:11 PM

    It sounds like you had a fabulous time. Thank you for sharing with us.

  7. Anonymous3:16 PM

    love the top of your head...but really love that picture of the row boat...i've saved it to my computer. i love the cape; haven't been there in over 40 years; i guess it's time to go back!

  8. I'll stick my head in the stocks at Webby's next month, with my hair and face done up for Jamie's wedding reception, and see if I can lift my head up. :D

  9. Looks like wicked fun! I'm glad you had a chance to reconnect. Makes me want to take a trip too!

  10. Looks like great fun. Cool pics again, Jo :-)

  11. DP - We had a wicked good time!

    Kathleen - I will require photographic proof!! I'm sending an email to your mom to make sure she gets a pic of you in the stocks.

  12. Anonymous7:32 PM

    Oh the kids are soo much bigger than the last time I saw them- but Diane looks as young as ever!

    Beautiful pitures- make me homesick.

    I think Kathleen will end up in the stocks even if she doesn't want to!

  13. Looks like everyone had a blast (except you, when you were in the stocks!) The Lavendar Moon is a place I would love to visit.

  14. how fun! you have a beautiful family. i love the little tours you give. :)

  15. Wait! You had pot pie and didn't have any Next Day Aired to me???????