Saturday, October 8, 2011

Indian Summer

Spotted in Barnstable: The God of Indian Summer?

Fall arrived with a bang this week, changed its mind, and ran away again. On Thursday, I surrendered and put on socks, boots, leggings, and a coat the other day. Yesterday, I was so cold that I needed afternoon and evening cups of cocoa to keep my teeth from chattering. I'd spent the whole morning huddled under the quilt in bed, with Snicky and Possum nearby, nursing a cold and finishing a novel by William Dean Howells aptly called Indian Summer (1886). It's an unusual American (middle-aged!) romance set in Florence; at one point, some of the characters compare Howells to Henry James, and Howells comes up short — a 19th-century touch of post-modernism, and funny, too. Although it was slow going at first, I couldn't put it down by the end. If you loved A Room with a View, you should read this.

This morning, I was happy to return to my summer uniform of dark gray shorts, a tee, and flip flops — plus a silver-gray English cardigan because it's October, after all. I dress like this on cool summer days in Maine, so the cardigan makes me feel like I'm on vacation. My legs still have a hint of a tan from our days in Southwest Harbor, and I'm enjoying every last minute of it.

It was too perfect a day not to drive to the Cape, which we rediscovered last month, after decades of neglect. We love Route 6A, which has to be one of the prettiest (and most carefully preserved) country roads in all of New England. We ate at our "usual" place, Cobies. We've been there three or four times in the past few weeks because we love their burgers, foot-longs, and onion rings, which we eat at a shady picnic table on the porch. Then I had my "usual" peach frozen yogurt at the Ice Cream Smuggler in Dennis.

The pebbly Sandy Neck beach in Barnstable was beautiful and mostly empty. Even in October, the tide was warmer than it ever is in Maine.

Sandy Neck on a cloudless day. See you again next summer.

The Cook Shop in Brewster is superior to any kitchen shop we have in Boston. My husband dragged me in there, knowing I wanted to check it out but wouldn't say so. They carry everything, in every size, shape, and color, from cookware and tools to gourmet food. There's a Tabletop Shop, too. We stocked up on flavored syrups (mandarin orange, toffee....) that we can't find around here. They even had a small Simplex tea kettle, in the beehive shape I'd never seen in person. Simplex must be back in production.

The elusive Simplex Beehive.

Towards sunset, we made our last stop in Sandwich, which has a lot of handsome old architecture and a big pond in the center of town. We'll definitely go back there another time. This gray shingled saltbox house may be the oldest survivor on the Cape. Check out those tiny windows.

Hoxie House, built in 1675. 

We found this house, and many other great places to explore, enjoy, and eat in our trusty Explorer's Guide by Kim Grant. It's excellent bedtime reading, and I'm already getting ideas for future, longer trips next spring and summer.

I hope you're enjoying this gorgeous weekend, too!

1 comment:

  1. After your mention last week, I downloaded a few William Dean Howell novels to my Kindle and started reading Indian Summer last night.

    Also finding the start slow but I'm willing to trudge through. I'm still in my Anthony Trollop period. We'll see how the two mix.


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