Summer is coming, and I can't wait.
I live in Florida in the winter and head back to Cape Cod for the summer. I have to be on Cape Cod in mid April for business, so I usually arrive about April 15. This is a mistake.
I promised myself that this year I wouldn't head north until the temperature up north was higher than my age. Without revealing my actual age, I will tell you that I'm significantly north of sixty. I've been back on Cape Cod for almost four weeks now, and I think the temperature has been higher than my age on only two days. The forecast for the next ten days is not encouraging. There's an old saying on Cape Cod that the months of the year are January, February, March, March, March, and then June. This year it's absolutely true.
We had the pool opened in early May because it has an automatic cover and it's heated. We did that so we could have a longer pool season. It's still covered, and the heater is happily gobbling up gas, which means the utility company is very, very happy with me again. When we do get some sunshine and the temperature creeps up a bit, I'll be ready for the first swim of the season—I'm hoping for the Fourth of July.
I'm not worried about the boat this year because I'm going to sell it.
I did get some good news yesterday. The schoolies are in! Schoolies are small, striped bass that are the first major sign of spring; after that, the big lunkers aren't far behind. Rumor is that the big boys have already shown up in the Cape Cod Canal, and as they work their way around the Cape, they should be in Barnstable Harbor in just a few weeks.
I won't tell you my secret fishing spot, but some locals may recognize this description. There is a spot in Barnstable Harbor where a very large rock is exposed when the tide runs out. I'm looking for a southwest wind on a dropping tide about an hour after high tide at the entrance to the harbor. When the top of the rock is exposed, the water swirls around the rock and creates a pocket of calm water just behind it. It is in this pocket that you can find some seriously big fish. I have caught some striped bass that weighed over forty pounds, and that, my friend, is a very nice fish. It only lasts for about an hour and a half, because by then the tide has dropped enough that the lunkers have moved on to deeper water. But when they're there, you can have some spectacular fishing. Please don't tell anyone. Right now it's nice and private, and I'd like to keep it that way.
Summertime is also clamming time, and at my fishing spot you can also find mussels, little necks, razor clams, and steamer clams. In the winter, I fill up my basket with oysters and scallops. A perfect summer day is catching a striper and then filling up a basket with clams on the way back to the truck. Head home, grab a beer, and have a clam bake by the pool. It just can't get any better than that. Trust me.
Summer also means that all the restaurants and bars are open. There are some truly great spots where you can have a cocktail, dinner, and live music, and look out over spectacular ocean views. We've even got a few places the tourists haven't discovered yet, and no, I'm not going to tell you where they are. They're mine. Find your own place.
I have to say that the beaches aren't too shabby, either. The popular beaches fill up early in the morning with touri (that's the Cape Cod plural of tourist), but every Cape Codder has a special place where they can go and sit on the beach without seeing people in flowered shirts who wear socks with their sandals.
I have a favorite music venue that will be open in a month or so. The Cape Cod Melody Tent is a small theater-in-the-round with a rotating stage. I think it only seats about 2,800 people, so there's no such thing as a bad seat. Over the years I've seen the Moody Blues, the Four Tops, Carol King, James Taylor, Lynryd Skynyrd, and many, many more. Even the ticket prices are such that you don't have to sell your first male child to get a decent seat.
We have trips to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, whale watching, kayaking, hidden walking trails through the woods, artists, musicians, and lots of theater every summer. Yup, I live in a great place, and I'm a very lucky guy—lucky, that is, from May to October. The rest of the year… you don't want to live here. Go to Florida; it's warmer.