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My father loved baseball. He used to brag about being called up to play on the high school team when he was still in junior high. It was certainly something to be proud of, even though the male population of the high school at the time was somewhat shy of a full roster baseball team and in need of players. He was on the high school basketball team for the same reason, but his real passion was baseball.
I think if life circumstances had been different for Dad, he would have been a professional ball player. But first he had to contend with the Depression, then five years of service in the Army during WWII, and eventually the responsibilities of raising two little girls. He should have coached little league, but back then girls weren’t allowed to play, so instead of lobbing fly balls into leftfield on Saturday mornings, he was pushing me and my sister around the yard in a wheel barrel.
It was the Impossible Dream Team of 1967, when the Red Sox stunned the nation by winning the American League East pennant and reaching the World Series for the first time since 1946, that made me a baseball fan. Back then Saturday afternoons were spent watching the game. My Dad and I used to argue who was the most valuable player among a roster that included Rico Petrocelli, Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro, Ken Harrelson (the Hawk), George Scott, Reggie Smith, and pitcher Jim Lonborg.
Later in life, when my life circumstances included an apartment in Boston, on occasion we’d snag some tickets from a scalper outside Fenway and catch a home game from behind third base. Though my Dad passed away several years before the Red Sox finally captured the World Series in 2004, thus ending the long drought and rumors of a “curse”, he was always a faithful fan.
I think if Dad were still alive today, he’d get a great kick out of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Set to begin its 2010 season, the opening game will take place this Sunday, June 13th between the Cotuit Kettleers and the Wareham Gatemen at Wareham. Many of the finest college players in the country make their way to Cape Cod in the summer to hone their talents in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The league has a storied history of alumni who went on to the “big show”, among them Mike Lowell, Jason Bay, and Jacoby Ellsbury who currently play in the major leagues.
Many of the fields are within minutes of our Inn and the games are free of charge. I hope to make it to a couple of games this season, if their schedule allows. And if I do, I’ll be thinking about Dad.
I didn’t become a collector of pottery by design. It started innocuously enough several years ago when we had our first inn in North Conway, NH. One year at Christmas my sister gave me a piece of Salmon Falls Stoneware, followed by something similar for my birthday in April, our anniversary in June, and then a matching piece the following Christmas. Soon she was clipping coupons for me from the Salmon Falls flyers, or picking up a “second” at their warehouse. Before I knew it, I had a collection.
It’s simple and beautiful and looks lovely in my dining room hutch. Some pieces are more practical than others. The cookie jar for example, seems to keep Rich’s chocolate chip cookies moist and chewy for our inn guests. The chowder bowls keep a hearty serving of creamy clam chowder steamy hot on a cold winter’s day. And the honey pot is convenient to keep on the tea cart. But when my sister presented me with a Salmon Falls urn to keep our parent’s ashes in, I had to draw the line.
So ended my days of collecting Salmon Falls Stoneware, but my appreciation of the fine craftsmanship of quality pottery has not abated. Recently, Rich and I added High Pointe Inn logo mugs from Deneen Pottery to our breakfast service. They are a wildly popular item in our gift shop and seem to fly out of here as souvenirs for our guests, in part because they hold a cup of coffee hot for a long time, but mostly because they are truly beautiful works of art. And I have been known to ogle a piece of Flying Pig pottery from time to time for the sheer whimsy of its design.
It got me to thinking about the many pottery studios I pass by in my travels around Cape Cod. There are literally dozens of independent potters on the Cape, stretching from the towns of Sagamore and Bourne near the canal to the tip of Cape Cod at Provincetown. So I’ve complied a list of pottery and stoneware craft studios I hope to visit while living and working on Cape Cod, and confess that though I am no longer a collector, it doesn’t mean I can’t fondle a few pots from time to time, or even bring one home to admire along with my guests.
In April this year, Rich and I traveled to Victoria, British Columbia for a short break before beginning our 12th season as innkeepers, the last six of which we’ve spent here on Cape Cod. We encountered some lovely weather in which to enjoy the flowering trees and spring blossoms in what is considered the “most English city outside of England”. Having never been to merry old England myself, I enticed Rich into taking afternoon tea at Buchart Gardens.
We walked the garden paths of the Sunken garden, the Japanese garden, the Rose garden and the Italian garden, before stumbling upon the seasonal garden show in the very Victorian greenhouse. After a brief visit to the gift shop, we meandered over to the tea room for an authentic “cream tea”. Sitting in the solarium on a warm and sunny April afternoon, we sipped our tea and nibbled on berry trifle, savory tea sandwiches, scones, cakes and other sweet treats. It was an amazingly relaxing and refreshing way to spend the afternoon and was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Upon our return, I began looking into the options for afternoon tea here on Cape Cod. It was a delightful surprise to find three tea rooms located very close to the High Pointe Inn that offer an authentic tea experience. The most recent addition to the tea room lineup is the Village Tea Room at the Bosari Gallery located on Route 6A in Dennis, MA. We paid a visit to the proprietor today, and were most impressed with the setting. Created in a restored 1800s barn, the spacious gallery attempts to blend the art of tea with the art displayed on the walls. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of having tea here is the delightful tea master, George Davidson, who hails from Edinburgh, Scotland. I’m a sucker for a good-looking guy with a brogue.
The Dunbar Tea Shop and Tea Room is perhaps the premier Cape Cod tea emporium, having a long history of serving tea in an old Colonial-era carriage house in the village of Sandwich. Although afternoon tea can be served at any time, the current proprietors have expanded the tea room’s offerings to include breakfast and lunch. Served in the English tradition, tea comes in a cosy-covered pot with a strainer.
Finally, the Optimist Café on Route 6A in Yarmouthport, is a charming, if quirky, little place that combines tea with other English traditions, such as the “Ploughman’s Lunch”. An exceptional array of homemade seasonal soups takes the chill off a winter’s day here on Cape Cod, but their iced “Teatini” takes the cake for creativity and whimsy. Served in a martini glass, your teatini comes with a garnish of olives and a sprig of mint, sliced oranges and lemons, or crystallized ginger. Stirred, not shaken.
So the next time your visiting Cape Cod and have an urge for a spot of tea, try any one of these authentic English tea rooms. It could be the perfect end to your perfect day on Cape Cod.
A small town on Cape Cod, located just 50 miles from Boston, rich in fuel and having easy access to major waterways for the shipment of goods and supplies, Sandwich, Massachusetts seemed the perfect spot for a glass factory, or so thought Deming Jarvis when he started the Boston and Sandwich Glass Factory there in 1825. Along with the land for the factory, he bought 20,000 acres of forest to fuel the furnaces. Ironically, one thing Sandwich didn’t have to offer Deming was the fine sand required for glass making. This he imported from New Jersey and Western Massachusetts.
At the height of its success, approximately 1830-1860, the factory employed around 500 men, and produced over 6,000 tons of glass daily. Known as one of the better glass houses, the Boston and Sandwich Glass Factory produced tumblers, whale oil lamps, cruets, glass hats, jugs and bottles among other items, using free-blown, hand-cut, and mold pressed techniques. After the Civil War, however, glassmaking became more competitive, and the company struggled to compete. The furnaces that fired the now famous Sandwich glass were finally extinguished in January of 1888.
The Sandwich Glass Museum, under the auspices of the Sandwich Historical Society, celebrates the rich history of Sandwich and its intimate link to the production of American-made glass. Located at the corner of Route 130 and Tupper Road and across from the Town Hall at 129 Main Street, the Museum houses an extensive collection of original Sandwich glass, a theater offering a multi-media presentation of what life was like in rural New England during the Industrial Revolution, and a glass furnace where visitors can watch molten glass blown and pressed into exquisite pieces of art. In addition, the Museum Shop offers an array of unique items for sale, including reproductions of original Sandwich glass designs, and contemporary art glass.
The Museum is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM from April through December. Abbreviated hours are offered in February and March. On Wednesdays throughout the summer and Saturdays in the fall, the Museum sponsors a walking tour through the village of Sandwich that highlights the town’s historic architecture from the colonial period to the early 20th century. We highly recommend a visit to this incredible tribute to the history of glassmaking in America. It’s just down the street from our Inn in West Barnstable, MA and the perfect outing for day on Cape Cod, rain or shine.