I can’t imagine living far away from a coast. Landlocked states like Nebraska terrify me – they feel claustrophobic and desiccated. I need to have access to the water, I need to see and smell the ocean, to be reminded that there is a great big world outside of my lab, outside of highways, hustle, tussle, and spazzola of every day life. I find the ocean therapeutic. It calms me down, slows my thoughts. The smell of the ocean alone is soothing enough, the sound is even better, being rocked by the waves is the ultimate sensation for inner peace.
The ocean is one of the main reasons I love Boston as much as I do. There is the city ocean, hemmed in by docks, ocean walks and water front restaurants, and there is the nature ocean stretching outside of the city, bordered by wide beaches, sand dunes, and forests. The nature ocean is on the Cape (that’s how we Bostonites refer to Cape Cod. THE Cape. There is no other Cape for us). The pro-Cape Cod propaganda in books and movies is spot on – it is a heavenly spot with great food, gorgeous views, and the kind of quiet stillness that is so sharply lacking in the middle of a city.
A two hour-long mini road trip brought me to Provincetown and Wellfleet at the tip of the Cape. The former is full of adorable gay boys and girls, the latter is teeming with fresh, local oysters (that’s oystahs to us Bostonites). The annual Wellfleet Oysterfest was the reason for the mini-holiday. The festival celebrates the eponymous oysters raised on farms in Wellfleet. The mild tasting, lightly briny Wellfleet oysters were everywhere, sold by local restaurants and oyster farmers - shucked oysters, unshucked oysters, grilled oysters, oyster stew, even an oyster shucking competition (which sounded waaay more exciting than it proved to be).
Maiya took an expert turn at shucking an oyster, while I shied away for fear of losing a finger. I don’t do well with knives.
The warm weather and shockingly blue skies were a great complement to gorging on fresh seafood and plastic cups of locally brewed Octoberfest. This most perfect festival day continued with a cranberry picking expedition and a bonfire on a deserted beach under a star-riddled sky, with potatoes and corn caramelizing in the embers. I can’t think of a better argument for living on a coast… or for eating your body weight in fresh oysters.