Dog Day Afternoon: At the Cape Cod National Seashore

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Summer brings the hottest, most sultry days of the year that usually occur sometime between early July and early September. We are experiencing the “dog days” on Cape Cod. The moniker comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, was somehow responsible for the hot weather. Be that as it may, on Cape Cod hot and sultry is what we live for…the long and lazy days of summer that are best spent at the beach. Something that the Cape has no shortage of, to be sure.

Having an unplanned afternoon with no check-ins to wait around for at the Inn, Rich and I declared a “dog holiday” and packed up the Subaru with a cooler full of sandwiches and cold drinks, some folding chairs, and Casey, our almost 11 year old yellow lab and resident inn dog. We headed east, destination uncertain, but definitely within the bounds of the National Seashore as dogs are permitted on the beach as long as they are on a leash, something unheard of at most other public beaches on Cape Cod, with few exceptions. It is one of the rare complaints that we have, actually, about living on Cape Cod, as living here for the most part is idyllic. But if you are a dog, or a dog lover, the nearly universal restriction of dogs on the beaches from April or May through September or October is the bane of our existence.

Cape Cod National SeashoreWe ended up at Marconi Beach in Wellfleet after an unsuccessful try to secure a parking spot at Coast Guard and Nauset Light beaches in Eastham. Marconi took its name from the famous Italian inventor, Marconi, who successfully completed the first transatlantic wireless communication between the U.S. and England in 1903 at a site nearby.

Known for the steep sand cliffs that back the beach, Marconi is one of the most beautiful beaches on all of Cape Cod. There is a sense of solitude that beach goers can experience at Marconi, for the wide expanse of nearly pristine sand stretches endlessly east and west. Once beyond the fray of the sun worshippers, ball players, and boogie boarders that seem to congregate between the lifeguards keeping a watchful eye on the action, you can claim an area an acre wide for yourself on the remaining swath of beach and be undisturbed for the remainder of the day if you like.

Casey, of course, was in doggie heaven. A jaunt on the beach on one of the most sultry of summer days is a rare event indeed for her, and she took full advantage of the freedom to roam from tide pool to tide pool testing the water temperature and doing her version of the dog paddle. In her youth she was an avid swimmer, but as the advancing years have settled in on her joints, she now simply likes to lie down in the water, attempt to roll over and scoot her snout beneath the surface of the water, something akin to doggie snorkeling, I presume. Whatever floats your boat.

It was a wonderful afternoon for all three of us. Walking the beach we shed our “hospitality fatigue” and returned home renewed and refreshed and ready to tackle the responsibilities of being innkeepers on Cape Cod once again.