I've had the great fortune of spending the past twenty summers of my life (that's right: all of them) on Cape Cod. It's where some of my best and favorite memories were made, and over my lifetime it's become my home away from home. There's something about the Cape, especially in the summertime, that is so comfortable and inviting to visitors and residents alike.
While there are endless reasons why Cape Cod is, to me, the best place in the world, I've picked seven that I think will sway any reader into agreeing with me.
1. The beaches
Most (if not all) towns in Cape Cod are right on the water, either the Atlantic Ocean or the much calmer Nantucket Sound. They're usually broken up by rock barriers, or jetties, allowing for some private beaches or smaller public patches. The beach I personally go to rests at the end of my street and is really only frequented by people in our small surrounding neighborhood.
While there will always be annoying families and children, the thing that makes up for it is the beauty of the beaches themselves.
2. The shops
In the summer on the Cape, everything looks like it's out of a movie. There are washed out wood signs in front of boutiques, food stands, and bookshops, many of them family-run and frequented by year-around as well as summer returnee shoppers.
3. The restaurants
I'll be honest: I'm salivating a little right now thinking about all of my favorite restaurants on the Cape. Most days it is bright and sunny, and you can sit outside as the sun begins to set and a chill sweeps in. There is nothing more pleasing to the soul than this, especially after a day out at the beach.
And that's just the experience of eating out! The food, especially the seafood, is often as enjoyable as the experience itself (and if it's not, you know that restaurant will be replaced by next summer).
4. The ice cream
I formally challenge anyone who thinks there is better ice cream somewhere other than the Cape to a fistfight. There is nothing better than Buffy's or Sundae School or Hot Chocolate Sparrow ice cream and I will stand by that for the rest of my life.
5. The summer festivities
We always have the great fortune of staying on the Cape for the Fourth of July, on which the whole neighborhood moves down to the beach and two local families take turns setting off incredible displays of fireworks. Everyone comes together to settle in, to barbeque on the beach, to snuggle with their kids as they watch in awe of the beautiful show
The Cape Cod Baseball League is in season all summer and while it is so cliche New England summer, there are very few things more comfortable and satisfying than sitting outside on a warm night as the sun sets to watch a baseball game.
6. Did I mention the ice cream?
When I was younger, my parents would let us decide each day: do we want ice cream from the truck on the beach or go out after dinner? It's not just the quality of the ice cream that is so good (which, see above, is still highly relevant), but the whole dynamic of eating amazing ice cream after a glorious day in the sun on the beach just distinctively and wonderfully epitomizes summer and happiness.
7. The community
In my German class this year, I had to compare my home or main residence with places that I also considered home (friends, we'll chat later about my experience in Elementary German....). While I love my home and am grateful to have grown up there, there is nothing like the community that emerges both between people who live on Cape Cod year-round and summer visitors like my family.
Each year, we encounter regulars who we've seen consistently for the now twenty years my family has been traveling north to the Cape, like the family who runs our favorite cafe or the one who's lived in the house next door for endless years. But we also have had the good fortune of making passing acquaintances, like the family who rented a house down the road and also had Boston Terriers, or the party house who made us appreciate our own friends and the simplicity of our summers so much more.
There is something undeniably magical about Cape Cod that makes it extremely hard (if not impossible) to ever be sad while you're there.