Massachusetts was exciting for us because we finally saw the sea again – seven weeks after leaving the Pacific at Oceanside we ran onto the beach in Cape Cod and dipped our toes in the Atlantic. It felt like a really significant moment – we’d driven ‘from sea to shining sea’, we’d seen the beauty and variety of this wonderful country and we’d made it to the other side.
We spent two nights in Cape Cod – a scorpion’s tail-shaped peninsula that juts out into the ocean. I didn’t know what to expect beyond the myth – the Kennedys, the golden beaches, the fancy islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. What we found was more or less that, but slightly less fancy than expected. We stayed in the reasonably priced town of West Yarmouth, which was perfectly nice, but not the WASP-y haven I’d expected. It was a bit like Bournemouth but with more sunshine. I ran in the morning to the town of Hyannis (which our GPS insisted on pronouncing High Anus to the delight of us all). It was a pretty town but not spectacular and the public bathrooms do not open until 9am. SERIOUSLY????
On our full day there, we drove out to Provincetown – a cute, small, super-touristy town right at the end of the peninsula, thus the end of the world. The sand at the National Park beach at the end was so hot it burned our feet, so we had to cool them in the water.
We explored the little town and hunted for Geocaches with limited success. On the way back, we stopped at LeCount beach to play. There were big signs warning that these waters were hunting grounds for Great White Sharks – I was relieved that my boys chose to play footie on the beach instead. I sat on the sand, gazing out to sea, trying to spot dorsal fins. I was a bit disappointed to be sharkless.
The next day we drove further north to Boston, stopping on the way at Plymouth where the first Pilgrims settled and spent that first brutal winter. One of the things that’s struck me on this entire trip is the courage of people who made these epic journeys ‘back in the day’, especially the women. Those dauntless women who chose to move to Australia and settle a wild, savage new land. Those brave Pilgrim Englishwomen who preferred the risk of death and the prospect of an unknown world to the persecution they faced in their homeland. I thought of those mothers who put their children on the Mayflower and their desperation…and of course it made me think of those North African mothers who put their children on rafts across the Mediterranean because staying is even more dangerous than going. I hugged my little person tightly and affectionately punched my borrowed teenager on the shoulder. He is most resistant when I try to kiss him! 🙂
We spent the next few nights in lovely Boston. On the first evening, the boys got in the car and drove back to Connecticut to watch the Monster Jam. They had a blast. Me? I went for a lovely run along part of the Boston Marathon route, had a delicious beet salad and a glass of wine and sat in bed reading. Bliss.
Exploring Boston the next day, we had a great day. Boston treated us to its very best weather – in the early 20s C/late 70s F, lovely sunshine and a cool breeze. We joined the hordes of tourists walking the 2.5 mile Freedom Trail. It felt like the obvious place to start in this new city and it was actually a lot of fun. Our legs were tired by the end.
That night, we started a new challenge for the boys…Operation Garmin. Both the Dude and Big Brother are really getting into running and I wanted to help them make this a habit and a pleasure rather than a fortnightly 5k-type thing. So I set them a challenge. If they ran 2 miles every other night for the next month (the remainder of our trip) then I would buy them a (CHEAP) Garmin watch. Their eyes lit up like Christmas and the challenge was accepted. We did our first Family Run at the lovely Cutler Lake Park, just behind our hotel. What a lovely treat that park was – a few miles of trail around a lake. The boys rocked that run, they did so well and were rightly so proud of themselves. Big Brother is really getting into the running thing, his mental game is super-strong now. And the Dude? Something has clicked in that boy’s head and he is a running beast these days. I can see my days of being the fastest runner in the family drawing very swiftly to an end. A few more months, maybe.
Our last morning in Massachusetts was a disaster. Pouring rain, grey skies, cool temperatures…so we ditched the planned visit to Salem (boo) and took refuge at an arcade for a few hours to burn off some energy. And then we were off again, driving through New Hampshire for an hour or so en route to Maine!