Many of our Inns will blog about the best things to see and do on Cape Cod: Art galleries, antiquing, restaurants, beaches, and of course, whale watching. But pay close attention to the much smaller festivals and “out of the way” places and events that will ultimately be sprinkled throughout these blogs. When sitting at the breakfast table at your inn, peruse the local newspaper. Don’t just hop in your car and search out “the basics”. Any good pirate will tell you, the majority of treasures require a little digging.
Shopping for Valentine’s Day this winter at the Massachusetts Lobstermen’s Association annual weekend proves the point. I’m serious here. I’ll preempt this revelation by saying that, like all of my fellow innkeepers of the Classic Inns of Historic Cape Cod Bay, I can easily guide visitors to the best lobster joints–that’s easy (although our favorite spots all differ!). But when it comes to Cape Cod’s beloved darling–the luscious lobster– I find theses creatures, shall we say…horrific. Nobody can deny that their meat is incredibly scrumptious—but let’s face it, the only real difference between a lobster and a tarantula is a good set of lungs (I am not crazy here. I know there are people reading this nodding their heads). So when Laurie Caron, the co-owner of Salty Lou’s Lobsters announced to a group of us that the Cape Cod Lobstermen’s Association was open to the public, “a lot of fun”, and something to see regardless if you were a lobster lover, we were curious (and at least one of us, a tad fearful).
The Lobstermen’s Association weekend ended up to be a complete surprise. It was open to the public, and free of charge, as promised, so we let our curiosity take over and began perusing. Giant, shiny motor engines, stacks of lobster traps, and enough rope of every color, length and width to circle North America, twice, were interspersed throughout the enormous room. But among the lobster and fishing paraphernalia were booths filled with crafts more unique than we had seen at any of the countless Cape Cod craft fairs we’d attended in recent memory. Local artisans, as well as others from points northeast, proudly boasted their homemade wares. Crystal statuettes glistened under the fluorescent lights, nautically-themed dolls welcomed browsers, massive drift-wood furniture boasted carved intricacies as if created by the finest Italian sculptor, and delicate, polished beach stone jewelery stone danced on fishing lines.
Noting the quality of the crafts, I asking a rugged, heavily bearded lobsterman how they managed to collect such an incredible group of local artisans. He rolled his eyes in what was definitely a look of defeat, “The wives needed something to do for the 4-day weekend”, he says flatly, “So either they spend their days shopping or selling” (clearly this man is here to work and not to shop for turquoise turtle paper weights). Eventually we leave with a bit more knowledge of what lobstermen do, but more importantly, with treasures in hand—satisfied with the outcome of this completely different afternoon.
So why are you reading about a winter Lobstermen’s Association weekend as we’re dangling on the edge of the season where the Cape gets on it’s Sunday best and readies itself for another dazzling summer? (Incidentally you almost read about the Barnstable High School Drama Club productions as well. Last year’s Wizard of Oz was so over-the-top that Warner Brothers shot an extensive on-line “makin of” series called Against All Oz–take that, Broadway). It’s to arm all you good pirates to bring your best treasure diggers this season. Watch out for those hidden gems while you’re here. They’re always going on, especially in the high season. Pick up that newspaper, and grill your innkeeper. Even a group of salty dogs getting together to check out the latest way to lasso an underwater tarantula can prove that Cape Cod holds many hidden surprises– if you’re digging inn the right places. Yo ho!
This week’s post by the Lamb and Lion Inn. Stay tuned for next week’s post by the Inn at Cape Cod.