Archive for September, 2020

In these times when we are all trying to better understand our country’s past and how we are still struggling to come to terms with it, especially when it comes to race, it is a good thing when some of that past can be brought to light by a fine work of historical fiction. In Kelli Estes’ debut novel, The Girl Who Wrote in Silk, we are not only entertained by a compelling fictional narrative, we learn about the true history used as the story’s backdrop. Specifically, the discrimination against Chinese imigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, legalized by the Chinese Exclusion Act, something very few Americans know anything about. The book’s plot goes back and forth between that time period and the present day. As the story unfolds we learn about how the past and future come together with a lot of heartache and pain, but with moments of hope and joy.

About The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes:

“Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core―and force her to make an impossible choice.”

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

The fine folks at Candylab Toys make some really cool “toys” – but to me, what they really make are really fine pieces of art – little accents that would look good around your home. Take Candylab’s Candycar Yellow Taxi for example, the perfect thing to add a little whimsy to a window sill or the perfect reminder of your best trip to NYC.

About the Candycar Yellow Taxi from Candylab Toys:

“Part of our new Candycar line, a cute 3 inches long. Reminisce about the times when hailing a ride and elbowing out a stranger was required to get around NYC.”

Find the Candycar Yellow Taxi from Candylab Toys.

Visit Candylab Toys online.

As Lost Cowboy fans know, I love a good candle. And when a candle has a great aroma the evokes fond memories of times past, I love them even more. The Southern Roots Campfire Candle I found from the fine folks at Jackson Rose Candles is just such a thing – it will bring you back to those long autumn nights by the campfire telling stories and making s’mores.

About the Southern Roots Campfire Candle from Jackson Rose Candles:

“‘How do y’all get it to smell JUST LIKE A CAMPFIRE?!’ We hear it all the time. This one is almost as good as the real thing. Go ahead and unfold the camping chairs in your living room – we won’t judge. Smoky Hickory Wood + Roasted Marshmallow. Inspired by nights in the woods on Lake Lanier, Cumming, Georgia.”

Find the Southern Roots Campfire Candle from Jackson Rose Candles.

Visit Jackson Rose Candles online.

What better way to end a week of my virtual vacation to Cape Cod than with a picture of how many great days of vacations past ended – with a spectacular sunset. This picture was taken from Duck Harbor Beach in Wellfleet, MA – first published Sept. 15, 2019.

Some sweet treats discovered on past vacations to end the work week…

FRIDAY FINDS: Cape Cod Treats Edition (Originally published Sept. 13, 2019)

If you find yourself towards the tip of Cape Cod with a sweet tooth, you can stop by two world-class purveyors of sinfully delicious treats: Chequessett Chocolate in Truro, and PB Boulangerie Bistro in South Wellfleet.

FF: Chequessett Chocolate

About Chequessett Chocolate:

“We carefully handcraft our chocolate in small batches from fine-flavor, sustainably grown cacao beans at our workshop on Cape Cod. We believe in promoting sustainable agriculture and our direct trade relationships with producers ensure that our supply chain is ethical and environmentally sound. Blending high quality cacao with the purest ingredients available, we create chocolate that is both exceptional in taste and wholesomely decadent.”

Chequessett Chocolate is located at 8 Highland Road, in beautiful North Truro, MA.

FF: PB Boulangerie Bistro

About PB Boulangerie Bistro:

“In the spring of 2010, Chef Philippe Rispoli opened PB Boulangerie Bistro, and it became an instant hit! There is a line, easily 30 deep, at the boulangerie every day. PB has a neighborhood feel, inviting guests with the aromas of freshly baked bread and classic dinner cuisine. In the bakery, the baker’s oven is open for viewing, and our baked goods are available alongside quality treats brought in from France.”

PB Boulangerie Bistro can be found at 15 Lecount Hollow Road in South Wellfleet, on glorious Cape Cod.

I will remember this night forever – my traveling companions and I had a great time. I can’t go to the drive-in – but I can watch Jaws out on my patio with an adult beverage – which is exactly what I am going to do!

VACATION: Throwback Delight – “Jaws” at the Drive-In (Originally published Sept. 13, 2014)

Jaws1One of the first things you see when you cross over into Wellfleet on Cape Cod is the roadside marquee for the Wellfleet Drive-In movie theater. The site of the marquee is one of the milestones we anticipate on our annual drive to vacation. This year we were in for an added treat when we saw the marquee – it listed that the movie showing was Jaws, the original 1975 classic film.

Jaws? At the Drive-in? While on vacation on Cape Cod? We just had to go! And we did. It was a great thrill to see the film on the big screen at a classic drive-in theater.

About Jaws: “Directed by Academy Award winner Steven Spielberg, Jaws set the standard for edge-of-your seat suspense quickly becoming a cultural phenomenon and forever changing the movie industry. When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town’s chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again. Featuring an unforgettable score that evokes pure terror, Jaws remains one of the most influential and gripping adventures in motion picture history.)”

Jaws2

The movie held up and we spent the week quoting our favorite lines and of course looking out for great whites while at the beach. Not too farfetched, there had been many sightings of the sharks off the coast of the Cape all summer.

Meanwhile, later in the week we were thrilled to come across this little piece of folk art – Quint, as portrayed by Robert Shaw in the film, in an artist rendering of a period Narragansett beer ad. Very cool.

WWW.quint

I am enjoying bringing back memories from my past traditional late summer vacations to Wellfleet on Cape Cod. Today, for this week of my virtual trip, I bring you a Weekly Rea that celebrates Wellfleet first published in 2015…

WEEKLY READ: “Wellfleet – Then and Now” by Daniel Lombardo

This is the week I am enjoying my annual vacation in the charming Cape Cod village of Wellfleet. Over the years I have come to love this place and its history. I have been amazed by how much history there is in this relatively small fishing town cum summer mecca. I love looking at the old buildings and thinking about what it must have been like in the old days. I have also seen old postcards and compared them to the views that exist today and marveled at what has changed and what has not. I also found the perfect companion for this activity – the wonderful Wellfleet – Then and Now by Daniel Lombardo.

About Wellfleet – Then and Now by Daniel Lombardo: “When Nicholas Snow bought Billingsgate Island in the 1640s, he could not imagine where it would be today. Generations lived there and built homes, wharves, a school, and a lighthouse. By 1922, the sea swallowed this Wellfleet island, leaving nothing but a brick strewn shoal, visible only at low tide. In Wellfleet, Daniel Lombardo, dramaturg and literary manager for the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater, shows the earliest romantic photographs of the town known for oysters and art galleries alongside contemporary photographs that reveal how rich in romance Wellfleet remains.”

Like any place you love, having a record of its history is a blessing. This week, with Wellfleet – Then and Now in my hand, I can find some of the old sites and see for myself how it looks today – another layer to rich tapestry of my visits to this great place.

Wellfleet – Then and Now by Daniel Lombardo is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers.

Reading this piece I posted last year referencing a piece in the New York Times celebrating the joys of the outer Cape really made me miss the place even more. (Originally posted Aug. 26. 2019)

TRAVEL: I should have been a travel writer*

When a colleague asked me several months ago about my thoughts for her family vacation on Cape Cod, I sang the praises of the area of the Cape that I love – the part near the tip before Provincetown, especially Wellfleet. Over the months as her vacation came closer, I gave her tips about things to do in addition to the fun of P-Town and the awesome beaches of the National Seashore.

I mentioned the great galleries in Wellfleet, the culinary finds, the theater, the nature walks, and bike trails. I am please to say my colleague and her family had a great time staying in Eastham, and checked out many of my recommendations. Not long after, the New York Times travel section’s Lisa W. Foderaro posted a piece titled 36 Hours on Outer Cape Cod – “Wine-tasting, bird-watching, biking and gallery-hopping: In the Outer Cape towns of Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro, there’s plenty to do both in and out of the water.” It was pretty much the itinerary I gave my colleague and many of the things I will be doing myself when I triumphantly return to Cape Cod in a few weeks for my traditional late summer vacation.

From 36 Hours on Outer Cape Cod in the New York Times: “For more than a century, since agriculture and whaling gave way to tourism, Cape Cod in Massachusetts has attracted vacationers to its many miles of pristine beaches. For those wary of the water after last year’s great white shark attacks, experiences on terra firma abound. There are nature walks and wine tastings, leisurely bike rides and gallery visits, lighthouse tours and shopping. The dining and cultural scenes have broadened, too. One way to narrow the scope of your weekend travels is to concentrate on the Outer Cape towns of Eastham, Wellfleet and Truro, all within the Cape Cod National Seashore, which protects tens of thousands of acres from development.”

Read the full piece 36 Hours on Outer Cape Cod in the New York Times here.

*BTW, I guess I kind of am a travel writer – thanks for supporting Lost Cowboy and all my randomness.

Among the things I am missing most by not being able to take my traditional vacation to Wellfleet is touring the many art galleries in town. I love finding new artists and adding new treasures to my collection. Luckily, a few of the galleries I have visited in the past have an online presence as presented in this vintage post.

www.13.9

MY WELLFLEET HOLIDAY: Touring Galleries (Originally published Sept. 10, 2013)

One of the many glories of vacationing in Wellfleet is the fact that this charming seaside hamlet is home to several wonderful art galleries.

As you know from many of my past posts here, I love art and discovering new artists. So every year I look forward to exploring the many galleries in Wellfleet to see what’s new and to make a purchase or two.

My two favorite galleries in Wellfleet are the Left Bank Gallery and the Blue Heron Gallery. In the past I discovered some great artists thanks to these galleries.

It was at the Blue Heron Gallery where I first saw the work of Greg Stones and fell in love with his whimsical take on zombies, sock monkeys and aliens – you just have to see it. I bought an original painting of Mr. Stones’ at the Blue Heron and have purchased a few more prints from him and followed his progress over the years.

Meanwhile, at the Left Bank Gallery, I first fell in love with artist Carol Aust and can’t wait to see her new works they are displaying this season.

I love this recent work of Ms. Aust titled “Running Past Shipwreck”:

AUST

Find a directory of Wellfleet Galleries on the website of the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce here.

Find a Wellfleet gallery map here.

Continuing my virtual visit back to Wellfleet, MA – today I present a memory of one on my favorite spots, also loved by one of my favorite artists.

SNAPSHOT: Cottages at Wellfleet by Edward Hopper (Originally published Sept. 10, 2019)

The great American artist, Edward Hopper, spent many summers on Cape Cod painting the landscapes and structures of this beautiful place. Among his most iconic works is his 1933 painting, Cottages at Wellfleet (right), which depicts some of the houses along the flats where the world famous Wellfleet oysters are farmed.

I have always loved this painting (heck, I love all of Hopper’s work) and it is a thrill to see the very buildings he saw and painted – still standing where he left them – despite some changes to the dunes and the facades, it is pretty much exactly the same view.

Here is a photo I snapped while walking last week in the footsteps of the great artist – inspired by the same view…