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I can’t recall exactly when I first visited Cape Cod, but I do know I stayed with my sister and brother-in-law in a tiny weather-worn cottage on Cape Cod Bay in Eastham. It had been built right after World War II and had few–actually no–modern amenities beyond indoor plumbing. In fact it was just a step above camping. Two closet-size bedrooms and a living room opened up to leak-soaked rafters. The bathroom had a small dark shower. What must have been the world’s smallest kitchen had a 1950s-era stove with only two functioning burners and an oven door that didn’t quite close. I couldn’t believe my sister and her husband had stayed in this place many times before, and his parents had stayed there many times before them, starting early in the 1960s. It certainly didn’t look appealing. But it took only a day or two before the spell was cast and I became a believer: Cape Cod is a very special place, and the simple pleasures it offers are so much of its magic.

Listening to the surf at night, collecting shells along the shoreline, hiking through dunes with sand chairs, water toys and a cooler full of sandwiches, watching seagulls make lazy circles in the sky. Eastham has all that and more. It’s a life-in-the-slow-lane place where it’s incredibly easy to mentally unplug and cast your cares to the wind. Splashing in tide pools trumps traipsing through the shopping centers that exist in some other Cape Cod towns, and old-fashioned pursuits are the order of every day.

Come to Eastham and see for yourself. I promise, you’ll quickly become a believer too.

Eastham Vacation Guide is an insider’s guide to the best places to eat, shop, stay and play in and around the Eastham area of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. I have personally visited every business mentioned on the site and participated in every activity that’s described. All articles were written based on my first-hand experiences.

Advertisers do not influence this site’s editorial content.

Prices mentioned in articles were accurate as of the time each article was posted.

Unless otherwise noted, I wrote all of the editorial content. I am the site’s founder, editor and publisher.

In addition to founding EasthamVacationGuide.com I was co-founder of WeJustGotBack.com, a multi-award-winning family trip-planning site that I sold in 2012. Prior to that I was CEO of Media Management Strategies, a publishing consulting company for print and digital media. And for ten years before that I did the corner-office-in-New-York-City thing as vice president and editor in chief of Woman’s Day Special Interest Publications. Much of the time when I was there I really wanted to be in Eastham instead, digging my toes into the warm sands along Cape Cod Bay rather than shuffling papers and rushing to meetings. My experiences in Eastham helped shape my priorities.

My very talented, long-time friend Elizabeth Maroney is Eastham Vacation Guide’s contributing photographer. She has been called “The Archivist” by family and friends because she has been taking photos since our college days together. As digital technologies have flourished, she has put those photos into albums, books and slideshow movies to share. She loves “playing” with photos and creating images from her imagination. Following her retirement from 37 years of teaching, she bought a new Nikon camera and began studying photography. She enjoys photographing people–especially her eight grandchildren–as well as nature and beaches in Rhode Island and on Cape Cod.

We’ll see you at the Cape!

–Carolyn Gatto

(Photograph: Elizabeth Maroney)

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