A Cape Cod Notebook

by Robert Finch

A Cape Cod Notebook can be heard every Tuesday morning at 8:45am and afternoon at 5:45pm.

A nature writer living in Wellfleet, Robert Finch has written about Cape Cod for more than forty years. He is the author of nine books of essays, most recently a second collection of his radio scripts, “A Cape Cod Notebook – 2,” published by Clock & Rose Press and available at roses-books.com.

A Cape Cod Notebook won the 2006 and 2013 New England Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Radio Writing.

For archives of A Cape Cod Notebook, including programs dating from before November 2012, go to the Cape Cod Notebook Archives.

David Merrett bit.ly/2ei5HGk / bit.ly/1mhaR6e

The other day I drove down to the Nauset Light Beach parking lot in North Eastham for the first time since Labor Day. Somehow, in its off-season emptiness, I was struck even more than usual at how extensive and labyrinthine a maze the entrance to this beach has become over time.

Robert Finch

When we think of town conservation areas, we usually think of large tracts of protected land, places like the 1200-acre West Barnstable Conservation Area, or perhaps somewhat smaller tracts like the 44-acre Wiley Park in Eastham. But over the past couple of decades there have been dozens of other, smaller conservation areas created on the Cape and Islands, all of them less than twenty acres in extent, and most under ten.


Last August I flew out to Santa Cruz, California, to attend my nephew’s wedding. It had been nearly twenty-five years since I had been out West, and even longer since I had seen some of my relatives.

Tofu bit.ly/2cF4Dg5 / bit.ly/OJZNiI

We are about to enter “northeaster season,” that time of year when ocean storms strafe our exposed peninsula, often rearranging its topography. They also tend to rearrange our image of ourselves, from that of beleaguered residents enduring the onslaught of summer tourists to that of “rugged New Englanders,” enduring our character-building climate of winter gales and occasional blizzards. 

Thomas Gehrke bit.ly/2cxbZoZ / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Over the summer I gave a number of public readings from my new collection of Cape Cod Notebook radio essays. At the Q&A sessions at the end at the end of these readings, one question I could almost count on being asked was, “When and how did you first connect with Nature?”

Mark H. Anbinder bit.ly/2ctl9kw / bit.ly/1hYHpKw

I was coming back from a trip to Western Mass a few weeks ago when I stopped at a local diner and witnessed something remarkable, though in one sense it could not have been more banal. I sat at the counter and ordered a chocolate shake.

Dave Huth bit.ly/2bzjE2U / bit.ly/OJZNiI

The other day, by pure chance, I witnessed a very intimate act between two consenting adults that gave me a new appreciation of the capacity for passion and gentleness among – do I have your attention? – among invertebrates.

Tom Whitten bit.ly/2bOKwNq / bit.ly/OJZNiI

One of my favorite stories about Wellfleet in the summer is told by the critic Alfred Kazin in his memoir, New York Jew. Kazin recounts one day in the 1950s when he was walking through Wellfleet center and passed a front yard in which there were several boys playing rather noisily. A woman in the nearby house put her head out of a window and said, “Would you children please find another yard to play in?  My husband is trying to write a book review, and I’m sure your fathers are, too.”

Joseph bit.ly/2aJ9Upb / bit.ly/OJZNiI

When I pulled into Newcomb Hollow, the beach was curiously empty. There were only three cars in the parking lot, and two of those left almost immediately. The waves were low and quiet, silently tossing massive logs and bright flags of sea lettuce about in the surf.

Andreas Faessler bit.ly/2asocUQ / bit.ly/1kvyKWi

One night last week I had dinner with friends in Provincetown. Afterwards we debated whether to go out to Herring Cove to watch the Perseid meteor shower or to stroll along the circus midway that is Commercial Street in August.