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, including a second collection of his radio scripts, “A Cape Cod Notebook – 2,” published by Clock & Rose Press and available at roses-books.com. His new book, "The Outer Beach: A Thousand-Mile Walk Along Cape Cod’s Atlantic Shore," will be out in May, 2017.

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.


 A Cape Cod Notebook is made possible in part with support from Titcomb’s Bookshop on Route 6A in East Sandwich.

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.

geneva_wirth bit.ly/2b0eE5H / bit.ly/OJZNiI

The great green islands of the marsh slipped smoothly by: high, flat, raised grasslands whose creeks and configurations were completely hidden from my angle of view. Their smooth fringed bank suggested the shore of unknown, untouched coasts above the grass. 

Paul-W bit.ly/2arFSUP / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Tides, along with the seasons and the diurnal rhythms, are one of the few dependably regular reciprocal rhythms in nature. One can journey into winter, or midnight, knowing one will be returned, in time, to summer and the light of day.

Graham Baker bit.ly/2a2khOS / bit.ly/OJZNiI

Cape Cod is a region that is usually spoken of, even by year-round residents, as if it were one fairly homogeneous place, with bigger or smaller waves, and perhaps some variation in traffic from season to season. I have lived here for over 40 years, and I am still learning about how different the various parts of this slim, sandy peninsula are.

Ib Aarmo bit.ly/29vZinh / bit.ly/OJZNiI

The other day I was watching a flock of terns diving into an inlet after sand eels. They would hover seven or eight feet in the air on whirring wings and fanned out tails, then drop like arrows beneath the fast-sliding currents, emerging a few seconds later with wriggling sand eels in their beaks.

Robert Finch

One of my wife Kathy’s favorite sayings is that, in recounting your vacation experiences, what most listeners want to hear is not the good or pleasant things that happened, but rather the minor disasters and near-catastrophes – the things that didn’t quite seriously hurt you. 

Nesson Marshall bit.ly/28Of1l4 / bit.ly/1hYHpKw

About a third of a mile east of Route 6 in my hometown of Wellfleet, one comes upon the longest remaining continuous stretch of the original King's Highway, the first road deliberately laid out down the entire length of Cape Cod. This road gets its name from the fact that in 1660, King Charles II of England gave a royal grant to have this road constructed.

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