Tips for keeping your cool

August on Cape Cod is the peak of summer, the peak of a crazy, beautiful, busy, and sometimes frustrating season. There’s a lot to like: sunny daysHot water, lobster rollsice cream, awesome sunsets and many other good things that feed the soul.

On the other hand, it can get pretty crazy there, and the traffic and crowds can lead to exasperation and the most dreaded summer visitor of all: a sour disposition.

The yin and yang of August was perhaps best expressed by Mary Heaton Vorse in her wonderful “Time and the Town: A Provincetown Chronicle”, published in 1942:

“The city is alive, moving in a deep stream that sometimes overflows. The mixture of summer visitors and the city gets too strong and goes roaring away. People get a disease called augustitis when the mixture gets too rich. It There comes a time when the combination of the sea and the color of the dunes – the exciting, excited people gathering on the beach and the heady salty air of Provincetown – all combine to give you a special kind of intoxication.”

Channeling my inner stats geek, I dove into Cape Cod National Seashore number of monthly visits. From 1979 to 2021, August had the highest number of monthly visits 37 out of 43 years. July has won the award six times during this period.

Paul Niedzwiecki, CEO of Cape Cod Chamber of Commercereported in an email to The Times that historical lodging data, along with dining and room tax data, point to peak visitors in the last two weeks of July and the first two weeks of August.

Of course, you could just attempt a left turn or a trip to the grocery store to come to a similar conclusion in August. But don’t worry, potentially exhausted friends. We’re here to offer these tips to help you keep your cool and happily survive August on Cape Cod.

A balmy August evening at Long Pond in Wellfleet.  The flamingo comes out and I head for a restorative swim.

Bathe in the evening

Almost every summer evening, after I finish work, I go to a pond for a therapeutic swim. I always keep my giant pool noodle in the car, hands down the best $2.99 ​​I’ve ever spent. I paddle a little, then I float for a while. Then I work on a series of non-rigorous noodle positions: under my chin, sitting on the noodle like a chair lift, lying on the noodle, and the very difficult pose on the noodle.

Just 20 minutes of this will refresh you and completely reset your mood. It works like a charm in saltwater or freshwater. And the best part is that in almost every city in Cape Town, all the beach hut attendants and sticker checkers leave around 5 p.m., so the the swimming world is your oyster. You can meet the challenges of dinnertime and beyond with a cheerful attitude and a healthy appetite.

Bounty at a Cape Cod Farmers Market in Wellfleet.

Eat at home

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to a clam shack for a fish sandwich and chips. It’s my happy feast! But one way to avoid the crowds and that zombie feeling you get when you’re hungry and waiting for food is to take matters into your own hands and your own kitchen.

The Curious Cape summer bucket list: Visit the 5 Wonders of Cape Cod

Fortunately, Cape Cod has some of the best fish markets anywhere, so you can always enjoy seafood. And August is harvest time for many locally grown produce. I’m talking about killer tomatoes here! Visit a Cape Farmers Market, have a fun chat with a farmer and bring home the good stuff. Plus, if you’re a bit frugal like me (I tend to be stingy), you’ll be amazed at how much money you’ll save. You can still eat at the restaurant tomorrow.

get up early

For some reason, it seems people like to sleep late, especially on vacation. I vaguely remember this strange propensity from the days before I had children and was extremely underemployed. I would walk out of the rack at noon, grumbling and blinking in the sun. But since becoming a somewhat solid member of society, I have celebrated the joys of having the world almost to myself, early in the morning.

Chatham:Do this hike before the ocean takes it over

This way of thinking is especially important for enjoying August on Cape Cod. True aficionados can enjoy a sunrise on a deserted beach. You can get an egg sandwich in a snap. It’s not even that hot at seven in the morning and you can walk on traffic-free roads. It’s like landing in a happy sci-fi movie called “The Summer Time Forgot”. But don’t forget to set your alarm.

Go where no one goes

Cape Cod has a ton of publicly accessible land with fantastic trails and breathtaking views. These places are good for restoring your mojo. I walk around a lot, even in August, and I’m always surprised not to meet more people. It certainly helps that the Cape Cod National Seashore has over 40,000 acres and 11 trails, plus miles of beaches. But there are great places to get away from it all, spread all over the peninsula.

Some of my favorite places this time of year include Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands at Harwich, Beebe wood in Falmouth, the Bridge Creek Conservation Area at West Barnstable, the Cliff Pond Trail at Nickerson State Park in Brewster and the Morris Island Trail in Monomoy National Wildlife Reserve in Chatham.

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