I think it may be safe to say that we are basically in the middle of winter… right? We’re halfway through and we have a good ways to go before temperatures officially start going up, flowers start blooming, and I can revert to wearing jeans without leggings or tights underneath. Although, it has been unseasonably warm here in New York the past few days, so maybe Spring is really just around the corner.
Either way, I feel like it’s a good time to reminisce about our trip to Cape Cod last August and the beautiful landscape of the National Seashore. Also, especially for President’s Day, I have a presidential history tie in…
We stayed in a town called Sandwich and took day trips all the way up to the peak of the cape and back again, stopping at historic sites and national beaches along the way. It was the first time I’ve ever been to Massachusetts and it was absolutely beautiful!
I didn’t realize that President Kennedy had been the one to sign the bill declaring the shoreline a National Park in 1961. The goal, he wrote, was “to preserve the natural and historic values of a portion of Cape Cod for the inspiration and enjoyment of people all over the United States.” This was the first time the federal government had created a national park out of land that was primarily in private hands. Months of hearings and meetings were required to produce a bill that balanced private and public interests. Today the Seashore encompasses more than 43,000 acres and draws more than 4,000,000 visitors a year. This is pretty remarkable considering that in 1954, when the National Park Service conducted a study of land holdings on the eastern shoreline, it found that only 240 miles (6.5%) of coastal land was in state or federal hands, available for public recreation. (Source)
As I walked along the shore, I felt incredibly grateful and lucky that this beautiful, natural landscape was being protected, preserved and open to the public. Being able to enjoy an undeveloped, natural beach is a real treat. I love the NPS so much, and of course, we have another president, Teddy Roosevelt, to thank for that ingenious idea. There is nothing else in this country that makes me feel more privileged than being able to appreciate our greatest asset – our landscapes – through the National Park Service.
“We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received, and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.” – Theodore Roosevelt
On our final day in Cape Cod, we were on the beach for no more than five minutes before we saw a huge pod of Gray Seals swimming extremely close to shore. They were beautiful to watch as they swam serenely by our beach blanket, but seeing them did keep me from going in the water… After all, where there are seals there may be sharks! And I must admit, being in Massachusetts and all, Jaws was sort of in the back of my mind.
It was a beautiful trip and I can’t wait to visit Cape Cod again!