Jenss Family Travels: Shipping out to Cape Cod

Rainer Jenss and his family have just started their around-the-world trip, and they’ll be blogging about their experiences here at IT. The first stop on their itinerary? Cape Cod.

“Where’s the first stop?” was one of the most common questions people asked us when they found out about our planned trip around the world. When replying with “Cape Cod,” which is a mere 4.5 hour drive from our Nyack, NY, starting point, I could sense their feeling of mild disappointment. Cape Town, or even Cape Canaveral, probably was more of what folks expected.

There is sound rationale, however, for what seems like a benign choice. First, it’s a place we’ve gone as a family every summer for the past several years. There’s no reason why this one-year family adventure should get in the way of tradition. But perhaps the more important factor was the need to simply ease into this long journey, especially for the boys. The notion of leaving home for 12 months is pretty daunting for an eight- and eleven-year-old (never mind the adults), so starting with something familiar, we thought, would set the right tone.

After the mad frenzy of packing, farewell parties, and final preparations during the weeks leading to our departure, just the thought of getting on an airplane and dealing with a foreign country right off the bat could have been too much on all of us. Getting in a car and driving up the usually traffic-filled I-95 for almost 300 miles actually felt like a welcomed relief. Now, maybe we could finally exhale!

The morning we left can probably be compared to what football players feel like when making it to the Super Bowl. All they want after weeks of non-stop hype and preparation is to go out on the field and just play the game. Even Stefan, who was the most reluctant about leaving home, finally said, “Can we go already?  We’ve been talking about this for four years!”  So on the morning of July 2nd we hit the road, headed to one of our favorite spots on Earth.

When we go to the Cape, we head towards the upper end of the arm, the Wellfleet, Truro, Provincetown area. Although the whole peninsula is very family friendly, this area seems to be less crowded and more laid back. A must-see (pun intended) is the Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre on Route 6.  It’s completely old- school and a perfect family-night-out.

They always run a double feature, but this year we didn’t make it to the second movie. Settling for Wall-E was just fine with the boys.

Another reason we prefer driving the extra distance out to Wellfleet is because it offers what we believe to be one of the prettiest beaches in the U.S., if not the world (with Hawaii, Australia, and Thailand looming in the distance, we realize this ranking might be seriously challenged). Even though the water is often a bit too cold to swim in, White Crest Beach, known locally as Surfer’s Beach, has incredibly steep sandy bluffs that lead down to the ocean, providing a very picturesque day at the beach. The nearby Beachcomber restaurant is also a Jenss family favorite, which we used for our first official meal of the trip, slamming down oysters, fish sandwiches, and a rum punch.

This year marked the first time that Stefan actually wanted to ride his own bike along the Cape’s beautiful trails, so we rented a pair in town and completed a very scenic Province Lands loop just outside of P-Town that ran through a vast dune system and the tree-lined Beech Forest.

The path’s 5.25 miles of rolling hills provided dad with a moderate workout amidst incredible scenery and son with a major sense of accomplishment. One of many to come, I’m sure.

Photo: Stefan and Tyler slurp oysters in Cape Cod. by Rainer Jenss.