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TWO DELIGHTFUL WEEKS IN CAPE COD

By Dr. Hyman Bergstein - New Rochelle, NY, USA

When my son Joseph called to ask if I might be interested in two weeks at the beach in North Truro, Massachusetts, with his family, I didn't pause to think and responded with a resounding yes. After a brief discussion about the location, intended departure, and return dates, I volunteered to contribute toward the housing costs, knowing from my own experience that a house on the beach in Cape Cod doesn't come cheap. Joe mentioned that the house would not cost a cent, and that this was a home exchange for their place in New Jersey. When he mentioned home exchange, I remembered that many years ago, a neighbor of mine took his family every August, to distant places around the globe. I always chatted with them over the fence about where they went, what they saw, and was always a bit envious of their experiences that involved home exchange.

My routine for the two weeks of the exchange was extremely satisfying. Each day I'd awaken before the family to enjoy a brisk walk on the beach to see the sunrise; I met locals who were out doing what they do if the conditions were right-angling for fluke or harvesting steamer clams on the sandbars. I would arrive back at the house to find my son making the coffee and tending to his one-year-old daughter, Lily. Next, we would sit on the deck sipping hot coffee, basking in the early morning sun. Some mornings we were treated to the sight of a family of dolphins frolicking a couple of hundred yards off in the distance! Usually after our second cup, we prepared a hearty breakfast and discussed how the day would play out. Our plan was generally simple and very much to my liking. On many mornings I would take my granddaughter, Lily, for a stroll through the neighborhood often stopping at a nearby park to push her on the swings. I won't forget her smiles and laughter anytime soon. This gave my son and daughter-in-law an opportunity to take a long bike ride, always returning with a basketful of lunch provisions from the local farmer's market.

Following lunch and naps, we would all head down to the beach, which was never very crowded, thanks to this being a residential beach area of the Cape, far enough away from where the hotels and other touristy spots were springing up. Each afternoon had its own enjoyable set of activities: swimming, reading, more napping, kite flying when the wind was strong, and scrabble or chess when the wind was still. On at least two occasions that I can remember, a neighbor passing our blanket offered us some freshly caught fish. We always accepted the generous gifts and feasted each time; such a far cry from the over-salted meals I would have gotten at a restaurant if we had stayed at a hotel.

As the sun was setting we would be back at our home only a stone's throw from the beach. A spontaneous plan generally took shape that usually involved a cocktail or two on the porch, or a drive to the lighthouse. I preferred to spend time playing my harmonica and singing folk tunes to my little doll, Lily.

This was our easy schedule for the two weeks in North Truro. Overall, it was one of the best vacations I can remember in a very long time. I wasn't lonely for a minute, and I got to spend quality time with my family in a beautiful place doing meaningful things. I will always treasure this experience.
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Contributed by Dr. Hyman Bergstein a member of Digsville.com - the global home exchange community.

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