Cape Cod Quintessence (Summer 2012)

Compiled by Robin Singer, Mathematics, East

A person or thing that is “quintessential” represents the very nature of something.  For example, one might say that the Beatles were the “quintessential” 60’s rock band, Galileo was the “quintessential” independent thinker, and Mother Teresa was the “quintessential” lady of good works.  Or similarly, a diamond is the quintessential precious gem, a golden retriever is the quintessential loyal pet, and hang gliding is the quintessential thrill seeker’s sport.

The word “quintessential” comes from a Medieval Latin phrase “quinta essentia” which means the “fifth essence”.  In ancient Greece, Empedocles put forth the idea that the world is composed of four basic elements:  air, earth, fire and water and Aristotle added a fifth “higher” element (aether) defined as the substance composing heavenly bodies and latent in all things.  And as all IB students know, in Latin, esse means “to be” and thus an essence is the fundamental nature of something.

So what describes the Quintessential Cape Cod?  Having polled the Sturgis faculty, we can sum up a quintessential Cape Cod summer, by describing quintessential parts of the whole:

Mass Audubon in Wellfleet

Sue Whaley says:

The quintessential Cape Cod bike trail is Shining Sea between Woods Hole and Falmouth.

The quintessential Cape Cod birding spot is at Mass Audubon in Wellfleet.

The quintessential Cape Cod beautiful bike rideis at the Cape Cod Canal.

Cape Cinema

The quintessential Cape Cod movie theatre is the Cape Cinema in Dennis.  Bring a cushion.


Marion Weeks says:

The quintessential Cape Cod experiences are:

Bonfires on the beach

Kayaking in tidal creeks like the ones at Grey’s Beach

A visit to the weeping beech tree behind the Captain Bangs Hallet House on the Village Green in Yarmouthport will make you feel like you are in an enchanted forest. While you are there, don’t miss a chance to visit the Edward Gorey House across the Green:

Hiking the Great Island trail in Wellfleet and the Pamet area trail system in Truro:

Purchasing a recreational shellfish license from your town office so you can be a hunter/gatherer and harvest your own clams and oysters. Your family and friends will love it when you show up for Thanksgiving with a plate of oysters on the half shell.

Visiting Edward Gorey’s House on the Village Green in Yarmouthport – “An inside look into the mind of a quirky and loveable artist, the Edward Gorey House is a must-see for anyone who loves the eccentric, the unique or even the macabre.”  While there, don’t miss the chance to visit the magical weeping beech tree behind the Captain Bangs Hallet just across the Village Green. (Simply can’t resist a Yarmouthport cross-reference!)

Robin Singer says:

Shining Sea Bike Path

The quintessential fun music outingis going to hear “Hyannis Sound” at any of their regular weekly

locations (such as Monday night at the Falmouth Congregational Church).

The quintissential Cape Cod bike pathis the Shining Sea Bike Path.  It’s great for roller-blading as well.

Now runs from North Falmouth to Woods Hole.  Be smart and wear a helmet.

The quintessential beautiful hike is from Quisset Harbor (turn right off Woods Hole

The Knob at Quisset Harbor

Road at the Quisset Lights) through the bird sanctuary called “The Knob”.   At the end, you’re surrounded by the waters of Buzzards Bay on three sides.

The quintessential historic cemetery is the Falmouth Old Burying Ground on Mill Road. Around Halloween, the ghosts come and tell their stories.

The quintessential lazy lunch on the porch can be enjoyed at Dana’s Kitchen, on Palmer Ave, off Sippewissett Road in Falmouth.

The quintessential Cape Cod science exhibits are found at the exhibit centers of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Marine Biological Laboratory and at the NOAA Fisheries Aquarium in Woods Hole.

Jeff Hyer says:

The quintessential Cape Cod kettle pond is in Wellfleet, but shall remain unnamed to keep it that way.

The quintessential Cape Cod restaurant is The Lobster Pot in Provincetown.

The quintessential Cape Cod July 4th Parade is in Wellfleet.

The quintessential Cape Cod Main Street is in Wellfleet.

Claire Shea says:

The quintessential Cape Cod restaurant is Ocean House in Dennis.

And last but definitely not least,

Thomas Bihl says:

The quintessential Cape Cod food is the quahog.
The quintessential Cape Cod oysters come from Dennis Oyster Company.
The quintessential Cape Cod frustration is driving 8mph on Rt 28 behind someone from Connecticut.
The quintessential Cape Cod serial killer is Tony “Chop-Chop” Costa (1944-1974)
The quintessential Cape Cod reservation is 7:30 at the Ocean House in Dennis.
The quintessential Cape Cod museums are its Colonial-era cemeteries.
The quintessential Cape Cod bouillabaisse comes from Napi’s in Ptown.
The quintessential Cape Cod fear is catching Lyme Disease.
The quintessential Cape Cod clam shack is Kate’s in Brewster.
The quintessential Cape Cod patron saint is Tip O’Neill.
The quintessential Cape Cod hipster grocery is Orleans Whole Foods.
The quintessential Cape Cod webcam is
The quintessential Cape Cod accent is Brazilian Portuguese.
The quintessential Cape Cod location for running into Johnny Depp is Trader Ed’s.
The quintessential Cape Cod athletic achievement is cycling from Dennis to Orleans in under 50 minutes.
The quintessential Cape Cod famous dead person is Edward Gorey.


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