From Newport To Chatham: Every Man & His Dog In Cape Cod (New England)
6 Oct 2012 - After a breakfast of pecan waffles with spiced apple, sausages and maple syrup, it was time to leave the hallowed halls of Ivy Lodge in Newport, Rhode Island and head off to Chatham, Massachusetts.
What should have been an ideal morning for me was fraught with pain and anguish, my lower back screaming for the healing touches of an Osteopath, every step a torture. Instead, I had to content myself for the little relief that Peter’s massages on various pressure points provided me, alleviating my condition somewhat. While I needed some help, and fast, things were not looking too good. It was Saturday on Columbus Day Weekend, the long weekend where everything in the United States comes to a standstill.
“I don’t like our chances of finding anybody in Chatham. All the chiropractors would have the weekend off and wouldn’t be back at work until Tuesday.”, I forecasted with a sense of foreboding.
“We’ll find someone, Vic. Let’s just ask around when we get there.”, Peter said soothingly. With only an hour and a half driving time ahead of us, I took solace in the fact that we wouldn’t be in the car for too long. On the other hand, I wondered if I’d be able to stand being in this state of anguish for another 3 days.
Sandwich, Cape Cod’s Oldest Town:
In constant discomfort from Newport to Chatham, I made a lousy navigator. In fact, I downright sucked. I missed alerting Peter to turn offs and kept falling asleep from exhaustion, despite not doing all that much. All my energies were taken up on just managing my lower back. Usually quite chirpy and filled with excitement on approach of a new destination, I was quiet and withdrawn.
“Sandwich is coming up.”, I said as I saw an exit sign on the side of the freeway. “I highlighted it on our map as an interesting place to visit, although I don’t remember why.”
“Okay, we could do with the break and a stretch.”, Peter said, more for me than for him as he took the exit.
Founded in 1637, Sandwich is Cape Cod’s oldest town. Filled with white steepled churches and period homes, it is quiet, quaint and filled with the certainty and stability of a more innocent age.
Lunch was simple, delicious, and purchased from a deli called The Brown Mug. Eating our lunch out in their leafy courtyard, we shared the most delicious ham, cheese and mustard roll I’ve ever remembered having in my life, along with a garden salad.
After lunch, we drove the short distance to the Sandwich Boardwalk, a wooden-plank boardwalk that extends a scenic 1350 ft across an expansive marsh to Town Neck Beach. While the beach itself is a bit rocky, the pebbles on closer inspection were comprised of the most amazing colors: alabaster, celadon green, topaz, whites and gunmetal grays. I would have taken a selection with me if I hadn’t had to transport them back to Australia. I photographed them instead to remind me that life’s beauty lies in the little things. We just need to take the time and look.
The Agony & The Ecstasy In Chatham:
“It’s a bit early to check into the inn. Why don’t we take a look at the town first.”, Peter suggested.
Of all the days to be here, it was Saturday on Columbus Day Weekend. With both sides of Main Street’s pavement overflowing with a treacle of bodies, meandering in and out of the stores and craft shops, this small town was jumping. It seemed like every man and his dog was in Cape Cod. But at this stage, I didn’t care. I was in a lot of pain and was resigned to being micro-managed. Getting down from the car, Peter joined the throng of humanity on the pavement while I literally dragged my ass behind him.
Upscale boutique after upscale boutique, Chatham has a genteel vibe to it which can only be described as a relaxed sophistication. Sitting at the “elbow” of the Cape, it has an amazing 60 miles worth of shoreline aching to be explore. Just not today.
“Le Petite Day Spa”, Peter pointed. “Why don’t we go in there and ask about any practitioners in town for your back.”
“Highly unlikely.”, I grimly responded. “This is a place for facials and feel-good massages, which will not do a thing for me."
“Yes, but they might know of someone else in town who may be able to help you. Let’s give it a shot anyway.”, said Peter, thinking laterally. Thank God one of us was.
“You go in, Vic. You’re the patient.”
Limping up the steps and across the threshold, I was greeted with a wave of New Age music and wafting aromas of wax and essential oils. Oh man, was I in the wrong place. But after speaking with the lady behind the desk about my condition, I learnt that while I may not be able to get an appointment with a Chiropractor in Chatham over the weekend, they did have a therapist named Tana that specialized in sports injuries and deep tissue massages. Better yet, she could come in at 5:30. Hallelujah!!! Finally, I was seeing some light at the end of the tunnel.
Peter and I rushed over to our accommodation at The Captain’s House Inn (gorgeous, but more of that later), checked into our room, revived ourselves under a hot shower and a change of clothes, and were back at Le Petite Day Spa within the hour. After meeting Tana and discussing my condition with her, I disrobed, lay on the ‘slab’, and she immediately got to work.
Tana worked quietly and diligently, muttering the occasional “Oh my God, this is bad.”, and “You really should get regular massages. Your muscles are a mess.” And then, “Do you realize that you clench your jaws?” No kidding! I knew I was a basket case as I could feel it in every joint, muscle and tissue in my body. This was a wake up call for me. Time to nurture myself on a more regular basis instead of nurturing everyone else and forgetting about me.
After an hour and 15 minutes, Tana was done. “You’ll be sore for a while, but you’ll find that I’ve released a fair bit of the stiffness.” She was right. There was an ease in my movements as the sharp pain was gone. After taking care of the $129 invoice - deep tissue massages don’t come cheap in this part of the world - she wrote down a stretch that I could do back at the inn. It entailed my lying on the floor on my stomach with a towel under my hips while Peter knelt on my glutes (butt cheeks) and positioned his hands on the floor on either side of me and rocked from side to side. Hmmmm .... I’ll keep you posted on that one.
In the meantime, Peter was already waiting for me at the Wild Goose, having secured a table earlier. There are no reservations at this popular Main Street eatery so one must either arrive early or be prepared to wait. As I walked over from the spa to meet Peter, I was ecstatic to find out that while my lower back felt tender, the stabbing pain had gone. Tana had sure worked her magic. That night, I was able to enjoy a dinner of a Sea Scallop Risotto accompanied by a Chilean Sav Blanc in absolute comfort.
Salud! Here’s to the agony, the ecstasy, and a little less of the former and much more of the latter.
Le Petite Day Spa 35 Cross Street, Chatham, MA. www.thelepetitedayspa.com