Facing Down December

November 30, 2006

The end of November has arrived, sneaking in while I walked the uncrowded streets of Paris and sat in a few cafes with good friends.  The Paris weather was much like what I encountered upon arrival at Logan: rainy, windy and raw.  But by the time I drove onto the Cape, it was calm and mild.  Yesterday was 60 degrees, and people’s Christmas lights are on!  Now, we Yankees love to talk about the weather. So too the French.  But once you’ve been transplanted to a cold climate like Albany, NY, and face the winter winds from Halloween onward, this mild Cape Autumn is heavenly.  While in Paris I passed by the ERA real estate office and saw that small, very small, apartments in Paris cost about the same as a three bedroom home in South Dennis.  Real estate there is measured in either number of “pieces” (rooms) or square meters.  One buys the apartment, but it is not the same as a condo or a co-op.  And it is very difficult for non-EU foreigners to obtain a French mortgage, so bring cash.  But all of that melts away (although I always dream of having my own pied-a-terre) in a decent hotel in an interesting neighborhood.  I have lived in France at various times, and I can tell you that my Cape village of Dennis has a very Euro-Yankee feel to it.  For instance, I can walk to the bakery, bank, grocery market, ice cream shop, potter’s, artists’ atelier, clothiers’, playground, an art museum and several good restaurants from my front door.  But I can also go the opposite direction and in 900 yards be on Mayflower Beach.  Perfect!  I hope to find you the same location that meets all of your needs.  Here you will find an international crowd of young people serving up fried clams all over the Cape in the Summer.  This leads me to the impending arrival of a young woman from Lyon who will arrive on the Cape December 7.  I hope to bring to you reports of our area and American culture through her eyes, as she will be living with us for a year.  She will be transitioning from a large French city to Dennis, and experiencing her first American holiday season.  It should make for interesting stories…stay tuned.


New Listing in Hyannis

November 21, 2006

I have just listed a gambrel home in Hyannis’ West end (near Centerville and Long Pond).  It is lovely and spacious with a fenced yard and attatched garage. Three or four bedrooms, large kitchen/dining room. Priced to sell at $321,000.00.  All of the details at www.capecodera.com or email me at lisa@capecodera.com.

Giving Thanks at Plimoth Plantation

November 21, 2006

As my family will scatter to the four winds this holiday, and I will be winging it to Paris on the big day, we gathered from afar in Plymouth, MA, this past weekend.  I’ve always wanted to do The Meal at the Plantation itself, which you can do with advance reservations ( www.plimoth.org).  But with baby in tow we gathered at the John Carver Inn just blocks from Mayflower II.  The date wasn’t the important part, it was having my children together, with my sister and her wonderful kids, breaking rolls together.  We have a new addition to family gatherings, my daughter’s beau, and I was grateful to him for bringing her to us from Albany.  They even gave up the first minutes of playing Nintendo Wii to travel back to the 17th century.  The kids all loved seeing the Wampanoag at their campsite, and the Pilgrims’ farm animals.  The best part was being together.  I hope that you have the same, whatever the day.  Peace.

Turkey Dinner

November 20, 2006

 From the CC Times, J.W. Dick

Price it Right the FIRST Time and Win Big

November 20, 2006

Pricing a house correctly is a key consideration for home sellers, and an important reason to have a competent Realtor by your side.  Here are some facts for Cape Cod (Harwich, Dennis and Yarmouth) for October, 2006:  Homes that listed and sold without a price reduction sold with an average of 106 days on the market and at an average of 94.8% of the original list price.  Listings initially priced over 10% above their final sale price sat on the market for 296 days.  Homes that underwent any price reduction were on the market 263 days, and sold for 85% of the original listing price.  Lesson: for a quick sale at a price you like, price it right the FIRST time.  Selling a home is a bit stressful, don’t you think? Why prolong it, and watch the market drop out from under you? (stats compiled by Rob Bergeron, COO of ERA Martin Surette Realty www.capecodera.com).

Get Your Free-Range Gobbler

November 14, 2006

It hardly feels like Thanksgiving time, it’s 60 degrees and only a bit drizzly.  But November it is.  The bittersweet vine that I tried to kill all summer now festoons my 30 foot tall juniper with glorious color. The red and gold berries really stand out against the evergreen, and looks like a garland. Next year I’ll be kinder to it.  The Burning Bush is perfecrly shaped after hauling away the scraggly junipers that encroached upon it, and it too is filled with red berries.  Gardening on the Cape is a trial, with micro-climates and sand, sand, sand but I have all new beds to fill in my front yard next year and will spend the winter reading catalogs and the few gardening books that I have that specifically deal with the Cape’s growing requirements.  Holly grows well here, and I hope to put some in.

From the very good publication Edible Cape Cod (www.ediblecapecod.com), fresh free-range turkeys are available from Watts Family Farms in Forestdale (Sandwich).  The turkeys go on sale Monday, November 20 at 9:00 a.m. and are available on a first come, first served basis (no reservations accepted).  They are $ 2.40 per pound, cash or check only.  Call 508-477-7206 for more information.

Don’t forget the Cape Cod cranberries!  According to the Annie’s Crannies (in Dennis) site (www.anniescrannies.com),

Cranberries are a wild native fruit to Cape Cod.  It is well know that Native Americans introduced cranberries to early Cape Cod
settlers and taught them how to use cranberries for medicinal purposes and to produce red dye.  In the north village of Dennis, Henry
Hall discovered cultivated cranberries by accident in 1816.  After cutting a stand of trees north of his bog for firewood, a northern
storm blew the exposed, native sands over his bog.  Thinking his bog was ruined, Mr. Hall was amazed to find that his crop actually
increased the following harvest.  This event inspired Mr. Hall to move all of his cattle to “Molly’s Pasture” (the very same bog as
Annie’s Crannies) and experiment with the cultivation of the native fruit.  His timing was perfect.  Shortly after Mr. Hall’s discovery the
ship building industry slowed.  Many sea captains and ship builders turned to growing cranberries to make a living.  Dennis remained
the cranberry cultivation center until 1850 when other cape towns joined in.
Dennis, Massachusetts was not only the birthplace of the cultivated cranberry, but to the invention and standardization of harvesting,
packaging, and shipping equipment and practices.  In 1868, Captain Warren Hall invented an improved cranberry gatherer.  In 1876,
Luther Hall (Henry Hall’s grandson), Zebina Hall and Captain William Crowell patented the cranberry picker.  The most successful
invention was William Crowell’s fruit box, patented in 1877, which is still used today for cranberries and other fruits.  Dennis
cranberry growers were also instrumental in standardizing the methodology for branding the variety, size, quality and durability of
cranberries which became the
Rules for Branding in the 1880’s.  In 1843, in the north village of Dennis on Scargo Lake, Eli Howes and James Paine
Howes developed the Howes variety.  [The Howes berry can be picked wet or dry].
The Howes Variety:
  Only grown in Massachusetts so local means fresh
  Ripens later in the season than other varieties, just in time for the holiday season
•   Naturally stays fresher longer = better keeping quality
  More rot resistant
  Can be picked wet (by flooding bog) for juicing or dry for cooking

Did You Know?…Like other fruits there are many varieties of cranberries.  Although there have been 158 recorded varieties of cranberries, only 68 are still grown today.  The only fresh fruit grown on Cape Cod today are Early Blacks and Howes varieties.  At Annie’s Crannies we grow the Howes variety.

We visited Annie’s this Fall (they are now closed for the season) and saw the bog and the sorting machine. We bought our berries and beeswax candles (from their own hives), then walked back home.

Open Houses: C’mon down!

November 11, 2006

Realtors are still holding open houses folks, and the weather is beautiful.  Those leaves have come down seemingly all at once, but the sky today was clear blue and the weather mild.  I met a number of nice “shoppers” at an Open House that I held in Harwichport today.  All were looking for a summer place, although this adorable house has heat ( $ 429,900) and four bedrooms.  The visitors talked about vacationing in the neighborhood for decades before deciding to seriously shop this buyers’ market.  I like asking people what attracts them to a particular area of the Cape, since each town is so unique.  Most folks seem to stay with what they know from vacationing, or else they have family already in the neighborhood.  There were empty -nesters, a young couple and several families with young kids wanting to build great summer memories.  The kids ran through and picked out “their” rooms.  This home is at 16 Village Green ( lisa@capecodera.com ).

Harwich Real Estate, Harwich Port Homes for Sale, Harwichport PropertyThe Town of Harwich is a resort and residential community located on the south side of the Cape peninsula, with an extensive shoreline on Nantucket Sound. It was settled around 1665, and incorporated in 1694. Its early economy included agriculture and maritime industries and its history has included boom and bust cycles from the earliest days of the community.

The Town of Harwich is a resort and residential community located on the south side of the Cape peninsula, with an extensive shoreline on Nantucket Sound. It was settled around 1665, and incorporated in 1694. Its early economy included agriculture and maritime industries and its history has included boom and bust cycles from the earliest days of the community. When the whaling industry collapsed with the discovery of oil, the community’s emphasis shifted to cod fishing. By 1802, 15 to 20 ships were shore fishing and another four ships were cod fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador, and by 1851, there were 48 ships employing 577 men and bringing in thousands of tons of cod and mackerel.

The eventual decline of the fishing industry in Harwich by the latter part of the 19th century was caused by increases in the size of ships which eventually outstripped the shallow port’s ability to house them. Residents turned to the development of cranberry bogs and resorts for summer visitors, working side-by-side with Portuguese immigrants. The first resort hotel opened in 1880 and both the cranberry and the tourist industries remain substantial parts of Harwich’s economy in the present.  ( From www.capecodera.com )

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