One of the best ways to understand the culture of a destination is through the eyes of a local. I haven’t yet been to Wellfleet, Massachusetts, but I’m eager to go there after reading Alexandra Grabbe’s new 168-page ebook, Wellfleet: An Insider’s Guide to Cape Cod’s Trendiest Town.
Alexandra, a writer, who lived in Paris for 25 years, along with her Swedish husband, Sven, decided to move to Wellfleet temporarily to care for her aging parents. When they passed passed away, the couple couldn’t bring themselves to leave the town with which they had fallen in love. So they converted her parents’ home into a small, sustainable B & B and became “accidental innkeepers” as Alexandra tells the story, joining the town’s full-time resident population of 2,750.
Nowhere is the author’s appreciation of her adopted seaside village more apparent than in her beautiful month-by-month descriptions of Wellfleet through the seasons. While most people associate Cape Cod with summer, Alexandra sees its beauties even during the harsh winters (which incidentally, have little snow). You can almost taste the succulent oysters she describes at the Oysterfest, held there every October.
Sensibly, the town has made great strides in maintaining open space and fighting overdevelopment that would compromise its sense of history. It benefits from proximity to two natural resources: Some two-thirds of the town is located within the Cape Cod National Seashore; Wellfleet also lays claim to the 1,100 acres comprising the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, owned by Massachusetts Audubon. The only brand store that has taken root, joining the otherwise one-of-a-kind restaurants and shops in town, is a Dunkin Donuts.
While the ebook is likely to whet any traveler’s appetite, it will prove indispensable on your Kindle, iPad, or Smartphone once you get there. The book is a breeze to read, offering ideas and tips for activities for adults and kids, as well as an insider’s rich explanation of the town’s history, geography, architecture, and politics. It also contains practical information on where to stay and dine, and advice on obtaining beach permits and using local transportation. If you get a toothache, you’ll even know where to look for dental care.
An added bonus: Beautiful photography accompanies the text.
Towards the end of the book, Alexandra writes, “I never intended to stay… I’m still here. Wellfleet is like that.” With this book, the author has established herself as Wellfleet’s personal concierge extraordinaire and its cheerleader.