Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cape Cod Winter

I was recently asked why you would want to be on Cape Cod in the winter. My first reply would be why not. But, I guess that wouldn’t satisfy anyone who didn’t understand.
After, the bustle of summer has passed the real Cape Cod emerges. The small town atmosphere and home town quality comes back to life. Each town has their fall celebration; be it the cranberry festival, the oyster festival, turnip festival or windmill weekend. Each community has their own unique way of celebrating. It may be a parade of local businesses and families, the fastest oyster-shucking contest, the turnip cook-off or the ever-famous craft fair.
You won’t find ski resorts but you can find a quiet fire road or trail to cross country sky after a snowstorm. Your family won’t find an amusement park but you will find a beach to stroll for an hour and never see another soul. You won’t easily find a Wal-Mart or many other chain stores so you will have to shop locally where they remember your name. You may also find yourself getting lost in a general store for hours or a boutique, antique shop or even an art gallery.
Activities do exist in the winter. Some suggestions include the Audubon Sanctuary, The Natural History Museum, Cape Cod Art Museum, Cape Cod Maritime Museum, Sandwich Glass Museum, and Whydah Sea Lab and Learning Center. There is also the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which is the largest private non-profit ocean research engineering and educational organization. You may want to travel to the Outer Cape where 44,000 acres is owned and preserved by the government as the Cape Cod National Park Service. This land is devoted to saving Cape Cod as it was when Henry Thoreau first visited and wrote about such an exquisite, rare, quiet piece of land- the winter is when you can actually have this experience.
You can go still go shell fishing, saltwater fishing, and or ice fishing. Walking, biking and yes for some surfing is still possible! The Cape does not completely close down after the summer. For most Cape Codders after the summer is when the Cape opens. It’s time to enjoy a peaceful day at the beach snuggled in a warm down jacket, watching a sunrise or sunset all by yourself, or observing a blue heron search for food in a marsh, or just drive down to the beach to read and watch the waves.
So, it’s not for the quick paced family or vacationer that’s wants to be occupied for 24/7. It’s for the people who are looking for a place to stop, relax, enjoy, and know how to entertain themselves.
Karen O'Connor

Local Banks Escape the Worst from Rosa Wright

Local banks escape worst of financial crisis by Joseph Santangelo
The financial industry on the South Shore and Cape Cod largely has avoided the worldwide financial turmoil that has roiled stock markets and dragged economies into the worst recession since the 1930s.
Liquidity is not a problem locally, as community and regional banks actively offer credit to small businesses, although loan standards often are tighter and loan volume is down. Local banks are picking up new lending business, mostly at the expense of the bigger banks that still are struggling through an 18-month international credit crunch.
“From the banks’ perspective, a financial institution with strong capital that understands its marketplace and has a local presence and local management should be positioned to look at this as a business development opportunity,” said Joseph Riley, executive vice president for retail and business banking at Eastern Bank.
Area banks report little to no exposure to subprime mortgages, mortgage-backed securities, credit default swaps or other toxic assets that have plummeted in value after the housing boom collapsed and overleveraged consumers could not meet mortgage payments. Community and regional banks also see an influx of deposits as people increase their savings and shy away from volatile stocks.
Local bankers are suffering few of the problems from speculative home buying and resulting foreclosures that rocked Florida, California and other regions. Cape Cod Five, the Cape’s largest bank with $1.77 billion in assets, was forced to foreclose on only one home mortgage during 2008 and just three in the past two years. Others were renegotiated.
Joel Crowell, president and CEO of Cape Cod Cooperative Bank, was one of several bankers to report increased loan volumes for 2008. He said, “My customers are not GE and not GM. We continue to work with borrowers with good management, who are showing discretion, who have a sound business plan and cash flow.”
Bruce Hammatt, chief lending officer for Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, said, “The availability of commercial loans is not a problem. Certainly our bank has money to lend. The required down payment on commercial real estate has tightened up for particular businesses. We used to do loans with 80 percent down. Now it’s 75 percent down.”
Hammatt added, “Commercial real estate hasn’t had the dramatic drop in value that residential property has had. The basis is principally cash flow. If cash flow is still there, the value is still there.”
Chris Richards, vice president/senior commercial lender at The Community Bank, added, “Economic conditions are particularly critical right now. A potential customer recently came in to see me with $1 million in revenue in 2007; but he can anticipate only $300,000 next year. Another business owner (a retailer) I was speaking with said that in his 20 years of experience, September was his worst month that he has ever had, but October was his best month. The economy and consumers are very unpredictable right now.”
Eastern Bank’s Riley said credit standards remain prudent, though borrowers sometimes have a harder time meeting them. “Meeting the required credit scores becomes more and more difficult.” He also says the ability to obtain backing from the U.S. Small Business Administration for commercial loans is important to help keep business credit flowing.
Nationally, about 85 percent of senior loan officers reported they tightened standards for large and mid-sized firms, and about 75 percent said so for small businesses. About 20 percent of U.S. banks reported reducing credit limits on existing credit card accounts to prime borrowers.
Lenders urge borrowers to contact their banks as soon as possible if they see business conditions deteriorate and they need to work out new terms for their loans. “If business is down 10 percent, we want to see how you’re prepared to handle it,” said Hammatt of Cape Cod Five. “What’s most impressive is if the business recognizes the risk. The business has to be on top of it, recognize that things are not perfect and look at ways to adapt.”
The U.S. Small Business Administration in Boston also has set up a hotline for businesses trying to wrestle with financial problems, at (617) 565-5627. For example, the SBA can help a restaurant owner find a bank that is currently lending to restaurants.
Overall loan volume in the region is down significantly. Sanford Blitz, regional administrator of the SBA, said banks and businesses are arranging fewer SBA-backed loans, though more banks are seeking SBA guarantees for those loans.
Blitz said, “The figures for the fiscal year that ended September 30 were down 23 percent in total dollars and the number of loans down 36 percent. The new fiscal year continues to be down about 30 percent.”
“On the positive side, at the end of the fiscal year in September, 70 more banks in Massachusetts had done more SBA loans than in the past fiscal year. So, a whole bunch of banks were doing more business with us than in the past.”
Particularly as the economy weakened in the last half of 2008, many businesses were sitting on the sidelines, preferring to pare down debt, reduce expenses and avoid new borrowing in the face of declining sales and revenues.
In addition to the SBA, noted Richards of The Community Bank, “There are plenty of sources to get help. On the Cape, SCORE has many excellent retired professionals who have relocated here. The key is to find the right person with the right experience for your business. The Massachusetts Small Business Development Center is headquartered out of Fall River and has a local representative who always visits local chambers. Coastal Community Capital and the SEED Corporation are other valuable resources.”

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Aquatic Artist, Greg Johnson by Barbara Johnson

I’m in real estate and not very busy right now, a little problem for many of us in this business. Rather than remind everyone that home prices and mortgage rates are down, I thought I’d put in a plug for my talented son, Greg Johnson
Quoting briefly from his Biography (http://www.whalesong.us/) ---
“Cape Cod has long been known for its beaches, the local surf, and art cultures and the live music scene. For three decades Greg has been a central part of the Cape’s local color as a legendary Nauset Beach Lifeguard, professional artist and musician.
Greg has recently made a name for himself as an aquatic artist. He studied art at Ohio Wesleyan and the University of New Hampshire and is self-taught as a painter. Looking into one of Greg’s large acrylic paintings gives the viewer a feeling of being immersed in the water with the whales and dolphins. For Greg, the aquatic life he paints represents spirituality, peace and freedom.
His work is displayed in galleries, private homes, libraries, banks, shops, and local business offices. Most recently, Greg has opened a gallery and studio in East Orleans.”

To view his work, call 508-246-1697 for an appointment, or check out his Website
http://www.whalesong.us/ http://www.whalesigns.com/

HAPPY HOLIDAYS Barbara Johnson

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cape's Single-Family Homes Sales Rise by Laurie Novak

This is an article from the Cape Cod Times on 'October 28, 2008'. All for your info.
By Cape Cod Times
October 28, 2008
Home sales on the Cape mirrored trends seen across Massachusetts and nationwide in September, showing a jump in volume and a continued decline in median price.
Numbers released yesterday by The Warren Group showed a 17.98 percent increase in the number of single-family sales in Barnstable County, at 315 compared with 267 in September 2007.
The median price slipped 20.69 percent year-to-year, from $435,000 to $345,000.
Dukes and Nantucket counties showed a drop in single-family home sales volume.
Vineyard sales declined from 28 in September 2007 to 14 last month, and the median price fell from $997,500 to $512,500.
On Nantucket, sales dropped from 26 to 17, but the median price showed a slight rise from $1.86 million to $1.9 million.
Nationally, an unexpected 2.7 percent increase in year-over-year home sales for September, to 464,000, helped keep markets buoyant for much of the day yesterday, despite a 9.1 percent drop in median price in the same time frame.
Statewide, single-family home sales volume increased 5 percent from September to September, while median price dropped 13.2 percent, according to numbers released yesterday by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors.
The Cape's condo market showed a small increase in the number of September sales, from 83 a year ago to 89, but the median price fell from $344,400 to $240,000.
Statewide, the condominium market was down 9.6 percent, from 1,808 in September 2007 to 1,634 last month, The Warren Group reported. Using a different methodology, the Realtors group showed a decline of 11.5 percent in condo sales year-over-year for September.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chatham Woman’s Club “Scenes of Chatham” Quilt Raffle

The Chatham Woman’s Club is selling raffle tickets for a handmade quilt named Scenes of Chatham. The proceeds of the raffle will benefit local charities and scholarships for local young people.

Twenty five members of the club, led by Clara Slockbower, volunteered to create this lovely quilt. It is truly a work of art. Work on the quilt began in August 2006 and was completed in May 2008. The queen-size quilt is divided into 24 squares, each depicting a different scene around Chatham. The scenes include Sailboats on Pleasant Bay and Stage Harbor, the Band Shell, Chatham Light, Seals at Lighthouse Beach and the Windmill on Shore Road.

Each quilter was encouraged to provide her own interest and talent to each particular square.

The making of this quilt provided a sense of community, friendship and happiness within each square.

In addition to purchasing raffle tickets at $3 per ticket or $10 for 4 tickets for the quilt, note cards of the quilt will be available for sale for $10 per set. Tickets are available at East Wind Silver Company, Island Pursuits, Oasis Hair Salon and Day Spa and Puritan or by calling Rose Marie McLoughlin at 508-945-5965.

Last chance to purchase tickets is November 12th.
The drawing will be held on November 13th, 2008 – the winner need not be present to win.

Mary Higgins, Volunteer
The Real Estate Co. at Sylvan

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Our REALTOR® History & Future by Peggy Crampton

In May 1908, 120 men gathered in Chicago with the goal to "unite the real estate men of America." Their goal was to professionalize their industry and represent the interests of real estate brokers and owners nationally. What emerged from that meeting in 1908 was the National Association of Real Estate Exchanges, which thrives on 100 years later as the National Association of REALTORS® . The NAR Centennial Video celebrates REALTORS®' past accomplishments and looks forward to the next century of organized real estate.
Please click this link and watch this film from the National Association of REALTORS®, though it is 15:17 minutes in length, its worth the time, and easy to send it to others from the video.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


The Holly Berry Bazaar will be held this year on Saturday, November 8th, from 9am – 2pm at the Nauset Middle School on Route 28 in Orleans. This “legendary” fundraiser is held every two years and proceeds benefit the Cape Cod Hospital Cardiac Care Center. This “not to be missed” bazaar is presented by the Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary.

The Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary is 65 years old and has 700 members. Currently there are four branches: Barnstable, Chatham, Orleans, and Yarmouth Port. The Thrift Shop and Hospital Gift Shop are parts of the Auxiliary. Members are hard working, dedicated volunteers. The camaraderie among the group is unsurpassed. There is no reward greater than one’s own satisfaction.

Call the Cape Cod Hospital Volunteers Office at 508-862-5259 for information on becoming part of the Auxiliary.

The Holly Berry Bazaar this year will feature Wood Crafts, Jams and Jellies, Knitting and Sewing items, Nature’s Arrangements, Santa’s Workshop, Cape Kitchens, Attic Treasures, Candies and Sweets, Cheese and Fruit, Herbs and Vinegars, Jewelry and Scarves, Hot Dogs and Cool Cats, and a Silent Auction. The Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary suggests that you “Wrap up your holiday shopping in a heartbeat!”

Submitted by Laura Haddad, Realtor
The Real Estate Company, Orleans, Cape Cod

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Mixing Business with Pleasure

Yes, I know the economy is in a state of flux, but buyers are clever and are recognizing the rare opportunity this situation brings. People who never thought they’d be able to manage a home on Cape Cod are discovering they can now. Market inventories are high, interest rates are good for those with good credit, and prices are at or below assessed value, in many instances.

Currently this Dixon Duo has four properties scheduled to close between late October and early November. In each case, the selling price is ten to eighteen percent below the assessed value of the property. These buyers know that, when times are better the value of their investment will increase, and in the meantime, they will be enjoying their new purchase. Some will profit from renting during the high season and yet have the luxury of escaping from the “madding crowd” the rest of the year.

Recently a couple from the UK came into the office and announced that they had traveled extensively but never visited a place where the people were so charming and the place so beautiful that they really wanted to own a home there… until now. There is something very special about our lovely corner of the world, but it’s always nice to have others discover that too. This couple from Scotland found a home that they are so enchanted with they took a detour on a flight over to Nantucket, so they could photograph the house from the air. You can just imagine how delighted they were when they came upon its picture in a book of Chatham’s history.

Now, you may say, “It’s easy for Europeans to purchase American property because the Euro and the pound are in better shape than our dollar.” That may be so, but historically real estate rebounds from a down economy, and in the meantime, it’s quite literally a solid investment, not a fragile piece of paper. There’s quite a flurry of activity here this fall, and the majority of the buyers are American. For most of Middle America, the bulk of their wealth is in their real estate. When they go to sell, if they have owned it for several years, they usually realize a nice profit. Here on Cape Cod, I guess you could say buyers are “mixing business with pleasure.”

By Elaine Dixon

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Orleans Waste Water Management by Sarah Macke

Draft press release September 8, 2008


Orleans Citizens Forum Public Information Event
Tuesday Oct. 27 at the Orleans Elementary School, at 6 p.m.

Contact: Abby Summersgill

508 240-6778, avdh@comcast.net
Ed Maas, President of OCF, is available for interviews at info@orleansinn.com
or 508 255-2222

What Wastewater Management
Means to Orleans Residents

ORLEANS: The Orleans Citizens Forum will present a comprehensive, independent review of the key wastewater management issues facing Orleans voters and taxpayers at a public symposium Tuesday, October 7, at the Orleans Elementary School at 6 p.m.
Experts from local and state government, the local real estate industry, and citizen committee members planning wastewater systems will report on all the issues surrounding the Special Town Meeting vote Oct. 27 on wastewater management conceptual plans. Open to everyone, the meeting will allow plenty of time for audience questions.
Orleans citizens have had several opportunities this year to learn about the towns wastewater management needs, including seven public information sessions and a formal public hearing Oct. 2. The Orleans Citizens Forum (OCF) event Oct. 7 brings together all the information voters need to know presented by an independent, non-partisan, volunteer organization that focuses on public participation in the issues important to town affairs.

Major issues explained

Managing Orleans? wastewater is likely to produce significant financial, public health, infrastructure and cultural demands on the town. The October 27 Special Town Meeting will ask voters whether they will ratify the broad concept of a Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plan that could cost more than $150 million over 20 years. Although voters will not be voting Oct. 27 on actual financial appropriations, wastewater management is expected to eventually become the largest public project in Orleans history.
Panelists at the Oct. 7 forum presenting their perspectives and answering audience questions include:
· Brian Dudley, Massachusetts Dept. of Environmental Protection
· Andrew Gottlieb, Executive Director, Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative
· Augusta McKusick, Chair, Cape Cod Water Protection Collaborative and Chair, Orleans Wastewater Management Steering Committee
· Paul Ammann, Orleans? Wastewater Management Validation and Design Committee
· Walter Bennett. Chair, Orleans Finance Committee
· George Meservey, Orleans Planning Director
· Jeffrey Karlson, Owner, The Real Estate Company
Richard Hartman, OCF member, has volunteered to be the moderator.
Panelists are likely to discuss issues such as these:
? Why the presented plan was chosen.
? Alternative methods of removing excess nitrogen from the environment.
? The impact the plan will have on the environment and conformance with state and federal law.
? The likely costs to the town of nitrogen removal pursuant to the plan.
? How costs will be shared by sewer system users and non-users.
? How much homeowners might be charged for wastewater management.
? How sewering will impact public health, zoning, and population growth.
? How sewering will impact property values.
? How sewer construction might be phased-in over 20 years.
Please come by and get informed!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top 5 Things Home Buyes Look For By Carolyn Otis

A report released last week by Better Homes and Gardens.
Home buyers are looking for large kitchens that are fun, but practical. Gardens magazine found that buyers who bought a new home in the last 10 years or plan to build one, say they’re through with cookie-cutter houses. The research study surveyed more than 2,000 homeowners from across the country, and about 70 percent said they wanted a house that has character and charm.
Top five priorities
1. An all-new kitchen that looks great and is fun to work in
2. The right amount and type of customized storage
3. A master bath and bedroom that feels like a luxurious hotel room
4. Well-designed spaces that can be personalized
5. A separate and conveniently sized laundry/workroom
The study also found that more than half of those surveyed wanted green-certified building and remodeling options presented to them. This figure jumped to more than two out three in the Generation Y age group (people born between 1977 and 1998).
Another growing trend among homeowners in the past few years is the need for expanded outdoor living space. About 40 percent of respondents said that their outdoor living areas are almost as important as their interior home. The traditional barbeque grills and patio tables just aren’t cutting it, and consumers today are shelling out big bucks for customized stone firepits and elaborate outdoor dining furniture.
Planning for life changes
When asked what specialty space the homeowners would prefer, 36 percent named the sunroom, 35 percent said an extra-large porch and 34 percent said an oversized laundry room. Many new homes being built today have turned the dull, often cramped laundry room into a multipurpose area with extra space to do arts and crafts projects or wrap gifts.
“Today the pace of change, in families and with technology, is so fast that consumers demand homes that will change with them,” says Gayle Butler, editor in chief of Better Homes and Garden.
Baby Boomers especially are planning for these changes. In the next five to 10 years, about one out of three Boomers expects an aging parent to move in or an adult child or relative to move back home. As a result, the need for guest accommodations will be in demand. The survey also found that this generation will be looking for single-floor living.
So whether you’re preparing your home to sell or looking to buy a new one, it’s always good to keep in mind the ever-changing trends affecting the housing market.

Thursday, August 28, 2008



I want you to know of, and join in, the upcoming Eastham Windmill Weekend to be held throughout the Town of Eastham September 5-7. The theme of this year’s festival is “Those Fabulous ‘50s”. There will be all kinds of events and activities through the weekend at various venues such as concerts, antique car shows, historic tours, fun cookouts & meals, and of course the parade. For the complete activity schedule, please go to:
http://www.easthamwindmillweekend.com where complete information can be found. And, since you no doubt love Cape Cod as we do, why not stop in our office at 4760 State Hwy in N. Eastham over this festive weekend, find out about the real estate market and check out some homes?

But what about this Windmill? Of course the center of Eastham is graced on the town green by this 300 year old windmill. Do you know its background? The following history of Eastham's Windmill, included in the Windmill Weekend flyer, is provided courtesy of Mr. Jim Owens:

The Eastham Windmill stands today as the symbol of a bygone era on Cape Cod. In its over 300 years it has provided flour, news and gossip for the people of Cape Cod. Built by Thomas Paine of Eastham, millwright, miller and Town Clerk for the town of Plymouth around 1680, it was sold and moved to Truro before the American Revolution. In 1793 it was again sold to one Seth Knowles of Eastham and moved overland using oxen to a site overlooking Salt Pond. In 1808 it was moved once more to its present site by Mr. Knowles because he had sold the land it stood on.

The mill ceased working around 1896 when it was sold to the Village Improvement Society to be turned into a library. Instead, a new library was built on Samoset Road. In February of 1928, the Town purchased the Mill from the Society for $500.00 in order to preserve it. The purchase price was returned to the Town and still draws interest to this day. A committee was formed to repair the Mill. Harvey Moore, Charles Rogers and William Higgins were the committee. William Higgins built a large lathe in his barn off Nauset Road and, using the power off a Model "T", he turned the windshaft for the Mill. When repairs were done the Mill was opened to the public in 1936. The visitors' book from that year (and all the others) still exists.

John Fulcher, who had worked in the Mill as a boy became the first of several millers who guided visitors through its machinery and history. He was followed by harmonica player John Higgins, then Harold Cole in 1948. After him, came the mighty duo of Freeman Hatch and Jack Webster. Jim Owens replaced Free Hatch in 1975 and Clyde Eagles took Jack Webster's place in 1979. In 1955, on the Selectmen's recommendation, the Town voted to buy the front half of the Green. The buildings located there were torn down or moved, giving us the lovely Windmill Green as we know it today.

A few other items: In 1930, the windmill got new arms and shaft, from 1944 to 1946 shaft and arms, again in 1957 and in 1962 a steel shaft, fabricated by Eastham Forge, Misters Brace and Putnam doing the work. On its trial ran in the spring of 1962, Otto Nickerson brought the Elementary School children to see it go. It was one of his last famous outings with the School, as he retired from the Principal's chair that year.

In 1980 the Mill ground 800 pounds of corn for its 300th birthday and had a temporary Post Office in the Mill manned by volunteers. The U.S.P.O. had issued a set of windmill stamps with the Eastham Mill in the center position.

Today the Mill is enjoyed by people from around the world as well as locally, and is the centerpiece for Windmill Weekend and a lovely addition to Christmas with its arms bedecked with lights.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Public Rights / Private Property: FAQs on Beach Access brought to you By Trisha Daly-Karlson

Summertime. The living is easy. Fish are jumpin'. And right now somewhere along the Massachusetts coast, two people are arguing over whether one of them may walk along the other's beach.
Few issues in Massachusetts can be counted on as such a regular source of conflict. One reason for this is that in the face of the overwhelming desire for people to use our beaches, our laws are not very "friendly" toward beach access. This is because, some 350 years ago, our forefathers gave away much of the public's rights to use the coastline in an attempt to spur the development of wharfs and maritime commerce. On top of that, our laws in this area are complex, confusing, and- to an extent that is surprising in light of centuries of court battles- uncertain.
The result is conflict. Those who own property along the coast clash with those who want to walk along it, often without either really knowing what their rights and obligations are. Indeed, sometimes police officers and other public officials called in to deal with this conflict are themselves unclear about the respective rights and responsibilities.
The purpose of this guide is to try to help people understand the law in this area, to the extent that it has been settled. We have tried to provide simple answers to commonly-asked questions about the ownership of the coast. Our hope is that by informing the public of the law, we can move beyond needless conflicts and toward more consensual solutions to the beach access issue. In particular, we have highlighted ways that coastal owners who want to let the public gain access through or along their property can do so while avoiding liability and at the same time preserving their own property rights.
Of necessity, we can state what the public's rights are only in general terms. There are many complications that may arise in individual circumstances.

Questions & Answers
Q: "Someone told me that beaches are privately owned in Massachusetts all the way down to the low tide line. How can that be?"
A: Each state has its own laws regarding who owns the beach. In most coastal states, the public owns the land seaward of the high tide line, and in some states public ownership extends even higher. Massachusetts is different, however. The Massachusetts courts have consistently ruled that in the 1640s, we gave away title to the land between the mean high tide line and the low tide line to the adjacent upland owners. Therefore, this area- known as the "intertidal zone" or "wet sand area" is- generally privately owned in Massachusetts.
Q: "So you're saying that if I own the adjacent upland land, I therefore own the adjacent wet sand area?"
A: Probably, but not necessarily. It is possible that the interest in the wet sand area was separately conveyed ("severed") from the uplands parcel at some time in the past. A final answer to this question may require a complete title search, and even then you might not have a definitive answer. If this issue cannot be resolved by the available evidence, the upland owner is presumed to own the adjacent wet sand area. The boundary issues can be resolved in Land Court.
Q: "You said that I can own down to the 'low tide line,' but the low tide line changes every day. What low tide line are you talking about?"
A: Because the precise tide lines change daily, the average or mean low tide line is used. There is an ongoing dispute, however, as to whether you should use the so-called "mean low tide" line or the "mean extreme low tide line." The former is the average of all low tides, while the latter is the average of extreme low tides "resulting from usual causes and conditions."
Q: "How do you deal with the fact that over time the coastline builds up in certain areas and washes away in others?"
A: The short answer to this question is that the property lines move with the low tide line. Therefore, as land is extended by the natural buildup of sand (known as "accretion"), the private property owners generally enjoy a windfall. But when the opposite happens ("reliction"), the private property owners generally lose ownership of that portion of the land taken by the sea. The fact that property lines change with the whims of the oceans is one of the things that makes private ownership of this area different from private ownership of inland property.
Q: "If I own the wet sand area, why are members of the public claiming they can use it?"
A: Private ownership of the wet sand area is subject to certain public rights that were reserved when the land became private in the first place. Because the public-at-large retains a property interest in the wet sand area, the private owners' property interest in this area is similar to that of people who own private property in other areas subject to public easements (for example, people who abut town roads typically own to the middle of the road, subject to the public's right of passage).
Q: "What are the rights that were reserved to the public?"
A: The original laws that granted private ownership reserved the rights of "fishing, fowling, and navigation." Court cases have also held that reserved public rights include the "natural derivatives" of these uses. There are hundreds of years of court cases that attempt to flesh out precisely what these various words mean.
Q: "Does 'fishing' include shellfishing?"
A: Yes. That means that members of the public may take shellfish from the wet sand area of privately owned property and they may walk along the wet sand area to gain access to the shellfish.
Q: "Does the public's right to use the wet sand area for fishing include the right to do aquaculture, such as quahog farming?"
A: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the public. s right to fish in the wet sand area does not include a right to occupy such areas with aquaculture pens. As a result, someone who wants to perform these aquaculture activities in wet sand areas must obtain the permission of the private owner in addition to applicable state and local licenses.
Q: "What is 'fowling'?"
A: "Fowling" certainly includes the hunting of birds. Our office takes the position that the term also includes other ways that birds can be "used," such as birdwatching. This issue has not yet been addressed by the courts.
Q: "Does 'navigation' include swimming?"
A: Yes, but. According to the courts, swimming in the intertidal zone is included within the reserved public right of navigation, but only so long as your feet don't touch the bottom! And you don't have a right to walk along the wet sand area solely for the purpose of gaining access for swimming.
Q: "What about walking below the low tide line?"
A: Private property owners cannot interfere with the public's right to walk along the submerged lands that lie seaward of the low tide line. With few exceptions, they don't own that land; the public does.
Q: "Since members of the public have the right to fish, fowl, and navigate in the wet sand area, then they can do whatever fishing, fowling, and navigation they want to do there, right?"
A: So far, we've just been talking about ownership issues. Just as a private property owner's rights are subject to reasonable regulation, the same is true of the public's reserved rights. Thus, for example, the government may require shellfishermen to obtain all applicable state and local permits and to comply with applicable shellfishing regulations. And, of course, members of the public who exercise their public rights to use the wet sand area must comply with other laws, such as the prohibition on littering and the creation of nuisances.
Q: "I've heard people say that all I really need to do to 'be legal' is to carry a fishing line in my pocket?"
A: Carrying a fishing line or a fishing pole would render your walking along the wet sands area legal only if you actually intended to fish.
Q: "Does the public have a right to use off-road vehicles over the wet sand areas to gain access for fishing?"
A: The Supreme Judicial Court has never ruled on whether driving an off-road vehicle across private wet sand areas for the purposes of gaining access to fishing areas is included within the public's right to fish. In any event, the use of off-road vehicles may be regulated by the government.
Q: "Like many of my fellow property owners, I don't mind the public walking along my wet sand area even if they are not 'fishing, fowling, or navigating,' so long as by allowing this, I don't lose any property rights in the process. Is there some way that I can be a 'good citizen' and still retain my property rights?"
A: Yes. What you appear to be worried about is the legal concept known as "prescription" or "adverse possession." This is the idea that if someone uses your property for a sufficiently long time, they may be able to claim a property interest in it. For someone to be able to make this claim, however, their use has to be without your permission. Therefore, openly allowing the public to walk across your land (e.g., by "posting" such permission) is perhaps the best way of defeating someone's ability to accrue such a right. Posting the land in this manner, of course, would not affect any access rights that anyone had already obtained before the posting.
Q: "O.K., that may solve one problem, but how about liability?"
A: Under existing state law, a property owner who allows the public to use his or her land for recreational purposes without charging for such use is shielded from liability for injuries sustained during that use so long as the property owner did not bury hidden boobytraps or otherwise act with such "fault" that his or her conduct constituted "wilful, wanton or reckless conduct." Here again, the best way for coastal property owners to protect themselves may be to allow the public to walk across their land.
Q: "Wasn't there a state law passed a few years ago that gave the public a right to walk along the wet sand area even if they weren't fishing, fowling, or navigating"?
A: Not exactly. You're referring to chapter 176, section 4 of the Acts of 1991. That law states that the public is to have a general right to walk along the wet sand area during dawn to dusk hours. Such a right is not effective, however, unless the state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) acquires it on behalf of the public through formal eminent domain proceedings involving the specific properties affected, where the private property owners from whom the right was acquired would be compensated.
Q: "How much compensation would a private landowner be due if the state "took" a general easement right pursuant to the 1991 law?"
A: The property owner would be owed the amount, if any, that the market value of his or her land was reduced by the fact that the public now had a general right to walk across the wet sand area, not just to do so for fishing, fowling, and navigation.
Q: "You've talked so far about access along the beach. How about access from inland areas to the beach?"
A: Generally speaking, the land inland of the mean high tide line is owned by private parties, just like other land. Members of the public therefore do not have a right to walk across this land unless they individually or collectively have obtained such a right, or if, in particular circumstances, such rights were reserved when the land was initially granted to a private party. Rights of access can be purchased or taken by eminent domain, or they may be acquired by long term use (e.g., by the doctrine of "prescription" mentioned above).
Q: "How can I resolve whether the public has a right to cross a particular parcel of private property to get to the sea?"
A: Unfortunately, resolving whether the public . or some subset of the public . has a right to use a given path can often be very difficult, requiring an intensive examination of the particular facts and evidence at issue. It can also be very expensive for both sides, especially if a full trial is needed to resolve the issues. As with the wet sand area discussed above, private property owners who want to protect their property rights, but who otherwise don't mind others walking across their land, can accomplish this by "posting" their permission. This would not, of course, affect any access rights that the public had already obtained before the posting.
Q: "What if I want to try to resolve a coastal access dispute through mediation?"
A: One resource to consider is the Massachusetts Office of Dispute Resolution (MODR), an institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston (formerly a state agency). MODR promotes and facilitates the use of dispute resolution by public agencies, municipalities, businesses, non-profit organizations and citizens of the Commonwealth. MODR works with these groups to resolve disputes collaboratively and to create effective programs to prevent and manage conflict. MODR services include mediation, facilitation, public participation, consensus building, systems design and skill-building training. Services are provided on a fee-for-service basis, through highly-experienced qualified conflict resolution practitioners who are staff or affiliates of MODR. To learn more about MODR, log on to MODR’s website: at
www.umb.edu/modr or contact MODR: (617) 287-4040; fax: (617) 287-4049.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Housing Stimulus Bill from NAR by Rosa Wright

National Association of REALTORS®Summary of Key Provisions of H.R. 3221 - The Housing Stimulus Bill (as of 7/30/08)
H.R. 3221, the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” passed the House on July 23, 2008, by a vote of 272-152. On Saturday, July 26, 2008, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 72-13. The President signed the bill on July 30, 2008. The bill includes the following provisions:
GSE Reform – including a strong independent regulator, and permanent conforming loan limits up to the greater of $417,000 or 115% local area median home price, capped at $625,500. The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)
FHA Reform – including permanent FHA loan limits at the greater of $271,050 or 115% of local area median home price, capped at $625,500; streamlined processing for FHA condos; reforms to the HECM program, and reforms to the FHA manufactured housing program. The downpayment requirement on FHA loans will go up to 3.5% (from 3%). The effective date for reforms is immediate upon enactment, but the loan limits will not go into effect until the expiration of the Economic Stimulus limits (December 31, 2008).View 2009 FHA and GSE loan limit estimates (PDF)FHA Reform Chart (PDF)
Homebuyer Tax Credit - a $7500 tax credit that would be would be available for any qualified purchase between April 9, 2008 and June 30, 2009. The credit is repayable over 15 years (making it, in effect, an interest free loan).First-time homebuyer tax credit chartFrequently asked questions about the first-time homebuyer tax credit
FHA foreclosure rescue – development of a refinance program for homebuyers with problematic subprime loans. Lenders would write down qualified mortgages to 85% of the current appraised value and qualified borrowers would get a new FHA 30-year fixed mortgage at 90% of appraised value. Borrowers would have to share 50% of all future appreciation with FHA. The loan limit for this program is $550,440 nationwide. Program is effective on October 1, 2008.FHA Foreclosure Rescue Chart
Seller-funded downpayment assistance programs – codifies existing FHA proposal to prohibit the use of downpayment assistance programs funded by those who have a financial interest in the sale; does not prohibit other assistance programs provided by nonprofits funded by other sources, churches, employers, or family members. This prohibition does not go into effect until October 1, 2008.More about the seller-funded downpayment assistance provisionTips to finding downpayment assistance programs (PDF)
VA loan limits – temporarily increases the VA home loan guarantee loan limits to the same level as the Economic Stimulus limits through December 31, 2008.
Risk-based pricing – puts a moratorium on FHA using risk-based pricing for one year. This provision is effective from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.
GSE Stabilization – includes language proposed by the Treasury Department to authorize Treasury to make loans to and buy stock from the GSEs to make sure that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae could not fail.
Mortgage Revenue Bond Authority – authorizes $10 billion in mortgage revenue bonds for refinancing subprime mortgages.
National Affordable Housing Trust Fund – Develops a Trust Fund funded by a percentage of profits from the GSEs. In its first years, the Trust Fund would cover costs of any defaulted loans in FHA foreclosure program. In out years, the Trust Fund would be used for the development of affordable housing.
CDBG Funding – Provides $4 billion in neighborhood revitalization funds for communities to purchase foreclosed homes.More about the CDBG funding provision
LIHTC – Modernizes the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program to make it more efficient.
Loan Originator Requirements – Strengthens the existing state-run nationwide mortgage originator licensing and registration system (and requires a parallel HUD system for states that fail to participate). Federal bank regulators will establish a parallel registration system for FDIC-insured banks. The purpose is to prevent fraud and require minimum licensing and education requirements. The bill exempts those who only perform real estate brokerage activities and are licensed or registered by a state, unless they are compensated by a lender, mortgage broker, or other loan originator.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Walking the beach is a common practice for many visitors on Cape Cod. Eastham offers a couple of options. You can head off to Coast Guard or Nauset Light Beach. Here you can experience a misty sunrise against the sound of the crashing waves. Or if you aren’t the early riser especially when you are on vacation head to the other side of Eastham to Cape Cod Bay and enjoy the quiet lapping waves against the shore and watch the crimson sun melt into the bay as you stroll along.
But, these aren’t your only options. There are other walks available to you. You may want to consider the Fort Hill Trail. Here a sweeping view of the ocean awaits you from the vantage point of a rise above the marsh. As you walk this trail you are exposed to a varied trail of habitats from an old farm field of thickets filled with rabbits and birds to a raised boardwalk taking through a Red Maple Swamp. You also experience some local history; by following in the footsteps of our local Native Americans. And don’t forget as you wind your way back towards the parking lot to take a peek into the Captain Penniman House, which is an old sea captain’s home from our whaling heritage.
If you want a little longer trail you may want to choose the Nauset Marsh Trail. This trail originates from the Salt Pond Visitors Center and winds along The Salt Pond and some upland areas. You will experience beach plums, bayberries, pitch pines and cedars. Here lives a large variety of birds along with raccoons, rabbits, foxes, squirrels and deer. As you move away from the waters edge watch and listen for the large population of wild turkeys.
If that’s not enough there are two little know usually quiet hidden trails. The Cottontail Acres Conservation Area is 24 acres at the corner of Samoset and Lawton Road. It is an enjoyable short ½ mile trail through meadows lined with pine, oak and red cedars. Or check out the Lamont Smith Conservation Area. It’s a loop trail through a pine and oak woods and even a blueberry swamp. This trail can be reached at the end of Peach Orchard Lane. Whatever you decide relax, enjoy and experience the environment that we have tried to preserve. And if you are still looking for more walks try a Orleans, Brewster and Wellfleet where adventures await.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Selling Your Own Home? by Rosa Wright

Maybe you’ve thought about selling your home without an Agent in order to avoid paying an Agent’s commission. That commission, is negotiable depending on where you live and what Agent you choose.

Handling your own sale means you will have to place ads, answer calls, perhaps hold open houses, show your home to strangers at all hours—no matter how unexpected or inconvenient, and in some cases negotiate the selling price.

Serious Buyers depend on real estate Agents. 98.3% of the homes for sale are listed by Realtors®. And 70% of homes sold are sold through Agent-to-Agent communication. The national average price of homes sold is 16% higher when an Agent is used. Using the right professional Agent will make your home sale a better experience, and a more profitable one.

When selling your home, or buying a new one please contact us, here at The Real Estate Company for a full service Real Estate Agent and counsel you can trust.
East Orleans 508-255-5100; Eastham 508-255-4949; Chatham 508-945-7777

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

“It’s Band Time in Chatham” By George W. Goodspeed Jr.

This often heard expression in this great little Cape Cod Town, was probably coined in 1945 when the Chatham Band started up after World War II. Some of the young men returning from all over the world, had used their instruments during the war years, and others had to dust them off, and get their lips in shape. The Band had shut down in December of 1941 with the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, but just about everyone came home to get things started again.

The Band was originally organized in 1931, when a group of local men, twelve in number, gathered and formed the nucleus of the Band. One of those men was my father, George W. Goodspeed, Sr., who had learned to play the saxophone from a Mr. Martell who lived on Crowell Road. They were able to get some other amateur musicians in town and a few from the surrounding towns, and with Mr. Martell as the leader, they started what was known as the American Legion Band. The uniform of the day was a blue blazer, white pants and shoes, and a blue and white hat, similar to the design of the current hat. They started their music library by pooling their own money, and the rehearsals were held at the American Legion Hall on School Street in Chatham.

Photo - Generations of the Goodspeeds: Part of Chatham Band Tradition. July 4th, 1973 - George W. Goodspeed Sr. (center) with son Ben and grandson Benny.

In the early years, the Band was directed by Joe Martell, and Thomas Nassi. Mr. Nassi and his wife taught music in the schools, and they lived in Orleans, across from what was then the main school on Route 28. They taught music in Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Brewster and Harwich. Several of the current Band members learned their music from Mr. and Mrs. Nassi who were from Albania originally There is a small park in Orleans that is named for their son Albert who was killed in World War II.

About two years after the Band was started and things were going pretty well, the American Legion Post in Chatham, in an effort to raise money, started to charge the Band rent for the use of their hall since not all of the Band members were members of the Legion. The Legion Hall was one of the old schools in Chatham, and it was known as the Village School. The rent started at $ 2.00 dollars per night. Because the Band did not have deep pockets, they started to look for another place to practice. They were able to get the use of a hall that belonged to the Improved Order of Red Men on Route 28, next door to the present Post Office. The Red Men’s Hall was later converted into a home by the Swan family that managed the Queen Ann Inn.

With the move to the Red Men’s Hall came the new name, and the new uniform. The new name was the Chatham Band, and the new uniform was the forerunner of today’s well recognized uniform.

As the Band became better known and developed into a class act, they were asked to take part in many activities. They were the Band to play for the dedication of the two Cape Cod Canal Bridges, and they often joined with the Provincetown Band to march and play for the Blessing of the Fleet. Their first Bandstand in Chatham was on Main Street, where the large parking lot is next to the Town Office. Soon after World War II, that Bandstand was moved to Kate Gould Park, and it was later replaced with the larger and current bandstand that is there today. The current Bandstand was paid for by the Band members with the help of private donations, and it was built by carpenters that were members of the Band.

When Mr. Nassi, the director for only a short period of time retired from teaching, it became necessary to find a new director. Several people tried to do the job, but then the Band lucked out with a new vocal music teacher for the school systems. Whitney Tileston came on to the scene and started the program that we have today. Shortly thereafter, the Band became a feature story in The National Geographic Magazine. The Band was also featured on NBC’s Nightly News, and several other television shows.

Since the late forties, the Band has performed free concerts every Friday night at Kate Gould Park, weather permitting. Over a period of time “Whit” became known as “Mr. Music”, and with a great Band behind him, we were able to entertain thousands of people and several generations. I originally started with the Band at the ripe old age of 12, marching with the bass drum and playing cymbals. Today I’m a member of the reed section playing alto saxophone, and serve as manager of the Band. The Current director is Ken Eldredge, who started with the Band in the thirties as a drummer will continue this great piece of Americana for families of all ages. We’re all working to keep this tradition alive for many years to come.

If you are free on a Friday Night in the summer, bring your blankets, chairs, and enjoy a fabulous evening. Oh yes, it is the best entertainment in New England for the price.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Rosa Ryan about Bee Stings

Cure for Bee and Hornet Stings - This came to me in an email. I thought it was interesting. The write sent this message:
A couple of weeks ago I was unfortunate enough to get stung by both a bee and a hornet while working in the garden. My arm swelled up so off to the walk-in clinic I went. The clinic gave me
cream and an antihistamine.
The next day the swelling was getting progressively worse so off to my regular doctor I went. Infected arm - needed an antibiotic. What was interesting is what the Dr. told me.
The next time you get stung put a penny on the bite for 15 minutes. I thought, wow next time (if there ever is one) I will try it.
Well that night my niece got stung by two bees. When she came over to swim I looked at the bite and it had already started to swell. So off I went to get my money. I taped a penny to her arm for 15 minutes. The next morning, there was no sign of a bite. Wow were we surprised!
Well guess what happened again on Saturday night. I was helping my sister deadhead her flowers and guess what? You are right - I got stung again two times by a hornet on my left hand. Was I ticked. I thought, here I go again having to go to the doctor for yet another antibiotic. Well I promptly went into the house, got my money out, and taped two pennies to my bites and then sat and sulked for 15 minutes. The penny took the sting out of the bite immediately. I still wasn't sure what was going to happen. The next morning I could only see the spot where he had stung me. No redness, no swelling.
Just wanted to share the marvelous information in case any of you are experiencing the same problem at home.
We need to have a stock of pennies on hand at school and at home.
The Dr. said somehow the copper in the penny counteracts the bite. I would never had believed it. But it definitely does work.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Cape Cod Meanderings with Barbara Johnson

There are those of us who have to be near the ocean. Maybe it’s the negative ions from the sea that energize and sooth us.
You can walk along the edge, dodging the waves as they roll in, looking for shells, hoping to find a piece of sea glass, or just a pretty rock. If the rapture of beach combing isn’t for you, looking for seals or watching the surfers is a thrill. Webster says a beach comber is a “drifter or loafer”. Soun
ds good to me. We all need a time-out occasionally.
If you’re a walker or a bike rider, there are all kinds of trails and paths, many leading down to the sea. Our National Seashore invites you to roam through the woods and fields. Bring your binoculars in case you want to do some bird watching.
Kayaking is very popular, good exercise, with easy access to calm waters. It’s also the best way to cruise along and check out all the waterfront properties.

“Mother Nature” rules here on the Cape. You can certainly enjoy a sunny day in July or stand in awe watching the storm waves crash on the beach. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute”.
You can tell from all this that I could never live away from the coast. If you’re as drawn to sea and sand as I am, it’s time to invest in your own piece of paradise.

Find your new home on Cape Cod with Barbara Johnson 508-255-5100 Ext 718 barbaraj@capecodhomefinder.com Please visit her website at www.BarbWJ.com
Then come home to Cape Cod, you can get lost here too.

Monday, May 5, 2008

MUSINGS - Lyn Carlin

Musing (myoo’zing), adj. 1. absorbed in thought; meditative. –n. 2. contemplation; reflection

Even on Cape Cod where the pace is advertised to be calmer and more serene, those of us who choose to call this beautiful place our home need an occasional break from the daily routine. The wonderful realization for us is that we don’t have to go far to find many special places .So, for natives, wash-a-shores and visitors, alike, here are some of my favorite spots for “musing” on the lower and outer Cape:
Kent’s Point, Orleans. This 28 acre conservation parcel was acquired by the Town of Orleans in 1988. At the end of Frost Fish Lane, you can park and begin your short journey on clearly marked paths.. A slight detour will take you down on the beach and then back up to the point, where you will find a bench, perched on the bluff, with the peace and quiet of Little Pleasant Bay, in all it’s splendor. Sit and reflect upon all the good things in your life and…you can take your dog.
Paw Wah Point, S. Orleans. We walk to the end of Namequoit Road (lucky us). Legend has it (great story for the grandkids) that Chief Paw Wah had his tepee out in the middle of the pond all winter. The combination of a warm spell and his fire proved his undoing. The Chief and tepee, having sunk to the bottom of the pond, it was only fitting that it bear his name for the ages. Just up the road lies the parking area and access to another wonderful conservation area. There is an easy trail down to the beach, also on Little Pleasant Bay. Look for a special table at a resting place on the way where you can enjoy a snack or just sit and look about. A turn to the right on the beach will take you to the opposite side of the Portanimicut Road landing where shellfish boats and local fishermen move in and out. A stroll to the left offers a seat in the sand to watch the birds, maybe a seal, or to contemplate tomorrow. In August you have a terrific vantage point to view the catboats come out of Arey’s Pond for their annual gathering on the Bay.
Fort Hill, Eastham. We park in the lot just below the Capt. Penniman House (usually open for a tour on seasonal weekends) and take the trail through the Red Maple Swamp, out to the Indian sharpening rock. Look down on Heminway Landing, and across the marsh to the Coast Guard Building. The loop takes you down to the water and back up to a bench at the top of the hill where you can view the ever changing colors in the marsh, and think how lucky we are to have all of this at our fingertips.
Pamet Cranberry Bog Trail, N. Pamet Road, Truro.. This is a favorite. Park just below the youth hostel and follow the trail which begins across the street, It’s a hefty walk for some, especially when you come upon the high dunes in front of you. Climb to the top. You can do it and you will be glad you did. When you get there, the ocean will spread out forever in front of you. Slowly, turn full circle and you will think that you’ve come upon Ireland or Scotland. Sit down in the sand right there and take it all in. It’s good for the soul. .If you choose, you can retrace your steps a bit and go down onto the beach. Walk to the south to the public beach, back to the road which used to connect S. Pamet with N. Pamet, go to your right and you will get back to the parking area.

Many of you have your own favorite spots. Put aside the excuses. The brain, as well as the body, needs a rest now and then. These places offer a free recharge. So go and meditate, contemplate, and reflect on all the good in your life. You’ll come back a better person. Good musings.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

FORE! by Evelyn Doane

Cape Cod can truly be considered a golfer’s paradise with over fifty golf courses to choose from. There are some with spectacular water views, some where one feels one is in Scotland…true links courses…and some in more park like settings. Wherever you decide to play, the experience will be most pleasurable, as our courses are in fine condition and offer challenges for the single digit handicapper and the less experienced golfer as well.
One of the real secrets about golf on Cape Cod is the amazing amount of golf one can play when dressed appropriately for the occasion. I have played in every month of the year. There was one January with temperatures in the sixties and golfers were backed up on the fairways! Fall golf on the Cape is delightful. With the surrounding water still warm, one can play happily and comfortably until December, while the temperatures off Cape can be a definite deterrent.
While there are some very special private courses on the Cape, I would like to tell you about some of my favorite public courses. I will also tell you about some opportunities to join some golf leagues to find great competition and also how to get to play these private courses too!
Some towns have their own public courses which one can join very inexpensively…about $500 for town residents. There is good competition at each one with club championships, other tournaments, mixed events and special groups for the men and ladies too.
Harwich’s town course is Cranberry Valley with a real feeling of Cape Cod with some views of cranberry bogs, kettle holes and scrub pines. The 18th hole is the signature hole here…a double dog leg par five.
Brewster is noted for its two Captain’s courses with each tee named for a famous local sea captain. Captains’ features holes with alternate routes of play and visible hazards. Pride is taken with the design that is in harmony with the environment.
Dennis has two courses also…Dennis Pines, which is quite challenging and Dennis Highlands which is shorter and easier. The Pines stretches to 7000 yards from the tips and winds around 170 acres of pine forest. It is necessary to be proficient with every club in the bag here.
Yarmouth has the old and charming Bass River course and the new 27 hole Bayberry Hills course. Bass River has a memorable 9th hole …a par three which due to the prevailing wind must be played out over the Bass River to successfully reach the sharply sloping green and avoid the bunkers on the right and the left. Bayberry features bent grass fairways and the “risk-reward” 15th hole…a short par five where one can go for the green in two through a gap in the woods or take the alternate route to the right leaving a 100 yard third shot to the green.
Barnstable has the lady-friendly Old Barnstable Fairgrounds course which is quite interesting and fun to play.
Ocean Edge in Brewster at Ocean Edge Resort has an interesting course with pot bunkers…interesting only if you don’t hit in one! One nine has just been redesigned by Jack Nicklaus.
There are also some great executive and par three courses that are fun to play as well as surprisingly challenging.
Chatham Seaside Links is an executive course with some of the best water views anywhere.
Kings Way in Yarmothport is another good executive course with a great restaurant in the clubhouse where all are welcome.
Blue Rock is noted for being one of the best par three courses in the country.
Chequessett Golf and Country Club is only a nine hole course but the tee boxes change for the second nine and make the course very interesting.
The Highlands in Wellfleet is a true links course and you might very well feel you are in Scotland! Twin Brooks is behind the Sheraton Hotel in Hyannis and is another par three with very good true greens.
Now as I said previously, there are fifty courses available on the Cape and just over the bridge, and these are my personal favorites. However if you would like to find out more information on these and all the others, please go to my website: http://www.chathambytheseawithevelyn.com/ and you will find telephone numbers and directions to all of the courses…yes…all fifty of them! Click on the golf course key at the right side of the home page to find out all you ever wanted to know about all these courses.
And…..here is some information about some good competition you may be interested in. There is a Pro-Am league for men with lower handicaps that plays every week at a different course during the off season. For the ladies, if you have a handicap index of 23 or less, you may join the Cape Cod Womens’ Golf League where the ladies may play just about every course on the Cape from April through June and then in September through November. Naturally you must have a verified handicap index for both of these organizations.
Have you been waiting for the secret of how to play on some of the private courses? Here it is! Just about all of these clubs have charity events and for only a little more than the usual greens fee, you may play in one of these events, compete for prizes and help a local charity too!
Eastward Ho! sponsors the Cape Cod Hospital Tournament in June.
The Ridge Club has a tournament for Children’s Cove in the Fall.
The Wianno Club has a tournament for the local library.
The other private courses also sponsor charity events and if you carefully read the Cape Cod Times in the Sports section under upcoming events, you will see these listed. Also, if you are a Chatham resident, you may play in the Chatham Residents’ Tournament at Eastward Ho! in the early Spring or late Fall.
If you are a serious golf aficionado…do go to http://www.golfclubatlas.com/ and read about the best courses not only in our state but all over the world.
I hope you have enjoyed a look at some of the wonderful courses on the Cape. If you have any questions, please do be in touch!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bass fishing in Pleasant Bay 4/15/08 by David Garner

My favorite memories from childhood in Orleans always revolved around the water. This time of year especially, mid april, I think back to my youth and the annual arrival of the Striped Bass.
Springtime meant "stripers" in Pleasant Bay. Located on the "back side" of the cape, above the elbow, Pleasant Bay is the largest salt-water estuary on this end of Cape Cod. Separated from the Atlantic by a thin and always changing barrier beach this wonderful abayment is ideally suited and located to hold and feed "tons" of stripers. In their annual sojour north, as the water gets warmer, the Bass migrate up the Atlantic coast following Herring and other bait fish. The first to arrive, the "scouts", are the smaller ones and usually under 14 or 15 inches. They methodically enter one abayment at a time south to north until they end up in the far reaches of Pleasant Bay just about this time of year. There are lots of ways to fish for stripers. It mostly depends on the water you're fishing and the time of year.

Louis Higgins, a local "bayman", was one of my many teachers on the water. In the late 60's he was already in his later years and clearly the epitomy of an "old salt". He had fish and shellfished all the old nooks and crannies of the Bay. Seaworms were his choice of bait to catch these young fish. I can see it as clear today as I did 40 years ago. His thick weathered hands sliding a hook into the mouth of a seaworm, its pinchers biting to resist, and pulling it out its side. His favorite lure was a silver spoon, still sold today, called a "Toniasetta". This spoon with a worm is killer. You can cast it or troll it but the key is bringing it in slowly or trolling slowly. It has wonderful action in the water which is only enhanced by the length of the worm. The little stripers feed from the end of the worm in and announce their arrival with what the fisherman feels are little "bumps" before a hook-up. Another trolling rig he showed me and my favorite still is what was known as a "capecodder". A two foot long, heavy 30lb. monofiliment, rig with colored beads, two silver spoons and two hooks. Add the seaworms and this should be declared illegal in Massachusetts. This is old school fishing. Todays bait choice for the little guys is usually a plastic white "grub" on hook.

Soon the larger bass enter the bay also looking for bait and compete with the little ones for food and habitat. The bigger fish usually like the deeper water to feed in and will in fact eat off the bottom taking good size crabs, shellfish and ells. But these larger bass, sometimes upward of 40 inches, also like to cruise the many sand flats and shallow areas that are typical of the Bay. This is my favorite place to take stripers. My method is light spinning gear, a "bay" rod usually 7 to8 feet long and light line usually 10-12 lb. test and an artificial surface plug. The greatest thrill in the world, as it was 40 years ago, is to catch big stripers on the "top"or surface. To see the water explode as a hungry 20 lb. striper hits a lure is unbelievable experience. To see it at the end of your own line is the best feeling in the world! With this smashing hit on your line you instinctively react by pulling the rod back over your head, trying to set the hook before the fish gets away. The second greatest feeling is the weight of the fish at the other end of the line after you have set knowing you have a big fish on! As the fish starts his first run expect line to spin off your reel. If its a big fish and your drag(resistence) is too tight on your reel then the line is already broken and you have lost a big one. In time that fish will get bigger and bigger each time you tell the story. Believe me... The hooked striper runs slower and stronger than a bluefish and mostly tries to stay deep. After two or three runs his energy usually subsides and you can bring him up along side your boat. Watching out for hooks, slowly reach your hand to the water and with your thumb grab the fish by its lower jaw and lift it out of the water. Try to handle the fish by the body as little as possible as its slime coating protects the fish.The mouth can not close when held like this so now you can remove your lure(bend back all barbs when fishing with multiple hooks) from its mouth. Quickly put the fish back in the water maintaining your grip and slowly pull the fish back in forth in the water allowing water and oxygen to pass through his gills to prepare him for release. Take your hand from its mouth and in a splash he is gone. Now you are ready for another one! I still can't think of anything more fun and relaxing than drifting in Pleasant Bay casting silently,seagulls musing over head, trying to catch that big striper that got away.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Living year round on Cape Cod by Mary Higgins

Living year round in Chatham was the “dream come true” once we made the move….time for new friends and activities. Each person’s timetable for joining clubs and activities will be different.

My first stop was the CHATHAM WOMAN’S CLUB, a great organization for meeting friends and becoming involved with others. This organization was 93 years old in 2008 and is “more vigorous than ever with 195 members.” The stated purpose of the women who met in 1915 was ”to broaden and strengthen the moral, social and intellectual life of its members and to be through them a power for good in the community. The club is a member of The General Federation of Woman’s Clubs, a non-denominational women’s volunteer service organization, founded in 1890 and located in Washington, D.C.

The club has 5 Departments: Arts, American Heritage, Conservation, Literature and Legislature. Serving in any of these departments, attending the meetings scheduled from October through May, and taking part in fund raising to support our scholarship fund are enough to keep most anyone as busy as they like.

For more information, visit the club’s website at www@chathamwomansclub.org.

The Cape Cod Hospital Auxiliary is another great organization to work with. The Auxiliary has been in existence for 63 years. The mission statement is “to promote and expand Cape Cod Hospital facilities and services to the highest quality through volunteerism and philanthropy.”

After World War ll, the Auxiliary had grown substantially in size and the neighborhood groups were formed geographically. They currently consist of four branches (Barnstable, Yarmouth Port, Orleans and Chatham).

Branch meetings are held monthly (September through May) in order to plan fund raisers such as fashion shows, bridge parties, raffles, craft fairs bake sales, a Holly Berry bazaar, a golf tournament and others. To branches continue to sew, one by making comfort pillows for surgical patients, and the other to make puppets for the pediatric patients, plus knitting baby caps for the 1,000 newborns who arrive annually at Cape Cod Hospital.

Currently, we are engaged in the largest pledge to date: $1.5 mullion to the Cardiac Care Center. When the current pledge is completed, the total raised by the Hospital Auxiliary will be in excess of $6,900,000.

Opportunities exist for volunteers to work with the Auxiliary Gift Shop, Auxiliary Thrift Shop and in the Hospital itself. Members of the Auxiliary are hard working, dedicated volunteers. Whether you are a member of a branch contributing hours at one of the two shops, or even participating in both activities, the camaraderie among the group is unsurpassed and all consider it a labor of love, for there is no reward other than one’s own satisfaction.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Cape Cod Auxiliary, please call the Cape Cod Hospital volunteers Office at 508-862-5259.

For Real Estate information please call 508-737-9024 or visit my website www.maryjhiggins.com

How to display your beach treasures by Laurie Novak

Ever wonder what to do with all those shells (and sea glass if you’re lucky) you pick up on your walks on the beach?

Here are some ideas:

Use large shells and pieces of sea glass to decorate a wreath for your front door. Wrap a grapevine wreath with ribbon, then glue shells & glass (I love Tacky glue) to wreath. You can also drill small holes in most shells. Although quahog shells sometimes break, oyster and mussel shells can be drilled easily without cracking.

Use small shells to make jewelry. Perfect oyster shells or mussel shells make great necklaces, while smaller shells can make nice anklets. Thin coated wire and beads are available at most craft stores. Use your imagination and have fun!

Use tiny shells to make a sailor’s valentine. While octagonal boxes (traditional) can be hard to find, most craft stores offer many sizes of boxes with glass fronts which can be used for artistic display of your shells. See how many different designs, flowers, beach scenes, etc. you can create. Staples stocks a foam core board which is easily cut to the size of your box, and which comes in a color that mimics sand and is a great background for your shells. Create your design on the foam core board and when it is complete, glue to the inside of the box at the corners.

And if you are lucky enough to catch a fish or some shellfish, check out my Cape Cod cooking recipes on my website for some delicious ideas: http://www.laurienovak.com/. Salt water fishing on Cape Cod does not require a license, but shell fishing does, issued by the town you intend to do your fishing in, so don’t neglect that important requirement. When you are ready to invest in your own piece of Cape Cod (shell fish licenses are SO much cheaper if you’re a tax payer), call me at (508) 308-0737.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Considering Cape Cod For Retirement? by Laura Haddad

Considering Cape Cod For Retirement? Many people find themselves contemplating a move to the Cape full-time or part-time in retirement or semi-retirement. Often they worry about starting over, meeting new friends, or "having enough to do." Nauset Newcomers is an organization which is perfectly suited to address all of these concerns.

Nauset Newcomers is a non-profit social organization which has been welcoming and bringing together new residents for 30 years. The organization's membership has topped 1000 members. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month, Spetember through May, in Wellfleet at the Wellfleet Cinema on Route 6. The programs at the monthly meetings educate and inform members about the Cape and the pertinent issues of our region. Raffles are held at the monthly meetings with prizes donated by local restaurants and other local businesses. Proceeds from the raffles are donated to local charities.

Interested in skiing, bowling, volleyball, or astronomy? Are you a game player (poker, bridge, cribbage, chess, mah johgg)? Do you love to go biking on our beautiful bike trails? How about kayaking? Groups for those interested in painting, needlecraft, gardening, and book discussion are all available. For a complete list of group activities, see the website below. Members are invited to sign up for as many groups as they wish and if their particular interest has not been organized yet, they are invited to start a new activity group. Many members are also involved in a variety of volunteer activities.

Some of the most popular activities are planned by the Social Events Committee, for example the Holiday Dinner Dance. The Dine-Out Committee plans monthly group dining experiences at some of Cape Cod's finest restaurants. Many people enjoy small group Dining-In groups, rotating dinners in members' homes.

Interested in joining or finding out more about Nauset Newcomers? Visit the website at

or contact Laura Haddad 774-722-3993

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Orleans Citizens Forum seeks to inform Orleans citizens about issues important to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in our town and to encourage broader participation in town affairs.
OCF is a 100% volunteer run organization that depends on its membership fees in order to bring the issues we all care about most to the forefront of our lives. We have held some very important forums on issues such the section 10 applications in regards to the Piping Plover, Nauset beach and disaster plans for the town. Most of our forums have been well attended, and we appreciate input on these topics as well as suggestions for future forums. If you would like to know more about the Orleans Citizens Forum please visit our website at http://orleanscitizensforum.org/ and please help OCF by becoming a member today!
For further information please contact Sarah Macke at 508-737-3573 or go to www.peggyandsarah.com

Monday, March 3, 2008

A House is Not a Home…

…at least, not a home that is for sale. Clinging to the wonderful treasures that make your life comfortable and happy may also brand the building as specifically belonging to you, or less spacious than it really is, or so distracting that the lasting image in a potential buyer’s mind is of your possessions, not your house.
I must admit when a realtor came into my parents’ home which we were about to put on the market and declared that the dining room had too much furniture, I felt defensive. My mother had always kept a beautiful home. Who was this woman to suggest otherwise? Was this a personal attack on my mother’s judgment or taste? Of course not, but having recently lost my mother, I wasn’t feeling objective. When I could detach myself from the emotional piece, I could admit that yes, the dining room was small. With two doorways, three windows, and a built-in corner cupboard, the wall space was compromised; yet my mother had a dining room table, six chairs, a hutch, a deacon’s bench, a tea wagon, a small chest and then the dry sink .This was the piece we children had proudly given our parents to house a stereo system. Yes indeed, there were too many pieces in the room, and removing some of them really gave it a more spacious feeling.
I was not a realtor myself in those days, but now having witnessed the tremendous benefits of staging, I enjoy helping homeowners to highlight their home’s best features and maintain a warm and comfortable feeling, while leaving room for buyers to visualize it as their own. Yes, that means collection pieces must be kept to a minimum, and family pictures as well. Otherwise buyers go through the property seeing it as merely a backdrop for the Dickens village, the lighthouses, or the brides and grandchildren. They may not remember your lovely built-in’s or the wonderful bay window where the collection was displayed… never mind the crown molding.
Let’s talk about closets. If you were to open mine right now, I would not be proud, because I don’t part with things easily, and much of my wardrobe should be donated to a good cause. Anything that’s been there long enough to feel like an old friend has probably earned the right to a vacation in someone else’s closet. I keep adding new pieces without saying good-bye to the old, so you might think my closet is not big enough, but you’d be missing the fact that it runs behind an entire wall of my bedroom. By all means, use your upcoming move to purge the closets, basement, and garage of all the items you’ve “been meaning to part with” before viewers come to see the property. “Ample” and “spacious” are words you’ll want them to be using.
Neatness does count. I remember walking into a house by appointment and the owner’s shoes and socks were under the living room coffee table, there were dishes in the sink., and the bed covers had been pulled up in such a way it seemed a small person might be hiding under them. While the customers were not buying the housekeeper, the overall negative feeling prevented the house from having a fair chance. The condition might have been indicative of a really bad day, but it set up questions of whether the house had been generally neglected in other more serious ways.
Along these same lines, the air should carry no hint of Fido, Fluffy…or cigarettes.
The bathroom towels may be squeaky clean, but if they have few loops left on them, now would be a good time to spring for some new ones.
If my home were to go on the market, I would have to take the line of cookbooks off the kitchen counter and remove those magnets from my refrigerator door. …but at least for now, my house is a home and I can enjoy it the way it is.

For real estate information or tips on staging before listing your house, email us at edixon@capecodhomefinder.com or click on our website. http://www.dixonduo.com/

Chuck and Elaine Dixon,
The Dixon Duo

Monday, February 11, 2008

Eastham by Dick Hall

For Information click my websitehttp://www.easthamhomesbydickhall.com/

Thinking of vacationing or retiring to Cape Cod then you must consider Eastham with its many beaches, bike paths and closeness to golf courses.

Eastham has one of the top ten rated beaches nationally here at the National Seashore, known as Coast Guard Beach, where you can enjoy the surf and sunbathing. or if you have small children you will enjoy the bay side beaches where the water is warmed from the sun hitting the sandy flats at low tide and stays warm all day long. At low tide you may enjoy a walk across the flats which extend for miles.

Our bike paths are open to walking or bike riding from Wellfleet to Brewster and beyond or if you're a golfer you can enjoy a link course in Truro or a nine hole course at Chequesett in Wellfleet.

In the evenings you can meet all your neighbors and new friends on the bay side to enjoy the magnificent sunset reflecting all its glory over the vast ocean waters of Cape Cod Bay.

Come and enjoy your vacation or retirement in this wonderful place called EASTHAM.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


It was a long time ago when it all began. I was three years old when my mother took me to my first ballet class; ten tiny tots in pink leotards, pink tights, pink ballet shoes, with hair drawn back into a bun at the nape of each pink neck. We donned our “fairy crowns” pointed our toes, softened our arms and delighted in our new found world of dance. I was a confirmed balletomane within the hour. As I skipped home clutching my mother’s hand, I regaled her with every detail of the class only to repeat the description two more times for my brother and father. At bedtime I informed Daddy that when I grew up I would be a dancer; it
was not a dream but the beginning of an amazing journey and career.

Moulin Rouge ********** Aston Martin Girl-DBS and DBS5 ***** First Role

Dancers are trained from an early age. It is essential, as the body must be molded, developed and strengthened in a specific ilk in order to permit the dancer to achieve maximum “turn out” which in layman’s terms is rotation of the hip joint outward, to be strong yet lissome, agile and flexible, capable of physical feats that must appear effortless, dedicated to perfection, a consummate artist, willing to bind bleeding toes and dance on and to return every day to the “barre” for renewed preparation and improvement.

Dance teachers can develop or damage a dancer. I was blessed with the best possible training from the age of three until I graduated and commenced my professional career. There can be hurdles along the way and for me there was a major difficulty when I was sixteen. My first love has always been classical ballet. During the 60’s, I was the recipient of the Mabel Ryan Award, a medal for ballet, competed for annually in Great Britain and awarded to the best English dancer trained in the Cecchetti method. Dame Beryl Grey adjudicated the competition and presented me with the medal. This is an honor which continues to this day to bring me great joy.

One to two weeks after this day of joy and accomplishment, the director of the Royal Ballet School called me to her office and gently informed me that, despite my ability, she did not think I could succeed in the balletic world because my bones and skeletal frame were large where as ballet dancers are fine boned and petite. She advised to me transfer into The Arts Educational College which offered musical theater training and modern dance as well as ballet.

My world collapsed - but not for long. I wanted to dance, to perform, to be an artist and if a ballet company was not in my future, musical theater sounded amazing. And it was. After graduating as a dancer in ballet, modern, national and musical theater, with a specialty in choreography, the world became my oyster – truly! I had the privilege of

dancing on three continents for fifteen years, followed by another fifteen years of teaching in my own studio and as a guest teacher.

And true to the dancer that I will always be, I am still learning. I’m taking tap lessons!

Diana Silvester-Flink
508 965-3646
February 1, 2008

To visit Diana's website click here.