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

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

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: 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 and please help OCF by becoming a member today!
For further information please contact Sarah Macke at 508-737-3573 or go to

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 or click on our website.

Chuck and Elaine Dixon,
The Dixon Duo