Seasons Change and So Do We

As Labor Day approached, we dreaded summer’s ending.

In my youth, as Labor Day approached, we dreaded summer’s ending and counted the days of freedom remaining before school resumed. Now we still count the days until Labor Day, but for a different reason!

The Labor Day holiday no longer rings down the final curtain on summer.

Formerly, the day after Labor Day was almost eerily quiet. If there was still some traffic around, my mother would remark, “They haven’t all gone home yet!”

Seasonal shops and restaurants would be closed, and we would have to wait another year to satisfy our ice cream cravings. Outdoor fairs were over; clambakes and cookouts had become only fond memories. 

Now, Labor Day ushers in the shoulder season, which brings a new crop of visitors or extends the stays of visitors already here.

Many seasonal businesses stay open until Columbus Day, at least on the weekends, and inns have not yet gone to off-season rates. Farmers markets, which did not exist in most Cape towns during my adolescence, display their beautiful fall produce. There are a few more opportunities for fried clams and soft-serve. Although traffic congestion may ease a bit, it doesn’t disappear. 

The spectacular Cape autumns were a well-kept secret for decades, but few secrets can be kept forever. 

Mary E. McDermott is a 13th-generation Cape Codder living in Orleans. She worked for 17 years in the Orleans Assessor’s Office and 23 years as a commercial insurance broker at Pike Insurance Agency. She has been a justice of the peace to solemnize marriages since 1976 and has previously published two books of poetry, Tapestry and Handle with Care. Her poems have appeared in several publications including the Christian Science Monitor.
Read more about Cape Cod in Mary E. McDermott’s book Old Orleans, Memories of a Cape Cod Town.


Take a Cape Cod book to the beach with Moon Tide: Cape Cod Poems by Mary Petiet.


Let Cape Cod inspire you.

Find inspiration in the rising sun, poetry flowing with the tide, and beautiful prose emerging from the gentle fog. Cape Cod: A Writer’s Journal, a new book by Mary Petiet.

The 20 prompts and inspirational quotes in this interactive journal were designed by a Cape Cod writer to connect you to your muse so you can capture the beauty of Cape Cod on paper. Each prompt leads you to your personal writing style as you cover the blank pages of this pocket sized journal with your deepest thoughts and insights. It’s designed to fit in your pocket, so take it with you as you travel Cape Cod, and if you’re far away rely upon it to transport you to these shores which have always worked their magic on the written word.

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