December 31st, 2008

We are up in Wellfleet for the holiday, and were treated to a winter nor’easter that took the form of an impressive blizzard. It began at about ten this morning, and before long the roads were covered, the wind was blowing hard, and the visibility was down almost to zero. I got into my reliable all-wheel-drive vehicle at about one o’clock, and went out for a spin, camera in hand. Here’s a side of this popular seaside getaway that the throngs who crowd the place in August will never see.

First, a look along Main Street. Notice the Coors truck. “More important than the mail,” the driver told me. (You can click these images for the full-resolution version.)

Winslow’s Tavern. (Closed for the season.)

Facing the moody Atlantic is the Cape Cod National Seashore. Here in Wellfleet the land is high at the water’s edge, ending in a steep sandy bluff that is over a hundred feet high in spots. This house is perched on the escarpment, taking the full fury of the storm.

I pulled into the parking lot at Whitecrest Beach, but the wind was so fierce that I could hardly get out of the car. It felt like the very edge of the world. In this shot the snow, mixed with icy spray, is just screaming over the top of the bluff. It was amazing.

I did get out of the car to attempt a shot down to the water. The surf was huge, and with the tide all the way up, had entirely submerged the broad beach and was beseiging the bottom of the escarpment. I could hardly open my eyes long enough to take this picture.

Here are the dunes and sea grass at the top of the bluff on Ocean View Drive.

And this is relatively tranquil Great Pond, which when the weather is warm is perhaps the world’s loveliest place to swim.

Back in town: Uncle Tim’s Bridge, recently restored.

Wellfleet Harbor.

Boats moored at the town pier.

This is Mac’s Seafood, which in six months will be mobbed by families in swimsuits and flip-flops.

Another look at the town pier.

This used to be the lightkeeper’s house, at Mayo Beach. (There’s more to the story; have a look here.)

Here’s a little house in the sea grass at the edge of Mayo Beach.

More of the Mayo Beach cottages. There was nobody “barefoot by the beach” today, I can assure you.

… and still a few more.

On the western rim of town, near Duck Harbor.

And now, back home. The view from the deck, looking down the hill.

And finally:

Happy New Year to all!


  1. Stark and beautiful. I miss that sort of weather, which we used to get occasionally even in the Ozarks . . . minus the raging sea, of course.

    Happy New Year’s Eve, Malcolm.

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 7:41 pm | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    And the same to you, my friend!

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  3. Charles says

    Happy new year!

    Lovely shots. I appreciate the effort you must have gone through to get them. What I’d like to see next is the aftermath: the town blanketed in snow under a blue sky. That would be a beautiful sight.

    (The larger version of the first pic doesn’t seem to be there, by the way. I keep getting a 404 when I click on it.)

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 9:42 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Thanks, Charles! All fixed.

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 10:09 pm | Permalink
  5. Kevin Kim says

    Happy New year in 53 or so minutes!


    Posted December 31, 2008 at 11:06 pm | Permalink
  6. Happy New Year! Awesome photos, Malcolm.

    Posted December 31, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Permalink
  7. Malcolm says

    Thanks so much to all of you!

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 12:19 am | Permalink
  8. My personal New Year’s resolution will be 140 pixels, up from 120 last year. Then again, I’m a low-res kind of guy.

    Best wishes for a great 2009!

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  9. bob koepp says

    Happy New Year to you, Malcolm, and all the other hangers on here.

    Weather here in Minnesota is cold and windy, but snow stopped a couple days ago. If it’s a real blizzard you’ve conjured, you’ll be “digging out” over the next couple days. Keep that fire burning!

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink
  10. Well, last night the family and I attended an outdoor New Year’s Eve party on an almost balmy night.

    Not that I’m wallowing in Schadenfreude or anything.

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink
  11. bob koepp says

    Despite the cold and wind, I spent most of New Year’s Eve with a few friends huddled around a campfire with the occasional launch of fireworks. By my reckoning, it was 17 years ago that I last welcomed a new year this way. I got sick as a dog that time.

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    Actually, Peter, I actually quite enjoy the cold weather. (I have always taken a certain dark pleasure in undermining the schadenfreude of others.) It’s the hot weather that gives me trouble.

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm | Permalink
  13. Kathryn says

    I have spent much of the summer in Wellfleet since 23 years and love it dearly. How wonderful to see these familiar sites covered in snow. Thank you so much for sharing them!

    Posted January 1, 2009 at 11:24 pm | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    You are most welcome, Kathryn! Thank you for stopping by.

    Posted January 2, 2009 at 12:48 am | Permalink
  15. pdg says

    Thanks for the great pics bro!

    My love goes out to you and your family with hopes for a great year ahead!
    As well as to one & all on WakaX3 – love from Pat

    Posted January 2, 2009 at 1:30 pm | Permalink
  16. Malcolm says

    Thanks, Pat, and the same to you!

    Posted January 2, 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  17. Wow, it’s funny seeing Mayo Beach and the houses covered in snow. I bet it’s a *very* cozy place to spend a blizzard… absolutely nobody around.

    Posted March 19, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Permalink
  18. Malcolm says

    Welcome Dan,

    Yes, it was very cozy indeed. I love Wellfleet in the winter.

    Posted March 19, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  19. Malcolm says

    Next-day photos posted here, as requested.

    Posted August 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

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