Breakfast & back roads. Twisting around Truro
In the last blog, which was actually the first blog, I explained the reasoning behind my unquenchable fascination with Truro, Massachusetts. The kick to my Truro adventures went better than expected when I stumbled upon the breathtaking Pamet River. Heading back up to Truro, I was bubbling with anticipation as to how the day would unfold, and purposely without any agenda whatsoever–with the exception of stopping at Jobi Pottery. Although I do enjoy shopping, to be honest, I’m not the biggest pottery guy, but I knew my co-pilot Ali was a big fan of the place, and I wanted to make sure she would continue to keep me company on my trips from Sandwich Village (OK, and truth be told my favorite cereal bowl came from there, so maybe I had an agenda too). Before we started our Truro exploration it was time to fuel up (us, not the truck) and I remembered Kristen Roberts from Truro Vineyards, who I mentioned her last time as my Lower Cape “go-to guru”, telling me that Salty Market on Highland Road made breakfast sandwiches on bagels that they made in-house, so we started our Truro blitz by ordering “The General”, which consisted of a perfectly fried egg, melted cheddar cheese, sausage, a slathering of sweet pepper relish and fresh arugula on an “everything” bagel. Everyone is familiar with that moment when it’s hard to tell as you bite into something and declare “This is the best breakfast sandwich I’ve ever eaten” if it’s actually that good, or are you simply that hungry. Regardless of the answer (and I’m pretty sure I know the answer), that was the thought that accompanied my low moans and lip smacking, and I came to the quick conclusion that Salty Market in the sleepy town of Truro just may make the best bagels this side Brooklyn. Since we were tailgating our breakfast banquet in the market parking area, I cleaned myself up the best I could and marched right back in for a mixed bag of bagels for home. A good start to the day indeed! (thanks Kristen).
“Discovering” Truro Center for the Arts
I can already tell that I will never tire of driving around the town of Truro. It seems that with every turn, and over every hill, pops out something beautiful to look at. Several times we stopped the car in the middle of the quiet roads to photograph wild flowers climbing up an old barn, or we’d back up to catch a stunning ocean vista poised between to giant pines (and I’ll make a formal apology to the nice lady in the gray Subaru behind me–I swear you weren’t there a minute ago). I spotted a white sign that simply read “Snow White” and as I looked to the right right I spotted a funky windmill looking structure. The sign on it read “Castle Hill”. I had heard of Truro Center of the Arts at Castle Hill but new nothing about it, so we pulled in. The property is made of several buildings, including the office (housed in the windmill building) and tiny shed size “Library” full of art based books from famous collections, to instructional, art theory and history. The main building is a large, barn-like structure where I was immediately met by the Center of the Art’s artistic director, Cherie Mittenthal. She was about to head out for the morning with her two dogs, but sensing my curiosity, offered to give me a quick tour. We first entered the painting studio where we were introduced to visiting artist Sophie Findlay-Walters, who was busy on a remarkable self-portrait (Sophie was a regular visitor-turned-intern from Needham, Ma). From there we walked through the polychromatic “mixed media room” which was bustling with artists working with everything from tiny sticks and blocks of wood, to drills, glues, wire strippers, bottle tops, various soft materials and colorful glass, to tubes of paint in just about every color ever invented. Down a short hallway we walked through the center’s art gallery and then finally to the ceramic studio.
“Castle Hill’s ceramics program features several gas, electric, salt, and raku kilns”, Cherie explained, and although my kiln knowledge pretty much ends at “they get really hot”, when Cherie’s voice rose with excitement as she informed me that the center had a “wood fired train kiln” off site at Highland Center, and that is was the only kiln of its kind on Cape Cod, well, it sounded important enough to mention here.
Also worth mentioning is that their list of available programs is huge–ceramics and sculpturing, drawing, painting, gardening, photography and digital media, culinary–the list seems endless. They also have an equally impressive calendar of events and lectures. This year marks the center’s 50th year, and whether you’re an experienced artist or wanting to learn for the first time, Truro Center for the Arts is clearly an art lover’s Mecca. We thanked Cherie for her time as one of the dogs shot me a dirty look (apparently we were cutting into its beach walk), so off to the beach they went, which gave me a good idea.
Corn Hill Beach (and yes Ali, Jobe Pottery)
I didn’t really know how to find the beach, but I knew which direction the water was, and to keep to our plan of having no plan (and no directions) we figured it out. I was also not really sure which hill was “Corn Hill” as the stretch of Truro we were on (on Corn Hill Road), was indeed hilly, and sprinkled with architecturally interesting homes high atop the hills of every shape and size. It was a part of Cape Cod we had never seen before, and although stunningly pretty, the area looked “un-Cape Cod like”, as Ali said from the passenger seat. Just before we drove to the top of the highest hill (I assume Corn Hill?) we hit Corn Hill Beach, which looked very Cape Cod like, with its high sea grass waving in the breeze and sand dunes sharing their space with wild Rosa Rugosa bushes. Flying over the dune we spotted a colorful kite Corn Hill Beach is pristine, sandy and amazing, because…well, it’s a beach, but we really enjoyed the hills and houses way up high that surround it. That feature is what makes this beach unique, or “un-Cape Cod like”. But its also so enveloping–like a familiar warm blanket, which is what a beach offers. Sand, surf, kites, laughter, time to rejuvenate and just hang back –it all seemed so welcoming that we parked the car and decided to get some fresh air before heading back home.
On the drive west, as promised, we stopped at Jobi Pottery, and although I’ve admitted that my knowledge of Truro is limited, it’s rare that Ali doesn’t drag my into this shop every time we’re in the area. Each pottery piece is created on the premises, painted freehand and fired in their pottery barn (and I will admit that their “signature” little fish is really fun to look at). Jobi Pottery was founded in 1953, and features local paintings and photography as well, and is truly is a Truro treasure. Ali added another bowl to her collection before we made the trip back to Sandwich.
As we headed west I felt that same feeling that I enjoyed on my trip back from Truro a couple of weeks ago. A sense of peace. In some ways, Truro seems “un-Cape cod like”. I mean, on one level Truro encapsulates what Cape Cod is known for–beaches, nature, hiking trails, National Seashore excursions, lighthouses, etc, etc. But the nurturing component I love. Whether giving guests from around the glove a way how to express themselves, or offering visitors a much needed space to express themselves–or to simply take a quiet walk.. My brain felt relaxed–if only I can stay like this until my next trip to Truro.
~ Tommy Dott is an innkeeper, restaurateur and award-winning food writer. He lives on Cape Cod with his partner Ali and their two Yorkies, Jiminy Cricket and B.G.