By LARRY VAUGHT
CAPE COD, MASSACHUSETTS — Cape Cod is just as scenic as I expected — or maybe I should more accurately say even more scenic than I thought.
Thursday was one of those memorable vacation days that started with an early five-mile run through West Yarmouth and ended with a walk along the beach as the sun was about to set. To make it even better, the weather was near perfect Thursday and might be even better today.
Thanks to advice from Bill DeSousa and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, my wife and I decided to take a drive to Church of the Transfiguration in the Community of Jesus in nearby Orleans.
We were quite sure what to expect, but we were both overwhelmed by the beauty of this ecumenical Christian community on the shores of Cape Cod. The church has doors featuring Adam and Eve and once inside you find mosaics and frescos that are breath-taking and part of the message that in all things God may be glorified.
Sister Gabriella took us on a tour of the church and was full of more information than she ended up having time to share. Guided tours of the Church of the Transfiguration are available every day except Wednesday and daily prayer and worship services are open to anyone.
The mosaics and frescos both took about eight years to complete. Maestro Silvestro Pistolesi was born in Florence, Italy, and he traveled here for six-week stints when the humidity was right to do the frescos. The full-scale drawing of the mosaics first painted on cardboard by Helen McLean was cut into pieces and sent to Alessandra Caprara in Ravenna, Italy.
Sister Gabrillea took great pride in explaining the community members helped Pistolesi and gradually got to do more and more work with him. Same with Caprara as community members went to Italy to work with her and then also helped install the mosaics that are colorful and full of life just like the frescos high on the wall.
The Church of Transfiguration also has an incredible choir — I listened to one of the CD’s — that has recently been to Italy to perform and to other countries in prior years.
And here’s the best part — there’s no cost for the tour or for parking to enjoy a hidden Cape Cod treasure.
For more information, go to http://www.churchofthetransfiguration.org/.
Sir Cricket’s Fish and Chips
Kudos to DeSousa again for sending us to this unique restaurant that opened in Cape Cod in 1970.
Trust me, if not for DeSousa’s recommendation, we would not have stopped. The restaurant seats 14 — not counting the one picnic table outside. But it does a huge carry-out business and did during our visit as well.
DeSousa suggested I try the seafood platter but warned me how big it would be. Since I could not resist the corn chowder with shrimp, we decided to order the junior seafood platter and go with extra shrimp over the clams. It also came with a huge piece of fish, scallops, fries and cole slaw.
The food got to use quickly and was unbelievable. It was all we could do to share the platter — priced at $19 (and in Cape Cod, that’s a bargain) — and loved it.
It’s easy to see why this has been an award-winning restaurant on Highway 28 in Orleans. If you are in Cape Cod and like seafood, make sure to find it.
Obviously, we wanted to see lighthouses. Who could come to Cape Cod and not want to see a lighthouse or two?
On our way back to West Yarmouth, we visited Chatham Lighthouse in Chatham. The station was established in 1808 and is the second oldest on Cape Cod.
There is an active U.S. Coast Guard station with on-duty personnel living quarters that allows for missions to be carried out from the station. The primary mission is for search and rescue and the movie, “The Finest Hours,” was based on a dramatic rescue mission out of Chatham station that saved 32 lives.
The lighthouse is 40 feet tall and overlooks the Chatham Bar. And even on a Thursday night near sunset, there were plenty of visitors to this historic landmark.
* * *
Today it’s time for whale watching — or at least I hope we see at least one whale. Wish us luck.