Scudder's Lane, Barnstable from July 2010
I have no idea why they changed the name from Scudder Lane to Scudder's Lane when the new blue street signs were installed in Barnstable Village. Probably someone whose home on the winding street had been in their family for generations had complained that the sign didn't match the old documents in the Sturgis Library, where some records go back to the 1600's. Certainly the Scudder family has been around a long time. I have no idea if they still own property there on this little northside lane; the properties there are appropriately sized for the setting (no McM
ansions here) though surely pricey this close to the water.
I do know that Scudder's Lane dead-ends at a town landing, open to all residents, where there's a boat ramp and access to a bayside beach known for its glorious views of the barrier beach, Sandy Neck, on the horizon. The town harbor's boats bob off to the right across acres of marsh, while the rocky beach and more marsh wend their way to the west as well. Aquaculturists and kayakers alike delight in this little landing, and everyone talks to visitors who find their way here.
I go to photograph, mostly, and enjoy the sun setting over the water. Once in a while I get a spectacular shot; mostly I just keep practicing. On my last visit, the tide was slowly inching its way in and my tripod kept sinking into the wet sand and muck. This time I walked a bit west and noticed the size of the rocks scattered around. Good chance they were erratics from a long ago glacier, the same one which carved out the kettle ponds of the cape before receding into history. One or two of the boulders were larger than anything I've seen on the shore. They caught the golden light just right. Some were piled together in what might have been an old jetty—not to interrupt waves, on this quiet shallow spot, but perhaps to mark a boundary line.
Soft ripples of shallow water lapped around the marsh grasses and I was reminded just how precious this ecosystem is to the health of our shore and the bay itself. Here the marshes go on for miles. Tall sharp-leaved grasses point to the sky while in some sunny areas, the sea lavender is getting ready to bloom, its frothy heads of tiny pink flowers, still closed into pinpoint buds.
Closer to the ramp a couple arrived with a cooler full of dinner, chairs and two fishing poles. An idyllic spot to spend time, but I wondered why they needed the boombox, though they thoughtfully kept the music low. To me the call of the various terns and seabirds, the rhythmic “blip-blip” lap of the water and far away clink of a boat's rigging was music enough for this evening.
And all this in the midst of peak tourist season—you just need to know where to look.
It's places like this one that make the Cape still special.