Back in Cotuit

Downtown Cotuit

Picture by Jim Mayne Freeheart 

I have had the wonderful opportunity to visit Cotuit once again during this 4th of July week and what strikes me most is how little the place changes in comparison to other places around the Cape.

Yes, there is always the new waterfront mansion to drive by and gawk at.

In fact, many of the homes on the “wrong side of the street” and even “on the wrong street altogether”, have slowly evolved into mansions in their own right, as the masses of millionaires begins to encroach upon the homes of the multi-millionaires.

Regardless, the place has an undying charm that is exactly the same as I remember it over 30 years ago, when I was fortunate enough to spend entire summers enjoying all of the recreation that she has to offer.

My mother has told countless stories of her childhood days spent in town with so many of the things being exactly the same. 

Even the stories I recall from my great grandmother, who owned a home on Shell Lane, spoke of things that I can still see as I visit Cotuit today.

Some things have certainly changed, but mostly on the perimeter near Route 28, where shopping centers have grown up on once desolate sandy fields.

The heart of town, where Main Street intersects School Street, is almost identical.

The gas station has been sitting idle now for years, with rumors of a knock down on the way. They say that there will be retail space down below and of course, condos on top to capitalize on the location’s proximity to the water.

The Kettle-Ho looks the same, with a fresh coat of paint and some new decorations inside. It has evolved over the years from being a coffee shop and general store to a restaraunt and bar, but the fellowship to be found inside is exactly the same.

Now that it is under new ownership, it seems like the ol’ place may be getting another chance, or perhaps the ol’ place is giving someone else another chance.

Either way,  if time is a testament of success, the building keeps winning; hands down!

When speaking with the son of an owner, Danny, I expressed my feelings that they have taken ownership of a legacy and I emphasized how important the place is to those of us who remember it “Back when”.

He seemed to understand what I was saying and what was at stake and I could tell right away that the new owners will be good stewards.

The COOP has likewise evolved as it now has a full kitchen, an ice cream parlor and a sitting area that resembles my grandmother’s living room, not to mention the liquor store that has been there for a few years now.  It truly has character!

While sitting there eating a pizza with my 8 year old son, recalling to him what I remembered about the place, I wondered to myself what it will be like when he is 40, perhaps sitting there with his 8 year old and heading out to take a ride on the bay.

God only knows.

The bay, the single biggest constant in town, albeit having a few shifting sand bars and slightly curving beachfront, is just as I always remembered it.

Perhaps there is a little less eel grass on the bottom, a few less oysters to be caught, but all in all she is the one thing that takes me back to the time that I spent skimming from shore to shore in my Optimist Pram; aptly named The Mutt, but not by me.

The smell, the salty taste of the spray as it hits my face, the sound of sea gulls muted by a strong breeze; its just as it always was and as I pray it will always be.

From Rhopes Beach to Cupid’s Cove, from the Narrows to Seapuit, from Inner Harbors to Bluff Point, the time capsule seems intact, with the only real change being the shapes and sizes of the boats that float whimsically upon her.

And as we canvas the bay in my son’s Boston Whaler, (The same boat I lusted after as a youth but could never convince my parents to buy) I soak in every minute, every image, every smell and only wish that I could bottle some up and bring it with me wherever I go.

For those lucky enough to live here, or visit more often than I can, I am forever jealous.

Please take care of her and make sure that she remains forever constant, forever lovely, forever Cotuit.

One Response to “Back in Cotuit”

  1. Mike Coutu Says:

    Have enjoyed reading your writing almost as much as we have enjoyed your childhood home. If you are in Cotuit please do not hesitate to come by for a visit.

    Mike and Donna Coutu
    72 Ocean View Ave

    The coffee is always on and the beer is cold. Just knock on the door!

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