When you think of beach food, French pastry probably doesn’t usually come to mind. While I certainly love fried scallops, chowder and s’mores, sometimes I want something a little more refined. For those instances, PB Boulangerie fits the bill perfectly.
Croissant and pain au chocolate
I’ve been interested in getting to this spot for a good number of years, however, the queue has always put me off. This year, though, the gods conspired (Quinn got up early, we needed to take a quick run out to Provincetown and there was a severe weather warning which limited traffic) and we found ourselves there before 8:00 a.m., meaning the line was manageable. While Quinn and Jeter rode the storm out in the car, windows open natch, I took in the selection and settled on 4 croissants, 2 almond croissants, 2 pain au chocolate and 2 jars of apricot jam. Total price: $46.00.
Without exception, everything I tasted was outstanding. The almond croissant (my favorite!) was terrific – flaky, buttery and deliciously almond-y. It was big and I struggled to eat the entire thing, but, you know me, I’m a trooper and managed it just fine. The pain au chocolate was beautifully punctuated with small chunks of chocolate and the traditional croissant was everything a croissant should be.
The jam has been a revelation. Apparently the chef/owner’s mother, Pascaline, visits periodically to make and jar her special preserves and she has a deft hand with the 4 ingredients included – apricots, lavender, vanilla and sugar. So simple, so delectable.
I’m already thinking about sampling the Croque Monsieur I saw on display, as well as expanding my jam collection. PB Boulangerie is the real deal.
As I raced to the beach to catch the impending sunset, I couldn’t help but smile. This, I thought, is what I do. I chase beauty. Here’s a gallery of some of what I was fortunate enough to catch during my recent Wellfleet vacation.
One last thought – while the sky was magnificent to observe as the sun slipped down and away, the most stunning moments were those of the afterglow. Truly understanding that almost makes the sunset foreplay for what comes next.
It’s funny how sometimes two beloved things just don’t work together. For instance, I love ice cream and I love chocolate but I just don’t care for chocolate ice cream. At all. This weird contradictory condition, I’ve learned, also holds true for two of my favorite activities – yoga and paddle boarding.
Earlier this week I headed out to Provincetown for a 9:00 a.m. SUP yoga class at Provincetown Aqua Sports. I had booked and paid for the class online the previous evening and was excited to try something new. Provincetown is lovely in the early morning with plenty of available parking and I arrived at the business in good time. I paid my (petty) $2 fee to rent a locker, got my (mandatory) life vest and joined the other 3 class attendees and the 2 instructors on the beach behind Commercial Street.
There was a brief stretch/warm up before we launched along with general instructions for those inexperienced with paddle boarding. A short time later we headed out into the harbor for class. The tide was fairly low, but the current was swift moving us quickly from east to west. The approach was to paddle to the right and work on our poses as we were propelled by the water to the left. It was somewhat challenging, but I guess I like to work out a little harder. I probably need to just relax a little, right?
I’ve played around with yoga poses in the past on a paddle board and have always dumped when attempting a one-legged downward dog or a side plank. This class did give me a technique to avoid that, specifically moving my foot to the center of the board to maintain balance. That alone made the class worthwhile and I will continue working on my practice on my own board, in my own time. While this class wasn’t really for me I did enjoy my post-class breakfast – a coffee and cinnamon roll from the Portuguese Bakery.
Have any of you taken a SUP yoga class? How did it add up for you?
Since I first became infatuated with Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) last year, I’ve sought out opportunities to indulge my urge to be on the water paddling to my heart’s content. In July I had a great time in my hometown with friends tooling around the lake on a windy afternoon in kayaks and on board. This month I got on board in Cape Cod and experienced entirely new conditions and scenery. Let me tell you about it…
On Friday I picked up two paddle boards (along with leashes, paddles and a life vest) from Jack’s. Although they originally couldn’t commit to renting them to me for three days due to scheduling conflicts, ultimately they extended my one-day rental into a three-day at a cost of $127 per board total. We spent two days paddling around at the beach at the end of our road on Lieutenant’s Island. At high tide the tidal marsh fills in and it was quite an adventure to paddle through the tall grasses spying on birds and taking random turns going deeper into the marsh.
On the third day, we put in at the bridge down the road a bit. Again, the tide was high and we actually launched from the side of the road a few hundred yards before the bridge. As Quinn and a gang of other kids jumped from the bridge, we paddled to join him. Going under the bridge took some attention, but the allure of the bay made it a worthwhile effort and we enjoyed the peace of the open water. We headed towards “our” beach but turned around as I had a moment of feeling the need to check in with my jumper.
Assured that all was fine, we again went under the bridge (easier the second time around) and explored the salt marsh taking advantage of the unique view of the island. Aloysius and I then went our separate ways, he heading back towards the car and me ducking under that bridge one last time to take the long paddle to the beach.
I love the independence of being out on the water, pacing myself and feeling the sun on my shoulders and the salt air in my face. If you haven’t already, try it. Stand up paddle boarding – it is what’s up!
In the quiet of the morning I have the house to myself. The trees sway a bit and occasionally the tremendous wind chimes toll their gorgeous and deep notes. It’s peaceful and I find myself, rather than imagining the day’s activities, reflecting upon all the years we’ve been fortunate enough to spend time in this beautiful place.
For seventeen summers we’ve been coming to Cape Cod. My children don’t recall a single summer of their lives when they did not spend some amount of time at the beach. Their growth from infants covered and protected from the sun to young boys slathered in sunscreen sporting (hopefully) life-preserving vests to almost men itching to drive has been breathtaking. I wish I could remember more of the early days, but the memories which do remain are vivid and never fail to elicit a smile. They were exhausting, but good days.
As the children have grown at a furious rate of speed the overall pace of our vacation has decreased. No longer is it necessary to pack multiple bags and coolers in an attempt to anticipate every single need imaginable. Life here has become simple in a new, now more easily appreciated way.
Moving forward isn’t always easy, though. Growth and change can be intimidating and there are scary parts to negotiate as we travel from who we once were to who we are destined to become. And now, over the quiet gong of the wind chimes, I hear feet slap the wood floor. Time to share the day.
Photo: Jessica Kelly
Tonight we laughed under a sky filled with shadows and ever changing bands of purple and fuchsia. As the sun set in the west, I waded through the tide to reach the bridge so I could witness (and cheer on) the daredevil feats of 4 boys. It was a magical evening.
The wind was wet and warm driving away the pesky green headed flies and allowing the guys to jump “one more time” again and again. I thought about their boldness and admired their nerve. It gets harder as we age to take leaps into the quasi darkness.
We’re approaching a second full moon for the month of July, a blue moon, and the waters are responding by becoming deeper at high tide. On our little slice of heaven the road leading to the bridge becomes unpassable, prompting a sense of isolation which can leave us feeling comforted or detached. Or maybe both.
The water, though, will recede and our path will again be revealed. And, of course, despite tonight’s fascination with the colors of the setting of the sun, the sun will also rise.
- Having no idea whatsoever of the time.
- A margarita – and then another one.
- Donuts with breakfast and chips with lunch.
- Classic board games.
- Ordering your afternoon like this: walk – nap – run – shower – wine.
- Another load of towels in the washing machine.
- A layer of stickiness that can only be created by salty air, sand and sunscreen.
- Eating off of paper plates and out of Rubbermaid containers.
- Finding a temporary new rhythm that is decidedly a bit off beat.