Family Portraits in Cape Cod, Massachusetts

What a lovely summer it’s been!   This year, Jonathan and I had the opportunity to photograph Family Portraits in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  While we’ve had the chance to explore some of the Boston area and the surrounding locale over the past few years, Cape Cod proved elusive until this summer.  We stayed with some of our friends, George and Gail, who also own a portrait studio in their wonderfully cute beach cottage in Onset.  If you are familiar with the flexed arm shape of Cape Cod, Onset is kind of in…well, the armpit part of Cape Cod.  Thankfully, it’s not an armpit and is absolutely wonderful and a great little walking town in the area we were in.   Our friends have their cottage on a peninsula and it’s so easy to get to the beach to the east, west or south.  The shortest walk was 30 seconds, the longest walk to the beach was maybe 3 minutes.  Sounds like a beach paradise to me!

Stunningly beautiful Onset, Massachusetts.


Cute little characters were scattered throughout Onset over the weekend during a Chalk Festival. Loved this little porcupine tattooing the flying pig perfectly placed on the sidewalk outside the local tattoo parlor. Check out more Art by David Zinn.

When we arrived at the beach cottage, George met us and took us to the local pizza joint, just a quick 5-minute walk to the north.  We indulged in our first bowl of clam chowder (or “Chowdah” as the Bostonian’s call it) and went on a whirlwind tour of the Cape Cod Canal.  Our trip took us to a very fabulous museum of the history of the Cape Cod Canal as well as a walk to the end of it only to get rained on in a summer storm on our walk back!  Arriving on a Wednesday gave us the opportunity to enjoy a couple of days of exploring on our own so that we didn’t have to torture the locals with our lingering over towns they’ve surely seen dozens of times.  That evening, George had to head back home (work and all that!) so Jonathan and I were off to go find dinner.  Another cute local restaurant called Quahog Republic, with live music at the local park behind it was our destination for dinner.  At this point, let me fill you in on something…I came from the west coast (Seattle) and enjoy seafood.  Jonathan is midwest through and through but has been raised to enjoy seafood whenever he has fresh access to it.  Guess what we had for dinner?  If you guess seafood, you are absolutely correct. We experienced our first stuffed quahog, stuffed clams and another bowl of clam chowdah that night.

Doesn’t look threatening, right? Thankfully short lived and just like Kansas storms! In and out in 20 minutes!

Seafood would be our direction for the next couple of days.  One challenge we faced was that Gail (George’s wife) did not appreciate seafood like we did and preferred that it wasn’t cooked inside.  Completely understandable, right?  No one likes the smell of cooked seafood the next morning.  The next day found us heading straight out to Provincetown at the tip of the Cape (P-town to those in the know) to commence our exploration of Cape Cod.  Our adventure for the day consisted of learning how to order coffee (a regular coffee at Dunkin Donuts is Boston code for multiple creams and sugars, read more about it here!), the experience of driving down the main road of P-town (I wouldn’t recommend that…skinny one way road and with everyone walking in the streets, it’s almost as if you were trying to drive down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras in New Orleans), lunch at the Lobster Pot in P-town (with, you guessed it, Chowdah!), seal watching in Chatham, visits to two fish and lobster markets and then a seafood extravaganza that only two people from the midwest could indulge in so soon after three helpings of chowdah in two days.  The visit to the fish markets…does the phrase “kid in a candy store” mean anything to you?  It was a little of this, a fillet of that, a helping of this over here and heck, why not, let’s get a three pound cranky lobster!  We discovered bluefish, a wonderful fatty fish that sadly doesn’t travel well but reminds us a great deal of sea bass and halibut.  Jonathan, being a handy past boy scout, had no problems cooking all the seafood we picked up on the grill outside so we could maintain the seafood free zone for Gail.  Not surprisingly, a seafood coma happened shortly after.

Just like hungry puppy dogs, they hang out by boats at the fishery in hopes of some dropped treats.

Friday found us exploring elbow area of Cape Cod around Falmouth and Woods Hole with the fabulous shopping area on the main street of Falmouth (hello early Christmas shopping!) and the free aquarium in Woods Hole.  Friday after work had all of our friends joining us for the weekend’s fun.  Altogether there were four of us photographer couples, an assortment of teenage kids plus the addition of one of the couples very adorable 9 week old German Shepherd, Thor, for the weekend.

Thor, the scene stealing furry baby.

I mentioned Family Portraits in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, right?  Don’t think we didn’t work while we were there!  Yes, you might have guessed by now that we took the opportunity to photograph our friends while we were there.  Talk about the potential for some very high expectations of our photography!  We photographed Gail and George and their two sons on the beach with a stunning sunset and the next morning at 6am we were back out on the beach with Mike, Lisa and their daughter.  We even had the opportunity to photograph some senior portraits for their daughter as well.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I miss the beach and the ocean!

Always great to see what goes on when we are busy creating….do I always make crazy faces like that?? Obviously plenty of fun happening! Gail and our friend Mike enjoying the evening off while we photograph Gail and George’s sons.

Vacation Wrap-Up:

Our favorite clam chowdah was in Onset at the Quahog Republic: Waterfront Eatery.  They used bacon in theirs.  Do I need to say more?

The best looking clam chowdah was at East Bay Grille in Plymouth.  We put a spoon in it and it stood up on its own.  The spoon could have stood that way for quite awhile if we hadn’t been so hungry but that was some thick chowdah.

No joke, thick as oatmeal and stick to your ribs (or hips as the case may be!).

The best lighthouse that we came across for future family portraits (we managed to visit about 4-5 of them) is the Scituate Lighthouse.  What a great setting for some amazing dramatic family imagery.

Selfie alert! At a beautiful lighthouse with no one but us to photograph us!

Favorite moment: Surprising our friends (other than Gail & George) that we flew out to join them for the weekend!

“Surprise!” The image we sent to our friends via text when George asked them to guess what he found washed up on the beach!

Stay tuned for the totally fabulous beach portraits!