Solo Travels


Being the introvert that I am, I enjoy going away for the weekend by myself once in while. I like being able to follow my interests, my mood and, most importantly, my stomach without the input or influence of anyone else.

So last Thursday night my stomach and  I drove an hour north to Plymouth, MA, where I had a free place to stay for the weekend thanks to generosity of some good friends. My plan was to relax, and to eat as many oysters* as I wanted to in 48 hours. Also, I planned to get all bird-nerdy with my new telephoto lens at some birding hot spots on the Cape.


After doing my homework about nearby restaurants on the interwebs, I walked down to Patrizia’s Trattoria. I sat at the bar, next to some friendly locals. At their suggestion, I had a salad of sliced, roasted beets with a goat cheese croquette and an orange pistachio vinaigrette. The dish was a beautiful balance of earthy, sweet and tangy. For dinner, it was perfectly cooked mussels cooked in a creamy Sambuca tomato sauce. All the other details were as they should be: great bread, well rounded wine list, and excellent service. And best of all, my neighbors at the bar gave me good input on where to eat the best oysters the following day. 

The trail at Monomoy, 8am

On Friday I woke up at 7am and enjoyed the sunrise on the hour long drive to Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge in Chatham. This has to be one of the most stunning birding spots on the east coast. It can be magical, like on one visit when I watched harbor seals playfully splashing just yards from shore. But it can be extreme too, like the time it was so dense with fog that birding was impossible. This time, I was so excited about the good weather that I forgot one very important detail about the trail: it is covered in water at high tide. And guess what time high tide was on Friday? (See picture at left for the answer)

For some reason (2 years of therapy?) I didn’t care, and decided to drive up to Orleans to regroup with the help of some caffeine in the form of an Americano at The Hot Chocolate Sparrow. I broke out the laptop, hacked into the net, and made a new plan to head up to the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary to look for birds. I’d follow this up with a lunch of oysters in town.

Greater Yellowlegs, suckers!

At the Sancutary I was thrilled to see and photograph a Greater Yellowlegs. Technically, it’s a common bird, but because of it’s habitat and behavior it’s not one you see very often. It wasn’t a“lifer” for me (told you I was a nerd!) but I’ve only seen one once before, in Florida.

What? You’re bored  of the bird talk already? 

Okay. Okay. More food talk:

The Wellfleet oysters at The Wicked Oyster were as they should be: cold, salty, plump and tender and perfectly shucked. I had 6, and then 6 more. I was a very happy girl in that moment.

Wellfleet Oysters

On my way back, I hit up the PB Boulangerie Bistro, also in Wellfleet. I ordered what turned out to be a pretty terrible cappuccino, but got a really fucking good peanut butter cookie. Too good in fact. I ate the whole thing and regretted it, not for the calories, but for the way it filled my stomach, which prevented me from being hungry again for many hours. I hate it when this happens.

This meant a late, light dinner of (more!) oysters and salad at Solstice in Kingston, which is one town away from Plymouth. This time I had  Island Creek Oysters with yuzu sorbet and pickled Thai bird chilies. I usually like my oysters naked, like my men.** But these accompaniments didn’t overpower. They were playful, sweet and spicy, but stayed in the background, letting the briny oysters shine.

On Saturday morning it was back in the car, to real life in RI, which strangely, and luckily is not that much different than the 48 hours I spent away. But it was good to have a change of scenery, and some time alone with the birds, some oysters and myself.

More food, less pain,

*Total oysters eaten: 18
**My apologies, but you & I  both know this was an obligatory joke.

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