Locals Name Area's Most Romantic Spots
As red roses and hearts proliferate in store windows to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we asked a few residents and summer visitors to name some romantic spots in our towns.
For a pair of Chatham’s long-time summer visitors from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., the fireplace area at Where the Sidewalk Ends Books holds romance. It was there last September that Michael Tener proposed to Michelle Koufopoulos, who is a writer and editor.
“It completely melted my heart. He put so much thought into the entire proposal,” says bookstore co-owner Caitlin Doggart. “It was so romantic.”
The morning of the big day Tener placed in the store the engagement ring and a book he wrote highlighting his years together with Koufopoulos. After Tener, Koufopoulos and Koufopoulos’s mother arrived at the store, the couple’s song “Hey, Soul Sister” by Train played while Tener nudged Koufopoulos over to the fireplace where the book waited on a chair. Tenner got down on one knee to propose.
“He was so nervous that he broke the ring box, but I didn’t even notice,” Koufopoulos recalls. “I was weeping.”
And of course, she said “yes.” The couple then toasted their engagement with champagne. They returned to town in December to shoot engagement photos back at the bookstore, at Ducks in the Window and at Lighthouse Beach. They plan a Sept. 28 wedding.
For many couples, romance can be found in local inns and restaurants.
Cindy Stearns of Chatham, co-owner of Marion’s Pie Shop, is one of several residents who find the 1914 Chatham Bars Inn a romantic spot. Danielle Jeanloz, executive director of the Chatham Historical Society, too, calls the grand hotel’s sweeping porch overlooking the Atlantic romantic.
Chatham summer resident Carolyn Brault Seefer agrees, although her preferred view is from across the street at the Beach House Grill where she and her husband Chip enjoy light lunches with wine “overlooking Nauset Beach, while the fishing boats make their way in and out of Chatham Harbor,” she says. “There is no better or more romantic view on Cape Cod.”
David McCarty, a dance teacher at the Academy of Performing Arts in Orleans, says, “I’m going outside of Orleans with my personal favorite place. Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich. Cozy, great food, fun staff.”
And moving further south into Harwich Port, Chris Banks, president of the Guild of Harwich Artists, says she thinks the Cape Sea Grille’s “cozy bar” is romantic. Banks’s family used to own the restaurant on Sea Street when it was the Smith House, and she still takes her 95-year-old father, the former chef, to eat there.
For many married couples, it turns out that romance lies in nature at our beaches—maybe particularly at sunset, or on a quiet, deserted beach.
“Romance is a moving target, as you know,” says John Whelan of Chatham, author of the recent book “I Am of Cape Cod.” “I think that we enjoy much of the natural beauty of Chatham, but I think we find a trip out in our boat on a warm summer day to a secluded beach to be the most romantic. A quiet, beautiful beach with a couple of beach chairs and a quiet time, peaceful time, is wonderful.”
Michael Ward of Chatham, author of “The Sea Is Quiet Tonight: A Memoir,” and his husband Moe Melchiono have loved Harding’s Beach since they began coming to Chatham 30 years ago. “There is something about walking up the access road to the lighthouse and then turning left to skirt Schoolhouse Pond that still takes our breath away. We walk as far as we can, admiring the boats and the big homes facing the water, then turn around and return along the ocean,” he says. “Harding’s, after so many years, is dependably romantic and feels like home.”
Seefer and her husband “love walking the beach at Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. No matter the time of year, we can walk from the visitor center on Morris Island all the way around Harding Beach Point to the cut into Stage Harbor, often being about the only ones on the beach. Heaven!”
Doggart loves the bridge at Ridgevale Beach “during quiet times. It is the best mix of ocean and tide pool and marsh grass and the colors during a good sunset just round it all out,” she says.
Chatham Selectman Shareen Davis has her own favorite romantic beach. “The outside/backside of what many call ‘Crescent Beach’ at sunset. Those who know the place will know where I am talking about,” she says.
There’s really something special and romantic about sunsets, isn’t there?
“It’s true! When we moved here 27 years ago, we drove down to Rock Harbor every evening to watch the sunset,” recalls Tish Noyes of Orleans, a board member of the Nickerson Family Association. She and her husband Dick “still go down and sit quietly together and watch the sky change as the sun sets. Sometimes it’s spectacular and sometimes very ordinary, but it always reminds us that no matter what the day may bring, we chose to make this life journey together.”