Tag Archives: summer

Independence Day 2019

Independence Day 2019

Celebrating on Cape Cod and The Islands

“It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade….with illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.” John Adams to his wife Abigail of the Declaration of Independence.

Today marks our country’s 243rd birthday, and we will celebrate with fanfare and family fun. Many of us will attend parades, host cookouts, and watch beautiful fireworks displays. It is a wonderful time for Americans to commemorate our country’s freedom – and what better place to celebrate than Cape Cod and the Islands?

While we are partial to Martha’s Vineyard (our second office is located here), celebrations on Cape Cod and Nantucket are wonderfully festive and perennially well attended. Though we can’t cover them all, we will highlight a few events and fun facts for this special holiday.

If you are visiting the Upper Cape, you may be interested to know that Falmouth is the hometown of Katherine Lee Bates, who wrote, “America the Beautiful.” Falmouth is also a great place to watch the fireworks; in fact, it was voted one of the 10 best fireworks displays in the country by Travel and Leisure Magazine. Their display goes off over Falmouth Heights Beach at Dusk.

Fun fact: In 1781, Massachusetts was the first state to recognize Independence Day as a holiday.

If you are celebrating on the Lower or Outer Cape, from Wellfleet to Chatham, there are several fabulous parades to choose from. One of our favorites is Chatham. In addition to its village charm, Chatham happens to have one of the oldest Independence Day Parades in the United States attracting over 20,000 people each year. This year’s parade starts at 9:30 AM on Main Street. In the evening, Wequassett Resort & Golf Club presents a spectacular fireworks display from a barge in Pleasant Bay (shared with the private golf course, Eastward Ho! Country Club). Their Family Gala celebration offers “family-friendly waterfront dining on the terraces and lawn with great music, dancing, and a sumptuous buffet.” For those looking for a more intimate setting, you’ll find the best seats are from the water as hundreds of boats line the horizon to watch the show.

Fun fact: Our flag’s current design was chosen in 1960 (only the number of stars have changed in our flag’s design history).

If Osterville is your destination, you will have many options for local parades and fireworks to enjoy. Parades in surrounding villages are staggered beginning at 9 AM in Barnstable, 10 AM in Centerville, 11 AM in Cotuit and Hyannisport, finishing at 2 PM with the Hyannis Inner Harbor Boat Parade. A favorite area fireworks display is in Hyannis beginning at 9 PM over the harbor. If you miss that one and have a boat, you can enjoy Oyster Harbors Club’s fireworks from the water on July 5th.

Ray Ellis, the artist, with his painted cow in the Edgartown parade in 1999

Finally, if you’re lucky enough to be on Martha’s Vineyard celebrating July 4th, you can expect fantastic weather and boundless holiday festivities. Starting at 2 PM, Vineyard Trust will host concerts and a clambake on Main Street in Edgartown. The iconic afternoon parade featuring marching bands and classic cars takes place at 5 PM, followed by a magnificent fireworks display on the harbor at 9 PM. Fireworks are launched from the water between Chappaquiddick and Edgartown so find some space at Fuller Beach, on a dock along the harbor – or better yet, on a boat – and enjoy this amazing show.

Watch the parade go by while enjoying a BBQ provided by MV Clambake on the lawns of the Dr. Daniel Fisher House

Each year, the traditions of July 4th bring us together with others to create rich and meaningful rhythms in our lives. We are grateful for all the men and women who have helped keep America the land of the free, and we wish you all a safe and spectacular holiday.

Window Boxes

Window Boxes

A Year Round Gardening Affair

Few features impact a home’s curb appeal like beautiful window boxes overflowing with vibrant, seasonal colors. For centuries, window boxes have been ubiquitous in European villages, adding exterior charm and warmth to all forms of architecture. Window boxes eventually traveled to America with Colonial settlers, and today we add them to our homes as exterior adornments and added layers of information on our primary facades.

To successfully complement the architecture and complete the look of home, it is important that the window box is scaled properly. For visual appeal, we recommend that the box extends the full length of the window from the outer edge of the casing. This effectively “anchors” the window. A window box that is too short will look awkward and out of place with the home’s aesthetic. Another important consideration is the material from which the casing is made. We typically use Azek, which looks and feels like real wood, but is weather resistant and will not peel or rot in the elements. Additionally, it can easily withstand the weight of heavy potting soil so will not sag or bend and is essentially maintenance free.

Window boxes soften a home’s hard architectural edges and help celebrate each season with splashes of color. We encourage homeowners to update planting material every few months to highlight the changing moods and temperatures of the year. There are several excellent landscape design companies with whom we partner and Donaroma’s on Martha’s Vineyard is our favorite island resource. We recently talked with Donaroma’s designer Cammie Naylor about window box ideas for clients on the island. Ms. Naylor describes window boxes as “a constant theater,” and an opportunity to add bright punctuation points to a home’s exterior throughout the year. She and the designers at Donaroma’s take several factors into consideration when creating a homeowner’s window box design. Among others, these factor including season, sun exposure, and the homeowner’s personal taste.

As we welcome spring, flowers like daffodils, tulips and pansies are favorites – their bright, recognizable forms and colors instantly announce the season’s arrival. In the warmer days of summer – roughly Memorial Day through Labor Day – classic, crimson geraniums are an island favorite as they love the heat and are relatively drought tolerant. The seasons of fall and winter offer additional opportunities to freshen and update window boxes with mums and kale in the fall and small evergreens and pine bows during the holidays. No matter what time of year, Ms. Naylor recommends keeping the planting elements from 3-4 to ensure visual balance of the window box, stating, “it calms the eye to see symmetry and repetition.”

We all appreciate viewing a home with stunning window box displays, but the fact is, it takes care and consistent watering to keep them beautiful. Many of our homes feature both first and second floor window boxes, so we recommend our clients consider adding an automatic “drip” watering system (pictured below). Water ascends from a hidden, clear tube (or copper covered) that snakes up the side of the house and works on a timer from the home’s irrigation system. Using a self water system effectively ensures the window boxes are watered consistently during the busy days of spring and summer.

Hats off to the glorious window box, which provides year-round curb appeal, creative expression and architectural enhancement.

Happy planting!