WELLFLEET – The hottest selling items at two lower Cape tourist shops on the first big weekend of Cape Cod’s tourist year were sweatshirts.
“Seeing as we’re a beach store,” said Kyle Baptist, manager of Marconi’s Oceanside Gifts in Wellfleet, “we kind of need the sun.”
But the sun, early in the afternoon on Sunday May 26, was nowhere to be found. Instead, as Dave Poitras, third-generation owner of Poit’s Lighthouse Mini Golf in North Eastham, said, “I think it’s barely 50 degrees. It’s cold and raw.”
On the other hand Mike Riley, manager of Riley’s $2 T-Shirt Outlet in Wellfleet, said, “We’ve got sweatshirts down there for five dollars. You know, when it rains, people go shopping instead of going to the beach.”
“People are shopping for sweatshirts,” said Baptist. “They didn’t expect it to be so cold.”
Some, however, thought it would rain because of weather reports earlier in the week and decided not to even come to the Cape, said Poitras. “The Boston weather reporters kill us,” he said.
“Everybody gears up for this weekend,” said Poitras. “It’s the first big taste. You go crazy for three days and then it’s slow for three weeks until the kids are out of school.”
Even though it was cold this weekend, summer is coming soon, said Poitras. “In the wintertime, we’re always 10 degrees warmer than Boston. You know we’ve turned the corner to summer when we’re cooler than they are in Boston,” said Poitras. “I’m expecting a real good summer,” said Poitras. “The Cape is still very affordable, and we’ve made things affordable here and tried to cater to families.”
Poitras, 51, has been hanging out at Mini Golf “since I was four or five years old. It’s a seasonal business. You come to work seven days a week, and at the end of the season, you’re glad to get a rest. But by the middle of winter, I can’t wait to get back here.”
Cold weather or not, everyone was in a good mood, all the way to Provincetown, where Janine Carney-Savage, parking lot assistant at the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum parking lot, said her lot was just as full as last year when the weather was warmer. “People plan ahead for Memorial Day weekend,” she said. “A bad day in Provincetown is still a great day,” she said. “The tourists are always happy to be here, and happiness spreads happiness, I think.”
As Devon McLaughlin of Braintree, who was shopping at Riley’s, said, “Besides the rain and the pollen, it’s always a great place. It’s just a beautiful place. All the beaches, the different scenery. And people are nicer down here.”
— Brian Tarcy