Tag Archives: Nauset Beach

Mother Nature Wins Again…

I grew up in the small town of Orleans where Cape Cod makes its eastern-most thrust into the ice cold Atlantic. For thirty five years my dad and my brother, Jeff , ran Philbrick’s Snack Shack out on Nauset Beach. I worked at “The Shack” for eight summers when I was in high school and the first couple of years in college. After getting out of the Navy I ran Nauset Beach Rides.

This weekend there was an ultra-nasty nor’easter that tore away at the beach and is bringing an end to an era. My dad built the Snack Shack with his own two hands in 1954. It has withstood nor’east storms and hurricanes for 64 years but this week it’s finished.

One thing I didn’t make clear is that while my dad built the Snack Shack and he and my brother ran it for 35 years, my brother stopped running it 29 years ago. John Ohman has been running it since then under another name. It’s sad, though, to see this bit of Orleans history bite the dust.

1960 nauset

This last weekend.

snack shack 2


When my brother, Jeff, was running the place he was selling a ton to a TON AND A HALF of onion rings A WEEK! The volume of food that passed through those windows was literally unbelievable! On the Fourth of July Weekend Sunbeam bakery used to bring a trailer full of hot dog and hamburger buns to handle all that would be cooked and consumed over those three days.

Back in the ’50s Howard Johnson’s was noted and famous for their hot dogs. They were made by the Boldeaux  meat company. (Not sure of the spelling after 60 years) They only had TWO CUSTOMERS. Howard Johnson and Philbrick’s Snack Shack. I remember on time the Boldeaux salesman telling my father that the Snack Shack, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, sold MORE hot dogs than the top three year round Ho Jos in New England, COMBINED!!!

But it’s all over now. Mother Nature is a cruel mistress…

New Pics…

Shack Erosion 3

Shack erosionShack Erosion 2

Last three photos from Cape Cod Times newspaper

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Putting On Some Miles (Kilometers?)

I’ve been putting a few miles on the orange arrow in the last week. Sunday I went for a nice ride into the hills and, of course, forgot my camera. But that’s okay, just gives me a reason to go back.

I really wanted to get out Monday for a birthday ride but Mother Nature had other ideas. We’re into the rainy season now, and as I’ve said several times before, the mornings are usually beautiful before clouding up in the early afternoon and then pouring hard for a couple of hours later on. But Monday was one of those rare, odd days. It was gloomy when I got up at a little past six but not raining. It brightened for a couple of hours but I didn’t plan to hit the road before nine so as to let all the commuters clear the road.

Of course as nine o’clock rolled around it started darken up with threatening clouds. So I just played around on line. Then there would be some breaks in the clouds. Patches of blue appeared here and there. But when I’d put on my riding clothes the holes would slam shut in an instant. You could almost hear them closing. Nature kept on toying with me like that all day until it was too late to go anywhere. It didn’t start raining until about eight that night.

I couldn’t get out yesterday. I had to go in to David to hit the bank. I also wanted to check the prices on small washing machines. I’m really getting tired of doing my laundry in a five gallon bucket. It’s especially hard to do sheets and jeans that way. I then took the Cerro Punta bus up to Bugaba to buy my cigars. Once again, by the time I got home it was cloudy and too late to get on the road.

One of the places I’ve wanted to go for a long time was down to the beach. You can’t get there by bus. You can get through the small town of Alanje on public transportation but you’re still a dozen miles from the ocean and would have to take a cab  which, being a gringo, would most likely be expensive. The morning was sunny and things looked good. I got on the road at about 9:30 and headed down the hill. I was a bit apprehensive about having to cross the Inter American highway at “El Cruce” but it was a snap. Traffic in both directions had a gap of about a half a mile between the crossroads and the oncoming vehicles.

The ride down to and through Alanje is fairly scenic. There are twists and turns but with a lot of good straight stretches in between and sugar cane fields on both sides of the road. In the distance at the edges of the big cane fields were thick groves of trees that reminded me a lot of the hammocks one sees scattered among the sawgrass as you cross south Florida on Alligator Alley.

There were a few rough patches on the road but eventually the road ends at La Barqueta Beach and the monied  Las Olas Beach Resort

To the west is the La Barqueta gated rich folks houses. Kind of reminded me of The Hamptons on Long Island where I’d seen houses similar to these but with palm trees here. Cropping the photo screwed it up but take my word for how they looked.

The sand here is volcanic black. Snugged in between the two developments were a couple of restaurants. This one was closed though a sign said they were open Wednesdays through Sundays starting at 1 p.m. though at noon I saw no sign of anyone trying to get the operation started.

The other restaurant, more of the small “fonda” type that serves “comida corriente” may have been open because I saw people working around outside of it but it, too, gave no hint of being open for business. I can understand it, though since there were only three people on the beach itself and one lone surfer dude who wasn’t doing all that well.

But it’s a pretty stretch of beach looking to the east…

And over to the west with Costa Rica just barely visible in the haze…

At our family restaurant, “Philbrick’s Snack Shack,” at Nauset Beach in Orleans, Mass., we used to rent beach umbrellas for people who wanted some shade during the heat of the day. Here they do things a little different…

Heading back home I failed to make the turn that would have taken be back to El Cruce but I did come across this neat old abandoned house…

Having missed the proper turn I eventually found myself entering the edges of David and I sure didn’t want to be there. There was no way I was going to take the Inter American Highway back to Boqueron. I made a U-turn and headed back the way I’d come. I was cruising along at a sedate 35 mph (the speedometer reads in mph and kph) when the Alanje-David bus passed me headed away from David. Problem solved! I swung in behind and followed the bus until I had gotten my bearings.

In all I covered 52.8 miles today (88k X .6 = miles). In all I’ve gone 132.3 miles on the back roads of Chiriquí Province.

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