If a single sound and a single scent can hold the essence of a New England summer, surely they’re the crash of the surf breaking on our shores and the salty tang that hangs in the breeze as you get ever closer to the sea. Nature and geography have bestowed many gifts on our New England states — none greater than the hundreds of miles of our landscape that hug the Atlantic.
Within the pages of this issue you’ll find our ode to the sea in summer. Even if you live miles from the coast, we want to bring the cadence, the smell, the beauty of the ocean to you. Turn the pages and find a selection of unique accommodations by the water in Maine; a Cape Cod town that offers exquisite shopping and history, plus a stretch of gorgeous seashore; a love letter to the Cape that anyone who has vacationed there will recognize; recipes featuring the fish that swim off our shores; even the visceral, literally breathtaking experience of swimming in water so frigid it makes our native surf seem downright balmy.
It’s one of life’s ironies that some of our most beautiful places also provide an excellent habitat for a creature not much larger than the period at the end of this sentence: the deer tick. Readers who have long loved Edie Clark’s “Mary’s Farm” column may not know that for years she was one of Yankee‘s most inspired writers of narrative nonfiction. Her eye for compelling storytelling is evident in her quest to discover the roots of Lyme disease, an illness that once felled her — and one afflicting so many New Englanders that I know of families who have all but moved indoors, so afraid are they of the tiny arachnid that carries the bacterium. When you finish her story, you’ll find yourself more attuned to the risks, but also more aware of what you can do to enjoy a safe and Lyme-free season.
So dig into our summer issue, buy some sunscreen, throw a blanket on the sand, and get as close to the surf as you can. The great essayist Henry Beston, whose splendid Outermost House captured the Cape’s raw beauty, once wrote: “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”
While those of us living in New England had our fill of rain this past spring, the sound of the sea on a summer day is nature’s way of saying, Here’s your reward — now listen.
Mel Allen is editor of Yankee Magazine and author of A Coach’s Letter to His Son, which received the bronze award for best juvenile non-fiction 2006 from ForeWord Magazine.