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Reflecting on the Summer of 2020

Jennie Sparrow | 10/5/2020

The summer of 2020 will no doubt be remembered as a very challenging one with surprises around every corner. When everything came to a grinding halt in March due to Covid-19, no one knew what the next day, week, or month, would bring. People were in lockdown and asked to stay at home. We at weren’t sure if summer would happen. But it did happen, and it proved to be a summer that many were able to enjoy.


We’re always asking ourselves—what is the main reason vacationers continually “get back” to the Cape and Islands? Is it the beaches, where one can walk for miles, salt wind in their hair and the warm sand between their toes? Is it to visit their favorite clam shack where they treat themselves to fresh, local seafood? Or is it to reconnect with family, savoring each sunny, salty second of family time? It’s hard to narrow the reasons to one, especially this summer. One feeling most people had was an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

We get many comments on our Facebook page and Instagram account communicating the love people have for the Cape and Islands, their memories, and their desire to return. But this summer, we found more of a sense of urgency for vacationers to communicate these sentiments. We read blogs, like one written by Elizabeth Ricketson, who told of her Cape Cod vacation spent with her pregnant daughter and how they enjoyed pre-baby, quiet time in the comfort and sanctuary of their Dennis rental. Once concerned that they would not be able to enjoy their vacation, booked pre-Covid, they were delighted and grateful to be able to enjoy their vacation.

Renting in Dennis ©Elizabeth Ricketson

As spring and early summer arrived, bans and lockdowns were lifted, and people were ready to get out of the homes where they had been cooped up, resulting in scarce inventory of Cape and Islands vacation rentals. Some people were lucky enough to book last-minute, like Natalie Kurtzman of the Boston Day Book. Instead of being able to stay in one spot the whole time, Natalie and her family had to split their vacation between two towns. Mixing it up seemed to work for them, as they explored places they never had been before, and wound up making family memories to last a lifetime.

Renting in Eastham © Natalie Kurtzman, Boston Day Book

Despite the COVID restrictions and guidance, visitors were still able to enjoy many of the traditional aspects of the Cape and Islands. The vast majority of visitors adhered to the guidelines. Combined with conscientious actions of homeowner hosts successfully making renters feel safe, this adherence to the rules made for an enjoyable summer vacation for everyone.

So, while the pandemic created some uncertainty and fears, from where we sit, there were some silver linings. This summer brought opportunities to try something different, longer and more meaningful family time, and quieter moments of reflection and gratitude. We’ll see what next summer brings—hopefully it will bring you to the Cape and Islands. For those who couldn’t make it this year, we hope you get the chance to return next year, and know that our community will do everything possible to ensure that you can have a safe and enjoyable vacation.