Nine reasons why I love living in Mashpee, Massachusetts

Leaving Ireland 38 years ago, I never imagined I was going for good

‘I have made mistakes in my American life, but Mashpee isn’t one of them.’

Every weekday, I cross the Bourne Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal going to and from work. Either way, the view from the elevated bridge is spectacular but, given the Cape’s promise, going back across is always preferable, even when stuck in summer traffic.

I've lived in Massachusetts since 1979, but moved to Mashpee, on the upper Cape, three years ago. I have made mistakes in my American life, but Mashpee isn't one of them. Here are nine reasons why:

Weather: I love Ireland, but not its dreary, rainy weather. Although one recent winter on the Cape proved brutally cold and flush with snow, winters are mostly mild. Spring is pleasant and summer splendid. And then there is autumn, which is the Cape's premier season for me, as the weather remains pleasantly warm, there's a riot of fall colours, and the tourist crush is gone.

Variety: In addition to the good climate, there is natural beauty, excellent amenities, and 15 towns each with distinct histories, many of which retain a small-town feel to them. For example, home to the Wampanoag tribe, Mashpee is rich in Native American culture and it has a warm small town flavour.


Welcome: Early on I met Mashpee's police chief at a community event. Within minutes, he handed me his business card with his cell phone number on it. The immediacy of that gesture impressed me. As my wife and I anticipate retirement in Mashpee, the professionalism and responsiveness of the police really matters to us.

Neighbourly vibe: When buying our house, we discovered the local developer built the wrong model, albeit on the right spot. Naturally, we feared a bait and switch battle. To his credit, the builder owned the error and responded to us with respect, like we were neighbours. We came away satisfied, feeling welcomed and good about our first big encounter in a new town.

Walking: From my house, it’s about a 20-minute walk to Mashpee Commons, a pedestrian option not always possible in car-obsessed America. The Commons is a shopping and residential area with restaurants, shops, a cinema, a florist, a post office, a pharmacy, a bowling alley, a modern, customer-friendly public library and more. It’s a great place to stroll or people watch.

Nature: It's 10 minutes by car to South Cape Beach, a soft-sand stretch about a mile long looking out on Vineyard Sound and next to a wonderland of dunes, trails and salt marshes. While I love the dunes, the natural beauty of the area's many stunning cranberry bogs is equally appealing to me.

Biking: At the other end of the Cape, Herring Cove Beach in Provincetown is a favorite bike trail of mine. Twisting and climbing through the dunes, the trail exhausts me but the freshness of the ocean is a windswept gift.

Culture: Sure, the Cape has a tacky side, but it also has a thriving art, music and theatre scene. At the nearby Cotuit Center for the Arts recently, we got the weekend off to a good start with a happy hour mini concert featuring favourites from Irving Berlin to Burt Bacharach. Next up is a musical tribute to Amy Winehouse.

Good food: The dining options on the Cape dazzle me. At Mashpee Commons alone, there is a choice of good French, Italian, Greek, Asian, Irish, and tapas restaurants. Bored with those? Try neighbouring Falmouth, Osterville or Hyannis.

When I left Ireland 38 years ago, I never imagined I’d still be in America, never mind settled and approaching retirement in Mashpee. But I am, and I’m loving it.

Martin McGovern is director of communications at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.