The last hoorah of summer: Visiting the Twilight Zone

For my last weekend at home before school starts (and to celebrate our anniversary), Mr. T whisked me off to the far-flung Shelter Cove for the mini-ist of vacations. We had a blast! The Twin Comanche flight (my first!) was awesome, our room had a panoramic view of the sea and the tidepools even boasted some cool critters to gawk at. The only downside was that the town vibe freaked me out.

What used to be a bustling fishing and logging town–with a decent stream of tourists–has now decayed into what I can only describe as the Twilight Zone. Our hotel, while clean and decently furnished, was the nicest of the three we drove past, and beyond the view, not terribly nice at all. The restaurant we dined at, while quaint and tasty, was one of two (with a third that opens only when the other two are on vacation). There are no businesses beyond The General Store (a dingy dive with a tiny selection of overpriced provisions), a Souvenir Shop (replete with outrageously priced mugs and used clothing) and some type of watersport equipment rental joint that also doubled as the local video rental place. With 600 homes in the area, at least half of which are vacation houses, T and I could not figure out how anyone makes a living.

All of that said, it was the people that gave the town a very Hitchcockian feel. My experience in small, quaint beach locales has (stereotypically, I know) been with friendly and happy people… surfer dudes, hippies, retirees, tourists. In our interactions with the people at Shelter Cove, I felt like they would just as soon kidnap us as say hello. It was so strange! People weren’t friendly… the tourists look pissed off, the shopkeepers leered and one spooky woman glared at me throughout dinner and then followed us out to our car. Absolutely boggling.

And then my questions: Why would anyone stay in a town like that? How do people make ends meet? What type of cultural experiences can you have in a bubble so small? What would it be like to grow up in a place that tiny? How on earth does high school dating work? (Was there even a high school?!) What could be done to the improve commerce? What kind of research projects could I conduct? How pissed off would I have been if we had driven the 6 hours over instead of flown 50 minutes?

All in all it was a pleasant trip but for once, I was pleased at the brevity. I really wasn’t interested in being kidnapped and never heard from again. (Note: I’m only medium joking on that score… at the General Store the town bulletin board (yes, TOWN bulletin board) displayed a flyer for Joe Shmoe who just up and vanished one day.) Not my idea of fun!

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for exciting Cactus Land developments!


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