Feeling Like Home in Beautiful Cape Cod and Boston

Back home from my trip to Cape Cod and Boston with today’s post. Cape Cod is located in the easternmost part of the state of Massachusetts in the Northeastern United States. It’s a peninsula that juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. I like its historic, maritime character, the richness of colors and the outstretched beaches. So here it is … my 4th of July “vacation inspiration”, which may in turn inspire you!

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My inspiration of Cape Cod

During our trip we stayed in South Yarmouth, where we spent hours at the beach. While my children were playing in the sand—jumping all around and sand was literally flying through the air—I took the opportunity to paint them plein air. I see these dynamic and spontaneous elements as the fun part of painting plein air; it’s challenging and provides an extra dimension to your painting!

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Plein air watercolor studies at the beach, South Yarmouth, Cape Cod

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Top left: old harbor Chatham, Bottom left side: Chatham Lighthouse Beach, Right: Chatham Lighthouse

Cape Cod has also a rich history of lighthouses. Lighthouses symbolize safety and security to the seafaring traveler and have been around for thousands of years. We visited the Chatham Lighthouse. The station was established in 1808 and overlooks a beautiful ocean beach. “President Thomas Jefferson appointed the first keeper of a lard-burning lighthouse to safely guide ships past Chatham. Today, the former keeper’s house is an active Coast Guard Station.” 1 The old harbor is located close to the lighthouse. Right away I was struck by the many ingredients this small harbor offered up: a harmonious composition, an outstretched ocean view, its maritime character and the peaceful colors. This was a “must do” to paint!

Old harbor, Chatham Light

Old harbor, Chatham (pastel)

Lighthouse (not located at Cape Cod)

Watercolor study of an unknown lighthouse (painted from reference photo internet)

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My inspiration of Boston

“Boston is the capital and largest city of the state of Massachusetts in the United States. It’s one of the oldest cities in the United States and was founded on the Shawmut Peninsula in 1630 by Puritan Settlers from England. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution, such as the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Siege of Boston.” 2  During our visit we walked the Freedom Trail, a 2.5-mile walking path through downtown Boston,  which connects 16 historic sites significant to the history of the United States. For the curious readers, who may want more background about this historic trail, feel free to visit the website of the Freedom Trail Foundation (www.thefreedomtrail.org).

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1. Shawmut Peninsula. This diagram shows the original dimension of the Shawmut Peninsula. The gray areas marked with the words “New Boston” have since been filled in — 2. Boston Massacre — 3. the Boston Tea Party — 4. the Battle of Bunker Hill — 5. the Siege of Boston

Time to get back to my first impression of Boston. From the first moment we got into the city it felt like coming home. Boston reminds me of my hometown (‘s -Hertogenbosch) in the Netherlands: brick architecture, the small and walkable scale of downtown Boston, lively city center with restaurants, cafes and nice specialty stores. I also love cities that are built near water. It ensures dynamism in the city. Finally, the image of parked bicycles in front of the Harvard Hall … It “Feels Like Home”.  I’ll definitely go back some day to Boston and Cape Cod!

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Two watercolor studies of an alley in Boston. While I passed this street, I got triggered by the lights and the shadows.



  1. www.capecodlighthouses.info/chatham.html https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chatham_Light
  2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston

Comments 4

  1. Susie

    SimoneLi’s “traveling paints”. Can’t wait for Vermont!!! Your lyrical eye turned history and culture into
    colors with form to speak volumes. Thanks!!!

    1. Post

      Thank you so much and “traveling paints” — I love it!!! I’m looking forward to see, to paint and to share the fall foliage in Vermont!!!

  2. Donna

    This blog is really done so very well. Even though it has been 45 years since I have been to Cape Cod, and I remember far too little!!!, getting to ‘experience’ this again through your art, both photographic and thru the watercolors is just a huge treat. And I like all of the watercolor pieces, truly. Thanks for including the photographic references and your interpretations. Well done on all counts.
    And I too very much enjoyed Cross Estate with you. When I go there again, our day will always be in memory. It is so nice to share the space, thanks for the link on the Water Tower too.

    1. Post

      Hi Donna,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and that you like my blog, I really appreciate it! And I’m looking forward to share more beautiful places in our area and paint together!

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