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A Love Affair With Local Life

by Kate Sheehan

This place is dead. There's nothing for me here. It's going to be a very long winter.

As recently as December 2011, these words travelled my brain like a ticker tape. It was from this defeatist, Eeyore-like perspective that I came back to Cape Cod to spend a few months with family.

Prior to this visit, I had not stayed for more than three or four days since 1998. I promised myself that I would be back in New York City, the land of all that is good, creative and vibrant by April 1, 2012.

A friend explained that while on Cape I needed to meet two women: Jen Villa, owner of The Little Beach Gallery, and Amanda Converse, owner of Shift Boutique and founder of The Current Quarterly, Cape Cod's only local fashion magazine.

What unfolded next changed the course of my visit and planted the seed of an idea that has come to life as LoveLiveLocal; a fresh perspective on year-round life on our beloved sandbar, delivered monthly via email and regularly through social media.

Getting Involved

On a typically gray Cape Cod afternoon in December I wandered into Jen's summery space on South Street in Hyannis. She greeted with me a giant smile and enthusiastically explained that her gallery featured 50 local artists.

I remembered being stunned by the quality of the art, ceramics, jewelry and gifts – none of which resembled the tchotchkes I associated with locally made art.

Invoking our mutual connection, I introduced myself and told Jen my "story" – back from New York for a few months, not staying, don't really know anyone anymore. Within minutes I had a list of stores I should visit, events that were happening, people I needed to meet, and the encouragement to "get involved." Jen sent me next door to Shift, armed with a bag full of local Christmas gifts, to meet Amanda.

Again, my jaw dropped as I walked into Shift. The clothes were gorgeous, the space warm but chic … was I in Brooklyn? Or the West Village?

And from behind the desk, another enthusiastic welcome.

(L to R) Kate Sheehan, Jen Villa & Amanda Converse invite you to join their LoveLiveLocal network
(L to R) Kate Sheehan, Jen Villa & Amanda Converse
invite you to join their LoveLiveLocal network

Two hours later, life stories exchanged, my list of local must-dos doubled, I left with plans to meet Amanda and Jen for drinks at The Island Merchant to hear their talented friend, singer/songwriter Molly Parmenter.

Over the next few months, my view of life on Cape Cod was transformed. My social calendar was full. I was meeting incredibly interesting locals who were making a difference in the community, including other professionals – a group I didn't think existed here in a meaningful way.

I had a life, I loved it … and would you believe that friends across the country were envious of me?

An Idea is born

Jen and Amanda have an infectious, die-hard commitment to life here, and it is impossible to escape their passion for living local. Delaying my exodus back to New York, I stayed the summer, soaking up new experiences, re-discovering the Cape's geography, and finding myself an equally proud advocate for local ventures.

This place is amazing. Everything is possible here. I wish I had time for all there is to experience on Cape Cod.

These new thoughts replaced my old, outdated views. Suddenly, I didn't want to leave. In fact, now with a deeper understanding of the demographic crisis facing the Cape and a new lens on how rich life here can be, with a little effort, I felt compelled to stay. The Cape needs a critical mass of committed, young-at-heart people willing to figure out how to make it work, and I saw that Jen and Amanda were among those integral to the movement.

As the three of us became inseparable friends, I noticed that the "welcome wagon" they had rolled out for me came out every day, several times even, for new friends. Not only that, my newfound love for the Cape made me a credible addition for both skeptics and potential visitors who knew nothing of this special place.

We realized that there could be a more effective way to share our stories and make our experiences accessible to the stream of locals and visitors alike who sought local recommendations with a personal connection.

A fall 2012 retreat at a bungalow down Cape provided the inspiration we needed. The concept for LoveLiveLocal was born and we set out a modest plan to begin bringing a new voice to "the food and the fun, the places and the spaces, what's up and where to get down" year-round on Cape Cod.

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How to Love Your Local

Jen, Amanda, and I believe that no matter who you are or what you do, there is plenty to keep you engaged and excited on the Cape. Further, we feel that it is essential to promote the vibrant, creative energy that exists here in order to ensure that our community survives and thrives.

LoveLiveLocal exists in a tangible way via our monthly email updates and regular social media posts, but we also hope that it becomes a recognizable ethos here on the Cape.

It means choosing to buy local and support people who make a life here, making an effort to explore beyond your town, and finding the beauty in the winter months as well as the bounty of the summer months.

It's knowing your farmer and your fisherman, your banker and your baker, your artists and your officials. To love your local is to be actively involved in moving Cape Cod forward, and we hope you will join us.

Find Us!

Sign up at to receive short and sweet monthly updates on not-to-be-missed events, spotlights on notable locals, contributions from expert guests, ideas for day trips, and much more.

You can also follow LoveLiveLocal on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We love to know what our friends, neighbors and visitors are up to, so tag us in your photos and events on social media!


Katie Sheehan

After 12 years with two Fortune 100 companies, Kate Sheehan left her corporate communications job and moved from New York home to Cape Cod, where she founded Telltale Media. In doing so, she combined her passion for helping businesses and individuals tell their stories most effectively with her desire to create more meaning in her own life.

Through Telltale, Kate specializes in freelance writing (from marketing copy to web content to speeches), communications consulting, brand identity, and PR/media relations. She also is a co-founder of Love.Live.Local., a fresh perspective on the Cape for locals and visitors.

Kate lives in Barnstable with Scout, the best dog in the world.

Local or visitor, year-round or seasonal…no matter who you
are or what you do, there is plenty for you on Cape Cod.
Let us help you find the food and the fun, the places and the spaces, what's up
and where to get down on our beloved sandbar.