Having Our Cape and Eating It Too

Cape Cod, hmmm. We racked our brains and came up with romping Kennedys and a cocktail that involves vodka and cranberries. We didn’t have any idea what we might discover if we drove all the way out to the end of Cape Cod but we had to do it — it was just too enticing to resist, challenging us there on the map.

The pine trees dwindled and the sand dunes gained hold as we approached the very tip of the cape and found lovely… CONTINUE READING >>

Cape
Cod, hmmm. We racked our brains and came up with romping
Kennedys and a cocktail that involves vodka and cranberries.
We didn’t have any idea what we might discover if we drove
all the way out to the end of Cape Cod but we had to do
it — it was just too enticing to resist, challenging us
there on the map.

The pine trees
dwindled and the sand dunes gained hold as we approached the very
tip of the cape and found lovely, eclectic Provincetown. P-town
to the locals.

Home to amazing
restaurants, America’s oldest gay bar and a massive monument recognizing
the place where the Pilgrims really first landed, P-town possesses
copious quantities of character. Toss in the power and beauty
of the Atlantic Ocean encircling the tiny strip of land — forming
dazzling beaches — and it becomes nearly impossible not to love
this easternmost tip of Massachusetts.

For
centuries the bitter end of Cape Cod was home to only whalers
and fishermen. The population grew through the 1800s as numerous
Portuguese sailors settled in P-town and their influence is still strong
today. Every year P-town hosts a Portuguese festival in late June
and “They
Also Faced the Sea,” a series of large portraits

of Portuguese-American
women living in Provincetown, is a beautiful tribute to the hardworking
women who have kept tradition alive for over two centuries.

Through the
years many writers, actors and artists sought the solace, solitude
and inspiration that Cape Cod offered and settled among the seafarers.
The eclectic mix worked well, with everyone adopting a live and
let live attitude. Today Provincetown is very much a summer destination,
with the population increasing nearly tenfold during the season.
Only a little over 3,000 hardy souls are willing to brave the
North Atlantic winters.

Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown, Massachusetts

We started
the day by making our way up to the Pilgrim Monument and
Provincetown Museum. The monument is a huge tower modeled
after the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy. With President
Teddy Roosevelt laying the cornerstone in 1907, the tower
was built to commemorate the signing of the Mayflower Compact
and mark the place where the Pilgrims actually first landed
in November of 1620.

Immediately
upon arrival, our celebrated Pilgrims began raiding the local Nauset
tribe’s graves and food stores. None too pleased with these newcomers

stealing their corn right before winter, the Nauset forced the would-be settlers across the bay to Plymouth and its famous, if not entirely
factual, rock
.

Staring up at the 252 foot structure, we girded our loins for the
176 step climb to the crown (sorry, no elevators!). Trudging ever
upward, we dug in as we tried to disregard our aching calves and
ignore the adolescent boys whizzing by. Showoffs.

At the
top, we were rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views
of Provincetown and Cape Cod Bay and hey, we got a sticker
bragging that we made it to the top. Love us some goofy
stickers!

Since
parking is at quite a premium in P-town and the monument
is near the center of town, we decided to take advantage of
their lot and continued our exploration on two wheels.

Provincetown
is incredibly bicycle friendly, it seemed like more bikes than

cars were on the road. We brought our bikes with us, but rentals
are readily available. Good thing too, because driving a car is
nearly impossible through the narrow streets that are completely
packed with pedestrians and cyclists in the summer months. Though
we have to say, the bicyclists are just as aggressive as the motorists
in Massachusetts, so we were kept on our toes.

We
stopped for lunch at Enzo, in the heart of the Commercial
Street district to sit outdoors and enjoy some bang-up people
watching. Enzo, a restaurant and guesthouse in an old Victorian
mansion, has a spectacular raw bar lunch. Imagine little neck
clams for $1.50 each, Wellfleet oysters for two bucks or a lobster tail
for eight. And the decadent spicy seafood chowder. Uh, wicked
delicious.

Sitting
outside and watching the world go by at one of the many
hotspots on Commercial Street should be mandatory doings
in P-town. It makes one’s heart sing to see so many happy
couples strolling by, hand-in-hand, without a care in the
world. We were lucky enough to see a wedding procession
heading down Commerce Street (everyone on bikes, no less)
and were swept up in the laughter of the revelers.
We were given an enthusiastic “thumbs up” and a big happy
grin as we snapped a shot of the beaming couple.

A quick note
to first time visitors: It gets pretty raucous on Commerce Street
as night falls, not a place for the kiddies or the easily shocked,
so here’s a good rule of thumb — if the French Quarter of New
Orleans
offends you, so will Commerce Street at night. A big time
is had by all.

As
we continued exploring the waterfront, we stumbled upon Captain
Jack’s Wharf. A colorful collection of wooden domiciles, available
to rent by the week, stacked upon an antiquey-looking pier
jutting haphazard into the harbor. Captain Jack’s looked
like our kind of place.

Several of the current inhabitants, boasting
quite an array of European accents, were sunning, swimming and swilling
a few drinks on the tiny strip of

sand between their dock and the
next group of houses. Not much of a beach, but its coolness factor
more than made up for it.

After
pedaling a few miles up and down the main drag, The Atlantic
House seemed like it would make a good stop and give us an
excuse for a little libation. Known locally as The A-House,
it has quite a history.

Opened in 1798 as a tavern, this is
P-town’s oldest bar. The Atlantic has also served as a stage
coach stop, hotel and restaurant. Many artifacts from its
storied past adorn the
walls.

During
the 1920s the A-House became a popular hangout for some
of America’s most famous writers. Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee
Williams were frequent patrons. Appealing to artistic and
alternative lifestyles through the years, The Atlantic House
became known as America’s first gay-friendly bar back in
the early 1950s. This live-and-let-live philosophy has served
not just the bar but the whole town well.

As a sign
on a trolley headed down Commerce Street said, “That ‘Love
thy Neighbor’ thing? I MEANT IT…God.”

P-town means
it as well.

David & Veronica,
GypsyNester.com


Going Gypsy: One Couple's Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All Did you enjoy what you just read? Then you’ll LOVE our book!

Going Gypsy
One Couple’s Adventure from Empty Nest to No Nest at All
 

GoingGypsyBook.com – See how it all began!

ORDER NOW –
Wherever Books Are Sold!

Amazon – Barnes & Noble – IndieBound – Books-a-Million
Also available as an audiobook from Audible.com

5 thoughts on “Having Our Cape and Eating It Too”

  1. You certainly stoked my wanderlust with this! I’ve wanted to visit Cape Cod ever since I read Thoreau book of the same name year ago! It sounds like somewhere I might never want to leave is the only problem!

  2. >I spent my summers I P-town as a kid camping out on the National Seashore at Race Point (the VERY tip of Cape Cod. My Dad built a makeshift camper out of an old bread delivery truck, complete with bunks, a gas stove and a pump sink. You don't want to know about the bathroom facilities! We never had much money when I was a kid, but my ocean front beach bum camping experiences filled me with more fabulous childhood memories than any fancy vacation ever could. I watched the first lunar landing on a tiny b/w tv hooked up to the truck's battery. Way too many memories to share here, but P-town willalways hold a special place in my heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *