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A Vacation Adventure In Provincetown
by Don and Peg Doman
Our first big outing on Cape Cod took us to Provincetown. Although many people joke about Provincetown and the sexual orientation of many of the residents, it is a beautiful place to visit . . . a long drive way up north on the Cape. Al talked about Provincetown and how it is the eastern most city in the United States. He also described the Pilgrim Monument more times than we wanted to hear.
"The Pilgrim Monument was founded in 1892 as the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association—Cape Cod’s oldest not-for-profit organization. Its purpose is to commemorate the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in the New World in Provincetown, in November 1620. Here the Pilgrims spent 5 weeks exploring the tip of Cape Cod, before they sailed on to Plymouth. They also drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact, which established the rule of law for the new land. The Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association built the Pilgrim Monument to honor the Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone in 1907. In 1910, President William Howard Taft dedicated the finished 252-foot tower. In 1910, the Cape’s first building built to house a museum opened at the base of the monument, to educate the public about Provincetown’s role in Pilgrim history and American history."
On the way to Provincetown Al tried to get us to stop at the Marconi Station. "Marconi Station, on the Atlantic side of the Cape's forearm, is the site of the first transatlantic wireless station erected on the U.S. mainland. From here Italian radio and wireless-telegraphy pioneer Guglielmo Marconi sent the first American wireless message to Europe -- "most cordial greetings and good wishes" from President Theodore Roosevelt to King Edward VII of England -- on January 18, 1903. The station broadcast news for 15 years."
As soon as you drive into Provincetown, you know that the town is old. Streets sometimes barely leave inches between the pavement and the houses that line them. I got the feeling that we could stick our hands out the car window and knock on the walls of homes.
One of the benefits of older towns and villages are alleys . . . alleys not built for garbage trucks and too narrow to use for anything but walking or riding bikes. They are picturesque and interesting.
We weaved in and around tourists. There was virtually no place to park. Luckily, the town has constructed parking large parking lots. We parked near the beach. The town as also built community bathrooms just a few yards from the parking lot to accommodate visitors to town. The bathrooms were roomy and clean. As you may have guessed, we began our walking tour of Provincetown at the bathrooms. I think many people do.
We were off on an Al adventure. He had a favorite fast food establishment where he wanted us to have lunch. Al raved about their scallops. When we got up to the window to order, however, he was offended by the prices, which were more than he remembered. He took us off elsewhere to find a better value and a better meal. I think he regretted this decision for days . . . and perhaps still does.
After looking into several restaurants, we settled on the Lobster Pot. There is a long path past the kitchen to the dining room which has windows and nice views of the beach on Provincetown. As we walked past the kitchen Al looked at a lobster salad roll and noticed celery as a prominent ingredient. Although assured by the waitress that this was not so, he and I ordered the rolls. They could have had less celery. Peg and Al ordered lobster bisque which was their standard operation procedure. I ordered half a cold lobster. The lobster bisque was excellent. The meal was okay, but not what we were looking for.
After lunch we continued our walking tour. There were many great looking shops and buildings . . . as well as stores you would expect to find in any town in America. I stopped in at Ace Hardware. I found a great piece of hanging art. It was a whale suspended by wrought iron hooks. Only the $200 price tag stopped my purchase. Just down the street I found some earrings for Peg, which I did purchase. The opal stones matched the fire of her anniversary set of ring, bracelet, pendant, and earrings. The original earrings were heavier. These sparkled well too, but fit Peg's ears better. We also found dark chocolate to snack on and many other things we could have purchased.
Eventually, Peg needed to sit down and rest. She chose a nice bench along the main thoroughfare. She talked to a nice couple with matching huskies. Al and I continued up the street to his favorite oddball/surplus store. I wanted to buy the French Foreign Legion kepi, but could really think of no reason to buy other than I wanted it. Perhaps, if it had been the middle of summer with the sun beating down on me as I walked the dunes which surround Provincetown. Maybe not.
The shops and stores were fun and exciting to visit, but the warm September weather weighed down on us. I can imagine what Provincetown is during the summer. It has to be absolutely packed with people. The breeze must keep every fairly cool, but I know that it must still be hot.
On the way back to our car, we stopped in at a little ice cream and sandwich shop run by Russians (I gathered from their accents and small talk). The ice cream was good. We sat outside at tables. The umbrellas provided shade. We watched young boys and girls having fun and senior citizens heading for the tour buses. We finished our cones and walked less than a hundred feet to our car for a nice fall afternoon drive back to the central Cape.