Cape Cod, Barnstable County, MA

Pilgrim's Tower

Photo of Pilgrim's Tower

Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum: High Pole Hill Road, Provincetown, MA: 508.487.1310

I was recently in Provincetown, MA, the beautiful town on Provincetown Harbor; the location of the signing of the Mayflower Compact November of 1620. The natural harbor, part of Provincetown, stretches roughly one mile from the Northwest to Southeast and 2 miles from Northeast to Southwest.

Historic Provincetown is now an exciting, tourist-friendly spot on a beautiful sand barrier island. Visit a place that celebrates a tradition of tolerance and and ethos of creativity that lives to this day. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a painter or other type of artist.

Link to a website explaining how the arrival of the railroad in 1873 made Provincetown accessible to tourists and artists alike.

Provincetown is located at the very tip of Cape Cod, Barnstable County. Bartholomew Gosnold, the seafarer, gave Cape Cod its name in 1602 when he "discovered" it. And it has been called "The Arm of Massachusetts." The Harbor has been described as "...armfuls of flowers in bowls of deep blue water...[which] except for the brief storms and a rainy season...know little of gray skies or cold." Link to Google Book.

In the 19th Century, Portuguese immigrants settled in Massachusettes, typically moving on to Fall River, Taunton, Provincetown, or Gloucester. (See the Google-Book link.) Title: Provincetown: From Pilgrim Landing to Gay Resort -by Karen Christel Krahulik: ISBN: 0-8147-4761-2

"Provincetown is different from all the rest of the Cape; different from all the rest of the world -although all 'land's end' places have a certain haunting odor and resemblance." -Agnes Edwards, Cape Cod: New and Old, 1918

AIDS & Women's Health

    • Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla
    • A Benefit for AIDS, Women's Health & the Community

"Swim for Life is meant to be both a fundraising event and a celebration of this amazing geological gift that gave birth to Provincetown and its symbiotic relationship to the sea." -See the website for details regarding the event and the organization.

The East Coast's Gay Summer Resort

In 1978, the Provincetown Business Guild (PBG) was formed to promote gay tourism. It now has 200 businesses as memebers.

What I would call the height of the tourist season would begin on July 4th and then continue. Restaurants, accommodations and parking can be expensive.

The only reason to tolerate the expense is because you love it. And so many people do love Provincetown. You will know why the moment you see the water, or, the beach (which is near the water), or, walk through the charming town and visit its many galleries.

Drive into Barnstable County along Route 6 and you are in a different world.

Provincetown has 3 lighthouses: Race Point Light, Wood End Light, and Long Point Light. These speak to the history of shipwrecks when Cape Cod appeared to the navigator without warning, or, a vessel was pulled by a dastardly current, or, there was a storm leaving all pretense of control overboard.

In the Jet Age, Cape Cod can be approached via Provincetown Municipal Air Port (an airport as well as being an NBC TV series: Wings), Logan in Boston, and by Boston Harbor Cruises' catamaran (to and from Boston in 90 minutes).

Cape Cod


Near a store called The Purple Feather, there is a theater/nightclub/hotel. It is located on the East End, which means the street number is greater than 200 on Commercial Street.

Come to the Vixen, where, I can honestly say I was treated like a local, by Dame Edna, or a close facsimile. I will never know one way or the other. But that is the beauty of a good impersonator. Who can tell the difference between a zircon, and, a diamond?

There was plenty of sparkle for both the zircon and the diamond as Dame Edna skewered audience members as they were subjected to hilarious forced introductions and improvisation. This is a performer who wouldn't insult her audience with a rehearsed performance. As someone who treasures a good improvisation myself, I can appreciate how tawdry a rehearsed show can be. But, this little Vixen was prepared.

And like finding a zircon gemstone in the oddest place, one is surprised to hear show-tunes from another era faithfully reproduced. A talented musician shines. And this was but one of the glittering stars of the East End, on a barrier island, where the water sparkles. And so do the people.



Enjoy a ride one Summer evening.

Pedicabs are everywhere on Commercial Street at all hours of the day and night during the busy season.

Enjoy this carbon-free mode of transportation. You don't have to worry about partking, and, you are never traveling very far if your destination is in Provincetown.

During the height of the season, there will be more bikes than cars on Commercial Street. I recommend parking your car someplace else and enjoying Provincetown's beauty on foot, or, pedi-cab.

Pedicabs are velo-taxis in some regions. They are popular in Vietnam.

Piano Bar

Open Year Round

  • The Porchside Lounge, Lobby Piano Bar: 5:00PM: @ The Gifford House

Multi-story Bar, Veranda, Pool Table, Friendly Atmosphere, Seasonal Sing-a long

I have never stayed at The Gifford House, but, my partner and I have visited the multi-storied bar and enjoyed the atmosphere.

AIDS Support Group

...of Cape Cod

  • : 336 Commercial St. #10: (508) 487-8311

Privincetown Banner


The Provincetown Banner is sold in some cafés. Don't make the mistake I did and just pick it up thinking it is a bar-rag. Some of the finer B&Bs will give this local newspapar to their guests, either leaving it in the room on a nice coffee table, or, placing them in the lobby.

Vixen @ The Pilgrim Playhouse

Madeira Room

  • East End: A convenient walk if you are staying at one of the local B&Bs.
  • P-Town Vixen: Cabaret/Playhouse/Hotel

Near the Purple Feather: Set back from Commercial St.

  • See Michael Walters as Dame Edna
  • John Waters: Friday August 20, 2010: 236 Commercial St., 7PM and 10PM.
  • As always, be sure to visit the official website to learn more.

Harbor to the Bay

100% to Charity

  • Harbor to the Bay . ORG
  • A ride to benefit Fenway Community Health
  • And the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod
  • Also, CRI and AIDS Action Committee
  • Help persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS!
  • Ride 2010 Saturday 9/25
  • Be sure to visit their offical website to learn more!

Health & Wellbeing

  • Stone Wellness: Body & energy Work: 132 Proncinewton MA 02657 508-487-3475: Cell 508-237-5317


  • Joe Coffee & Café
  • Recently moved from their old location on Commercial Street to their new location on Commerical St.
  • I would recommend this café: for the clientele eye-candy. The Quality of coffee varies. I have visited friendlier cafés:
  • The eye-candy can be had simply by walking by. They have a large front patio.


Around AD 500, the hunter-gatherers of the Algonquin Indians inhabited the approximate geographical area of present-day Boston, MA. Later, the Nauset tribe inhabited Cape Cod. The Pilgrims encountered the Nauset Indians during their landing near present day Provincetown, MA. -article. The earliest inhabitants of Massacheusetts lived around 10,000 B.C.

Pennacooks article link.

The Glaciers retreated 10,000 years ago at the end of the Last Glacial Period. Archaeological sites show evidence of various cultures developing in Massacheusetts in the millennia after the retreat of the glaciers.

Presently, the Pleistocene ice age is ending with the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

The Algonquians, the Algonquian branch called the Pennacooks, and the Wampanoag inhabited what is now New England before the European colonization began in the 1600s.

Link to The Massachusetts Archaeological Society.

  • The Robbins Museum of Archaeology: 17 Jackson St., Middleboro MA 02346-2413
  • The Museum of Science, Boston, MA link

The Robbins Museum of Archaeology is for kids, teens, and adults.

The Museum of Science's mission is to play a leading role in transforming the nation's relationship with science and technology. They are a leader in the world's museum community, as well as a place for informal learning. The Museum of Science is an institution to help the formal pre K-12 education system. And it is a place that kids love. Spend a day at the museum.

B&Bs in Provincetown MA

B&Bs with Clothing Optional Areas

  • Carl's Guest House: 68 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA
  • Romeo's Holiday: 97 Bradford St., Provincetown, MA

Carl's has a private, clothing-optional sundeck. Romeo's Holiday Bed and Breakfast and Spa is located in the very center of Provincetown. Romeo's has a huge backyard deck surrounded by many beautiful plants and a large selection of comfortable chaise lounges. Clothing is optional (in backyard deck.)

Biking in Provincetown MA

Bike Trails/Bike Rentals of PTown

  • There are 8 miles of paved trails that weave through the dunes and forest.
  • Bike Rentals, Sales Service: Locks, Maps, Helmets, Tandem Bikes
  • 3 Speed Cruisers, Kids Bikes, Trailers & Tagalongs

Biking Rentals: Ptown Bikes: 42 Bradford St: (508) 487-8735: p -Town Bikes . COM

Gale Force Bikes: Provincetown, MA: Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose, and TommiSea.Free Helmets and helpful advice. Since 1977: On your way o the beach market: The Bradford Street Extension Spur of the bike trail starts near their store.

Bookstores in Provincetown MA

Browsing Books in PTown

  • Now Voyager: Bookstore and Gallery: Mike Leach: 357 Commercial St.: Provincetown, MA 02657: (508) 487-0848: email: now voyager
  • Recovering Hearts: 4 Standish St., Provincetown: 508.487.4875: Recovering Hearts is a bookstore in the heart of PTown. First opening in the Summer of 1990, they serve tourists and the local community with a selection of books, cards, gifts and clothing: A portion of the profit goes to local organizations.
  • Tim's New & Used Books, Inc.: We travel anywhere to buy good books - Top prices paid: Immediate payment and removal: Scholarly books our specialty:
    • Provincetown: 508-476-005:242 Commercial St.
    • Wellfleet: 508-349-6700: 230 Main St.
    • Hyannis: 508-778-5550: 386 Main St.

Tim's New & Used Books Is a bookstore I have had the pleasure of browsing through on several occasions during our vacations in P-Town in 2010 and 2009.

Nearby Boston, MA

The Old North Church

Old North Church: The official website has details on the history and architecture. The Old North Church: A.K.A. Christ Episcopal Church: On April 18, 1775 Robert Newman climbed the steeple to hold the lanterns signaling Paul Revere that the British were marching to Lexington: Street Address: 193 Salem St.

Paul Revere Statue: Link to Wikipedia photo: North End, Boston. Contains information on tours of the Old State House, an historic building surrounded by sky-scrapers. Between 1713 and 1776, this was the seat of British Colonial Government.

Paul Revere House: "...the colonial home of American patriot Paul Revere." -Now a non-profit museum. Operated by the Paul Revere Memorial Association. There is a small admission fee.


Gift and Antique Shops, Art Galleries and Rare Book Stores:

Immerse yourself in the history of glass manufacturing in this town.

Sandwich, in Barnstable County, is Cape Cod's oldest town. It was incorporated in 1639. Visit the historic, and working Dexter's Grist Mill, on the Shawme Pond. Nearby is the famous Hoxie House; a salt-box house dating back to the 1600s. Be sure to see the Sandwich Glass Museum, 129 Main St. (Click on the link for admission rates and hours). -A non-profit that operates three facilities, one of which is in Sandwich near Shawme Pond. This would include the Thornton W Burgess Museum on 4 Water Street (Route 30).

Museums & Galleries

  • Adam Peck Gallery: 137 Commercial St: As always, click on the link to the official website to learn more.
  • Visit the Cape Cod Museum of Art.
  • Craven Gallery The Carol Craven Gallery on Martha's Vineyard.
  • Paintings by TJ Walton: Susan Tomasian, Director: (508) 487-0170: 148 Commercial St., Provincetwon, MA 02657: TJ
  • Suzanne Hitchcock: Photography: 1 Meadow Rd. #2, Provincetown, MA 02657: (508) 487-3824: (774) 216-1485:
  • Galeria Cubana: Contemporary Cuban Art: 357 Commercial St.: 460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA
  • Cortile Gallery:230 Commercial St: (508) 487-4200 Cortile Gallery
  • Larry Collins Fine Art:145 Commercial St., #2, Provincetown, MA 02657: (508) 487-6600: Larry Collins Fine Art . COM
  • Rose Haven: 5A Atlantic Ave., Provincetown, MA 02657: (508) 487-7390

At the Larry Collins Fine Art Gallery, the curator was kind enough to introduce me to the works of Jack Pierson, and, James Bidgood. Jack Pierson is a photographer who was born in Plymouth, MA, in the year 1960. Pierson is openly gay. James Bidgood Bright Lights Film Journal Interview.

Pink Narcissus

The interview with James Bidgood reveals the artist who created the film, Pink Narcissus in 1971. This is a film visualizing the homoerotic fantasies of a gay prostitute. The central character's fantasies include a male harem, and he pictures himself as a matador and a Roman slave boy. (I am not sure why being a slave would be a fantasy, unless, the prostitute's master was asking the slave to do something pleasurable for himself: the slave. (I would like to disclose, I haven't actually seen the movie, Pink Narcissus.


  • January 18, 1884: a passenger steamer called The City of Columbus shipwrecked on Devil's Bridge off the island of Martha's Vineyard, MA.
  • Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod, goodle book. (Written in 1865) -A classic book inspired by a remarkable place.
  • Cape Cod, by Henry David Thoreau: in two volumes
  • Thoreau's descriptions of nature and the people inhabiting this difficult place
  • Thoreau writes about The Highland Lighthouse, which was known to mariners as the Cape Cod, or Highland Light
  • The Highland Light was usually the first light seen by those approaching the entrance of Massachusetts Bay from Europe


Recovering Hearts: 4 Standish Street, Provincetown Although there are more gifts than books, there are some wonderful books tucked away in this store tucked out of the way in Provincetown.


The Human Rights Campaign, in Provincetown, is located at: 205 Commercial St. They sell beautiful gifts and keepsakes. Look for the yellow and blue icon marking this wonderful store.

Bike Trail

Cape Cod Canal map US Army Corps of Engineers Cape Cod Cana Map.


Barnstable was incorporated in 1639, making it Cape Cod's second oldest town. Take Route 6A to follow the coast along Cape Cod Bay. Barnstable proper is on Barnstable Bay. (Mill Way Road off 6A takes you to the harbor.)

Art in The Village. This link takes you to Cape Cod Art Association, a non-profit membership group. Address: 3480 Route 6A. June 26th through 27th will be Art in The Village. This will be the 8th annual Art in the Village festival, scheduled before Cape Cod's high season. After July 4th is when the bulk of tourists flock to Cape Cod. Enjoy some quality time with art without the crowds.

When you are finished gazing at art, visit the many villages that make up Barnstable: Cotuit, Marstons Mills, Osterville, and Centerville. Hyannis is along Route 28.

Cotuit has Ropes Beach, and, Riley Beach. See the Cotuit Skiffs, formerly known as the Mosquitose. Witness the age-old pastime of sail-boat racing. And bring a pic knick.