Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Town of Rainbows

Our time in Provincetown, MA (affectionately called P’Town)...

First time on solid ground in almost 7 days!  Landsickness - nothing a beer can't fix! :)

Quaint, bustling, historic, charming, lovely, diverse, a foodies paradise, picturesque, unique, open-minded, accepting, colorful, working harbor… just a few ways to describe P’Town, MA…

We had heard great things about P’Town and we were not disappointed. It’s a small town with a downtown area of about 2 blocks by 6 blocks. We grabbed a mooring ball in the harbor behind the breakwater. The harbor is full of fishing boats, power boats, and sailing vessels (many of them downright stunning).  The harbor is also home to an old whaling ship (or at least a replica), the Charles W Morgan, as well as a few schooners that are available for daily sails. What beautiful vessels, especially with full canvas flying!

Although P'Town can come across as a bit touristy at times, mostly due to the souvenir and T-shirt shops, the downtown area is also filled with amazing eateries, cute art galleries, and eccentric and interesting shops. The town is extremely dog friendly with nearly all shops provided dog treats and water bowls at their doors.

Bikes seem to be the primary mode of transportation and there are ample places to rent them at a decent rate. We talked about doing it but then opted to explore on foot instead. The town isn't that large and we were feeling a bit lazy. You can easily see the central part of P'Ltown on foot, but miss out on the surrounding beaches and nature preserves when limited to the flip-flop mode of transport.

P’Town welcomes all types of people and it was refreshing to see. As we pulled into the harbor you could see enormous gay pride flags being flown from backstays, sterns, and signal flag halyards. Around town you would see men holding hands, women holding hands, and drag queens on bicycles advertising that nights daily feature – it was wonderful and refreshing to see a town that was so welcoming, supportive, and open minded no matter who you are or who you love.  You look around and people are happy, friendly, and polite.  It was just lovely.

Just a few of the MANY flags flown in P'Town!
The Wharf - dedication to the Portuguese women who worked in the town. I love how the rest of the photo is very sepia-tone-like and then there are the colorful gay flags :)  
We walked around downtown and found a few items to add to the boat inventory. One was a non-breaking glass cutting board. This shop takes photos and paintings done by local artists, which are then printed on ceramic and glass tiles, cutting boards, and coasters. The beautiful photos are what drew us into the shop initially. When we discovered that all the products, specifically the cutting boards that we had been eyeing, were glass, we almost left the shop. We explained to the owner that we lived on our boat and that we prefer to not have glass on board. That was when she responded with “oh really” and then grabbed a cutting board and tossed it up and out about three feet in front of her. I almost had a heart attack!  Sure enough, “unbreakable”… Well, this was a game changer!  The selections were too many and we were having a hard time deciding when she mentioned that they also do custom work.  What?!?!  Oh, this just kept getting better!  In the end, we decided to support a local artist and picked up a cutting board with a wonderful painting of a dinghy at ebb tide.

We also picked up an air chair, a.k.a., a hammock chair, that for years we’ve been ogling at the Annapolis boat show. I look forward to the many afternoons and evenings that will be spent relaxing in that chair.  The only difficulty will be sharing it with J and taking turns enjoying it :) Perhaps we’ll have to find a way to rig (and then store) two of them!  Unlikely… I guess I will just have to share.

The marina was a bit of a disappointment @ $55 per night you’d think the amenities would be included   and comprehensive, such as clean bathrooms, showers, and maybe even a lounge and working wi-fi
.  Meh… The bathrooms were pretty dingy and the water for showering was metered - you had to purchase tokens, $1 per token for 4 min of water use.  There were no laundry services and wi-fi could only be used if you were sitting right outside the marina office. The fee included launch service, which really was the only plus as they were super responsive and very friendly.  If we ever stop back through, we’ll anchor off the breakwater and save the money.  A well set anchor and $6 in gas for the dinghy would have been as nice and have saved a few bucks. Live and learn. 

The town has some historic significance. The Mayflower stopped here in 1620, making their first landing, and stayed for 5 weeks in order to make repairs, before continuing on to Plymouth.  The Pilgrim Monument, able to be seen from 20 miles off shore on a clear day, commemorates the Pilgrims First Landing.  The construction of the monument began in 1907, was finished in 1910, and had cost a total of just over $91K to build.  The cornerstone was laid by President Truman, but the monument was not finished until three years later, meaning the actual dedication was made by President Taft.

Pilgrim Monument

Jason and I took a tour of the Pilgrim Monument museum and adjoining art and whale museums (it was a whaling town in the 1800’s, though whaling proved to not be as profitable as mackerel and cod fishing), and then hiked up to the top of the monument, which is the tallest all granite structure in the U.S. at 252 ft.

As you make your way up the spiral-esque (hello vertigo!) ramps and stairways, there are donated granite blocks from various states, cities, and towns. As we made our way up, we stumbled upon this – apparently we settled here in 1624 :)

The view looking up from the bottom!

The view looking down from the top! 

Hey - we know that name!! :)

The sights from the top are amazing - on a clear day you can see Boston to the NW and Cape Cod Canal to the SW.

View from the top of Pilgrim Monument.  Tango is out there in the mooring field.

We stopped in the local library to read up on the Northern right whales, their habits, identifying marks, etc. They roam the waters of the Cape Cod Bay during Spring/Summer and the bay has a Northern
Right Whale habitat sanctuary
which we are keeping all things crossed that on our way north to Maine, we may get lucky with a sighting or two!

As we strolled from the marina to downtown for some lunch we ran into Jim, Jody, and their super cute pups, Jib and Burgee from S/V Tarantella, a Taswell 43 (made by the same manufacturer as Mason sailboats, PAE).  We met them in Port Jeff and they are headed to Maine for the summer as well.  We mentioned our handy Maine/Mass cruising cheat sheet we got from George on S/V Peace and Quiet and offered to share it with them as they were trying to decide where they 
were going to head to next.  

We decided to meet up for dinner later that evening to share this great resource and get to know each other a little better.  On a local recommendation we went to a Portuguese restaurant called Napis.  Delicious food and the guys imbibed our waiters highly recommended signature drink, the “Paul-tini” – a mix of raspberry vodka, triple sec, and I can’t recall the third ingredient.  It was very tasty and extremely refreshing!  We had wonderful service, the atmosphere was cozy, the food was terrific, and we had great company.  Before we knew it we were closing the place!

Jim offered to scan the document for us so we headed back to their boat for a night cap and an opportunity for him to get it scanned. Plus, it allowed us to get a much needed puppy fix. Jib is a 16 year old West Highland Terrier and Burgee is a Scottish Terrier. Both are extremely cute and very affectionate. After some time, we said our farewells to all, gave the pups some final rubs, and agreed to meet back up in Maine.

The next day we planned to head north for an overnight sail to Boothbay Harbor, ME. We estimate it will take us approx. 30 hours to get there.  Next entry, will be from MAINE!!! YAY!!!

Gorgeous sunsets...

Goodbye P'Town!

Okay............  :)

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