Restaurants in Provincetown come and go, but a few favorites like the Red Inn situated on the waterfront on the far West End of town, have stayed in operation for close to a century. The above vintage postcard shows what the Inn looked like after renovations in 1915 when owner Mary Wilkinson opened her house as “The Red Inn”. Originally the house was built by ship’s captain Freeman Atkins for his wife Emily. The names “Freeman” and “Atkins” are names you’ll see associated with some of the narrow streets in this unique town on the tip of Cape Cod. One road, that figures into the soon-to-be released novel Remaining in Provincetown is called Atkins Mayo Road.
One of the small private dining rooms inside the Red Inn is named after Ada Raynor, wife of Henry Hensche. Hensche was the founder of the Cape School of Art in 1930 after the death of Charles Webster Hawthorne, who founded the Cape Cod School of Art.. Art Schools and artist continued to frequent the Outer Cape. in 2010 former students of Hensche: John Clayton, John Ebersberger, Cedric Egeli, Rob Longley, and Hilda Neily, founded the Cape School of Art in Provincetown, in an effort to pass along Henry Hensche’s teachings.
The Red Inn has always been a gathering place for visiting celebrities and was one of the shot locations in a 1987 Norman Mailer movie, that although a flop at the box office, attracted Isabella Rosselini, Ryan O’Neill and Farrah Fawcett among others.
The ownership has changed through the years, but having dined there recently I can attest to the high quality of what is served. The menu features local seafood, and local produce creatively prepared and well presented. Plus there is that fabulous view to enjoy, looking towards Long Point Lighthouse. It’s the perfect setting for a mystery novel.