Blessing of the Fleet a Provincetown Tradition

Ptown4The Blessing of the Fleet in Provincetown, that takes place each year on the last Sunday in June, is a tradition that originated in Mediterranean fishing communities. With its large Portuguese community of fishermen who were the economic backbone of the community during the late 19th and 20th century, it”s surprising that it wasn’t”t until 1948 that the. Blessing of the Fleet tradition was brought to Provincetown. A Catholic mass and the blessing of a priest to ask God for a safe fishing season and a bountiful one is further celebrated with a parade, performances, games, and festivities, After the boats are blessed from the end of Macmillan wharf, where they line up bedecked with banners and flags, the fishermen and families celebrate with a picnic lunch on their vessel and a trip to Long Point, often going for a swim on a hot day and perhaps enjoying quite a bit of beer and wine.
While the Blessing of the Fleet is now combined with the four day Portuguese Festival, in earlier times the festivities was more focused to serve the community of fishermen and their friends and families, In the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown, a pivotal event takes place in Sarah Carreiro”s life at a Blessing of the Fleet, that she reflects on as she returns to town to bury her husband who has been murdered. What happened? Read the book, currently available for sale at bookstores, including the Provincetown Bookshop and online at Amazon in trade paperback and on Kindle. Like us on Facebook. Keep the conversation going.

Fishing Boats at Provinetown, Cape Cod Mass. circa 1900

Fishing Boats at Provinetown, Cape Cod Mass. circa 1900

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Long Point Lighthouse Provincetown Fishing Colony

Longpoint

This handsome antique postcard showing Long Point Lighthouse in Provincetown Massachusetts on the tip of Cape Cod shows houses set back beyond a lighthouse keeper’s building and the lighthouse itself. If you hike across the Provincetown breakwater on the west end of town, just beyond the Provincetown Inn and hike across the sand or visit Long Point by boat, you won’t see any  such buildings. The fishing village first settled in 1818, was at its height of prosperity in 1846.  There were 200 residents and 38 houses. They used cisterns to gather water and had their own salt works for fish processing. The lighthouse itself was established in 1826 and the current tower built in 1875. Automated in 1952 and currently solar powered, it shines a fixed green signal and blasts out a fog alert every 15 seconds.
So what happened to the village of Long Point and all those houses?  Most of them were floated across the bay during low tide on barrels and repositioned in Provincetown. Ceramic blue and white plaques identify some of the houses in town that were floated across the bay from Long Point.
There are many interesting stories about the town and if you were born in the town or have lived and worked in Provincetown for a number of years you learn thiings.. Curious to learn more? Read Remaining in Provincetown, the new mystery novel just released and available at bookstores, including the Provincetown Bookshop, and online in trade paperback and as an ebook at Amazon. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

Provincetown’s Town Hall vintage postcard pre Meat Rack

Meat RackThe scene in the above antique postcard shows the center of Provincetown, Cape Cod, and its Town Hall. Notice there are no benches in front of Town Hall. They were added mid 20th century. Those benches have become known as the “Meat Rack” for two reasons. During the daytime it’s a place to watch everyone walking by and check out who is in town. At night, particularly after the bars close,  it’ a meet-up spot for singles, particularly gay men looking to run into an old friend or meet someone new.   In the recently released mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown, with all -the clandestine meetings between the Publisher/Editor of the weekly newspaper and the Town Manager–there’s a fair amount of action that takes place near and around Town Hall.

Also notable in this photograph is the view of the Congregational Church, as it originally appeared before it became a movie theater (the old Art Cinema) and then shops, a sidewalk cafe, bakery, and restaurant — during the 20th century. Want to read a book that “captures the town to a T” ? Pick up a copy of Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook available at  bookstores including The Provincetown Bookshop and online in trade paperback and on kindle. Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

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Remaining in Provincetown  By S.N.Cook.  Truro Works. 306 pages  $12.95 Trade Paperback

Remaining in Provincetown
By S.N.Cook.
Truro Works. 306 pages
$12.95 Trade Paperback

Vintage Cape Cod postcard circa 1930

Vintage Cape Cod postcard circa 1930

Provincetown Cape Cod Vacation Season

Board of Trade Building Provincetown, Cape Cod

Board of Trade Building
Provincetown, Cape Cod

Like our facebook fan page and you may be selected to receive a FREE advance cppy!

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Beautiful beaches, a monument to climb, numerous art galleries and shops to visit, all make Provincetown the gem of Cape Cod. Shown above in this antique postcard is the Board of Trade Building, founded in 1899, which became incorporated a the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce in 1957. If you arrive by Boat, it should be the first place you stop, located at the base of MacMillan Pier, for tourist information. The Mission of the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce  “This organization shall encourage and promote the civic, commercial, and social betterment of the Town of Provincetown for residents and visitors.”

Providing visitor information that focuses on the GLBT  tourism (Gay, Lesbian, bisexual and transgender) is the Provincetown Business Guild located downtown at 3 Freeman Street.  The Provincetown Business Guild sponsors the famous Carnival week of events, that started back in 1978.

There’s a lot of do for visitors, whatever your sexual orientation. Provincetown has always been a town where you can be yourself. Ever wonder what the town is like in the off season when all the tourists have gone home? Read the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook, sold at stores and online at  the Provincetown Bookshop and at Amazon in trade paperback on kindle. Like us on Facebook. Keep the conversation going.

Provincetown art students painting en plein air

Artists at Work, Provincetown Cape Cod

Artists at Work, Provincetown Cape Cod

Painting in the open air, (en plein air in French), has been a favorite practice of artists in Provincetown, Massachusetts since Charles Hawthorne (1872- 1930) founded the  Cape Cod School of Art in 1899. Given Provincetown’s waterfront setting, one might assume that Hawthorne’s students always set up their box easels on the beach.  The sun’s reflection on the water, and the light and shadows on the sand, were perfect starting points to practice the concepts of Impressionism, which put an important emphasis on capturing on canvas, the artist’s impression of how light changes throughout the day. . Not true, as shown in this antique postcard published by H.A. Dickerman & Son, Taunton, Massachusetts in approximately 1900.  The students, primarily female, are painting a portrait of the model positioned in the right, dressed in a while summer frock and hat with a long braid. Student artists often used local citizens as their models.

The availability of paints in tubes made painting en plein air, so much easier when compared to the practice of grinding and mixing pigment powders with linseed oil.  Notice in the photograph that the boxes to hold paints and contain a palette, also made transporting equipment for painting outside so much easier.  Artists came from all over the world. and still do, to live and work in what was originally a fishing village.

Creating art is important to Annie Tinker, a sculptor who first came to Provincetown as a student at the Fine Arts Work Center. One of the characters in the recently released novel, Remaining in Provincetown by S. N. Cook.  She’s married to Beau Costa, the former business partner of Sonny Carreiro who has been murdered. Could Beau be a suspect?  Haven’t read the book yet? Signed copies are available at the Provincetown Bookshop downtown on Commercial Street or you can buy a trade paperback or ebook online at a variety of sites including Amazon.  Visit our Facebook page , like us and join the conversation.

Provincetown Lighthouse at Wood End

Wood End Lighthouse Provincetown, Cape Cod By Moonlight

Wood End Lighthouse
Provincetown, Cape Cod
By Moonlight

     These two antique postcards show Wood End Lighthouse in Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod by night and by day.  Completed in 1872, joining nearby Long Point lighthouse and Race Point  Lighthouse., which were both established in  1826.   Before the  30 foot tall brick tower was erected, there was a  pyramidal beacon established in its location in 1864. The new lighthouse put into service in 1872 had a Fresnel lens that flashed every 15 seconds along with an adjacent light keepers dwelling. Congress had appropriated $25,000 in the 1872 federal budget for Wood End lighthouse to help stem the number of ships being wrecked off the  furthermost tip of Cape Cod.

     Not accessible by any road, one way to visit the Wood End  Lighthouse is to walk across the breakwater by the Provincetown Inn. This past October the Cape Cod chapter of the Lighthouse Foundation, repainted the handsome antique lighthouse which was automated in 1961 and was converted to solar power in 1981.

     Despite the establishment of three lighthouses on the tip of Cape Cod, ships still were wrecked on the sand bars near Provincetown. In 1872 a life saving station was set up at Race Point and another one added at Wood End  in 1896. If you have read the book Remaining in Provincetown, you might remember that postcard collector Sonny Carreiro was particularly interested in antique postcards related to the Lifesaving stations. Haven’t read the book? It’s available at the Provincetown Bookshop and online at Amazon and other booksellers in trade paperback and as an ebook.  Like us on Facebook and become part of the conversation about this new mystery novel where Provincetown plays the starring role.

Antique Postcard of Wood End Lighthouse in Provincetown, Massachusetts

Antique Postcard of Wood End Lighthouse in Provincetown, Massachusetts

New Provincetown Book inspired by Town Crier history

Provinetown, Cape Cod vintage postcard

Provinetown, Cape Cod vintage postcard

A rare antique postcard shows two of Provincetown’s early 20th century Town Criers together in one photograph: George W. Ready and Walter T. Smith. George Washington Ready wore regular street clothes while practicing his profession, clothes that gradually became more old and dilapidated as he advanced in age.  He was known to have a remarkable vocabulary, but in his official capacity as Town Crier, restricted his language to what he was contracted to recite.

Walter T. Smith, known as “Hoppy” Smith served as the Provincetown Town Crier for 27 years and at age 78 resigned his post due to lameness in 1927.   (Perhaps he walked with a hopping gait and thereby the nickname?) The July 16, 1927 Farmers Advocate newspaper published in their weekly issue that “he is believed to be the last Town Crier in the country”  But of course her was not the last Town Crier, because Amos Kubik went on to succeed him, as documented in a 1938 Provincetown Advocate article about Kubik making a trip from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Washington D.C.  to perform at the National Folk Festival on the Mall.

In the 1980s Gene Poyant went on to revive the Town Crier Tradition on Cape Cod and now the calling of being a Town Crier has been revived in many cities globally. There is a World Invitational Town Crier Championship from August lst to August 5, 2013 in Kingston Ontario.

And while Provincetown doesn’t currently have a Town Crier it might have been an inspiration for the name of a local magazine because freedom of the press and breaking up the monopoly of one small town newspaper is a big issue with the characters in the new Provincetown book Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook.   Antique postcards are also important in the story. Native son Sonny Carreiro is an obsessive collector.  Haven’t read the book yet? Signed copies are for sale at the Provincetown Bookshop and copies are also available online  in trade paperback and on kindle.  Find out what people are talking about on our Facebook page.

Like our facebook fan page and you may be selected to receive a FREE advance cppy!

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Remaining in Provincetown  By S.N.Cook.  Truro Works. 306 pages  $12.95 Trade Paperback

Remaining in Provincetown
By S.N.Cook.
Truro Works. 306 pages
$12.95 Trade Paperback