Best Provincetown Books for Summer Reading

Reading some books about Provincetown will get you in the mood for your visit.

Reading some books about Provincetown will get you in the mood for your visit.

Whether you are visiting Provincetown for the very first time or returning to Cape Cod for your annual summer visit, there is nothing like reading a few good books to get you in the mood. Here are some favorites!

Time and the Town by Mary Heaton Vorse

Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966) arrived in Provincetown in 1907. The book was published in 1942 and it is the last of the sixteen books that she wrote. An activist in the American labor movement and a roving foreign correspondent, she was a woman ahead of her time. Her book is a story of the town and its people, rich with history and interesting antidotes. Her story is both a memoir and a social commentary, with lovely descriptions of the way the town once was years ago. y If you have an interest in Cape Cod, Provincetown history, and women writers, don’t miss out on reading this classic.  A reprinted version published by the Rutgers University Press and listed under editor Adele Heller is available online  in paperback. Earlier collectible versions are available from antiquarian book dealers.

The Outermost House: A Year on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

By Henry Beston

Published in 1928 this beloved book that puts the focus on nature, is now available in paperback , and  chronicles a year spent on the Cape Cod Beach , now known as the Coast Guard Beach in Easton. Beston describes the desolate beauty of life living on the sand dunes. You are transported.  Available in paperback, hardback, and a kindle version as well as an audio version, it could be the perfect book to listen to as you drive towards the tip of Cape Cod.

Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook

A perfect beach read, this recently released mystery novel set in the early 1990s, takes you inside the minds of a diverse set of characters whose lives intersect when one of the town’s leading citizens, a real estate entrepreneur and native son, is murdered. “Described Provincetown to a T” says one of the Amazon customer reviews. “Finally an author has been able to successfully capture the flavor of that quirky town on the end of Cape Cod and do it well,” says another reader review.  Available in trade paperback in bookstores, online, and as a kindle version.

Ptown Poem

Provincetown’s first Italian restaurant a gay love story

Cesco's Italian Restaurant  opened in 1916

Cesco’s Italian Restaurant
opened in 1916

Going up Bradford Street in Provincetown, just beyond the Milldred Greenfelter East End Playground on the corner of Howland Street, there used to be a very popular Italian Restaurant. Called Cesco’s, as you can see above, it had its own postcard printed, the name comes from an abbreviated version of its chef and owner Francesco “Cesco” Ronga,  known fondly as the “Spaghetti King of Cape Cod.” Francesco met and fell in love with artist Fred Marvin, the half brother of Mary Heaton Vorse,  in Naples and followed Fred to Provincetown. The two men were devoted to one another for 50 years. Located in an extension of their home, the restaurant drew clientele from all over New England and was in operation from approximately 1916 to 1934. One of the characters, Frank Chambers, in the new murder mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown, has his own restaurant, “The Indigo Inn. ” Creating new recipes for Frank is a passion, almost an obsession. Want to read more about Frank and the other characters in the new novel everyone’s talking about. Pick up a copy, now available online and a bookstores including Like us on Facebook.

Writing about the nature of Provincetown, Cape Cod

New state road

Once the dunes were covered with forests,” writes Mary Heaton Vorse (1874-1966) in her classic book about Provincetown entitled, Time and the Town, The early settlers cut them down and made their houses and vessels of them The old houses in Provincetown are made from timber cut here.”

Vorse first came to Provincetown in 1907 for a short vacation, ended up buying a house and staying on and off Cape Cod for the rest of her life.  She writes eloquently about many things including the sand dunes. “The dune walks. A great wind will lift them bodily.  A vast crater will appear where last year there was one. The wind piles up a mountain of sand and things may begin to grow upon its top. Then the mountain will be again leveled off. There is space here. There is an expanse that gives the illusion that the other side of the dunes is a great way off, as one feels in the West, looking over a great mesa.”  Time and the Town was published in 1942.

Provincetown has continued to attract and inspire writers.   What are the mysterious dynamics of the town? Intrigued to read more? Check out Remaining in Provincetown, the new mystery novel now available at in trade paperback or on kindle. Like the Remaining in Provincetown Facebook page and keep the conversation going.