Boston boat to Provincetown a vacation experience

Steamer dockingThe above postcard was mailed in 1912, over 100 years ago, and shows the steamship the Dorothy May Bradford, pulling up to the dock in Provincetown harbor on the tip of Cape Cod. At the begiinning of the 20th century, taking what was referred to as the “Boston Boat” was the most efficient way to get from Boston to Provincetown and from Provincetown to Boston during the summer months. Back in those days the journey took a good half of the day, but today the Provincetown Fast Ferry makes the trip back and forth two and three times a day in 90 minutes.  While the Dorothy Bradford was named after one of the first Pilgrim travelers who traveled across the ocean on the Mayflower and then drowned in Provincetown Harbor after she slipped and fell off the boat, the newest Provincetown Fast Ferry Salacia, is named after the Neptune’s wife and goddess of the sea. Salacia’s name, derived from the  Latin word for salt, was thought to personify the calm and expansiveness of the sea. A beautiful sea nymph who bore three sons with Neptune, including Triton, she is usually personified in sculptures as having a crown of seaweed and driving alongside Neptune in a shell chariot drawn by dolphins.  Certainly the sleek and fast Salacia looks quite different in contour and shape from the more stalwart Dorothy Bradford. But different time periods in history call for different experiences. If you like postcards, you may want to enter the Boston Harbor Cruise “Design Your Own Postcard Contest” 
If reading a book during your vacation is more your idea of fun while relaxing on the beach, pick up a copy of Remaining in Provincetown, the new murder mystery everyone’s talking about. Now available at bookstores and online in trade paperback and ebook. Buy your copy today at Amazon .com or purchase a signed copy at the Provincetown bookshop while supplies last.  Like us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

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

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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.

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

Vintage Cape Cod postcard circa 1930

Vintage Cape Cod postcard circa 1930

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 Bookshop has autographed copies of new book

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Visiting Cape Cod this weekend? The weather may be a bit overcast but that makes it a great day for shopping and curling up with a good book. Just arrived are author signed copies of the new novel, a mystery, Remaining in Provincetown by S.N. Cook. Buy them while they last at the Provincetown Bookshop on Commercial Street across from the Crown and Anchor where all the music is playing!

Provincetown Gay Party Central, Crown & Anchor history

Now called The Crown & Anchor, the New Central Hotel was a popular Provincetown Inn in the 19th century

Now called The Crown & Anchor, the New Central House was a popular Provincetown Inn in the 19th century and  today is a  “happening place”.

The handsome waterfront Provincetown Inn located in the center of Provincetown on Commercial Street has gone by many names. In the antique postcard shown above it is called “New Central House”. Said to have been built in 1836 as the Central Hotel by 1868 it was considered the largest hotel at the tip of Cape Cod, with 75 guest rooms.  A private beach with cabanas and long porches with rocking chairs for guests to sit out and look at the water, made this Inn a successful business that kept expanding through its many incarnations. Its been called: Ocean House, Central House, New Central House, Towne House, the Sea Horse Inn. and the Crown & Anchor as it is known today.  At the end of the 19th century it catered to prosperous guests by providing a  billiard hall, smoking rooms, gentleman’s parlor, and ladies’ reading room for a mixed clientele of families and primarily straight travelers. But as the town evolved into a mecca for gay travelers, it gradually evolved into a thriving complex of bars and restaurants that cater to gay and lesbian patrons of varying tastes.   Although the Crown & Anchor was burned to the ground in 1998 when adjacent Whaler’s Wharf burned as well, it was faithfully rebuilt in its previous architectural style. The leather bar is known as The Vault and the restaurant Central House at the Crown pays tribute to its earlier years by using the earlier name of the hotel. while  the Paramount Nightclub, Piano Bar, Wave Video Bar and more make certain there is always a party going on somewhere.   Places to have a good time are an important aspect of life in Provincetown, whether you are a tourist or a resident, and in the new mystery novel Remaining in Provincetown a popular hang-out is the fictitious “Cowboy Club”. Want to learn more about what goes on there? You’ll have to read the book now available at Amazon.com and as an ebook on Kindle. Like our Facebook page and you may win a FREE copy.

Provincetown ferry to Boston living history

The Steamer Dorothy Bradford arriving in Provincetown in 1911

The Steamer Dorothy Bradford arriving in Provincetown in 1911

The “Boston Boat” has been a fixture in Provincetown culture since the first ferry boat connected the city of Boston to the furthermost tip of Cape Cod in 1883. The first boat was named The Longfellow and it was replaced in 1911 by the Dorothy Bradford shown above docking at Railroad Pier, now known as MacMillan Pier (named for the famous arctic explorer). Operated by the Cape Cod Steamship Company, the Dorothy Bradford was in service until 1937.  Today seasonal ferry service between Boston and Provincetown is provided by the Bay State Cruise Company. The Provincetown III makes it possible to get from Boston to Provincetown in just 90 minutes. The  2013 season begins on May 17th and will operate until mid October. For a lower price on Saturdays, visitors can take the Provincetown II for a lower price and a slower three hour journey. Either way, approaching Cape Cod by water provides beautiful scenery on a clear day.  And it’s the beautiful scenery and the proximity to water that has the characters in Remaining in Provincetown so committed to the town, despite its seasonal economic challenges. What is it like to live in the town when the “Boston Boat” is not running and tourists are few? You’ll have to read the book , now available at Amazon.com, to find out.

Provincetown Pilgrim Monument inspires new novel

President Theodore Roosevelt Laying the cornerstone for the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown in 1907

President Theodore Roosevelt Laying the cornerstone for the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown in 1907

President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt came to Provincetown, Massachusetts on August 20th, 1907 to lay the cornerstone for the Pilgrim Monument as shown in the above antique postcard.  It was a joyous occasion for the Cape Cod town and the Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association founded in 1892 to honor Provincetown as the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing place in 1620.  Crowds gathered and the bands played to mark the start of construction that was completed three years later in 1910.

While Plymouth often gets much of the glory for being the first settlement of the pilgrims, it was  in Provincetown and Truro that the Pilgrims, sailing to the New World on The Mayflower, spent five weeks before they sailed to the base of the Cape. It was in Provincetown Harbor that they drew up the Mayflower Compact, which established the basic rules of governance for their new home.

The novel everyone is talking about is about to be released.

The novel everyone is talking about has been released.

The Pilgrim Monument situated up on a hill looking out over the town, stands 252 feet in height.  The design of the all granite monument that sits 350 feet above sea level, was modeled after a classic stone monument in Italy, Torre Del Mangia in Siena. Whether you approach Provincetown by boat, car, or airplane, the Pilgrim Monument immediately grabs your attention as an important landmark.  Which is why the Pilgrim Monument is a focal point on the cover of the just released novel Remaining in Provincetown now available at Amazon.com.  If you’ve been enjoying this blog,  you’ll want to read the book.

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Provincetown Cape Cod railroad

Provincetown, Cape CodRailroad Station 1920

Provincetown, Cape Cod
Railroad Station 1920

Wouldn’t it be nice to take a train to Provincetown? The last train that provided service to Cape Cod as far as Hyannis, shut down operations in 1986.  Yet the railroad was an important mode of transportation to Provincetown businesses, residents and tourists 100 years ago.  It was by train that the fresh fish caught by Provincetown fisherman packed in ice was delivered directly to New York City and it was by train that summer tourists and weekend visitors from Boston and New Bedford could conveniently get to Cape Cod vacation resorts and beaches.

As recently as 1960, the freight train was still running all the way down to the end of Cape Cod. When you visit Provincetown and go for walks along the trails, you can walk along the old railroad track bed. The railroad ties left behind when the tracks were removed and have been put to other practical uses by local folk in gardens and landscaping projects, but if you close your eyes you can imagine the sounds of the train chugging through the woods.

The railroad station shown in the 1920 vintage postcard above, was located on Bradford Street in the center of town between Alden and Standish Streets.  It opened in 1873 and shut down in 1938. Initially operating as part of the Old Colony Railroad, the New Haven Railroad served the community from 1893 to 1960.

These days, you can get to Provincetown by airplane, car, bus, and boat.  Sarah Carreiro (a character in Remaining in Provincetown) takes the small plane from Boston to come back to Provincetown for her husband’s funeral.  Looking down from a small plane is a great way to see the unique geography of the Outer Cape, but that’s another story.

The originial Provincetown Inn on the tipe of Cape Cod

Provincetown Inn on Cape Cod

Provincetown Inn on Cape Cod

Looking out across Cape Cod Bay, the Provincetown Inn was built back in 1925 and initially had 28 guest rooms. Shown in this vintage postcard, it is located at the very end of town near the Breakwater and today looks quite different than it did  at the start of the 20th century. Purchased by Chester Peck in 1935, in the 1950s a beach was “created” using sand from the nearby dune and four additional acres (according to the Inn’s website) were created. Hmm that is not something that would be allowed today, with concerns about retaining existing coastline and drainage, but the result was a spacious resort with night club, three dining rooms, gift shop, barber and beauty shops and more. Thirty-two more rooms were also added. In 1972 the inn was sold to investors and in 1977 was sold to the Evans family.  During the mid 1970s  Marvin Hagler started coming to Provinetown to  train at the Provincetown Inn and jogged across the sand dunes to get into shape.  He set up his very own ring by the indoor swimming pool. Hagler was world middleweight boxing champion from 1980-1987.

While the indoor swimming pool is no more as the Inn has continued to be refurbished through the years one thing that does remain are the hand-painted murals that were painted by Don Aikens that were inspired by old photographs, postcards, and paintings showing how the town looked in the late 19th century.  It’s a favorite spot for the Carreiro family children to visit (the Carreiro’s being a fictitious family in the novel Remaining in Provincetown).  They’ve got a lot on their minds with their father being murdered. Will they catch who did it? Stay tuned for more information and more vintage pictures.

Provincetown Cape Cod once had a Peter Hunt Lane

Peter Hunt Lane, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Peter Hunt Lane, Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

The caption on this vintage postcard says “Peter Hunt Lane”. The east end street today goes by a different name– Kiley Court, home of Ciro & Sal’s Restaurant and various art galleries. But once upon a time this real estate was frequented by the multi-talented Peter Hunt who could take a beat up piece of old furniture and turn it into an decorative and functional item of beauty.  His store and studio were known as “Peter Hunt’s Peasant Village.” He was inspired by Pennsylvania Dutch design motif styles, but gave his creations their own unique twist.  Hunt was a successful entrepreneur in Provincetown, Massachusetts during the 1930s and 40s and developed a following of collectors and imitators. By 1960 he had sold his Provincetown real estate and moved his studio and business Up Cape to Orleans where he opened Peacock Alley. Peter Hunt products with his original signature are valuable collectors items but when he died in 1967, his style of decorating had fallen out of favor.  The novel Remaining in Provincetown takes place in approximately 1990 and Guest House owner Bruno does have one of his rooms, “The Yellow Room” decorated in the Peter Hunt style, because just a few decades after Hunts death, antique and design buffs recognized the significance of his artistry and Bruno is a character who appreciates the finer things in life.