We’ve started off on a morning walk on our second day in Provincetown and about a mile from town. We come across an inn at the top of a hill so striking we have to stop for a look. Land’s End Inn (www.landsend.com) is not only spectacular with amazing ocean views but kid friendly too with a pile of kids’ games.
“Families come here to reconnect,” says owner Michael MacIntyre. Each room is individually decorated with something to see at every turn—glassware and pottery, lamps candlesticks and the beach a few steps away.
Our goal is the beach but first we tackle the famous stone breakwater—1.2 miles of rock that was built in 1911 and crosses over Provincetown Harbor and ends at Wood Point Light House, the end of Herring Cove Beach.
We head out with other hikers, kids and pets. The rocks are relatively level though there are a few rough patches where we give each other a hand. Some stop for a swim along the way; we see kayakers . It takes an hour to get to the dunes and another 15 minutes to cross to the ocean beach Long Point at the tip of Cape Cod. . But boy is it worth it! “I do this every time I’m here,” says one passerby.
The beach is nearly deserted, save for passing fishing boats and the ferries. We stare at the surf. One friend collects pretty rocks; another takes a dip in the surf. If only we had brought a picnic. Even some water would have been nice.
But we don’t linger too long—we’d left one friend behind. It took us nearly an hour to make our way back across the breakwater and then the mile into town where we meet up at a local favorite Bubula’s by the Bay for lunch.
What a busy afternoon—the Portuguese Festival Parade is in full swing homemade ice cream at Lewis Brothers (couldn’t have a trip to the Cape without homemade ice cream!) , and then a trip into the dunes in a suburban with Art’s Dune Tours (www.artsdunetours.com) that have been run by the same family since 1946. Only one road is open by special permit in this National Seashore Park and we see “Dune Shacks” –no electricity or bathrooms here—that are still occupied in summer, often by artists and writers, our good-natured driver Barb Ticehurst tells us.
The dunes stretch as far as you can see with beach grass, dark green pine trees and deep red beach plums.
Seven year-old Sam Wright and his five-year-old brother Harry have a blast running up and down the sand hill on the road when we stopped. Their Mom Kim, an English teacher, said they vacation on the cape every summer and when it rains the boys love poking around the many Provincetown Shops as well as any second-hand stores they could find.
Me too! School Secretary Alice Elstermeyer is taking a few days with her daughter Coleen at the Crowne Pointe Inn where we’re staying. “Just the two of us,” she said. “We’re so busy we hardly have time to talk.” She loves P Town, she continues, because there is always something to do and the Inn because “they really go out of their way for you here.”
We think so too. We laugh and talk and drink a lot of wine at dinner.
Our last morning, we climb to the top of the Pilgrim Monument for a view of where we’ve been- the breakwater, whale watching, the beach. There’s so much more to do and we’ve got to leave!