Photo Postcards: Provincetown, Massachusetts

Provincetown From Up Above
Who knew? In grade school, I learned that the Pilgrims first stepped ashore in the New World in what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. Not so. They came ashore first in Provincetown, as seen here from the landing platform of The Pilgrim Monument. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

This week, I am in Boston, attending the Cruise Canada New England 2013 Symposium. The event attracts professionals — port/destination representatives, cruise line executives, service providers and others — involved with cruises that sail from New York to Montreal. Their collective goal: to create even more enriching experiences than the already rich experiences that are offered in this popular cruising region.

Before the event, I joined three other journalists to explore destinations within easy reach of Boston. These destinations are eager to attract more cruise vessels than they currently welcome. Our first stop was Provincetown, about 90 minutes by boat (a scenic voyage as well as a beautiful departure and approach) from Boston’s Seaport.

As someone who had never heard of Provincetown, I was extremely impressed. Along with my colleagues I learned that the Pilgrims who left on the Mayflower from Leiden, in the Netherlands, first stepped ashore in Provincetown in December of 1620 — and not as I had learned in grade school, Plymouth, where they did eventually did settle months later.

We visited museums and monuments commemorating the Pilgrim’s landing in Provincetown, and we had free time to explore the exceptionally charming town center. The highlight of our stay was a four-wheel drive on the sand dunes that ended with a bonfire and clambake on the beach.

Is Provincetown a destination that cruise passengers would enjoy? Absolutely. But don’t take my word for it. Check out the photo slideshow to see if you can find your own inspiration for visiting this beautiful part of the Cape Cod coast — and then start asking your favorite cruise seller: Why aren’t more ships dropping anchor in the historic Provincetown harbor?

Boston to Provincetown

Boston to Provincetown

Bay State Cruise Company operates fast ferries between the Boston Seaport and the Provincetown waterfront daily in season. Adult one-way fares are $53 for the 90-minute (sometimes longer) scenic trip. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Our Host

Our Host

Rex McKinsey, Provincetown Harbor Master, intended to sail around the world from New Orleans but dropped anchor for good in Provincetown. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline

The city of Boston in our wake as we set sail for Provincetown. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Scenic Cruise

Scenic Cruise

The 90-minute transit between Boston and Provincetown is scenic, with lighthouses and even occasional whale-spotting. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor

Provincetown's protected harbor provides shelter from exposure to the sometimes treacherous coast along Cape Cod. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Shape of the Cape

Shape of the Cape

Provincetown harbor master Rex McKinsey flexes his arm to illustrate the shape of Cape Cod. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Approaching Provincetown

Approaching Provincetown

After 90 minutes, the Provincetown waterfront comes into view. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

The Pilgrim Monument

The Pilgrim Monument

The Pilgrim Monument, designed by Willard T. Sears after the Torre del Mangia in Siena, Italy, was built between 1907–1910. The monument was built to commemorate the first landfall of the Pilgrims in 1620 and the signing in Provincetown Harbor of the Mayflower Compact. This 252-foot-tall (76.8 m) campanile is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States, and is part of the Provincetown Historic District. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Provincetown From Up Above

Provincetown From Up Above

Provincetown seen from the landing platform of The Pilgrim Monument. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Provincetown from The Pilgrim Monument

Provincetown from The Pilgrim Monument

Provincetown seen from the landing platform of The Pilgrim Monument. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

The Pilgrims Stepped Ashore Here First

The Pilgrims Stepped Ashore Here First

In 1620, after a long sea journey, the Pilgrims dropped anchor and stepped ashore in what is now Provincetown. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

A New, Democratic Society

A New, Democratic Society

The Pilgrims resolved not to set foot on land until the Mayflower Compact was written and signed. The document represented the first instance of a democratic society in the New World. The Pilgrims agreed to settle and build a self-governing community, and then came ashore in the West End. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Leaving Leiden, the Netherlands

Leaving Leiden, the Netherlands

The Pilgrims were religious refugees who had fled England to Amsterdam in 1608 and moved to Leiden the next year. They lived and worked in Leiden for about 12 to 20 years. In 1620, their emigration to Cape Cod and the New World began. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Provincetown Pedicab Tours

Provincetown Pedicab Tours

Enjoying a tour of Provincetown by pedal. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Provincetown, Lush With Lobster

Provincetown, Lush With Lobster

Provincetown's most popular dish may just be lobster. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Lobster Rolls

Lobster Rolls

Provincetown's population is 3,000 but swells to 60,000 during summers. That's a lot of lobster rolls. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Charming Cafés & Restaurants

Charming Cafés & Restaurants

Some of the colorful buildings in Provincetown reminded me of Caribbean destinations such as St. Bart's. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Fisherman's Village

Fisherman's Village

Following the American Revolution, Provincetown grew rapidly as a fishing and whaling center. The population was bolstered by a number of Portuguese sailors, many of whom were from the Azores and came to live in Provincetown after being hired to work on US ships. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Blowin' in the Wind

Blowin' in the Wind

Dunes are stabilized by vegetation, but poor land-clearing and agricultural practices over the last three centuries destroyed much dune vegetation, thus letting wind reach the sands. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Dune Tours

Dune Tours

Rob Costa runs Art's Dune Tours and remembers sliding down the dunes as a child. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Creative Isolation

Creative Isolation

Artists, writers, and playwrights lived mostly in isolation from each other during the warmer months. Today, a local non-profit, Peaked Hill Trust, manages the shacks for CCNSP and offers week-long stays at affordable rates in a lottery system. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Dune Shacks

Dune Shacks

The dune shacks were where famous artists and writers like Eugene O'Neill and Harry Kemp lived and were creatively inspired. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Big & Comfy

Big & Comfy

Art's Dune Tours has operated since 1946 and has evolved into using modern SUVs today. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

First, There Was Ford

First, There Was Ford

Art Costa started Art's Dune Tours with a 1936 Ford Woody. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Provincetown Dunes

Provincetown Dunes

During the 19th century the only human dwellers in the dunes were transient campers from Provincetown who fished and hunted there seasonally, the lighthouse keepers and their families, and the hardy men who manned the Life Saving Stations and patrolled the beaches for shipwrecked sailors. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Life-Saving Station

Life-Saving Station

We saw the remains of the Peaked Hill Life Saving Station and learned how heroic life savers saved the lives of thousands from doomed shipwrecks. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Perfect Storms

Perfect Storms

A beautiful evening sky forebodes a storm. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Beach Bonfire

Beach Bonfire

A bonfire sets the tone for an evening on the beach with Art's Dune Tours. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

Clambake on the beach

Clambake on the beach

Our expedition with Art's Dune Tours ended with a clambake on the beach. © 2013 Ralph Grizzle

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