In My Footsteps
Trip 21: Provincetown, Mass.
February 9, 2010
It’s the end of the line as far as Cape Cod goes. The farthest north you can go before reaching the ocean; Provincetown may be the last stop on Route 6 but it should be one of the first on your visit to the Cape. It is a small town filled with culture, art, and a lot of fishing history.
|MacMillan Wharf from the Pilgrim Monument|
|Wood End Light|
Located at the tip of Long Point is the Long Point Light Station. Built in 1875 this light is similar in appearance to Wood End Light. A settlement was begun on that location in 1818, reaching its peak at about 200 people. The light station was established shortly thereafter. Some of the houses which once sat on Long Point were floated across the harbor to Provincetown’s West End and are marked by plaques. The light is also accessible via the breakwater you use to reach Wood End Light but it is wise to go at low tide to visit either or both of these lighthouses.
|Race Point Light|
The light itself is worth the trip with a spectacular view of Race Point where the waves crash on shore seemingly from all directions as it is where the Cape’s land bends. From May through October the lighthouse keeper’s house as well as the beautifully renovated brick Whistle House are available for rent by day or week. It is a peek into how life must have been for the light keepers back at the turn of the 20th Century.
Race Point Beach has its own share of history as it houses the Old Harbor Life Saving Station. Built in 1897 it was originally located at the Chatham Harbor entrance to Nauset Beach but was moved in 1977 due to the constant threat of beach erosion. It sits in a small dune valley just off of the parking lot. A Coast Guard station sits at the far end of the parking lot and there is an intermittent buzz from planes at the nearby Provincetown Airport as they land and take off. Race Point is actually one of the few spots on the Cape that is actually benefiting from coastal erosion as the sand from the south is being deposited in this area making for a very large sandy beach.
|Old Harbor Life Saving Station|
It was the first landing spot of the Pilgrims. Provincetown holds major significance in the history of not only the fishing industry. It also was where some major artists came to garner inspiration. People like painter Jackson Pollock, writer Norman Mailer, and composer Cole Porter, at one point plied their crafts in Provincetown. Perhaps you will find your own inspiration among the beauty and history of this area. Even if you don’t, a trip up along the ‘arm’ of Cape Cod to Provincetown will be a trip talked about for a long time. Have fun and happy traveling!
Directions: Provincetown Harbor: From Rt. 6 east, turn right onto Conwell St. Bear left onto Cemetery Rd. Turn left at Standish Street and continue onto Lopes Square. From here Wood End and Long Point Light are accessible at low tide.
Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum: From Rt. 6 east turn left at Shank Painter Rd. and take a sharp left at Jerome Smith Rd. Take the 3rd right onto Winslow St. and the 3rd left onto High Pole Rd. which is where the monument and museum are.
Race Point Light: Herring Cove Beach: Take Rt. 6 east and turn right onto Province Lands Rd. The light is visible from the parking lot. Race Point Beach: From Rt. 6 east turn right onto Race Point Rd. and follow it to the parking lot. The lighthouse is west from the lot and is not immediately visible.
References: Race Point Light