Tuesday, October 29, 2013

PTown Halloween 2013

Official SpookyBear events run Thursday through Sunday.
Each year Provincetown's SpookyBear event gets bigger and bigger, with more bears in attendance and more activities, too. It is presented by The Northeast Ursamen, a non-political, gay fraternal organization that exists to provide bears and their admirers with opportunities to meet and enjoy time together in a variety of safe and fun social events. The group was founded by a couple of dozen men in the Hartford/Springfield area in October of 1992, making it one of the longest-running Bears clubs in the country.
There are many events and parties, with prizes for costumes, of course. Click the link above to see a fun video about the superheroes and villains seen above, and a complete schedule of events ranging from Tea Dances and parties to the screening of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show (free, everyone invited) at the Crown & Anchor Cabaret Friday night at 8 PM, to the Farewell Breakfast Buffet on Sunday.  It's always great to have the Bears in town.

PBG website offers huge list of events.
Click this link to Halloween in Provincetown, 2013 to visit the Provincetown Business Guild page presenting a comprehensive list of events and attractions found in Provincetown this Halloween season.
One of this year's highlights will be the return of the biennial "Hell Town on Winthrop" tonight, Oct 29th, from 7:30 PM to 10 PM. Their blurb on the PBG site promises "blood-curdling screams, howls from hell and bone-chilling cries for help. Take a stroll down Winthrop Street if you dare and experience for yourself that FEAR IS REALITY.  Ghosts and ghouls and twisted souls are waiting for you behind every fence and every corner and maybe even up in the trees.  Beware and keep your eyes open, your senses about you, and hold tight to your friends…one misguided step, one quick  turn of your gaze and you may be dragged down to the underworld.  Enter at your risk and exit if the demons allow it. Not for the faint of heart."
A suggested donation of $5 benefits the Soup Kitchen in Provincetown, but all are welcome. Presented by Richard Conley, The Watership Inn, Bayberry Accommodations & The White Wind Inn. For further information please call 508-487-0094.

Annual Ghost Town attraction runs Thursday - Sunday.

Click this link to read the story of the fictional 1736 village of Provincetown, featured in the 5th Annual  Ghost Town indoor haunted attraction, found at the Aquarium, 209 Commercial Street. This entertaining website offers information and tickets, as well as a spooky video.

You'll be warned to "prepare yourself for a frightful journey through condemned buildings, pirate ruins and scary grave-sites as you encounter terrifying creatures of the living dead. Keep your wits about you as you wind your way through areas of death, decay and doom trying to find your ultimate escape." For more information call 508-487-9601.

Beaux Arts Ball promises a spectacular costumed event with guest Taylor Dayne

The Beaux Arts Ball is a spectacular party and dance to be held at Town Hall on Saturday, November 2nd, with revelers expected to show up in full costume. This event was a long-running PTown tradition from 1915 until the 1950s, and was revived in 2011. This year's special guest Taylor Dayne will perform, and VIP ticket holders will get a chance to meet her, along with enjoying many other perks offered to those who buy the upgraded ticket for this fundraising costume ball. Proceeds will benefit Town Hall, Provincetown International Film Festival and Helping Our Women. Visit the Beaux Arts Ball website for info and tickets.
There's something for everyone this Halloween, and simply being on the streets and watching all the costumed revelers each night is always great fun. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

PTown's Recent Spate of Very High Tides Makes Breakwater Walk a Bit Tricky

A cormorant bobs on an exceptionally high tide at the West End Breakwater.
Unusually deep tides have edged higher and higher along the length of the West End Breakwater recently. Over the last several weeks I've seen the tide rise well above the average high tide mark on many, many days. Part of the reason may well be because of the full moon, and I don't pretend to know how all that moon and tide stuff works, but we had tides of ten-and-a-half feet during the last full moon and during the time of the very slightest sliver, so it isn't all about the phases of the moon. Tides have risen above 11 feet several times recently.
Last week, amongst a group of people, I wondered out loud if these seemingly higher tides could have some relation to the melting polar ice caps. A murmur of assent spread through a good bit of the crowd as many people nodded and began conversations with those around them, with one marked exception: a man who quietly turned slightly red in the face as his jaw clenched and he began aggressively shaking his head from side to side, conveying an angry but silent "No way, you idiots" message to the rest of us. His wife turned her head up and away from the crowd, looking over her shoulder as though there were suddenly something compelling to watch going on behind her. It was plain that she knew better than to have an opinion on this topic.
Why are these folks who insist there is no such thing as "climate change" so angry? They can't all have stocks in the oil companies and auto industry, can they? I nearly ended up in a fistfight with my sister a few years ago, before she retired from her lofty position in the accounting department of the Porsche automobile company, when I innocently muttered something about the world being better off if we all drove cars that got better gas mileage. It was strictly the company line coming out of her mouth as she went off like a rocket about global warming being the most vile and insidious lie ever perpetrated on the American people. Some folks still cling tenaciously to the opinion that it doesn't matter one iota how much energy we use in our quest for more and fancier "stuff."
The great blue heron is usually seen in the wetlands, in deeper water.
At any rate, the tides have been noticeably high here recently, whatever the reasons might be, with the water splashing right over the top of the breakwater a bit on windy days that bring whitecaps into the harbor, so be a little cautious when you go out for a walk to Long Point or to Wood End. And keep an eye out for the herons in the marsh to the right of the breakwater. One was found on the tidal flats just a couple of feet from the rocks at low tide the other day, which was a pretty unusual sighting.

Friday, October 25, 2013

West End Salon Bustles With Fantasia Fair

Dougie Freeman celebrates 30 years in PTown's West End
I desperately needed a haircut the other day, and couldn't wait to get to my appointment at the West End Salon to get rid of the shaggy mane I'd grown over the summer. Dougie always has a great idea about what to do with my hair, and the relaxed atmosphere and friendly chatter with the staff and other patrons is always fun, even entertaining.
I settled into my chair as the day turned a little chilly, sipping a nice cup of hot cocoa while Dougie checked on clients in various stages of their transformations, knowing that I'd walk out the door that afternoon with a whole new look as well.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the West End Salon. Whenever I'm in the shampoo room or under the drier I take a look around the walls of this room, lined with photos and autographs of famous clients Dougie has cosseted over the years. This time my gaze fell on a gorgeous young Shelley Winters, seen in some 140 films and plays over her career, just one of the famous people Dougie had worked with through the years, and he has stories about all of them.
Dougie Freeman started this unique PTown business in 1983, at 155 Commercial Street, pampering visitors and locals alike. The salon has evolved over the years and now offers a wide variety of spa treatments like massage, pedicure, salt glow treatments, Caribbean body polishing, paraffin wraps and others. Any time there's anything new in the industry,
it will soon be available at the West End salon.
While I was there a variety of clients, many of them in town for Fantasia Fair, had facials, manicures, makeup and other services, and someone stopped in to schedule a full makeover for the following day. A young woman dropped by to talk about scheduling for her entire wedding party. I had a cut, shampoo, conditioning, and Dougie suggested making my hair a shade darker and then adding a few highlights, which took about 10 or 12 years off of my appearance. At the same time, a man had brought in a photo of a style he thought would help hide the thinning of his hair, and Dougie gave him a variation that looked great, shaving a few years off of his countenance as well.
The West End Salon staff are the town's leading practitioners of body art, spray tanning and henna tattoos. I got a glitter tattoo there once, just for fun, and I got all kinds of comments on it from friends and even from strangers wondering where I had gotten it. Suffice it to say, the West End Salon is a fun place to visit, and their amazing staff will always help you to look your very best. Stop by to make an appointment for yourself, and wish them a happy 30th anniversary.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Heron Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Herons and other crane-like birds are frequent sightings in the wetlands.
Despite reaching an overnight low temperature of 32 degrees the other night, Provincetown's miraculous autumn weather has rallied again, giving us the chance to continue hikes, bike rides and nature walks in shirtsleeves.
This great blue heron was spotted in the pond along Province Lands Road. These herons seem to be here in larger numbers this year, often being found near this little lagoon, or in the rivulets of water that wind through the marsh near the breakwater. Time spent in these spots is likely to be rewarded with sightings of these stately birds and others, and this weather makes the walk a real pleasure.
It seems like I write something every week recently urging you to get out and enjoy this amazing autumn season before the cold weather sets in, but seriously, how much longer can this perfect weather last?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Brilliant Autumn Leaves Surround PTown

Autumn colors are found in every corner of Provincetown.
Scrub oaks in the dunes are turning rusty shades of red and gold, sugar maples on side streets are rosy shades of vermillion, and Virginia creeper takes on deep scarlet hues all around Provincetown. Take a stroll on the Beech Forest branch of the bike trail and see dozens of yellow and ochre shades among the green.
A walk nearly anywhere in Provincetown this autumn shows us especially bright colors this year, partly because we've had rather sparse rainfall over the last many weeks. The drier the weather at this time of the year, the more brilliant the changing colors of the foliage all around us appear. The leaves are gradually beginning to drop from the trees, so get out for a walk and enjoy this show of splendid fall colors before they disappear.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Last Call for PTown Summer Favorites

The Red Shack's hot lobster roll is crazy good.
Columbus Day and Women's Week bring the 2013 season to a close for a number of PTown businesses. This is the last hurrah for some of our 90 delis, restaurants and bakeries as they get ready to board up for the winter.
The Red Shack, on Lopes Square, will stay open through women's week this year. I was just there the other day for a hot lobster roll before they close. They make it on a big toasty roll, freshly baked each morning at the Portuguese Bakery, right around the corner. They stuff it with big chunks of lobster meat, whole claws and knuckles, with a little melted butter. Heavenly... And now that I know they're open for another week, maybe I can get there for another one before they close.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Spaghetti Supper Benefits Historic Church

Dan Lacombe is putting on his famous spaghetti supper tonight at the UU Meeting House, 236 Commercial Street, from 5:30 to 8 PM. Everyone is invited to this community dinner. It is a benefit for the Meeting House, one of the most welcoming spots in Provincetown for people of all beliefs and philosophies. If you're not familiar with this remarkable PTown landmark and gathering place, then it's certainly high time you paid a visit and became part of this community.
The poster above tells you all about this complete meal, from salad to dessert, for meat-eaters or vegetarians, and there's even a gluten-free choice while supplies last. It's a good idea to go for dinner early in the evening, before the kitchen starts running low. This is a very popular event and food could run out. You can get your dinner to go if you can't stay and spend some time enjoying the wide cross-section of the community that will come for dinner at large communal tables in the Meeting House "Theater" on the ground floor of this historic church. There will even be live entertainment. This is a great event, supporting one of the organizations that makes this town such an amazing, welcoming place. See you there!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gather Ye Mushrooms While Ye May

Persistence pays off in the search for mushrooms.
It took the better part of the day, but this gentleman and his family (his wife and their two children) finally were able to gather enough wild mushrooms to nearly fill their bucket. They drove to Provincetown on their annual mushroom pilgrimage and went wandering in the little hillsides surrounding Province Lands Road, out near the visitor center, where the land isn't exactly forest and not exactly dunes either, but rather a verdant combination of small, sandy hills and little pockets of pitch pines and scrub oaks, with the occasional fox or coyote thrown in for local color.
These folks rambled over dozens of scenic acres, peeking beneath shrubs and around tree trunks for the elusive edible mushrooms that are scattered all too sparsely through these little hummocks this year. The dearth of rainfall this spring may have something to do with this year's scarcity of the fungus that brings carloads of visitors to this part of the Cape Cod National Seashore each autumn for a peaceful walk among the changing colors of the season while they forage for these delicious morsels.
My favorite Provincetown chef told me he hunted for two hours the other day and found just two mushrooms, and he remarked that the cranberries looked to be about three weeks behind schedule, too, with none quite ready to pick that day. We've had rainfall this year far below the amount we receive in the average year. This spring we got very little, and we stand at less than 10% of the average rainfall over the past month, which may have something to do with the lack of mushrooms this season, and the slower growth of the cranberries. But I've also met a few folks who have filled their mushroom baskets and buckets to the brim, with persistence paying off during a longer walk.
If you know your mushrooms and are confident in your ability to recognize the edible varieties, by all means, get out for a little hike and find the tasty few that await you. Just remember to be careful not to walk on any of the plant life as you wander. Some of these plants and grasses are extremely fragile. And remember to cut your mushrooms off at the base of the stem rather than plucking them out of the ground so that they can continue to sprout more mushrooms for others to find later. If you don't know very much about wild mushrooms, get out and enjoy the stroll anyway, but simply admire the lovely mushrooms you might discover and just walk on by. We want you to live to take another walk amongst the mushrooms another day.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Café Maria Shines for Breakfast

This raisin almond bun is one of Café Maria's tastiest baked goods.
Café Maria makes a breakfast treat that's somewhere between a cinnamon bun and a croissant. It's made with raisins and sliced almonds on top, and it is really delicious.
The combination of the light, airy dough, along with the crunch of the almonds and the body of those sweet, chewy raisins makes a fusion of textures and flavors that is hard to resist when these buns roll out of Maria's oven in the morning.
They make a number of other pastries and breakfast goodies, and a variety of breakfast sandwiches served alongside Lavazza coffee. Their lunch includes one of my favorite sandwiches, made with linguica and cheese on a fresh baguette right out of the oven. They actually bake baguettes as they are ordered, so there isn't a fresher one in town.
There's ice cream for dessert, along with fresh-baked cookies, if there are any left when you get there.
Find Café Maria by ignoring the address you might see printed somewhere (277A Commercial Street) and just head down Ryder Street, along the east side of Town Hall, and as you cross Commercial Street, just continue on that same road, walking toward Fisherman's Wharf and the harbor. You'll find this little counter-service cafe and its sunny outdoor dining patio (with umbrellas for hot or rainy days) about 50 yards off Commercial Street, near the Kite shop and a lovely expanse of beach, open to the public. Service is friendly, prices are reasonable, and the food is fresh and tasty.