Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Day Brought This Pair of Sun Dogs to Skies Over Herring Cove

On the afternoon of Christmas Day, sun dogs made this spectacular halo, seen from Herring Cove Beach. 

A couple of sun dogs appeared in the western sky off Provincetown shores on the afternoon of Christmas Day, giving a remarkable visual treat to those of us lucky enough to be at Herring Cove Beach during these few moments. A sun dog is a parhelion, the bright spot, or false sun, that can appear about 22 degrees to either side, or both sides, of the sun, and at the same elevation as the sun, with ice crystals in the atmosphere refracting the light in a particular way.
As the sun rises or descends, these bright spots follow, or "dog" the sun, which may explain the name. No one can say for certain where the term came from, but it seems to have been in use since the early 1600s, around the time when the Mayflower Pilgrims landed on Provincetown shores. The easiest time to see these bright spots following the sun is early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is closest to the horizon.
In the photo above a couple of sun dogs (a pair of parhelia) give the appearance of two bright spots on either side of the sun, creating a luminous circle, or a sort of halo around the sun, with the area inside the halo appearing slightly darker than the surrounding sky. These halos can appear when flat, hexagonal ice crystals, often in wispy, cirrus clouds, are drifting in random orientations, refracting the light and bending the rays that pass through them. As these crystals sink through the atmosphere they tend to align vertically, refracting the light horizontally, which can produce sun dogs.
A sun dog will always appear at the same height above the horizon as the sun, whether or not the complete halo is visible. This phenomenon can be seen anywhere around the world, in any season, but it seems to me that we have a few more than our fair share of these remarkable displays here in PTown, and I'm going to chalk that up to the unique quality of the light that surrounds us. The light in Provincetown truly is different from the light in other spots on the globe.
Sun dogs will sometimes exhibit a sort of rainbow effect. with a reddish color nearest to the sun, morphing to blue on the outer edge. See my post Sun Dog Appears Over Race Point, from October of last year. You'll find a rather vibrant photo I managed to get one afternoon, illustrating this rainbow effect.
Of course, this cosmic sight was visible from many vantage points around town, but the view from Herring Cove, looking out over Cape Cod Bay, was particularly splendid. One of the greatest things about living in this amazing spot is just how often each of us ends up "in the right place at the right time" to see the spectacular show that Mother Nature puts on for us, several times a day, from any viewpoint one might choose.

Friday, December 25, 2015

My Own Little Bit of Holiday Joy in PTown

When I was a kid this snowman decorated my childhood home
every holiday season I can remember since I was a tiny tot,
and finding it again, 2,000 miles away and 50 years later,
has put a little joy in my heart.

My wish for you is to find yourself a bit of joy in the season as well.
Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Provincetown's First Day of Winter Reaches 58 Degrees

Today is the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere, the first day of winter, and the shortest day of the year. We're not likely to notice the sunset this evening, though, if you can call 4:14 PM evening, since it's likely to be rainy and/or foggy on this unseasonably warm day in Provincetown.
So to mark the occasion, and to glean a bit of joy in keen anticipation of the few moments more of daylight we'll be soaking up over the coming week, I dug out one of my favorite sunset photos from last winter to enjoy in lieu of this afternoon's fog and drizzle. It's the sun setting in my rearview mirror one day last winter as I drove along the edge of the cemetery, on Jerome Smith Road.

I'd have missed this sunset if I had tried to pursue it, so I stopped smack in the middle of the road to savor it.
When I turned onto that little street precisely as the sun was setting, I knew I'd miss it if I tried to turn around and race out to the beach for the view behind me, and, after all, it is Provincetown, so I stopped right there in the middle of the road to luxuriate a bit in that gorgeous, evanescent moment.
In less than three minutes, that moment was gone, the sky was graying, and that, my friends, is the significance of the tiny bit of extra daylight we'll realize by this time next week. Coming down the road in three minutes less light I'd have missed that view, which turns out to be a moment I can recall to soften my heart and raise my spirits, and it's helped in every case where I've tried this little smidgen of therapy over the past year, which was a doozy, by the way.
In seven days the sun will be setting five minutes later, and by the summer we'll be gaining a couple of hours of morning light, and nearly 4 hours in the evening, so the thought of nearly six more hours of daily sunlight to enjoy the stunning beauty that surrounds us is raising my easily-tanked winter spirits.
This too-mild weather we've been having is really terrible for the planet, but when it's combined with a few minutes more of light day by day, and potentially just about enough money saved up this year to get through an uneventful winter without any major setbacks, (we can dream, can't we?) well, all that has me barely dreading the winter at all.
Now, if we can get away with something less than eight feet of snow over these next 15 weeks… we'll have it made.

Friday, December 18, 2015

It's National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

Today is the fifth annual observance of an event that is becoming an internationally recognized celebration: NATIONAL UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER DAY has been commemorated on the third Friday in December every year since its inception in 2011.
If your Christmas sweater is only moderately ugly, you still have time to dash to the craft store (or the hardware store if you're in Provincetown) and get some pompoms, jingle bells, felt, tiny plastic elves and rain deer, and stitch them artfully onto your sweater before you go out tonight.
The yearly celebration of this day is creeping across the globe, and it's even doing some good around the world at the same time. All of the information below is found on the website of the National Day Calendar.

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day has grown to be an international event. Now occurring on the third Friday of December, the holiday gives holiday lovers worldwide a chance to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters. In 2014, they partnered with Save the Children in their “Make the World Better with a Sweater” campaign. You can now help children across the world by wearing an ugly sweater on December 18th and encouraging others to go online and donate.

Try these tips to take the prize on National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day:
                  Animal or cartoon characters with a holiday theme are a great starting place. Think reindeer, snowmen, mice, kittens or elves.
                  Select ridiculous colors. The more they clash, the better.
                  Embellish. Scratch that. Over-embellish! Pom-poms, bells, felt, tinsle or any other glittery, jingly items laying around the house.
                  Add a collar, dickey or ruffle.
                  Electrify it! Put Rudolph to shame and go to the head of the team with bright, flashing lights!
                  Give it some 80s flair with shoulder pads.
Wear your ugliest Christmas sweater. Use #ChristmasSweaterDay to post on social media.

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day was started in 2011 by ugly Christmas sweater lovers as a way to lighten up the busy holidays and to show off their absurdly, ugly sweaters.  The day has grown in popularity and is celebrated worldwide.

So there you have it. We should turn this into a real Provincetown tradition, with folks applying as much dedication and creativity to their hideous sweaters as they do to their carnival costumes, and with prizes to be won as we raise money for our Soup Kitchen, for example.
For a jump start, there's an online shop at, the start-up ugly sweater company that made a TV appearance on Shark Tank, got a deal with a shark, and now is a multimillion dollar venture. Caution: while some of their sweaters are merely ugly, a few others are naughty, and a couple are downright offensive (or laugh-out-loud funny, depending on your sense of humor.)
I'm beginning tonight to plan and create my own sweater for next year. It might take me that long to find all the trimmings I have in mind. In the meantime, Happy Festivus, which, by the way, is celebrated in most of the world on December 23rd, as it was on the Seinfeld episode that aired on this day, December 18th, 1997.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Great PTown Lunch Specials Like Bubbles' Fish Fry Return for the Off-Season

Bubbles serves her famous $8 Fish Fry every Friday at the Governor Bradford.
'Tis the season for tasty lunch specials, filling portions and great prices as we head toward winter in Provincetown. The off-season brings some bargain prices to many local delis and restaurants, along with the time for most of us to finally sit, relax and enjoy a meal with a few friends.
One of the perennial favorites among these seasonal lunch offerings is Bubbles' Fish Fry, served every Friday between now and the spring at the Governor Bradford Restaurant and bar, at 312 Commercial Street. A hearty portion of golden fried fish with a mound of very good fries, with lemon, tartar sauce and coleslaw, will cost you just $8.
Lunch runs from 11:30 until whenever the cook declares the kitchen closed, which could be before or after 2 PM, so don't dawdle on the way there. In fact, on Fridays the Fish Fry has been known to sell out in short order, so get there a little early. You may have to put your name on a list, first come, first served, to make sure you get in on this very popular special, served only in the off-season.
When you walk in, ask the bartender if you're in time for the fish, or just head to the back corner of the room. You'll likely find Bubbles herself behind the counter, doling out plates and to-go boxes, keeping track of how many Fish Fries are left as construction crews, fishermen, cops and shop keepers swoop in to pick up takeout orders they've reserved over the phone. Don't let yourself get lost in the shuffle.
On Mondays through Thursdays, there's a weekday lunch special, something different every day, with a menu on a big board in the front window announcing the week's choices along with Friday's Fish Fry. The other day I stopped in for the BBQ pulled pork sandwich, served with fries and slaw. Sometimes you might find meatloaf or roast pork served with potatoes and vegetables, or a roast beef sandwich, or lasagna, or hot dogs. Could be anything, but it's always $8.  Check the board in the window, or call 508 487-2781 to see what's for lunch, or for to orders to go. Note that this special no longer includes a complimentary soft drink, but you can order those, or a beer, or anything else you'd like, from their full bar, and you still can't beat eight bucks for a hot lunch.
In the coming weeks we'll visit other restaurants, delis and neighborhood markets for more great PTown off-season lunches.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Provincetown Path Long Gone

A lovely view of Provincetown Harbor was found down Hollyhock Lane.
At one time there was a lovely little footpath known as Hollyhock Lane between 271 and 273 Commercial Street, between the buildings that are now Tin Pan Alley and Board Stiff.
The path lead from Commercial Street, in front of Town Hall, to the beach and the harbor. It was chock-full of greenery and flowers, mostly hollyhocks, and this scene was the subject of many popular postcards over quite a period of years.

This card had several printings over the years, with
this same photo colored differently at least three times.
The postcard above has no postmark to show its time period, but the white border dates it somewhere between 1915 and 1930, when WW I had caused American printers to begin conserving ink by printing short of the edges, with a colorless border left around the images on the postcards they were printing.
On the left, this popular postcard of the day shows a woman posing on the footpath in the view from the opposite direction, seen as one would walk up Hollyhock Lane from the beach toward Commercial Street, Town Hall and the Pilgrim Monument.
As with other early footpaths around town, this one is gone today. A little trail between the buildings still exists, now hidden by a large wooden gate, but this former flower-lined path is no longer that charming little walkway open to the public, and no longer leads folks to those gorgeous views of the beach and Provincetown Harbor.
There are still a few nice little footpaths to the harbor and to other spots around PTown, though, and I'll try to feature some of them shortly, but in the meantime, keep an eye out for a couple of these that you just might find on your own.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

It's Souper Saturday! 25 Great PTown Restaurants Benefit Our Soup Kitchen

More than two dozen Provincetown restaurants will offer some of their favorite soups
at Tin Pan Alley on Souper Saturday, benefitting the Soup Kitchen In Provincetown.
One of the great traditions of Provincetown's annual Holly Folly celebration is Souper Saturday, with more than two dozen restaurants, delis, caterers and even a guesthouse or two bringing kettles of their best soups to the table, benefitting SKIP, the Soup Kitchen In Provincetown. This year's event takes place at Tin Pan Alley, where just about any kind of soup you can think of will be available at just $5 a bowl, from 11:30 AM till 3:30 PM.

The Canteen makes a great clam chowder.
Will this be their Souper Saturday offering?

Throughout the event there will be a number of choices available at any given moment, and each time a kettle is sold out, another great pot of soup from a different restaurant will be brought out of the kitchen. Chowders, bisques and potages of all sorts will change throughout the day. It's bound to be tough to decide between all the mouthwatering choices, so you might want to try more than one.

Will Mistralina bring a minestrone?

All the money that's raised will go into the coffers of the Soup Kitchen, found at the Methodist Church, at 10 Shank Painter Road. SKIP serves hot, nutritious meals every weekday, from November through April, and provides a welcoming spot for those who are in search of community.

The Mews' chicken with Thai and Mexican
chilis is a soup I hope to have again one day.

I can't predict exactly what soup each restaurant will bring, but I can predict I'll walk out happy after this event, with a warm feeling inside. So to help keep our Soup Kitchen running, come and join us for a great lunch you can feel good about, at Tin Pan Alley, at 269 Commercial Street, on this Souper Saturday, December 5th.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

It's PTown's Public Shellfishing Season

An old man digs clams on the tidal flats in this vintage photo I found in the scrapbooks of Athea Boxell,
book 5, page 7, which is part of the Dowd collection in the Provincetown History Preservation Project.

The shellfish area near the west end breakwater is open for the season.
The necessary permits, area maps, regulations and shellfish gauges can be
obtained by visiting the town clerk's office, at Provincetown Town Hall.
Residents and non-resident property owners will pay $15.00 for a recreational
shellfishing license; non-residents will pay $50.00; residents and taxpayers
65 and older can dig for free, but you must get your license and gauge.

The abundant supply of clams in Provincetown Harbor is said to have saved the lives of Pilgrims and early settlers here, and the gathering of a rich variety of shellfish along our shoreline, there for the taking, has been a time-honored tradition of local people ever since.
To harvest your own shellfish from Provincetown's tidal flats you'll need a shellfishing license, which allows you to gather shellfish on a recreational basis on Sundays or Fridays, in a currently designated area, through the end of March 2016, with a ten-quart limit per week. Areas open to shellfishing may vary during the season, as designated by the shellfish warden.
This license does not allow you to sell your bounty, and shellfish you gather must be of legal size, so you must carry a gauge with you, along with your license. You won't be allowed on the flats without them. You'll also need a shellfish rake or similar tool, and either a ten-quart pail or a one-peck shellfish basket. No other containers are allowed. Tall rubber boots or waders and waterproof gloves will be helpful, and wearing warm, wind resistant clothing is a good idea.
During open periods, shellfish may only be harvested on Sunday or Friday of each week. Permit holders may only shellfish on one of these days per week. Quahogs gathered must be one inch thick, soft-shelled clams must be two inches long, and oysters must be three inches long. The weekly limit for recreational permit holders for any combination of quahogs, soft-shelled clams and oysters is either one level ten-quart pail, or a one-peck basket.
If Bay Scallops are abundant, the Shellfish Warden will post the days and location for their taking, limited to two pecks per week. No permit is required for sea worms, periwinkles, or mussels, which may be taken year-round. Upon leaving the flats, you must report to the Shellfish Warden, who maintains a record of the town's yearly harvest. In any given year, residents might gather more than 1,000 pails of shellfish along Provincetown shores.

Fresh littlenecks, scrubbed and ready to go into the pot.

This weekend should be great for clamming, with sunny skies, little wind, mild temperatures, and daylight during low tides. Friday should bring about 46 degrees with the low tide just before noon. Sunday looks to be about 53 degrees with low tide at 1:47 PM. Winds of a mere 10 miles per hour are predicted for both days, so get your permit and go try your hand at digging shellfish.
There's something especially satisfying about having a meal of seafood harvested through your own efforts. Whether it's a stuffed sea clam baked in the oven, a hearty chowder, or linguine with clam sauce, there's nothing like fresh, local seafood right out of the water, and digging your own clams seems to impart a bit of added flavor when you sit down to such a dinner. Friends can feel an extra dimension of camaraderie in foraging together for a meal they'll share as they warm up from their chilly adventure on the tidal flats.
From a simple pot of steamers or mussels to an elegant platter of oysters Rockefeller, nothing tastes better than a meal that truly results from your own resourcefulness. Bon appétit!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Fanizzi's Friday Fish Fry

One of the greatest PTown dinner deals is Fanizzi's Friday Fish Fry (say that five times fast,) available Fridays from 4 PM until 9:30, at just $14, served with a truly stunning view of Provincetown Harbor in the bargain.
It starts with your seat in a dining room built on pilings at the edge of the beach, so each table has a view of the harbor, with the waves lapping at the timbers beneath you. Sunsets, moonrises, and even storms can provide breathtaking views that you will long remember.

If you order the Fish Fry your dinner will begin with a nice salad of mixed leafy greens garnished with a few garden vegetables and a choice of dressings, served with a couple of the tastiest dinner rolls in town.
Next comes a very generous serving of fresh, local cod, flaky and tender and fried to a deep golden color, served on a mound of very good French fries. There's lemon and freshly made tartar sauce, or malt vinegar if your taste runs toward an English-style fish and chips. Fanizzi's unique coleslaw, made with a bit of sweet bell pepper and carrot added to finely shredded cabbage, and dressed in a light, rice wine vinegar with just a touch of sweetness, completes the plate.
I've been known to wrap up about half of my dinner to take home for a snack later on, just to make sure I'd have enough room to order one of Fanizzi's famous, over-size, decadent desserts. It's hard not to order the big chocolate brownie topped with French vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, toasted caramel walnut sauce and whipped cream every time I go there, but I'm determined to branch out on my next visit. There are eight other choices waiting for me to give them a spin. At $8, desserts are a bargain, too, and these very generous servings are often shared between tablemates.
Fanizzi's is in the Far East End, at 539 Commercial Street, with a cozy bar, and a tiny bit of free parking, but it's also fairly easy to find street parking nearby at this time of the year. The dining room is accessible, but the restrooms, unfortunately, are not large enough to accommodate a wheelchair.
I didn't mention their lunch menu or Sunday Brunch Buffet, or nightly Early Bird specials, but I'll get around to telling you about those, too, and you can find all of their menus at In the meantime, check out Fanizzi's Friday Fish Fry.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, 2015!

Thanksgiving greetings to one and all!

The best place to spend the Thanksgiving holiday, of course, is where your dearest friends and family are, wherever that might be. There's no better spot in the world to spend Thanksgiving than Provincetown, in these beautiful surroundings, with the bounty of nature all around us, and with the rich history of the Mayflower Pilgrims and the native tribes that first met near this spot in 1620.
Today in Provincetown a number of dinner tables will offer sauces, stuffings, chutneys, desserts and a variety of other dishes made with cranberries gathered from local bogs. Though cranberries weren't used this way at the first Thanksgiving, the early settlers here did learn from Wampanoag "Indians," as they were called, many ways to use cranberries as both food and medicine.
Today in many of our homes, besides watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the obligatory annual football games, dating back to the 1930s, families will tell stories of forebears who sailed across the Atlantic in 1620, in search of religious freedom in an uncharted land. A number of local families can trace their roots back to ancestors who signed the Mayflower Compact before stepping off their ship Mayflower for the first time in the "New World," in the west end of Provincetown Harbor.
Crowds of Townies, along with friends and relatives from far-flung locations, gathered last night on High Pole Hill for the annual lighting ceremony at the Pilgrim Monument, which has become a tradition that kicks off the holiday season for families both living and visiting here. On clear nights, these lights can be seen from the shoreline of Boston from now until after New Year's Day.
If you find yourself here at the tip of the Cape without close friends and family nearby, you can still celebrate the occasion and have a traditional holiday dinner among an amiable group of new friends who will welcome you with open arms. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner, open and welcoming to the entire Outer Cape community, will be served today at 12:30 PM, at 10 Shank Painter Road in Provincetown. The United Methodist Church is the home of SKIP, the Soup Kitchen In Provincetown, putting on this wonderful community celebration. There's no charge, and absolutely everyone is invited.
The Governor Bradford Restaurant and Bar, at 312 Commercial Street, will also be serving a traditional  Thanksgiving dinner of roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and cranberry sauce for just $14.95. Again, all are welcome, and you're bound to find a festive atmosphere amongst friends old and new, with the football games on the TVs there as well.
Wherever you find yourself today, do take a moment to reflect on a thing or two, no matter how small, that you are grateful for. Though your life may be filled with obstacles, and even with serious hardships, it will be that much richer for each of these blessings you recognize, even the tiniest one. Actually, one of those things might just be the fact that Provincetown exists, as a place where everybody is genuinely welcome. Truly, there simply is no place else like this...
Happy Thanksgiving,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

News of the Day in Provincetown, 1954...

Click on this photo to enlarge it and read the names of the 1954 First National staff.
The front page of the November 18, 1954 issue of the local weekly newspaper, the Provincetown Advocate, featured this group photo of the staff of the First National Bank of Provincetown, taken from the company's just-published book (and perhaps more of a public relations tool,) One Hundred Years of Growing with Provincetown, which commemorated the centennial of one of the earliest commercial banks to have been founded in the United States.
It was launched in 1854 as the Provincetown Bank in a new building at 290 Commercial Street, known today as Puzzle Me This. It became a national bank in 1865 with its capital stock doubling from $100,000 to $200,000. It was quite different from Seamen’s Savings Bank, which had incorporated in 1851 as a mutual bank, owned not by stockholders but rather by its depositors, and remaining so today.

The 1854 original building at 290 Commercial Street still stands,
now hidden by a newer front added on in stages, beginning in 1921.
In this early photo the sign above the door simply reads "Bank." The men on the front porch are the Board of Directors, and 290 Commercial Street, built in 1854, doesn’t look much like it does today, though the original building is still there.
It had its ground floor extended through the front yard to the sidewalk in 1921. Later, the other two floors were extended. In the photo below you’ll recognize the First National Bank building as today's Puzzle Me This, one of just a small handful of brick storefronts found along Provincetown streets nowadays.

Picture bright colors, harlequin flags and benches in front of Puzzle Me This.
The 1921 ground-floor addition to the front of the building granted the First National Bank of Provincetown a new, businesslike look that served the institution well until it moved into its brand new building in 1950, there on the corner of Winthrop Streetnow known as Joe Coffee, at 170 Commercial Street.

The American Revolution had been financed by the printing of paper money, basically an IOU, to pay the soldiers and suppliers, who could spend these notes just like the reserve of gold and silver coins that theoretically backed up these bills.
Soon banks in various states were printing their own notes, and a dollar issued in one state could be worth a lot less elsewhere. Eventually President Lincoln signed the National Currency Act, declaring the federal dollar as the sole United States currency, with a couple of thousand federally chartered banks printing the notes. Each particular design and denomination looked alike, wherever it had been printed, except for the name of the bank and its charter number, appearing on every note. The charter number of the First National Bank of Provincetown was 736.

This 1882 series $5 note was a brownback rather than a greenback.
Dozens of thousands of $5 notes exist, as the most common denomination after the $1 note, with some banks issuing only $5 notes. This same design was printed by banks all across the country,

This crisp, clean 1863 series $50 Provincetown note is worth about $13,734.
Larger denominations didn't circulate much, and not many large bills were kept over the years. $50 was a huge amount of money to let sit idle rather than deposit or spend it. There are just 35 of these notes left, issued by various banks around the country, making this Provincetown specimen pretty valuable. It could be worth about 275 times its face value, around $13,734. Wouldn't you like to find a couple of these tucked into an old book? Drawer? Picture Frame?
The First National Bank of Provincetown was gobbled up in the 1970s by the powerful Shawmut Bank, which was itself later devoured by TD Bank, while Seamen's Bank remains an independent, mutual bank serving the best interests of its customers, doing good things in Outer Cape communities, and eschewing the smarmy world of corporate greed. I'll say it again… Ya gotta love a town like this!
So keep an eye out when you come across old books, papers, boxes, trunks and the like, when you tear down a wall, or even visit a thrift shop or yard sale. If you see something that vaguely looks like money, it may be worth something.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Catch Art's Dune Tour Before 2015 Season's End, Sunday, November 15th

At's Dune Tours sets out on an adventure through Provincetown's amazing dunes.
This amazing autumn weather gives us a last chance to get out and enjoy the majesty of Provincetown's incredible sand dunes before the season truly comes to an end. Art's Dune Tours will give their last tours of the season this week, with gorgeous weather today and into the afternoon tomorrow, and again Friday through Sunday, their last day of the 2015 season.
Since 1946 the Costa family has been taking folks on this enchanting, delightful, narrated tour out through the magnificent sand dunes that stand between Provincetown and the Atlantic Ocean, and along the shoreline known as the "back beach." Along the way you'll learn about the history and the lore of the dunes while marveling at the sights, such as the unexpected forested spots, and the view out over Race Point Beach and the Atlantic from the top of a huge sand dune.
Wildlife is sometimes spotted along the way, with seals sporadically found swimming within a few feet of the shoreline, perhaps the occasional fox, coyote, deer or turkey seen as you round the bends in the trail, or whales spied spouting in the distance, seen from the tops of those magnificent dunes.
Visit Art's Dune Tours website or call 1-800-894-1951 to arrange your tour before they make their last trip for the season, this coming Sunday. This tour is one of the most fun, entertaining and educational things to do on Cape Cod, and it's a "must" when you're in Provincetown. Get in one last trip before Art's season ends.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Visit The Coffee Pot for an Autumn PTown Breakfast to Eat-in or Take Out

The ultimate breakfast wrap is an entire breakfast rolled into a flour tortilla,
with eggs, cheese and home fries, along with ham, bacon, and sausage. 
As restaurants and shops close for the season, it begins to get harder to find breakfast in PTown. Happily, one of my favorite spots stays open later in the season.
The Coffee Pot has a Commercial Street address, but you'll never find it that way. It's located around the corner, headed toward the pier from the corner of Commercial and Standish streets. It's right across from the Chamber of Commerce, along the side of Lopes Square, just north of the pier.
At the Coffee Pot you can get a plate of eggs, home fries and toast with ham, bacon or sausage, along with a great cup of coffee, and enjoy it in their dining room or on their outdoor cafe tables, both looking over Lopes Square. You can get several great breakfasts, as well as great lunches, to take out, too.
The Coffee Pot's cheesy spinach croissant is great for breakfast or lunch.
The photo above shows the Ultimate Breakfast Wrap. I'll order if I'm really starving. It's made with eggs, all the breakfast meats, cheese, and even home fries all stuffed into a white or whole wheat tortilla, your choice.
You get all the flavors of an entire sit-down breakfast, rolled together for you to eat on-the-go. I call ahead and they have it ready for me to grab and eat it as I squeeze in a few errands before work. If I have a little time to spare I can relax with my breakfast on the benches at Lopes Square, or take my food to the edge of the water nearby, and watch the birds and the boats come and go.
Visit Linda and Nelson at the Coffee Pot for a leisurely breakfast with your newspaper, or for a breakfast you can take with you as you go about your day. You can give them a call at 508 487-2580 for an order to pick up. Enjoy your breakfast, and enjoy your day.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Provincetown's Soup Kitchen Opens Today

Dozens of volunteers enjoy cooking and serving SKIP meals.
The Soup Kitchen In Provincetown (SKIP) opens its doors today for their new "season," which runs just opposite of the summer season that drives the economy of the town. The Soup Kitchen's season runs every weekday from the first Monday in November till the last Friday in April, when most people in this town are unemployed, and often looking for a little companionship.
The Soup Kitchen provides a warm, welcoming spot where our off-season community can spend a little time together, socialize a bit, or simply "get out of the house" at a time of year when many are prone to a bit of seasonal depression.
Folks can spend time with friends and meet new ones as they share a nice communal meal served by dozens of volunteers who look forward to their time here as well. Guests and volunteers alike enjoy each others' company, and will sometimes check up on someone who doesn't show up for a few days. It provides a nice feeling of community during a season when many feel a bit isolated.

Soup, salad, quiche, fresh veggies and dessert made a great meal.
Meals served here always include a very tasty cup of soup of one kind or another, and a green salad of some type, with a wide-ranging array of entrees which will change daily according to sales offered by suppliers, money available in the SKIP budget, and the types of foods donated by businesses and individuals in the community.
The meal shown here started off with an herbed tomato soup and went on to a green salad, a lovely quiche, herb-roasted potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, and chocolate cake for dessert. Another day's lunch might feature roast pork, lasagna or a chicken casserole. There are always vegetarian choices as well.
There is no charge for these meals, and many folks turn to the Soup Kitchen to help stretch a food budget that might be very tight in the off-season, since the majority of Provincetown residents have no opportunity at all for employment at this time of the year. In fact, our unemployment rate can hover around 65 percent during the winter. Residents of other Outer Cape towns will join us for lunch as well. Absolutely everyone is always welcome at Provincetown's remarkable Soup Kitchen, at 10 Shank Painter Road in Provincetown, at the Methodist Church.
Visit the Soup Kitchen's website to learn more about it, or to make a donation through the Internet. Checks can be mailed to SKIP, P O Box 538, Provincetown, MA, 02657, or dropped off when you come by for lunch one day. Many different types of donations throughout the year keep the Soup Kitchen running. Our local fishing community might bring in a crate of fresh cod, or a bushel or two of clams, while a restaurant might send over several gallons of ice cream as they close for the season. Families can arrange to sponsor a day's lunch, or to volunteer for a regular shift. There are endless ways to help. Call 508 487-8331 to arrange a donation of food.
Lunch is served Monday through Friday from 12:30 to 1:30 PM, and all are welcome.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

In Provincetown, Halloween is Practically a National Holiday

The White Wind Inn always gets in the spirit of things, decorating their porch and grounds.
With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, more East Coast and New England residents will likely have the day off, and decide to travel to Provincetown to join the festivities here as we celebrate America's biggest unofficial holiday. Any excuse to get dressed up in Provincetown… Thousands of people will rise to the occasion.
Over the last couple of weeks we've seen a variety of decorations, both spooky and whimsical, popping up in windows, yards and gardens of homes and businesses throughout the town. It's been fun going down Commercial Street many times over the last couple of weeks and seeing what new features would appear daily as decorations went up a few at a time. Every time I passed the Sommerset House Inn I would look for another bat in the tree or a new ghoul in the garden.
To really appreciate all of these decorations, you'll want to take a spin through PTown in the daylight, as well as after dark. For example, while the light-up displays at the White Wind Inn and at the Boatslip take on a new dimension after dark, the macabre display at the Sommerset House might be better appreciated in the daylight.
Look for parties, events and costume contests to be found all over town. The annual Spooky Bear celebration brings all kinds of bears, along with a number of events and parties. This evening will bring a costume contest to the Crown & Anchor, along with Halloween videos at the Wave Bar. The Heaven or Hell Ball at Town Hall promises some great costumes, with awards for the best. Any bar in town will be festive, and full of people dressed up for the holiday.
As usual, just wandering along Commercial Street or sitting on the benches at Town Hall will provide sightings from the simplest of costumes to the extremely clever and elaborate ones. With the theme of good and evil taking over the town for this holiday weekend, we are quite likely to see a Pope Francis or two on the streets and in the bars.
I wonder how many revelers will dress up as Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples? Will someone be Minnesota's Walter Palmer, dressed in a dentist's smock and carrying the head of Cecil the lion? The most offensive of all (the more offensive the better, in this case) might be someone who shows up as Martin Shkreli, the odious Brooklyn businessman who raised the price of a life-saving AIDS and cancer fighting drug by 5,000 percent. That's pure evil.
Whether you simply don a wig or a pair of devil's horns at the last moment, or have spent weeks stitching an elaborate costume and jeweling your tiara, or simply want to watch the parade of costumes going by, there's great fun to be had in Provincetown tonight.
Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Herons Are Back in PTown's Wetlands

This striking heron stands motionless amidst reeds and grasses turning golden in the autumn season.
A month ago I wrote about the dearth of birds in and around the Provincetown wetlands, since hardly any had been spotted, except for the eastern great egret, sometimes called the white heron. That bird was seen regularly for a few weeks, but various night herons and others weren't appearing as they had in years past.
Now, for the last couple of weeks it seems that a couple of pairs of great blue herons have been making regular appearances among the little rivulets that raise and lower with the tides in the wetlands of the Far West End, to the west of the breakwater. Look for these stately birds when the little salt water creeks they fish in are at about half tide. That means a bit before or after the actual half tide in the harbor, since it takes a while for the tidal flow to seep through the breakwater and change the depth of the water circulating amongst the grasses and reeds.
These two couples are particularly handsome. They each seem to be very large, sleek, well marked examples of this lovely species, with the dark patches at the shoulders and thighs easily visible. A bit of your time spent patiently watching for them is quite likely to be rewarded with some remarkable sightings, and a chance for photos.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Today is National Chocolate Day!

National Chocolate Day is celebrated annually in the United States on October 28th.
Although it doesn't hold the status or the official designation from our government to
to be celebrated as a true, national holiday, with paid time off from work, banks and public
buildings closed, and no mail delivery, perhaps it should be celebrated that way. 
We should all have the day off to celebrate the occasion as we please, and as conscience
dictates, with relatives flying in for a family gathering, and a feast of dozens of chocolate
treats made from cherished family recipes handed down through generations.
Chocolate Day is at least as relevant as Columbus Day… Who's with me?

The photo above and the text below are taken from,
where you'll find something to celebrate just about any day of the year.

Although there's no guarantee of what you'll find in local restaurants tonight, here are 
a few examples of chocolatey favorites I've had in spots still open this time of year…

Tin Pan Alley's pot du creme, sort of an ultra-dense, dark chocolate mousse.
Lobster Pot's brownie sundae, drizzled with chocolate or caramel sauce (or both)
The Mews provides instructions involving use of a steak knife to eat its
"Extreme Cookies and Cream" ice cream sandwich, often shared by two or more.
Far Land's chocolate cake, with thick, fudgy frosting between three rich layers.
I've forgotten what Angel Foods calls this fudgy, cakey, nutty treat.
The Central House at the Crown & Anchor once offered a chocolate
caramel tort with chocolate gelato on chocolate cooky crumbs.
Provincetown Fudge Factory makes a gazillion varieties of beautiful candies,
and fudge in flavors both simple and exotic, like Bailey's Irish Cream.
Post Office Cafe's triple chocolate cake actually puts 7 kinds of chocolate on
the plate, perhaps the closest you'll ever come to actual "death by chocolate."
Vorelli's chocolate madness cake - chocolate cake crumb crust, layered with
chocolate mousse blended with Heath brownie chunks and chocolate truffles.
The Purple Feather makes chocolate cakes, candies, gelato, and don't forget
the chocolate covered bacon,  dipped in either dark or milk chocolate.

This post is for my sister Carolee, who is the biggest chocoholic I know.
Happy National Chocolate Day!