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.