Coastal New England 2: At Cape Cod’s Tip

I like to say that Provincetown, a combination old-colonial fishing village, national seashore town and artsy high-concept tourist resort catering to a very wide range of tourists from whale-watching families to lesbian bikers to gay circuit boys and most things in between, is my single favorite spot on the US East Coast. The sand dunes and tidal mudflats of the national seashore are crisscrossed by bicycle and foot paths for endless exploration, and there are reliably inspiring views of clouds, water, grass, sand and sky mirroring and reflecting each other in all weather conditions, from highest flood tide to lowest ebb tide. All this, great restaurants, excellent art galleries and an endless broad array of interesting and curious people strolling down Commerce Street from dawn til well after dusk — all with the town and environs packed into a manageably small space — you can imagine why I love it so much. Why did I let eleven years lapse between my last visit and the two fleeting days I permitted myself here on my way to Star Island?

…Portuguese sailors and fishermen were an important early component of Provincetown’s European settlement. I think this is why Portuguese flags shared pride of place on the streets with the stars and stripes, the week after July 4 when I was there.

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