Provincetown, Kitchen Sinks, and Where is Cape Cod Again?

Before I get into Provincetown, let me give you a little geography lesson about Cape Cod. Not to insult your intelligence, but I had several friends furrow their brow and sheepishly ask, “Now where is that again?” when I told them we were staying on Cape Cod.

In their defense, these friends were from “The West.” For us folks in The West, New England is a conglomeration of lovely states with history, maple syrup, pretty fall colors, something about colonies and Ben Franklin, and they’re all pretty much interchangeable. I was really good at geography, and it still took me years to keep Vermont and New Hampshire straight on the map. (Vermont is shaped like a V, FYI.)

Geography isn’t everyone’s forte. I get it. Calculus isn’t my forte. Neither is sorting socks. We all have our strengths.

So, here’s a little visual of where we are. We’re staying in Barnstable, right there in the middle of the “arm.”

I’m not kidding that many of our people in The West don’t know that Martha’s Vineyard is an island. I think I just found that out a couple of years ago, and it may or may not have been from an episode of Gilmore Girls. I just knew it was where rich people vacation in The Northeast.

I also didn’t realize until we were crossing the bridge from the mainland that Cape Cod, too, is an island. Right near where the yellow and pink merge up there on the map is a canal separating the cape from the mainland.

I’ve never liked the idea of living on an island, quite frankly. I don’t like feeling like there’s nowhere to go in the event of an island-wide emergency. I just try push those little thoughts right out of my brain.

So here we are, staying right in the middle of this island called Cape Cod, with all of it’s charm and history and unique landscape. So far it’s been lovely. The house we’re renting is incredible – we may just take it with us everywhere we go from here. I’m at least going to take the farmhouse kitchen sink. 🙂

One of the cape’s unique towns is Provincetown – the “fist” all the way at the tip of the cape. It’s literally where the land ends. It’s also where the Pilgrims first landed, having gotten blown off course on their way to Virginia. They formed the Mayflower Compact here, stayed for five weeks and explored the area, then decided to settle in Plymouth.

(Side note: I find it perfectly ironic that the Pilgrims unintentionally landed on the part of the continent that looks like it’s giving the bird – or at least showing its “fist”- to England.)

Havarti and I were recently talking about how the figures from early American history have always seemed semi-fictional. The colonies were so far from Washington State, where we grew up, and it was hard for us to really feel connected with those places and names and faces. Certainly some of the better videos have helped create those connections (the “John Adams” mini-series was AMAZING). But being in this region, standing in the building in Boston where Ben Franklin was baptized, looking at the water where the Patriots dumped their tea into the harbor – it really does make history come alive.

So back to Provincetown. Pilgrim Monument is – you guessed it – a monument and museum dedicated to the Pilgrims.

It’s kinda big and tall. Even moreso when you’re right up next to it.

To get to the top, you have to climb 116 stairs and 60 ramps. In a spiral. This is what that looks like from the top looking down. (Hope you like heights.)

The view from the top is fantastic. You can see the shape of the cape in all directions, as well as the mainland off in the distance. Gorgeous on this fall afternoon.

Our proud platoon, who made it all the way up and down those ramps and stairs without so much as one whine. A Halloween miracle!!

After Pilgrim Monument, we went to the actual spot where the Pilgrims landed. Sort of. It was around here somewhere.

There’s a rock bridge that extends all the way out to the very tippy-top of the cape. We would’ve loved to have gone all the way out there, but it was LONG.

And the little dude with the little legs slowed us down a bit. He sure had fun traversing those rocks, though.

A short way down the bridge, this odd scene sits to your left. I don’t even know how to begin to figure out the story here. But I love it. I just feels poetic, doesn’t it?   
The town of Provincetown itself is really cute. Quite hopping, too, even in the off season. Lots of quaint little shops and restaurants. And on this particular weekend, a noticeably large number of lesbian couples. Curious about that, I looked it up and it turns out it was the tail end of Women’s Week Provincetown. 

And look! A library! A cool, old one. Cape Cod gave us a library card, despite the fact that we don’t have a permanent address here. I’m beyond thrilled with the fact that I can fulfill my mission of winning the world record for library late fees. Like I said, we all have our strengths.

I don’t have a photo of where we ate dinner, but it wasn’t anything special. The waitress was funny, though. Funny in a slightly rude, Northeastern kind of way. I asked if she knew what they had on the menu that was gluten-free, and she kind of rolled her eyes and said, “I’m not one to ask about that. I’m not familiar with this whole new ‘gluten-free’ thing. I don’t even know what a gluten is.” See? Funny.
Totally speaking in generalizations, we’ve noted that the Northeasterners with the thickest accents tend to give a bit of a brash first impression. After speaking with them for a few minutes, they magically melt into something warmer, but there’s definitely a unique initial quality that’s different from what we’re used to. I actually find it rather entertaining, which is probably horribly condescending. Half the time, I feel like I’m talking to a character in a sitcom. Is that mean?
Regardless, I hope you enjoyed our geography and history lesson from Provincetown! I’ll get some photos of our cute little house to share soon. I should have taken pictures when we first got here and it was all pristine and perfect and not strewn with the aftermath of three not-so-orderly children. Maybe I’ll at least get the sink cleaned up and post it on Facebook so you can see it soon. It’s truly a beautiful thing. 

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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