Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I've cashed my check, I'm ready to go ...

I live about two miles from the ocean, but lately life seems to pass in a blur of cubicles, supermarket aisles, and locker rooms. So when I found myself with a week off recently, I decided to leap from bed one morning and grab the fast ferry to P-town, where I found a gorgeous mix of ocean, salt air, and sun — in short, a delight!

I love the wide open look of a beach on the ocean. (Who needs a cove, really?) For me, nothing can compare to the Vineyard's south shore, but Provincetown's Race Point Beach was quite beautiful.

Of course, getting there was a chore — the ferry ride brought me as close to seasick as I've ever been; and the walk to the beach was much longer than was implied by the map I picked up at the dock. Further, the road I followed lacked a sidewalk, which was a little inconvenient, and when I moved onto a twisty bike path, I got a bit turned around. But then, the trek made the beach itself seem like a reward. The shoreline was just what I was hoping it would be — expansive, quiet, and clean. It was a great spot for reading my trashy paperback novel, writing in my journal, and watching the occasional Michael Jackson video on my iPod. I even found a convenient sign where I could hang my new Jack Purcell sneakers so they wouldn't get too sandy.

Of course, to assess the merits of any oceanside community, you have to take in a few eateries, view the gingerbread, and see the stuff that's off the beaten track. I was only there for the day, but I tried to poke around a little and liked what I saw.

When I first got off the ferry, I was freezing, so I stopped in at each of the town's two thrift stores in search of a jacket. I think I had an idea that I'd find a cute peacoat like the one Mickey Rourke bought his daughter in "The Wrestler." That didn't happen, but it was fun checking out both places, and I picked up a cool black-and-gold '60s-era wallet for only $1. I liked that in at least one of the thrift stores, they provide books on getting sober free of charge.

The food situation was a bit up and down. I had a decent plate of lobster benedict at a place called Bayside Betsy's. The view was nice, but I felt rushed, and I definitely wouldn't recommend the latte. Later on I had a delicious slice of pizza at a place called East End Pizza.

The town itself is beautiful. I really enjoyed walking around and looking at all the buildings. Some of the color combinations were quite bold — royal blue with yellow, purple with hot pink, fire-engine red with white — they reminded me of the cottages in the Oak Bluffs campground.

I didn't talk to too many people, as I was feeling a bit solitary, but I chatted with a shuttle driver on my way back from the beach and he was very pleasant. We talked about the geography of the town — it was much hillier and contains more undeveloped land than I'd expected. He said he sometimes worries about the possibility of fire because of all the dry brush and trees. Let's hope those fears are unfounded.

As the sun started to set, I began fantasizing about missing the boat back so I could hang out a little longer. But I hadn't brought a change of clothes and didn't really want to spend more money — I'd already dropped $80 on the ferry ticket plus about $35 on food and beverages. But I definitely hope to go back for a longer stay sometime. I still need to check out some of those the great P-town clubs, and I want to climb the Pilgrim Tower!

1 comment:

  1. Well, that brings back some memories. I haven't been to Provincetown in at least 20 years, but I can clearly recall my first visit as a kid. I remember my jaw dropping when my aunt and uncle steered me into Marine Specialties, knowing that it would be nirvana for a boy enthralled by aisles and aisles of exotic junk (God I wanted that deep-sea diving suit so bad). Or one cold March day during college standing on a breakwater, freezing my butt off but luxuriating in the fact that I had the whole beach to myself. Or, more soberly, the last sleet-driven visit after my uncle's funeral. The town was always unique -- as exotic as that diving suit-- and diverse before we had a name for diversity. In my mind Provincetown ever seemed a place where people accepted others as they were. As your other posts indicate, that humane acceptance of people, however different, sometimes gets lost these days in a haste to judge.


Copyright 2009-2010 by Sasha Sark. Please don't reuse without permission.
"West African Dark Blue Cloth" image is displayed courtesy of the Richard F. Brush Art Gallery at St. Lawrence University.