Provincetown and Crowne Pointe Historic Inn
A Little History
Where should we begin when describing Provincetown (usually called P-Town)- a most unique and eccentric town located at the tip of a 70 mile-long stretch of sand jutting out from the coast of Massachusetts?
A town, where almost ninety percent of its land mass is included within the Cape Cod National Seashore, and one with an unusual blend of history, fishing and culture. In fact, once dubbed "hell town" it was inhabited by smugglers, outlaws, pirates, escaped indentured servants, raucous mariners, "filles de joie", heavy drinkers and an assortment of other misfits, who openly had a reputation for flaunting authority.
Rich in history, since the time the Meeshawns, one of the six sub-tribes of the Wampanoag Indian federation first inhabited the area, Provincetown has always had a kind of quirkiness that has seduced individuals from diverse lifestyles to either visit or make Provincetown their home.
A free spirit reigns in P-Town, welcoming all comers representing many faces. If you are into people watching, you will notice gays, lesbians, transvestites, cross-dressers, and drag queens, attracting little or no attention, while they meander along the town’s streets. Everyone is made to feel accepted, no matter what his or her sexual orientation may be.
For centuries fishermen have seasonally used its harbor, and incidentally, its harbor is the third deepest natural harbor in the World after Rio de Janeiro and Acapulco. It was the third largest major fishing and whaling port during the 18th century after Nantucket and New Bedford, Massachusetts. As a result, many Portuguese from the Azores, the Canary Islands and Cape Verdes had immigrated here due to the abundance of employment in the whaling industry. Today, you will still find descendants of these families living in Provincetown.
The one hundred and two Pilgrims, who set out from Plymouth England on the 7th of September 1620, initially landed in Provincetown on the 21st of November, of the same year, and not in Plymouth, Massachusetts, as many of us were led to believe.
One of the most important American documents, The Mayflower Compact, the first agreement whereby free people would self-govern, was signed during the time the Pilgrims had stayed in Provincetown for five weeks.
Artists Charles Hawthorne, founder of America’s first plein-air art colony, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, and celebrated authors and writers as Eugene O’Neill, Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams, Sinclair Lewis, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Stanley Kunitz, Mary Oliver, Michael Cunningham and Robert Pinsky, John Dos Passos, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Edmund Wilson have all at one time or another lived here.
In fact, on any one day you may just bump into some well-known personality walking along the main drag, Commercial Street.
Whatever the season, it is difficult to forget Provincetown the first time you visit and stroll along its narrow streets-a town that surely will delight you with its colorful past and its present day vibrancy. Where there is an abundance of art galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, fishing boats, whale-watching boats, sand dunes and one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Race Pointe Beach. In fact, one of the most romantic attractions is to eat oysters with a bottle of champagne on the beach.
Where to Stay?
With the many accommodations available in and around Provincetown, it sometimes tough to choose one that best reflects the fabric of this most unusual and vibrant town. I have no doubt that hands down, the five star Crowne Pointe Historic Inn, provides just the right atmosphere reflecting Provincetown’s culture and unique ambiance.
First-rate service rests in the hands of owners Tom Walter and David Sanford. Tom is a world traveler having worked for a large entertainment company looking after their international business development. His work exposed to him some of the finest lodging establishments in the world, and this is where he had developed a love and respect for business. David is the engineer, who has supervised much of the renovation of the Inn’s buildings.
Tom and David had been regular visitors to P-Town and they had fallen in love with the town’s diversity, natural beauty, culture and art. You can see they really enjoy what they are doing, and the several properties that comprise the Inn are definitely sensitive to P-Town’s culture. At the same time offering a service that is comparable to some of the best lodging establishments in the world.
With its great vantage point high up on a bluff over looking the Provincetown Harbor, the Inn treats its visitors to a grand sense of escape from "the real world." As you enter the quaint lobby you are greeted with warm P-Town informality, feeling instantly at home, thanks to the friendly staff.
All forty of the Inn’s rooms are tastefully furnished and are decorated in Victorian and classic colors. Period antiques, graceful moldings, wainscoting and hardwood floors are some of the details that grace the inn’s spacious rooms. Many of the rooms have fireplaces, intimate decks, Jacuzzis and kitchenettes. All come with TVs, VCRs. Telephones and there is a turn down service. A full breakfast buffet is served in the dining room or the enclosed terrace that overlooks the inn’s backyard.
In addition, there are so many special touches that will enhance your stay: complimentary newspapers, high speed Internet access in all rooms, complimentary home made cookies and treats every afternoon, parking, two ten person built in heated spas, heated in ground pool, complimentary afternoon wine and cheese social, air conditioning, spa and beach towels, and all of the rooms are non-smoking.
One word of caution, due to its immense popularity, the Inn is very often sold out and it is necessary to reserve well in advance. In fact, there may even be a minimum stay required at certain times of the year.
Where to Dine?
Although Provincetown’s landmark restaurant, The Lobster Pot Restaurant, may not qualify as romantic dining, its friendliness and unpretentiousness nevertheless place it in the category of a must try. Zagat’s survey has named it as one of Cape Cod’s top restaurants.
There certainly is nothing fancy or swanky about the restaurant, particularly when we walked through a hallway that partitions the kitchen with glass windows. Nonetheless, we were given an opportunity to watch the kitchen staff laboring over the preparation of seafood, meats and vegetables. At least it was reassuring to know that the kitchen was very clean!
The atmosphere reminded us of a gathering of neighborhood buddies where locals meet and enjoy a menu that is easy on the palate, with an extensive array of Portuguese specialties, steaks, poultry, vegetarian, and light fare. Don’t forget their award-winning clam chowder, which we tasted and found to be unbelievable along with the just rightly prepared halibut. The prices were certainly reasonable, and no doubt, the locals know a good deal when they see one.
Where to have a Unique Wedding?
If you are looking for a spellbinding place that would make your wedding or commitment last a lifetime, then why not go for a ceremony celebrated on the sand dunes of Provincetown against a back drop of fiery sunset hues and the sounds of rolling ocean waves?
A naturalist’s paradise, the dunes provide a most spectacular venue, where, depending on the season, you will be surrounded by beach plums, salts pray roses, bayberries, beach heather, blueberries, wild cranberry, cattails, prickly pears, beach grass, beach pea, and many more interesting flora.
To make all of this happen, you can enlist Arts Dune Tours, who have been in the business of showing travelers the dunes in their four-wheel-drive vehicles for more than fifty years. They are the only buggy tour permitted in the inner dunes of the Province Lands.
Owner Robert Costa, who has taken over the business from his father Art, will take care of all of the details and will even transport all that is necessary including the food in ordinary to make the event memorable.
Information & Attractions
Provincetown Chamber of Commerce
307 Commercial Street,
Arts Dune Tours
9 Washington Avenue
Provincetown, MA 02657
Tel: 508-487-1950: 1-800-894-1951
Pilgrim Monument (High Pole Hill)