Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A New (and Improved?) Provincetown

Finally got around to sorting out some photos I took on vacation. Same old vacation, same old beach, but a brand new PTown.

As my handful of readers know, Leon and I vacation in Provincetown, MA every year, usually in September when the crowds have thinned out and the sun is warm and the skies are blue. This year found a much cooler climate, some cloudy days, a little rain and unusually windy. The beauty of the Province lands is timeless. But the town itself is another story.

New Provincetown as I now call it is close to 99% refurbished. In addition to new infrastructure, like water and sewer pipes which they were working on in the spring and which one doesn't see, there is new pavement on Commercial Street and brick paved sidewalks that  are relatively even with smooth transitions onto the street at each crosswalk. Now one does not have to be so aware of one's step but only of the cars especially the quiet ones that run on electric motors and the bicyclists who go faster than the cars.

The New Provincetown has been getting more and more expensive every year, slowly but surely pricing out even the middle classes. The gap is widening.

I don't know how much money the gays from Boston and New York and wherever make but five nights in PTown - 5 nights being the minimum for many guest houses - can run a small fortune.  If there was a railroad in PTown, Leon and I would be on the other side.

We stay at the campground in PTown - a facility that offers electricity, water, location and not much else. No sewer hookups, no pool, no WiFi, no free showers, no soap, no paper towels. But they have location - and at what we consider an outrageous price for a campground - $59 per night - they are well below what the hotels and guest houses are getting. We eat in most meals and pack our own lunches for the beach.

Our big treat at the cafe cost us $14 for a chai, a coffee, a peanut butter whoopi pie and two lemon cookies. We also had a gelato once and kahlua and white russian ice cream once.

The old Provincetown oozed quaintness with hodge-podge paved streets and uneven sidewalks and required extra vigilance while walking through town. 

There are new colors and new businesses replacing the older ones whose owners retired or died or left for warmer climates.

A lot of the old shops - the few that are left - are tired looking. And the newer shops, all selling overpriced goods, fill any empty spaces each season.

The Lobster Pot is an old fixture in PTown. Many people return year after year to eat there because they have made it a tradition. Too bad because I think it is a very expensive tradition. But Leon and I cannot afford, or should I say choose not to spend our meager vacation funds on eating there. We go to one of the restaurants that offer $15 early bird specials - Fanizzi's or Waterford among a few others.

Two moderately priced restaurants are gone - Tip for Tops'n and Michael Shays. 

The old stand-by Tip for Tops'n where you could get Portuguese kale soup and broiled cod and other Portuguese style food and decent seafood for a very reasonable price and a standard breakfast of a few bucks has been replaced by a new restaurant that we did NOT even go into, where the a la carte entrees run from $23 to $30 or more and the prices on the wine list are out of sight.

During the past 10 years or so many buildings have been resided, repainted, rebuilt, refurbished, remodeled removed or resized. Most now have brand new clapboards or cedar shingles, nice but a very different ambiance to the town. It is all very tidy and crisp.

Even the old Raunch has a new look and a new name.

Flowers are always nice.

Even the old meat rack has become gentrified.

Styles change every year, not always for the better.

The eye candy varies in sweetness and the rest of the scenery is always nice too.

Over at the campground is where we call home.

There are a lot of gay/lesbian clientele there and some love to decorate.

The  National Seashore has a new pavilion too. All those fines collected by the National Park Service rangers by ambushing nude sunbathers over at Herring Cove and Boys Beach added up. Fancy digs.

The natural beauty of the Province Lands doesn't change.

Till next summer....


Stan said...

Great post. Thanks for the updated info on PTown. Another reason why I haven't been there in years. You guys are lucky to have the camper.
On my fixed income it's hard to find anywhere affordable to get away. I'm finding the airfares somewhat manageable but hotels rooms are outrageous it seems anywhere I want to go.

Great photos. Enjoy your stay!

Russ Manley said...

Sounds like a lovely idyll - I envy you that.

Though I think the gentrification can be taken too far - once a place is made all plastic and shiny like Disneyland, it loses the gritty charm that attracted people in the first place. And it becomes a venue for big-spending tourists and the high-income set. This has happened to a large extent in the French Quarter of New Orleans, too.

Frank said...

Stan, There are a few hotels that are "reasonable" off season - between now and the end of April, if $79 for double occupancy is reasonable.

Russ, haven't been to the French Quarter since the winter after Katrina and it was quiet. PTown is not so much Disney as it is just expensive and people seem to think it just normal...it leaves me feeling like I got in the wrong line when they were passing out jobs.

Russ Manley said...

You and me both. I don't know what all these people making big bucks actually do for a living - they aren't all that smart, you know?

BTW, forgot to say in my earlier post I really enjoyed the evocative photographs - good job on that!

Stan said...

$79 is reasonable. No need for double occupancy since I'm alone. That's another reason why I can't seem to get my ass out and go somewhere. Always seem to come up with an excuse which is my bad.


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