“In some pictures of Provincetown the inhabitants are not drawn below the ankles, so much being supposed to be buried in the sand.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Sand. There’s a lot of it here in Ptown. If you arrive by car, you will notice it starting to surround you, sneaking in on both sides as you drive further down Route 6. Roughly one third of the Cape Cod National Seashore is coastal dunes. That’s about 8500 acres from Chatham to Ptown.
Locals know better than to fight the sand. It’s inevitable. It. Gets. Everywhere.
But the sand does have its perks. Without it, what would our coastline be? Rocky and impassable (I’m looking at you, Maine). So, we say ‘yes!’ to the sand and you should too. Simply driving by Ptown’s crazy sand dunes is not enough. You have to really get out there. Those silent windswept expanses also offer a welcome bit of peace and quiet¾and quite the contrast¾after the the buzz of Commercial Street.
The NPS tour includes an option that will take you to visit the dune shacks, where artists and writers work in blissful (hopefully) solitude, having left their lives in some other zip code. Best place to start is at the Province Lands Visitor Center (171 Race Point Road, Hours: daily, May 1 through October 31, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. 508-487-1256).
Having been around since 1946, Art’s Dune Tours are a Ptown institution. After 70 years, they’ve got this gig down. You get to pile into an SUV and explore the dunes up close in myriad ways. Tours have titles like “Land ‘n Lake (includes lunch and kayaking), Land ‘n Sail (includes an afternoon sail), and “Land ‘n Sea” (includes fishing aboard a charter boat). There is something for everyone¾adults, kids, families, singles (sorry, the pets have to stay behind though). In September and through the fall, their Sunset Tours are available almost every day (starts at 4:30pm) and includes a traditional New England style Clambake, with alternative food offerings of course. And I’m pretty sure they don’t mind if you get sand in the car.