There are essentially two types of people who live on Cape Cod year-round: those who were born here (you know, the 13th generation Cape Codder whose great-great-great-whatever came over on the Mayflower) and those who came for a visit and stayed. I am one of the latter. We affectionately call ourselves “wash-ashores.” The sand got into the shoes and never left. Of course, I don’t know about you, but I never really tried to shake it out. I spent virtually every summer weekend of my childhood making a pilgrimage with my family down to Cape Cod. And the older I got, the longer I stayed.
The Cape captures the imagination. Don’t tell anyone, but that sugar smooth sand has some kind of mystical power. What is that power—that pull—that seems to creep over the bridge like fog, wafting in on cold spring days? Escape. Pure and simple. No phone calls. No junk mail. No vacuuming. No laundry. No one from home trying to find me.
It used to be easier to unplug. There was no Internet, no smartphones¾no connections that can, if you let them, follow you all the way out to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we do get cell service on the Cape Cod National Seashore…unfortunately. So that just means that today, escaping takes a bit more intentionality. To get off the beaten path is more of a mental exercise than a physical one. Although a change of scenery is certainly a good place to start.
And Provincetown, our magical village clinging onto the edge of the continent, is the ideal spot to give it a shot. Even for Cape Codders, Ptown feels like an otherworld. It’s more cosmopolitan, less provincial perhaps, than every other town on the Cape. To me, it has always felt a little bit European¾something about the small streets, the houses tightly packed, the gardens overflowing, the colors—with a dash of New York City thrown in. And then there are the endless miles of sun-bleached beaches. Those are nice too.
Ptown is a state of mind. A deliberate leaving behind. It has all the pieces of the puzzle for you. The outdoors. A soft bed and a cozy comforter. A stiff, salty breeze. A delectable, unhurried meal. A leisurely afternoon bike ride. A steaming cup of tea. Brisk, refreshing water pooling around toes. And that intoxicating light.
All you need to do is turn off your phone, park your car, and look up.
…Are you coming?