Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Moving the motor home to Provincetown on a hot day left us headed for the beaches for those cooling breezes in the middle of the day. It didn't help much; direct sun and subtle breezes at best.

Race Point Beach parking was manned but the guard let us go without any restrictions. A roomy, busy beach stretching for miles in both directions. Dunes are protected and signs ask that no one walk on the grassy areas that hold sand.
 Herring Beach was similar. Off to Provincelands Visitors Center, part of the Sea Shore National Park. Good staff gave us detailed information on the bike trails, bird watching and where to find a wild cranberry bog as well as a commercial bog. We mapped out our route for Wednesday's bike ride and took pictures from their viewing platform. A good film about Marconi, and how he set up his wireless communication center, shows several times per day. The first one he built at Wellfleet was almost immediately demolished by a storm and had to be rebuilt.  
Dominating the surrounding landscape is the Pilgrims Monument off in the distance. It can be seen for miles. The structure is the largest granite building in the United States at 252 feet 7 1/2 inches.
  Provincetown is hilly and we drove behind this girl struggling to pull her Pedicab uphill. The Pilgrims Monument was placed here because the Mayflower made first landfall at Provincetown Harbor on November 21st, 1620 after 67 days at sea. Grateful Pilgrims wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact before moving on to settle Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The museum that accompanies the structure is excellent. Great records were kept of the building erected beginning in 1907. President Theodore Roosevelt came for the laying of the cornerstone. A one dollar bill silver certificate was donated to the museum with which Roosevelt tipped a local limosine driver that day. President Hoover was present for the dedication in 1910.
 Many artifacts from the whaling industry have been preserved. A typical Captains Home and furnishings, writings and journals. The pilgrims landing, washing clothing, finding fresh water, and so on rendered in huge wall paints. The town, the area, local notables, toys, weaving looms, industry, all here.

The Captains had stamps to record whales caught and killed, and a whale tail stamp for simple sightings with place and time.  Some were hand drawn rather than stamped, if the writer was artistic enough. This one was hard to discern, a stamp? Or hand drawn?
One of only two white wolves ever preserved stands in a section of the museum devoted to the exploits of a favorite son, Donald Baxter McMillan, an Arctic Explorer who made over 30 expeditions to the Arctic in 46 years. He charted 300,000 miles of territory in the Arctic during the late 1800's early 1900's. He left a wealth of materials to this museum. Along with this wolf is a stuffed musk ox.
 You can spend many hours in this beautiful museum. One room has 100 years of post cards produced of this fascinating edifice over the years; and many artistic renderings of the monument by various artists.
 Oil on canvas-
Plus many statues, a window, gate, soft sculpture, etc. Fun.
The monument has about 175 steps and platforms going up. Not a difficult climb. The steps made an interesting picture looking up.
  Inside, the walls carry inscriptions on stones donated by the various cities of Massachusetts for the memorial. We found Jim's birthplace of Gardner, MA.  New Bedford and Fairhaven where he lived the longest time in MA.
 The oldest MA town block was Weymouth founded in 1622. 
From the tower top, the views are spectacular.

The arm of the cape.

Detail of an old crumbling dock.
For more pictures click on the following link:

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