Category Archives: massachusetts

Bye to Cape Cod

Our last day on Cape Cod was unambiguously gorgeous weather wise and no sudden downpours while we were riding our bikes through the dunes on the bike trails. It felt suddenly like fall, with crisp air, sharp sunlight, yellow and red leaves. Lovely. We ate again at the Lobster Pot, this time on the top floor with a spectacular view of the harbor, the curving stretch of tan sandy beach,and brilliant blue water with boats bobbing in the waves. Couldn’t resist the fried clams, again, at the Pot, but also tried fish and chips (we have eaten a lot of cod this trip. When in Rome) and the clam chowder. the fast ferry back to Boston was much easier on the stomach and head, with a lot less chop, thank god. From the World Trade Center we resisted the temptation to take a water taxi to Logan($10 per person) and took the silver line, which is an above ground bus to Logan. We figured out the transit system too late. We thought we bought a charliecard but instead bought a charlieticket and paid 50 cents more ride. Better explanation needed for tourists! Having recently used public transportation in Chicago, London, Berlin, Krakow, Prague and Washington DC I can speak with some authority on this. Anyway, great trip.

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Provincetown lovely on a quiet October Monday

I hear this can be a wild and crazy and gay party town but not on a Monday night in early October. It’s still gay, of course. but quiet, almost peaceful, and I love it here. We are staying at a pretty old guesthouse, the Fairbanks Inn, a sea captains house from 1776 with pretty old furnishings, wide wood planked creaky floors, old fireplaces in rooms, pretty floral,wallpaper. We rented excellent bikes at Provincetown Bikes and set off on a sunny but increasingly overcast day on the terrific Eight mile bike trail through the dunes by Herring Cove and Race Point beach, past tidal marshes with wheat colored grasses blowing in wind and strands of pine and beech trees. A really lovely trail. IpUmfortunately about midday through it started to drizel and then it poured. We cowered under a tree but it didn’t give us much shelter and we got completed soaked. Then just as suddenly the sky turned blue and clear so we walked on lovely quintessential cape cod racepoint beach to dry off a bit.

Lunch was a shared lobster roll and fried clams, both excellent, at the Lobster Pot, an institution here, with good reason, with an excellent Harbor view. We had cold Portuguese french toast at the portugeuse bakery, oddly the only thing I remember about my last visit here 30 some years ago and a lovely dinner tonight at the classy but warm Red Inn (clams, cod, lobster-shrimp-crab cakes, a surprisingly light delicious cheese cake.The center of town is pretty tricky tacky but we liked the east and west ends of commercial street, which are more residential.

Our fast ferry was very bumpy, as we flew over massive waves but we made it. We went on bay state cruises which left not from long wharf, as we thought, but the pier behind the World Trade Center in, yesterday again, the seaport area.

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Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Seaport in Boston

I was somewhat relieved to find out that the seaport area where we have spent much of this trip in Boston did not look familiar NOT because of my rusty memory of living here 30 years ago but because it didn’t exist…at least in its current highly developed form. It’s a nice addition to a city that already has a lot to offer. We went to a wedding at Sam’s at Louis and then then next day to brunch at Miel in the Intercontinental hotel (excellent smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagel) and the new Institute of contemporary art (where we saw an interesting show of the work of Amy Stillman, whom i had not heard of but liked) all in the seaport area. it was easy to get back to Back Bay taking the Silver Line, a strange bus that goes underground in a tunnel more suited to a subway train, to the red line.

Earlier on Saturday, we walked from our friends fantastic apartment on Beacon Street through Back Bay and over to equally lovely Beacon Hill where we had coffee and pastry at outdoor tables at Cafe Vanille, on Charles Street and later lunch of thin crust pizza at Fig, the Todd English restaurant. Also managed to remember Louisburg Square, one of the loveliest old squares in the city with streets with large round cobblestones, paving blocks and red brick sidewalks. (See photo) Reminds me of London. We had a good Persian meal at Lala Rokh in Beacon Hill to celebrate a friends birthday.

Our first day in Boston, we took the subway blue then green) to Copley square and then went in reverse to north station where we got the commuter train to our relatives house in Swampscott.

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Provincetown ferry options!

  • Bay State Cruise Company

I’m on my way to Boston and – with hope – Provincetown this weekend so glad to see that the two Boston-Providence ferry services still appear to be running in early October. Not sure if I really need to book ahead – especially since we’re traveling somewhat off-season (to P-town on a Sunday in October.). Our best bet appears to be the Bay State Cruise Company because it has more ferries traveling at more times. (Departing Boston through Oct. 14 at 8:30 a.m., 1 p.m. (yes please!), and 5:30 p.m. and departing Provincetown at 10:30, 3 p.m. (yes please!) and 7:30 p.m.

At this time of the year through Oct. 14, the other service, Boston Harbor Cruises offers a ferry leaving Boston at 9 a.m. and a ferry leaving P-Town at 4 p.m.


 

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Great tips for where to stay and eat in Provincetown Mass!!

These come from our friend Kate who loves Ptown so much she got married there last year!!! We’re going in early October!

We just got back from a week there and it was so lovely. We usually search www.vrbo.com and rent an apartment from an owner. There’s a wide range of options available there in terms of location/price/size. You should be able to get a good deal wherever you go since it will be the off-season and prices drop significantly pretty much everywhere.

I would caution against finding a place too far on the east end of town, or on the other side of the highway, which would make it hard to walk to town. The far west side is about a 15 minute walk to the heart of town, so it always seems closer to me (but be wary of staying too far west if you’re not up for that). The town in general is very walkable, but it can be quite chilly there (it hit high 40s one night last week with high winds) so good to know that there are cab services around too and a ride anywhere in town limits is about $10. We sometimes find the walk to town seemed like a good idea on the way to dinner, but grab a cab on the way back if we’re not bundled up enough.

I know it won’t be beach weather, but it’s worth popping by Race Point and Herring Cove beaches, which are both nearby and great (keep an eye out for seals – they’re everywhere!). Race Point is the most dramatic, but you can drive right up to Herring Cove (no big dunes). Both are good places to watch the sunset (if it’s windy and cold, you could still enjoy it from your car at Herring Cove). You can also build a campfire on the beach if you’re feeling adventurous. You just need to get a permit from the ranger at the Province Lands Visitor Center (which is also the start of lovely bike/running trails and has nice views of Race Point & the dunes).

We have a TON of restaurant recs in town too. If you’re interested, here are our favorites:

Nor’East — Small outdoor biergarten with delicious food but might be closed that time of year — http://www.noreastbeergarden.com/

Front Street –People have recommended this place to us for years and we only made it last week. We were kicking ourselves for not going sooner because it has truly excellent Italian food in a really cozy basement with a wine cellar feel. Good for when you grow weary of lobster rolls and oysters —http://www.frontstreetrestaurant.com/home/

Ross’s Grill — Great waterview, great food, traditional/new American and seafood (love the fresh fried calamari) — http://rossgrillptown.com

Red Inn — Another great water view with delicious traditional/new American and seafood (love their scallops, and the bacon wrapped fried oysters) — http://theredinn.com/dining/dining-at-the-inn/

Mews — Again, water view and great traditional/new american and seafood (sense a theme? this place has a really tasty and rich lobster risotto) – www.mews.com  

Lobster Pot — For the classic casual new england fare, get solid lobster rolls, Wellfleet oysters, fried clams, etc here. And, of course, it also has a water view — http://www.ptownlobsterpot.com

Harbor Lounge — A good place to grab a drink with a great indoor view of the water and cozy/hip atmosphere. (We had a meet and greet here the day before our wedding.) —http://www.theharborlounge.com.

SOME LODGING OPTIONS There’s also a number of cute inns and B&Bs.(Full disclosure – I haven’t actually stayed at any of these, but have looked at rooms in the first two, and did a lot of research about lodging in town before the wedding):

The Red Inn – Upscale boutique inn located on the far westside of town (same building as the restaurant with which it shares a name). Probably a 10-15 minute walk to downtown. My parents stayed here for the wedding weekend.

Land’s End Inn – Luxury guesthouse on a hill above the Provincetown Inn with panoramic ocean views. Pricey but by far the most outlandish and cool-looking place in town, and probably the best views. Located on the far west side of town, so probably a 10-15 minute walk to downtown. Staying here seems like an event in and of itself.

Crowne Point Historic Inn & Spa – Upscale inn and great spa on a quieter street in the heart of town. You can use their salt tub and sauna facilities at the Shui Spa if you’re a guest or if you book a massage/etc there.

West End Inn – Higher end guest house on the west end of town. 10-15 minute walk to downtown.

And here’s a  B&B directory with more —  http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/provincetown-massachusetts.html

…More than you wanted about Ptown, I know, but as you can probably tell I love it there! Have a great time!

Provincetown, Massachusetts
Town

Aerial view of Provincetown, Cape Cod


Seal
Nickname(s): “P-town” or “P’town”
Motto: “Birthplace of American Liberty”

Location in Barnstable County in Massachusetts

U.S. Census Map

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More excitement for the real Madison County (Iowa) – book, film, now Broadway musical!

Outside the revamped Northside Cafe in Winterset, Iowa

Outside the revamped Northside Cafe in Winterset, Iowa

Madison County Iowa and it’s famous covered bridges may soon see a resurgence of tourists thanks to the soon to be Broadway Musical based on Robert James Waller’s “Bridges of Madison County” novel.  The musical is debuting this summer at the famous theater festival in beautiful Williamstown, Massachusetts.

After the novel and then the movie came out in 1995 – which was filmed on location in Iowa with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep, no less – people flocked to the area to visit the bridges. I took at least one English friend besotted with the novel to tour the area back in the mid 1990’s. If and when visitors return, they’ll find some added attractions and improvements in the county seat of Winterset – including the Northside Cafe, the old small town cafe that was used as a film location for the movie and is under new ownership with the same charm but much better food! There’s also some nice shops around the square and an English-style maze in the local park. And there’s a big move afoot to revamp the John Wayne Birthplace/museum  – a humble little white house (see photo below)- into a mega-John Wayne Museum.NYTimes story on Bridges of Madison County on Broadway!

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Solid Sound Festival – in June in the Berkshires

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Established 1999

Below is the post I was blogging yesterday when the bombs started going off in Boston, completely diverting my attention – and everyone else’s, as the bomber(s) no doubt intended. I am hugely relieved that my friends and family in Boston (including my niece, mentioned below, whose wedding we’re going to in Boston next fall) are now accounted for and are okay. But of course that’s not the case for many other people. And I can’t say that life feels like it has returned to normal. The blast in Boston has reverberated far beyond and we all feel shaken (and sad and angry and puzzled). But we have to carry on, right? So  with that in mind, I blog on…

Unfortunately we won’t be anywhere near the Berkshires until next fall when we go to Boston for a family wedding. But if I could I surely would get there in June for a music festival “curated”  by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy at one of the cooler contemporary art museums I’ve visited in recent years, MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) in the faded factory town of North Adams, Mass. Wilco, Neko Case and Yo La Tengo will be performing, among others, during the three-day Solid Sound Festival from June 21 to 23. And you can even camp downtown. If you don’t want to camp, there are some interesting lodging options including Porches, a series of renovated rowhouses across from the museum, which is located in a huge sprawling 19th century factory. Or in nearby Williamstown, try the remarkable River Bend Farm B&B, a  meticulously restored 18th century house.

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The Boston Marathon logo
Date the third Monday of April

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