New England is a very special part of America, and there are a myriad of reasons to visit this part of the country. States like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have a lot of history behind them, with some of the country's oldest towns and cities being established here when the first English pilgrims arrived on American soil. This effectively makes New England the birthplace of the modern United States of America, and the region is filled with key historical sites and extraordinary old architecture. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Herring Cove Beach
2.Race Point Beach
3 Best Provincetown Beaches
- Herring Cove Beach, Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com
- Race Point Beach, Photo: Sven/stock.adobe.com
- Wellfleet Beaches, Photo: Jerry & Marcy Monkman/Danita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- More Info, Photo: wjbruzek/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Tono Balaguer - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Race Point Lighthouse
The Race Point Lighthouse, located in historic Provincetown, Massachusetts, is one of the most visited and scenic destinations in the area. Full of photo ops as well as fascinating history, visiting the lighthouse is necessary for anyone in the area. First built in November of 1816 after locals expressed concerned about the dangerous shores and bars around Race Point (near Cape Cod), the original lighthouse stood 25 feet above the sea level and was actually one of first lights that that revolved.
The Keeper’s house was built in 1840, and a second Keeper’s house was built in 1876. To this day, the lighthouse remains not only a historic building but also a working aid for navigation and is maintained thanks to the United States Coast Guard. The surrounding grounds and structures are the responsibility of the American Lighthouse Foundation with the help of donations.
The main attraction at Race Point is the lighthouse itself. Public tours are scheduled regularly and updated on the website. The open season for tours runs from June through October and are done on both the first and the third Saturday of the month. Visitors should be aware that there is no direct parking at the lighthouse. It is accessible either by walking or by driving a four-wheeler (there are no rentals, so visitors must provide their own - be aware that they must also hold the correct permit). Tours are run starting at 10 am and ending at 2 pm and are free, however donations are very much appreciated. Make sure to come prepared for walking (wear appropriate footwear - no flip flops will be permitted) and bring a camera as there are many photo opportunities during this scenic and historical tour!
Visitors should also be aware that tours will be suspended at any point if any the birds that are federally protected have nested and are blocking access to the lighthouse. After the chicks have hatched and fledge, tours will resume. Check the website or call ahead for up to date information.
Only 5 people will be allowed inside the lamp room at a time due to safety regulations. Guests should also make sure to be aware of the trap door and use caution. No one will be allowed onto the catwalk (gallery). All children must be supervised by an adult or guardian (who must be 18 years of age or older) at all times on the tour for safety, and children under the age of 4 are not allowed to climb from the watch room into the lamp room by ladder and will have to remain below (supervised). No pets or animals will be allowed as well.
Also included on the tour (as well as being open for accommodations for guests who want to stay the night) are the Keeper’s House (built in 1840, this is where lighthouse keepers have stayed) and the Whistle House and the Oil House. Guests should also make sure to check out the beautiful Race Point beach either before or after the tour.
Mariner’s Day is one of the most special events held at Race Point. Held in May, this tour will include the whole light station at no charge, and light refreshments will be available for guests to snack on while visiting. In addition to the regular tour, there will also be the ability to view both the wind and solar electricity generating systems. Guests can also view the thermal system that is solar powered, which provides both central heat and hot water by the sun! This event runs from 9 am to 2 pm and is held rain or shine. Guests who park at the Race Point beach parking will be provided free transportation to the lighthouse.
Weddings are also permitted at Race Point. This beautiful and scenic setting has been the destination for weddings for many years now! There is a document on the website with all of the important information to consider, including number of guests permitted, rates, times, restrictions, and additional information about the location.
Race Point operates a small gift shop on the premises, with proceeds going directly back into the preservation and care of this historic lighthouse. Featuring a small selection of apparel (hats, t-shirts) as well as other gifts and souvenirs (like stationery, books, maps, and magnets), it is the perfect place to pick up a small reminder of a visit to the lighthouse.
Race Point Lighthouse, Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA, 02657, Phone: 855-722-3959
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Attraction Spotlight: Pilgrim Monument Provincetown Museum
The monument and museum in Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA is literally a piece of history. Guests who choose to visit will be able to step back in time, learn more about the history of the area and the pilgrims who landed here, and get a bit of exercise in the process.
Founded in the 1890s and currently Cape Cod’s oldest not for profit group, the monument was built in 1907 on the site that the pilgrims landed and where the Mayflower Compact was written and signed (way back in the 1600s). The museum opened slightly after that, in 1910, to teach visitors about the history. Millions of people have visited since it was built, over 100 years ago and it continues to be one of the top tourist spots in the area.
The Monument - The most obvious attraction at this site is the monument itself. Standing 252 feet high, it will take visitors roughly 10 minutes to climb to the top. It is currently the tallest structure in the US that is made entirely out of granite and was designed by Willard Sears, with over 100 stairs and 60 ramps. The inside has many stones that have been donated from cities and groups all over the country and the outside features the very first cornerstone laid when the monument was built, put there by none other but President Teddy Roosevelt himself! The view from the top is absolutely stunning. There is even a viewfinder at the top that visitors can use to look out across the water to where the Mayflower could have landed so many years ago. While at the top, visitors will be a whopping 350 feet above sea level!
The Museum - Outside of the monument is the museum. The permanent exhibits inside focus on the story of the Mayflower Pilgrims and their arrival, the history of the maritime industry in the area, how theater has had an impact locally, and more information on how the monument was built. Visitors can also walk through a sea captain’s home parlor and sea quarters from the 19th century, a diorama that shows the Mayflower Compact being signed and a model built to scale of the Provincetown Players’ first theater.
While inside the museum, visitors should also be sure to check out the artifacts that were brought back by Donald MacMillan, a Provincetown native who toured the Arctic with explorer Robert Peary. Among some of the most exciting are the musk ox, polar bear, and Inuit items. Provincetown’s first (built in the 1830s) fire engine, which was made by a man who apprenticed with Paul Revere himself, is also on display, as well as many artifacts from the original Wampanoag natives of the region (featuring arrowheads, tools/implements, and images). Rounding out the collection is a selection of photographs, furniture, postcards, carvings, holiday cards, and playbills that help visitors step back into time and see Provincetown as it was many years ago.
The grounds are available for rent for special events from May through October. Perfect for outdoor weddings, private and corporate events and even fundraising opportunities, the lawns and the views that come with them will stun guests. The lawn on the east side of the premises is slightly more secluded, with beautiful landscaping. Tents can be used, but only those that seat less than 100 people. The lawn on the west side is more open and allows for larger tents, if desired. Events can run from 9am to 11pm, lasting no more than three hours. Costs vary, so contact the facility for an estimate. There is also an option for smaller events with no more than 25 guests, held only on the East lawn. These events must be finished by no later than 5pm.
The Annual Lighting ceremony, held in November, celebrates the landing of the first pilgrims and is one of the most noteworthy events held here. With more than 3000 landing lights that will shine from November through the beginning of January, this event is free, with light refreshments and some entertainment.
While there is not much to purchase while at the monument and museum, visitors should make sure to check out the selection of apparel (hats and t-shirts in all sizes and a variety of colors), coffee mugs (with a charming reminder for visitors who climbed to the top) and a few other souvenirs (books, ornaments, cookie cutters, etc.). Every purchase helps support the site.
Pilgrim Monument Provincetown Museum, 1 High Pole Hill Road, Provincetown, MA, 02657, Phone: 508-487-1310
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Attraction Spotlight: Provincetown Art Association and Museum
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum: A cultural organization that merges the beauty of outer Cape Cod with the imaginative energy of the first art colony in America. PAAM offers visitor a fluid lineup of public lectures, workshops, exhibitions, and cultural activities that encourage and foster appreciation for the fine art that Provincetown is known for.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum, founded in 1914, took form when a group of residents and artists wanted to create a permanent collection of art by artists in the outer Cape Cod area. It was also a way to unify the townspeople within the community. PAAM began its tradition of gathering and displaying the art of local artists in the summer of 1915. They quickly found themselves a brand, “The Biggest Art Colony in the World” through buying and renovating the building in 1919. (Which is the same building you can see today!)
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum chose to represent both sides of the artistic battle between “Modern” and “Regular” art by creating separate exhibits for each in the summer of the years between 1927 and 1937.
PAAM’s fiftieth anniversary was celebrated in 1964 with a show looking at the major artists of it’s past. The show played a key role in the addition of new galleries, increased activities, expanded exhibition schedule, and the building of a vault for storage of the growing collection.
PAAM celebrated its one hundredth year in 2014 with exhibitions and programs that displayed art work, artists, and events that played key roles in PAAM becoming the organization it is today. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum symbolizes the assets that brand Provincetown a lasting American art center.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s collection consists of more than three thousand works by over seven hundred artists that have called Cape Cod home at some point in time. The archives at the museum is branded with artists' names and other works for people to explore. The archives contain other items related to the continuing projects of the Association and the Museum. These materials can be provided to historians and scholars who request them. PAAM merges at least three major art movements.
PAAM has several exhibitions for art connoisseurs.
Recent Gifts: Part I- This exhibition feature gifts and donations recently acquired by the museum by artists in the area.
Abstraction from the Permanent Collection- This exhibition reflects the visual language of line, form, color, and shape through select abstract art works from the PAAM collection.
Edward and Josephine Hopper from the Permanent Collection- A recent acquisition of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, the exhibition features ninety-six drawings by Edward Hopper and watercolors by Josephine Hopper. There are twenty-two diaries on display that date from 1933 to 1956 that tell the story of the Hopper’s lives on Cape Cod and more. The donation was made to the museum by Laurence C. and J. Anton Schiffenhaus.
Sculpture Gardens- The Provincetown Art Association and Museum is home to several sculpture gardens that invite visitors to appreciate art outdoors. Exhibit spaces contain benches and other comfortable seats for visitors to sit and contemplate the sculptures.
· Berta Walker Sculpture Garden- The west lawn holds this garden and displays sculptures by
Richard Pepitone, Joseph Kurhajec, Sidney Simon, Chaim Gross, and Penelope Jencks
· James and Frances Bakker Sculpture Garden- This garden can be found at the east portion of the museum facing its historical unit. It includes sculptures done by Lila Katzen, Chaim Gross, Catherine Widgery, Boris Margo, Paul Bowen, and Sidney Simon
· Dr. Donald Butterfield Sculpture Garden- This garden can be found on the deck behind the museum, beside the Hans Hofmann Gallery, and displays sculptures by Richard Pepitone, Jack Kearney, and Joseph Kurhajec
PAAM has provided art education and workshops to both visitors and residents of the community since the 1920s.
Youth Programs- PAAM partners with schools and institutions to bring the following programs to the youth of the community:
· Art Reach Afternoon Program
· A Curating Program with Lenore Ross
· A student mentor program named Reaching Forward
· A Tuesday afternoon program name START!
· Art on the Edge Saturday Program
Seasonal Workshops- PAAM offers visitors to Cape Cod seasonal workshops. Though most tourism occurs in the summer, the fall has something to offer visitors as well. The current fall workshops include printmaking, photography, drawing, watercolor, and painting
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum puts on a variety of different events all year. These events include auctions, films, lectures, and more. The PAAM website offers a calendar of events for each month.
460 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657, Phone: 508-487-1750
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