Staytourism

A tourist in my home town

Have you ever gone on vacation somewhere and said to yourself, “wow, if I lived here, I could go to [tourist spot] all the time”?  Speaking as someone who grew up in the Boston area, worked downtown for two years–Duck Tour buses used to go by our office window four times a day– and can walk to Boston from my front door, I think I speak with some authority when I say this: we don’t go to [tourist spot] unless we have someone to bring.  Or if we do go on our own, it’s because [tourist spot] is between us and where we want to go.

Wow, I had no idea these were so close to each other

Last year, for instance, the children had a friend over for the July 4th weekend.  While showing him around we:

–saw the fireworks in Boston for the first time without a television set being involved;

–discovered that Government Center, Faneuil Hall, the New England Aquarium, the Holocaust Memorial, the Farmer’s Market, the North End, and the harbor cruise pier are all within a 1 mile radius of one another;

–found the open parks built by the city to replace the 93 overpass after the Big Dig;

–figured out where the Old North Church and that statue of Paul Revere that shows up on every postcard from Boston is actually located;

–discovered Chowderfest.

I’m not kidding; I didn’t know any of that before we had to show them to someone else.  In my defense, the aforementioned 93 overpass blocked the view of the aquarium, the docks and the North End from the end of Faneuil Hall.  Still.

Provincetown ferry

So far this year we’ve had an in-laws visit result in a Haunted Boston tour (never knew where Copp’s Hill burial ground was; never knew there was a Copp’s Hill; still not sure what part of Boston we were in) and a Friend of Daughter visit resulting in a ferry ride to Provincetown.  That was on Sunday.

We have been to Provincetown before, a couple of times.  But we always drove.  Provincetown, if you don’t have a map handy, is the last town at the end of the tip of the Cape Cod curl.  As the seagull flies, it’s not too terribly far, but forced to stick to land it can take 3 or 4 hours, which is nearly the same amount of time it would take us to reach Maine.

The discovery of the ease and frequency of ferries to different parts of Cape Cod to which we ordinarily drive was something we made a few weeks ago, after our second trip to Chowderfest.  Chowderfest is an annual, vaguely unfortunate contest to see which Boston area restaurant has the best clam chowder, held in 90 degree heat in the middle of an unshaded cement plaza.  It’s the sort of thing one is proud to have survived.  And when we did survive, we stumbled downhill until we reached the docks, and thus the ferry schedule.

Anyway.  The most efficient ferry to Provincetown was the fast ferry, which rocketed down there almost as quickly as it rocketed all of your money out of your pocket.  A slower ferry left from the Boston docks, cost less, but only gave us three hours there before returning.

The best deal ended up being a ferry from Plymouth: cheapest, briefest, five hours in town before the return trip.  We just needed to get to Plymouth, which was a 55 minute drive on its own.

Oh, and Plymouth?  Home of Plymouth Rock, Plimouth Plantation, the replica Mayflower II?  Never been there.  Had to use a map and a GPS and everything to find it.

Some observations about Provincetown

–I had a full signal on my iPhone for 3/4 of the ferry ride, and everywhere in both Plymouth and Provincetown, yet I can’t get a signal in my mother’s house in Watertown.  I think Apple is fucking with me, I really do,

–Provincetown is easily the gayest place on the Eastern seaboard.  There are parts of Provincetown that are so gay even gay people see it and say, “oooh, that’s much too gay.”  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

–For the record, the best chowder in the state is not at any of the restaurants participating in Chowderfest.  It is the clam chowder at Bayside Betsy’s.  Plan accordingly.

–Male couples in Provincetown all have these things in common: they dress or accessorize alike; they’re in amazing shape; they own a purebred dog.  Actually, everyone in town owns a dog.  There are so many dogs the shops have to put up signs saying things like “unless you can carry your dog, it can’t come in here”.

–My daughter and her air quote Friend air quote have two games that involve them punching each other on the shoulder: if a license plate from another state is identified; if a lesbian is spotted.  In Provincetown they spent the entire afternoon hitting each other.

–If you are an aficionado of the marijuana, you need not concern yourself with bringing or purchasing any when traveling to Provincetown.  Just stand on Commercial Street and wait for a car with its windows down to drive past, then inhale.

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3 Comments

  1. Leah Petersen on August 3, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Yeah, I hear you. I live at the beach and we never go. All the tourists are there. 😉

  2. Mom on August 4, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Um, for the record, you actually have been to Plymouth. Or at least to Plimoth Plantation. When you were a child. Can’t remember if it was with a school trip as well, but definitely when relatives visited us and we ourselves were in the “cool, visitors are coming so maybe we can see some [tourist spots] mode” ourselves. But you were there.

    • genedoucette on August 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

      I’m nearly positive you’re thinking of Sturbridge Village.

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