- The Land’s End Inn – a view of the front garden overlooking the beach below
We’re in Provincetown, finally! I will have to write retrospectively about our wonderful Boston excursion, but for now, we are enjoying a lavish continental breakfast at the Lands End Inn, a beautiful B&B at the western tip of the peninsula.
The not-just-juice-and-danishes truly continental breakfast at Land’s End
Hosts Michael and Mike (they like to keep it simple) are terrifically hospitable. Michael met us at the dock yesterday after our harrowing trip in via ferry in rough seas. What started out as a smooth ride turned bumpy and in fact turned Stephen’s stomach. Poor child spent the second half of the two-hour trip with his head in a popcorn bucket losing his lunch.
Motion sickness abated as soon as we hit land, and we were off for a tour of Commercial Street in Michael’s Prius. We cut through the street dodging the tourists who were flooding into the roadway from the crowded sidewalks. Due to the windy weather it was not a beach day, so all the town’s visitors literally took to the streets.
After quickly unpacking we headed into town to see the sights and get a bite to eat. We had the great idea to peddle across P-town on rented bikes with a kid trailer, but Mike gave us a reality check when he began to give us pointers on navigating around the cars and people and finding a place to lock up the bikes during peak season. So we opted to hoof it, which is not an easy option either with a soon-to-be-three year old. With fits and starts, we finally made it to the center of town, and hot and tired from the hike we let ourselves be led into the nearest restaurant for an early dinner by a man standing outside the establishment beckoning us with the promise of “air-conditioned dining.”
We plopped ourselves down inside Bayside Betsy’s and discovered that even diner-style dining was pretty pricey in P-town, with average entrees running about $20. Kira ordered Betsy’s Pasta and I got the fish & chips. For Stephen it was the homemade 8-bean soup. Kira’s entrée was pretty good, mine was average, though I could have skipped the cold hard fries, and Stephen’s soup was actually the tastiest food we ordered. We did have a delightful server, Bobby, who clearly hasn’t spent much time with young kids, as he spelled out his name for Stephen on his paper kid’s place mat, as if Stephen could read and write. Bobby cooed and awed over Stephen who won him over by calling out “Thank you Bobby,” each time Bobby brought us something. Bobby also whipped up some special Hershey’s syrup mix chocolate milk by request, and he even warmed it up, exactly to Stephen’s order!
After some sustenance we wandered back into the street to browse at the hidden treasure chest of Marine Specialties Store (www.ptownarmynavy.com), a surplus store with everything from unique tchatchkes, such as a specially designed dish for holding melted butter and seafood sauce for lobster aficionados, to mass- produced imported-from-China cheapie kid’s toys, including plastic swords and sand buckets. After milling about town for an hour or so, we dropped by Gallery Voyeur (www.voy-art.com) an art studio at Ptown’s East End, at 444 Commercial Street, owned by lesbian artist Johniene Papandreas.
Artist Johniene Papandreas working at her studio/gallery
Johniene’s pieces are large, dramatic portraits in which she has excerpts details from classic works, such as the eyes of DaVinci’s Virgin of the Rocks or a pair of voluptuous lips from a visage of Caravaggio’s “The Musicians,” and then renders the features with an emotional energy that she has infused into the moment — or perhaps a moment before or after– that the original artist captured the subject.
Beloved, a portrait inspired by DaVinci’s Virgin of the Rock
Johniene likes to work in the gallery where others can watch the creative process at work and talk to her about her vision, hence the “Voyeur” namesake of the studio.
See her at work here:
Her partner who shares the space paints portraits of animal friends by commission, and so in the window and on the walls hang the furry faces of Lucky Dogs, her collection of canine subjects, from bull dogs and beagles to Dalmatians.
Stephen points out one of the Lucky Dogs
My son took to the coasters featuring some of the artist’s most beloved of the furry faces, especially the golden retriever.
Stephen shows his enthusiasm for the golden retreiver coaster from the Lucky Dogs collection
Onward from the art district, about three miles from our home-away-from-home at Lands End, we began walk back, but Stephen decided he was done with walking, done with riding on our shoulders and done with being carried. So we sought out the elusive stroller rental in town, to no avail. We decided that someone in P’town could make a killing renting strollers because NOBODY had them or knew where we could get one. We even tried the local hardware store where we thought we could buy a wagon in which we could pull our little cranky kid, but the ACME Hardware store was closed up tight at 6:30 pm. We ran into a trio of women happily pushing along a stroller with a little girl, and we asked them where we could get a stroller too. They had no idea, but they did have a brilliant idea for getting us back to the Inn with Stephen, who by now was laying on the sidewalk, refusing to budge. One of the women, tanned with sunstreaked hair, clearly a local, offered that we should hire a pedicab, a bicycle propelled cab, that we could pay “whatever we felt was fair.”
Sandy (far right) and friends Sue and Sam along with Ella (in Stroller) tipped us off on how to get around P’town
Just as we agreed it was a great idea, an empty pedicap approached, and the other women with Sandy instructed us to let Sandy do the talking and negotiate a ride for us, using her cache as a P’town denizen. Bob, the driver, agreed to take the three of us all the way back to the West End of town AND he agreed to stop and wait for us to get some ice cream!
The pedicab was a lifesaver. We piled in, and Bob took off at a nice clip, easily swerving in between and around meandering pedestrians and motorists. He took us to Lewis Brothers, which he said has the best ice cream in town, evidenced by the long line inside spilling out onto the porch, but he had no problem waiting while I waited in line.
With double dips in cups in hand, we rode the remaining mile or so back to the Inn, all of us quietly enjoying our ice cream. Kira and I were so intent on our own cups, it took a few moments to notice Stephen had scooped out a good portion of his chocolate ice cream onto his lap and was wearing it not only on his pants but on ours as well. We were so hungry and the ice cream was so good we just shrugged and finished our desserts. Cie le vie.
Stephen wears his chocolate ice cream from Lewis Brothers
Shortly we were back at the cozy Inn, and soon in our king-sized family bed. “We should go to sleep,” Stephen sighed, convincing us with his favorite saying when he’s completely tuckered out. “I’ve had a long day.”