Saturday, August 06, 2011

A Long Drive for Lighthouses

Several of our neighbors here in the campground told us we had to go to Provincetown, at the tip of Massachusetts, to people watch. Unfortunately, they were looking at the openly alternative lifestyle of many of the citizens there as a freak show but I wanted to see this historic town and hit a couple of lighthouses on the way.

Taking US 6 and bypass 6A Denny and I headed north. We had to cross over a couple of very tall bridges and saw the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge in the distance. This bridge raises up to allow the passage of tall ships down the Cape Cod Canal. I loved the bit of whimsy on the part of the architect. Driving up 6A you get to see all the gray clapboard cottages and houses you could ever hope to see. After a while, I was hoping for a nice colorful painted lady or something along the Italianate line just as a change of pace. Nope, simply more gray clapboard. The homes are all charming and what I have enjoyed about this area is the propensity of the owners to use wildflowers and perennials in wild abandon in their front yards. The brilliant splashes of color make a wonderful contract to the muted towns of the homes' siding. Driving on twisting, narrow two lane roads did not allow for stopping and taking photographs, sadly.

Our first stop was along the Cape Cod beach where we discovered not only the Highland lighthouse but a nine hole golf course that wandered around the grounds of the lighthouse itself.
If you enlarge the photograph below and look closely at the lower left hand corner, you'll see the red flag of the green on this par 3 hole of the Highlands Links Golf Club in North Truro (yep, thought we were in Nova Scotia for a moment!)On the grounds with the lighthouse (which you can tour) is a small museum and an observation deck where you can look out over the ocean. You can't wander the bluff because of the danger of the land falling away; since the lighthouse was built on its ten acres of land many years ago, all but four acres has been lost to erosion. Me, I'd rather wander around than be confined by a 15x15 foot observation deck, but that was not to be.

Hopping back into the truck we continued north to Race Point beach where we decided to have our picnic lunch. The state of Massachusetts has lifeguards along the public beach area, there is a visitor center and one can buy an off road pass to park on the beach (see the upper right side of the picture for the line of RVs parked on the beach) and miles of biking/walking trails. Race Point is actually a part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, so there is a fee to get into the park (except for those who have one of the park passes such as the wonderful Golden Age Pass which has since been renamed to American the Beautiful-Senior Pass.)As you can see, you are literally on the beach here; it is a favorite spot for local fisherman to stay because just off this beach are some of the best fishing on the Cape, per our neighbors who fish commercially here.
The ranger told Denny and me that it would be a two mile walk in the very coarse sand of the beach at high tide (which meant I was sinking well into the wet sand at the tide line with each step) so we opted to drive to Herring Cove Beach where we could climb near the dunes and take a picture of the Race Point Lighthouse in the distance. While there, this three masted schooner (yeah, I SO sound like I know what I'm talking about!) was skimming by in the distance.
By now it was time to see Provincetown since we had a two hour drive to get back home. Provincetown is a huge tourist area and since whale watching tour season had just started as well as all the other activities the town holds on a daily basis it meant that we were unable to find a parking spot for our big, honking truck. I have to be honest here, we are not shoppers or store browsers or people gawkers, thus Provincetown was simply a too crowded tourist area to us. If we had a smaller car and had come during the middle of the week we probably would have found a museum or tow, climbed up the Pilgrim Monument and wandered the beach. Instead, we simply drove through the middle of town and on out. Unable to stop to take a photograph of the Pilgrim Monument in the center of town, I snagged this one from the 'net.The Pilgrim Monument, designed by Willard T. S...Image via Wikipedia

On the way out of the Cape area we did miss the turn for the Nauset Lighthouse, which I regret, but it was time to head home and put our feet up for a while. It was another beautiful day in the neighborhood, and a great day of sightseeing.
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Anvilcloud said...

This is an interesting post with good photos. I am with you on tourist towns although we would probably get out and do a stroll about as Cuppa does like to browse. And occasionally buy.

Arkansas Patti said...

What a great visit you had. That last lighthouse was really strange looking. Sorry you missed it.
The schooner caught my eye. That is such a romantic looking craft.

SkippyMom said...

Great pics. It looks chilly there, but very beautiful.

[yes, I know it isn't cool/cold - it just looks that way. heehee]

Anonymous said...

Hi Linda, I read through your post and I want to feature it in our new travel website. Please let me know if you're interested in talking about it!

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