Celebrating Cape Cod National Seashore’s 50th


Official logo for 50th anniversaryOfficial logo for 50th anniversary

Cape Cod National Seashore at 50

August 7 was the 50th anniversary for the Cape Cope National Seashore. Provincetown is one of my family’s favorite summer vacation spots and while we missed the 100th anniversary of the Pilgrim Monument (the tallest all granite structure in the US) last year, we made it this year for the National Seashore’s celebrations.

Inside Marine Specialties in ProvincetownInside Marine Specialties in Provincetown

One view of the Marine Specialities store interior (photo by Brad Moon)

Although it’s a good 13 or 14 hour drive from where I live in London (Ontario), Provincetown is well worth the effort. It’s also a very stimulating place for kids. There are beaches and hiking trails, tidal flats to explore, educational activities such as whale watching, museums, historical monuments and plenty of colorful local culture. The kids have spent hours over the years, pondering the engineering involved in floating dozens of homes from their original location on Long Point across the bay to a new home in Provincetown, accomplished using the technology and equipment available over 150 years ago. The last time we were here, I posted about a very successful whale watching expedition (Corinna gave it a shot last year as well), but we haven’t ventured out on the whale watching boats as yet. We have made many excursions downtown, usually involving a visit to the Marine Specialities store. This place is a magnet for the kids —an eclectic combination of army surplus, salvage, souvenirs and clothing over-runs. With decor that features everything from old torpedoes and bicycles to armor, diving suits and a Hindenburg model suspended from the ceiling (which I have been eying although trying to explain that one to Canada Customs might be interesting), it’s also one place where I don’t mind hanging out while the kids root about looking for interesting bargains. We also made the trek to the top of the Pilgrim Monument (it’s worth the view and sufficiently enclosed that there’s no worries about kids plummeting the 252 feet to the ground) and spent an hour or so in the Provincetown Museum, located at the monument’s base. For families visiting Provincetown, the museum is a great place to spend some time, and it’s air conditioned —a real bonus this time of year.

The moon rising over the dunes at ProvincetownThe moon rising over the dunes at Provincetown

Moonrise over the dunes on Race Point Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore (photo by Brad Moon)

The big deal during the past week has been the 50th anniversary of the Cape Cod National Seashore. We’ve made several treks out to Herring Cove and Race Point beaches, including the highlight, last night. The National Park Service allocates several fire permits every day (you have to line up four days in advance and cross your fingers if you want to snag one), and my wife was able to get a permit. With much of her family also in Provincetown this week (it’s a bit of a family tradition to meet here every few years), we packed the kids, loaded the truck and a car with chairs, firewood and coolers, and made for Race Point to watch the sunset while sitting around a campfire. It was a spectacular sunset, but even better was the moonrise. There was a full moon, very little cloud, and the moonlight was bright enough to cast clearly defined shadows on the sand.

We still have another week here and managed to get another fire permit for Tuesday night. Now we just have to hope that the weather holds. If not, there’s always Marine Specialties.

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