Provincetown with Friends

With Sarah and Sean, and Miriam, Davis, Garrison, and Clarinda, we spent a weekend at the Harbor Hotel in Provincetown in early June. The adults (mostly Sarah, Miriam, and I) laughed more than I thought was possible in one weekend, and the kids played shockingly nicely with each other. Sarah lost her return ferry ticket, then found it again, and didn't even have to buy a replacement, stay behind, or hold up the entire boat to check IDs. Davis lost his wallet and phone, then found them again, unscathed. Marcus and Garrison found out how much fun it could be to switch little sisters at various points--apparently, other people's three-year-old sisters are charming. Who knew? Samantha napped in the afternoons and stayed up until midnight with us, Sarah and Sean adopted another seven-year-old boy at one point, and we all ate fantastic food and got incredibly sandy. To say it was a good weekend was, indeed, an understatement. Our only complaint was that we didn't get to stay an extra day!

On Friday night after work and school, we all met near the World Trade Center in Boston to take the fast ferry. The kids occasionally took turns inside, but first we had a huge feast of sushi and dumplings from Chinatown while we said goodbye to the Boston skyline behind us.

We mostly camped out on the back end of the boat, where there are nine chairs in a row with a great view, along with an American flag that kept attacking Sarah in the wind.

Once in town we walked down the pier and took the Cape Cod Regional Transit bus to the hotel, where the kids played around the fire pit out front for awhile, then played soccer on the grassy field in front of our rooms. Miriam and Davis had (after a lot of maneuvering) an two-room suite next to ours, and Sarah and Sean had a standard room above us. Sarah and Miriam went to the bar first and were treated to drinks by a man; Davis went to the bar later and was not.

On Saturday morning, all bundled in sweatshirts, we had breakfast and played cards on the patio, eating the bread and flatbreads, feta spread, bagels, sharp cheddar, salted butter, and almond butter we had brought from home, along with cherries, blackberries, apples, and clementines. After the kids and the 1973 crowd (Robert, Sean, and Davis, in that order of birth month) walked down to the beach, and after a fox ran by the fire pit right in front of us, we took the shuttle bus back into town.

We had malasadas and walked around, checking out the farmers' market and local landmarks.

Marcus and Samantha each chose ten pieces of salt water taffy, very seriously considering the flavors.

Then we walked up to the Pilgrim Monument to find a letterbox Miriam had researched ahead of time. Since this was a big hit with everyone, and we even managed to avoid the poison ivy patches near where it was hidden, this was a huge win.

While Sarah and Sean and I hung out at the base, alternately freezing from the wind and panicking from the (moderately large, extremely smokey) fire that started in the ashtray outside, Robert, Miriam, and Davis took the kids to the top of the tower and then into the little museum at the base. Marcus desperately wanted a book from the gift shop, and when he chose Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World by Jane Yolen, how could I refuse?

Garrison posed by the painting of the Mayflower, which his Great Grandfather x 10 came across on, and Samantha posed with a stuffed musk ox and a vintage doll house. Musk ox vs. Mayflower. . . no contest!

From there we walked back down the hill into town, where it was much less windy at this point and more temperate, and we had lunch at the little food court. I had a lobster roll while wearing my lobster wrap (with the sleeping Samantha), and Marcus had a plate of beautiful fat-bellied fried clams. We also shared some spicy, delicious brisket and gorgeous barbequed chicken from the stand across the way. Apparently Garrison is well on his way to breaking into the modeling business by posing with their corn on the cob.

We took the bus back to the hotel again, each bus ride more fun than the last. Sometimes Marcus begged to hold Clarinda on his lap, and Garrison Samantha, and sometimes they paired off by age bracket instead. Sometimes we had the bus to ourselves, and sometimes we had some interesting fellow passengers ("My name is Ghost. . . no, actually, I'm nameless," one now-infamous-to-us passenger explained to his seatmate, begging for her phone number, while Miriam and I convulsed with laughter behind them). There was always chaos getting on and off, a frantic headcount and bagcount moment, and confusion over who was paying the fare and in what currency (Charlie card vs. cash). Along with the ferry, though, the bus made a car-free beach vacation possible--and lively.

Back at the hotel, the kids played soccer and then splashed around in the pool, though it was too cold for everyone but Sarah to actually swim. Davis napped, and the kids cuddled up under towels when they weren't playing in the kiddie part of the pool.

We went back to town for dinner at Local 186 for burgers: Samantha and I had a tuna burger on a scallion pancake, Marcus had butter-poached lobster sliders, and Robert had a French onion burger au jus. The kids colored on the brown paper table coverings, and Miriam chatted up our waitress, who we certainly put through the ringer.

After dinner we walked around town, window shopping, actual shopping, and stopping for ice cream, while Davis got his family to pose in front of the tavern named after his ancestor.

We ended the evening in town on the beach, where the kids found a giant pit to leap into.

Sarah supplied some amazing glow-stick masquerade glasses for the ride back to the hotel. For the rest of the weekend these were alternately considered sunglasses and owl eyes, depending on Samantha's fantasy of the moment.

She barely took them off to sleep.

On Sunday morning we all had the hotel breakfast buffet on the patio, eating hash and hash browns and eggs florentine and sausages. "Mommy! This meat taste-es like sausages!" Samantha declared at her first taste of hash.

The kids painted with Sean for awhile, and then while Sarah and Miriam and I packed up, checked out (complicated again. Surprise!), and then lounged on the patio some more, the men took the kids on a hike into the sand dunes of the national seashore. Everyone came back sandy and happy.

By that point, there wasn't much time left in the day, so we took all our luggage into town and split up, Sean sketching and waiting with the bags while the dads took the kids onto the beach to look at horseshoe crabs and hermit crabs, and Sarah and Miriam sorting out replacement ticket issues while I went to a couple places on Commercial Street collecting lunch (lobster rolls, fish burritos, fisherman's platter, fish and chips, and some hot dogs to round things out). We ate on benches on the pier in line for the boat and then got on our 3:00 ferry without further mishap (my splinter from the bench excepted).

Miriam led the awake kids in a round of crafting and scrapbooking and Cape Cod facts while Samantha napped on me at the back of the boat with Sarah and Sean, and all too soon we were pulling back into the Boston Harbor and having to say goodbyes.

To prolong the weekend a bit and take advantage of the beautiful evening, we walked with Sarah and Sean over to her library to stash our bags, and then ate Korean fusion at Koy and played Battleship and Connect Four at the new outdoor gaming area near Quincy Market before we took the subway home. Everyone will sleep well tonight, and we're already planning our next couple of weekends away together. We're lucky to have such good friends and to be able to make such fun memories.


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Created: 6/8/15. Last Modified: 6/8/15.