The true summer cottage — built of uninsulated plank walls and all but uninhabitable in cold weather — has almost vanished. And not many of the remaining cottages carry the provenance of No. 11, which has been in the Stephan-Mason family for three generations and is still where Robert Stephan Mason (pictured) spends summers with his wife, Audrey. His mother, Miriam (Stephan) Mason, ran Mason’s, a casual dining spot nearby. His grandfather moved this cottage and two others by train from a church camp off Cape, Marianne Boswell told me. Apart from his years in the Navy, as chief engineer on the U.S.S. Enoree, Mason said he hasn’t missed a summer in Provincetown since he was an infant in the late 1920s. “There used to be buses, but we never got into town very much,” he recalled, looking out over a panoramic seascape from his cozy porch. “If you have this, you don’t need a town.”
More than 2,000 buildings and vessels are searchable on buildingprovincetown.com. The Building Provincetown book is available for purchase ($20) at Town Hall, Office of the Town Clerk, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown 02657.