† 837 Commercial Street

The Tides

Built in 1961 by Joseph B. McCabe and Cathryn (O’Neil) McCabe on the site of the Prescott Cottages, which they had owned and operated since 1955, the Tides is sometimes described as the first beachfront motel on Beach Point. In its earlier days, when it was known simply as the Tides, the motel was affiliated with the Quality Courts United chain, the corporate predecessor to the Choice Hotels giant of today. It was then called the Tides Motor Inn. Finally, as an affiliate of Best Western, it was known as the Best Western Tides Beachfront. Until the early 2000s, the Tides was the eastern bookend of the company’s Provincetown presence, with the Best Western Chateau in the West End, at 105 Bradford Street Extension.

The Tides couldn’t have been simpler in design: two long, two-story slabs set parallel to the shoreline on a 500-to-600-foot beach. There were several out buildings, including what almost looks like an annex, which was at first situated parallel to Commercial Street (see the post card below) and then perpendicular to it (see the post card above).

In its closing years, at least, the Tides wasn’t cheap: up to $250 a night for a double room in high season. But Frommer’s gave it a good review just before it closed, saying:

This surprise oasis, part of the Best Western chain, boasts every feature you might require, including a nice wide beach you can literally flop onto from the ground-level units. Most of the rooms overlook Provincetown’s quirky skyline, as does the generously proportioned outdoor heated pool. Every inch of this complex has been groomed to the max, including the ultra-green grounds, the Wedgwood-blue breakfast room, and the spotless guest rooms decorated in a soothing palette of ivory and pale pastels. Because the hotel is set back from busy Route 6A, the only sound you’ll hear at night is the mournful refrain of a foghorn.

Like the Chateau, the Tides was owned in its final days by William A. Gordon, who brought his plans for a 10-house subdivision to the Zoning Board of Appeals in August 2005, just before closing the business, one year shy of its 45th anniversary. It has since been replaced by the Bay Harbour condominium complex.





3 thoughts on “† 837 Commercial Street

  1. My aunt and uncle who ran Ocean Breeze Cottages on Beach Point were good friends of the McCabes. I remember passing the Tides on our way into Ptown.

  2. My aunt and uncle ran the Ocean Breeze Cottages on Beach Point. They were good friends of the McCabes.

  3. Correction: Bay Harbour is not a condominium complex, it is a collection of single family homes in a residential zone. Condo’s would not have been allowed in that zone, nor would I have sold to a developer that wanted to build them or one that would have subdivided into more lots.

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