“In the Shelter of Cape Cod’s Sandy Arm — Your Port o’ Call.” The motto of the Coastal Acres Camping Court has the pleasingly anachronistic ring of a place that’s endured the changing fashions of Cape-end vacation styles. It was developed by Capt. Manny Phillips, a towering figure of the fishery. His purse seiner, Silver Mink, brought in a record 250,000 pounds of tuna one day in 1959. Captain Phillips opened the 15-acre campsite in 1967 and sold Silver Mink. His son-in-law, Richard Perry, took over Coastal Acres, which is still family-run. Open-space advocates say the property, now more than 23 acres, is the largest undeveloped parcel in town.
Update | “Jamie Veara, a spokesperson for the trust that owns the Coastal Acres campground in the West End, told The Banner on Tuesday morning that the property is under contract. The transaction involves two parcels on a 22-plus-acre site, which had been listed at $4.5 million.” — The Provincetown Banner, 15 October 2015.
Former Barnstormers’ Theater / Former Skipper Raymond’s Cottages
In a town full of wild structures, this amazing relic at 27A Bradford Street (c1915) is one of the wildest: a shingled fly loft for a theater that was integral to the early 20th-century Provincetown renaissance. Frank Shay, an editor and bookseller, belonged to the original Provincetown Players. In 1924, in a bid to keep the spirit of the Players alive after the troupe moved to New York, he converted his barn into the Barnstormers’ Theater. More pictures and history »
A steep front yard leads to the house (1853) where Mary Ellen Zora lived. She was a founder of the town’s Camp Fire Girls unit in the 1940s and was the daughter of Capt. Manuel Zora. From 1978 to 1985, the property was run by Stephen Milkewicz and Ronald A. Schleimer as the Lamplighter Guest House and Cottage. It was also the Archer Inn, before returning to private use.
Two distinct forms of Provincetown hospitality — the guest house and the spartan motel — are combined in one operation at the Bradford House & Motel. Hotel lore says the main house was built in 1888 by Reuben F. Brown, a coal and lumber merchant, for Albina [Alvina?] Brooks, his intended wife. The firm of Lewis & Brown had its office at 227 Commercial Street. Their son, Roy F. Brown (±1889-1967), was a physician, educated at Tufts, Harvard and the Sorbonne. During World War II, Dr. Brown set up a general hospital in Sydney, Australia, that served the South Pacific theater. (“Dr. Roy F. Brown,” The Advocate, Nov. 9, 1967.) Picture essay and more history »
The 11-unit Summer Winds Condominium complex used to be the Shamrock Motel and Cottages, owned and managed by Jack Downey and Marilyn Downey. Condo sales began in 2005.
Shank Painter Condominium
The Shank Painter Condominium, as its name suggests, is oriented largely to Shank Painter Road, though it has the street address 54 Bradford Street. A small cottage colony has stood here since 1940. In the 1960s, was known as the Brown Cottages, which were evidently superintended by Clayton F. Enos (b 1927). A 1965 narcotics raid on the cottages netted 11 young men and women, one of whom was charged with “lewd and lascivious cohabitation.” Seventeen condo units were listed on this lot in 2008. In the late 1950s, a photo studio called Candids by Carter did business at 54 Bradford Street. The longtime commercial tenant of recent years is Salon 54. [Updated 2012-05-14]
The deluxe Brass Key Guesthouse has 42 rooms and multiple entries, since it’s grown by accretion into a large compound. The expansion was the work of Michael MacIntyre and his husband, Bob Anderson, who died in 2004. (They also refurbished Land’s End Inn at 22 Commercial Street.) Thomas Walter, Kenneth Masi and David Sanford, the owners of Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Spa, acquired the property in 2007. More pictures and history »
Carl’s Guest House occupies a structure that was built between 1840 and 1860. It was known as the Ocean Breeze Guest House in the 1950s, but later returned to private use. Carl Gregor reopened the house to the public, with 14 guest rooms, on 14 July 1975. He still runs it, extending a special welcome to guests who are “gentler, friendly, easy going.” On town records, it carries the address of 17 Court Street. • Historic District Survey • Assessor’s Online Database ¶ Updated 2012-11-28
Captain Joseph Enos ran the Bradford Market in this house (c1850) in the 1940s. Twenty years later, it was the home of Irving T. McDonald, author of a trilogy of books on life at Holy Cross College, broadcast on WEEI radio in Boston. He also taught a “Communist Conspiracy” course at Provincetown High School. Formerly Steele’s Guest House, it is now the Bradford-Carver House, with six rooms. More pictures »
The 40-room Crowne Pointe Historic Inn and Spa, known in the 50s as Lynn House and in the 80s as the Dusty Miller Inn, occupies a commanding spot with great, giddy Queen Anne style. Opened in 1999 and owned by the proprietors of the Brass Key — Thomas Walter, Kenneth Masi and David Sanford — it, too, is a compound: the turreted Mansion (c1870/80) at 82 Bradford; the Abbey and Garden Residence at 80 Bradford (once home to the town librarian, Penelope V. Kern and, for a time, the Sea Drift Inn); the Wellness Spa at 78 Bradford; and the Captain’s House at 4 Prince Street. It includes the Bistro at Crowne Pointe restaurant. ¶ Posted 2011-05-07
Other inns may come across like museums, but this actually was one. The Federal-style house was built in 1776 by a sea captain, Eban Snow. It was purchased in 1826 by David Fairbanks, a founder of the Seamen’s Savings Bank, and in 1865 by a tin merchant, Charles Baxter Snow Sr., and his wife, Anna (Lancy) Snow. More pictures and history »
With its pink facade, the eight-room Romeo’s Holiday guest house (c1850) sticks out, even at a great distance. But it’s worth getting closer to see the Ken and Barbie poolside tableaux, staged with dolls around a goldfish pond in the sliver of a front yard. More pictures and history »
“Gabriel’s sparked an entire movement in which lesbians publicly designated specific locations as women-owned and for women only,” Karen Christel Krahulik wrote, in Provincetown. (Gabriel’s itself has “welcomed everyone for many years – both men, women, gay and straight, families, children and companion animals,” Elizabeth Brooke notes.) The centerpiece of the compound is 104 Bradford, which originally stood where Town Green is now. It was moved to accommodate the park. Cyrus E. Dallin, sculptor of the bas relief, stayed in the house. The Provincetown Light and Power Company was here in the 1940s, succeeded by the Cape & Vineyard Electric Company. It next became the Lighthouse Apartments, a rooming house, then was abandoned. In 1978, Elizabeth Gabriel Brooke, Laurel Wise and Christina Davidson began rebuilding it as Gabriel’s Guesthouse. More pictures and history»
As its name suggests, the Burch House (c1840/50) was home to the Burch family for many years. It was owned by J. M. Burch in the early 20th century and occupied by Huldah Theodora (Anderson) Burch until her death in 1959. Her only child, Jean C. Nichols, conveyed the property in 1962 to Herbert R. Cronin. That year, a lodging house license was issued to Cronin. As the purposefully modest 17-room Burch House, it stressed its inexpensive, informal nature. More pictures and history »
(Former) Bryant House
Bryant House, as this property was known for many years, was opened by Mary Ann (MacKenzie) Bryant of Nova Scotia in 1914. At first it was a restaurant specializing in seafood, roasts, chops and steaks “cooked by a Cape Cod house-wife.” Her daughter-in-law, Marie-Louise (Kopp) Bryant of Allentown, Pa., expanded it into a guest house, which she ran until 1949. Marie-Louise’s son, George Bryant, is an architectural historian and legendary local iconoclast. It was l’Hotel Hibou in the 1970s and Eddie’s Pastry Shop, run by Eddie Moran, in the 90s.
Dr. Thomas F. Perry lived and practiced in this house (c1910/1930) from the 1950s through the ’70s. For a time in the 1980s, it was known as the Crosswinds Inn. Richard DeRoo Brunson and Timothy Richmond, longtime partners and spouses, moved to town in 1999 from North Carolina and opened the 12-room John Randall House. Brunson, who also served on the Provincetown Business Guild and Outer Cape Health Services, died in 2010.
Looks just like an Edward Hopper painting, doesn’t it? That’s because it is an Edward Hopper painting: Rooms for Tourists. At the time Hopper painted his tranquilly evocative twilight scene, in 1945, James B. Carter and his family were living in the house (c1850/1860). It has been the Sunset Inn at least since the early 1960s and describes itself as one of Provincetown’s oldest guest houses. There are 13 rooms.
(Former) Gracie House
For almost all of its existence, this sweet Queen Anne-style cottage from the late 19th century was in the hands of the Pine family: Joseph S. Pine in the early 20th century; Mary Rogers Pine, who ran the Rogers Dining Room for 35 years, until her death in 1946; followed by her daughter, Grace I. Pine, who sold cut flowers and potted plants here. More recently, it was the three-room Gracie House bed-and-breakfast, run by Debra Ann Messenbrink and Anna Maria Lutz, who wed in 2004.
Spoiler alert: fast-forward through history to the provenance of the inn’s unusual name. It comes from Elizabeth Taylor’s two-tusked 1954 vehicle, Elephant Walk. Now, back to our story:
Sears, Roebuck & Company sold mail-order house kits in the early 20th century that were known as “Modern Homes.” They contained all the lumber, fixtures and plans to do it yourself. This is one of several Sears kit houses in town. Given how centrally Provincetown’s freight train yard was located, shipping such kits must have been relatively easy. (I say “relatively” since I myself couldn’t build a Revell scale model without trouble.) More history»
This 1850s Greek Revival house was, for a time in the mid-50s, the Casa Brazil rooming house. (That business moved into the house next door in the ’60s.) By the late 1980s, it was known as Admiral’s Landing, an eight-room bed-and-breakfast, under the proprietorship of Steve Irving. Peter Bez and Chuck Anzalone acquired the property in 1995.
The gambrel-roofed Seasons has a plaque saying it was built around 1860 as a “whaling captain’s summer home.” Through the 1970s, it was The Maples guest house. It was renovated in 1984 as Plums Bed & Breakfast Inn, by Michael Wright. She was among the first members of the Women Innkeepers of Provincetown, “whose goals were to create safe women-oriented spaces in Provincetown, advertise spaces in lesbian and women’s magazines nationwide, and assist one another in all ways possible,” Karen Christel Krahulik wrote in Provincetown. The property was acquired in 1999 by John Mirthes and Rick Reynolds, who run it as Seasons, a five-room “inn for all” — gay, lesbian, straight — “a place where there are no barriers.”
Snug is the word for this 1825 house, now an eight-room inn. In the 1960s, A. Philip Tarvers Jr. had his real estate business here. By the mid-70s, it was the Bradford Gardens Inn, among the earliest women-owned guest houses and one of only two accommodations in town rated “outstanding” by Massachusetts: An Explorer’s Guide. It has been owned since 2000 by James Mack, who renamed it Snug Cottage. Mack, a Unitarian Universalist chaplain, officiates at the weddings of same-sex couples, an amenity few guest houses can offer. He himself is married to Jon Arterton.
The “aerie” in the Aerie House & Beach Club is here on a small bluff above Bradford Street in a house built c1850/80. The beachfront annex is at 425 Commercial. It was formerly known as the Normandy House. The current innkeepers, Steve Tait and Dave Cook, acquired the property in 2000. The premier accommodation among the seven rooms is a 600-square-foot suite at the top of the house, called the Eagle’s Nest.
Mount Pleasant House
With its deep, picturesque, wrap-around porch, Mount Pleasant House is immediately recognizable as the Victorian guest house it once was. It sits on one of the largest undivided lots in town, running one-fifth of a mile to Route 6 and 80 yards along Bradford, all the way to the garage with “Studios” over the door. Mount Pleasant was built around 1890, not long after the Old Colony Railroad opened up the town to tourism. It was run by Mary Days at the turn of the century. John A. Francis, of Francis’s Flats at 577 Commercial, owned the land. Ross Moffett (1888-1971) and Bruce McKain (1900-1990) had studios here as, more recently, did Rick Fleury, whose landscape paintings include a Dialogue series that echoes the proportions of works by Mark Rothko, who once lived nearby. The property has been owned since 1963 by Arnold F. Dwyer and his family.
Motels were once despised by progressive planners, and with reason. Their sprawling forms and autocentric layouts upended domestic scale, leveled historical fabric and discouraged pedestrian life. But give them this: they helped democratize places like Provincetown by making them palatable and affordable for middle-class travelers. The 57-room Cape Colony Motel was built in 1963 by James Downey and was owned for nearly 30 years by Dennis Still and his wife, Carole Still. Picture essay and more pictures »
Robert W. Roman may have been the most unpopular man in Provincetown in the 1960s, as the developer of the Surfside Arms and Motor Inn at 543 Commercial Street. He began the Eastwood Motor Lodge project at around the time, but it seems to have generated much less controversy. More pictures and history»
Brass Key Guesthouse
The Queen Anne House, a unit of the Brass Key Guesthouse compound, is a wondrously eclectic confection of many gables, Carpenter Gothic detailing and gorgeous Ionic columns. As transient lodging, the house has returned to its role in the 19th century, when it was the Cottage Inn, a boarding house run by Caleb Cook. It is also strongly associated with both the nearby Gifford House and the old First National Bank of Provincetown. That connection was first embodied in the person of Moses Nickerson Gifford, whose home this was until his death in 1918. Gifford was the son of James Gifford, namesake of the hotel up the street. He went into the banking business, beginning in 1866 as a cashier at the national bank. Twenty-two years later, in 1888, Gifford assumed the presidency of the bank, which he held for three full decades. But that alone greatly understates his civic role. More history and pictures»
Gifford House Inn
In a resort town where accommodations come and go by the year — and by the dozens — the Gifford House Inn is an astonishing stalwart. It is more than 140 years old. With 77 Bradford Street, it occupies the crest of Mill Hill, from which surprisingly generous vistas of the town and harbor can be enjoyed. Beautiful, it is not. Grand, it is not. But with 26 guest rooms and the Club Purgatory, Porchside Lounge and Thai Sushi Café by Ying, it’s certainly lively. And that’s saying a lot for a hotel of its age — whatever that age may be. More pictures and history»
Brass Key Guesthouse
As part of the Brass Key Guesthouse compound, 10 Carver Street is designated the Victorian House. But it could just as well be called the “Second Empire House,” since that’s the style in which it was built, probably around 1865. At the turn of the 20th century, it was the home of H. P. Hughes, who operated a staple and fancy dry goods store under his own name on the ground floor of King Hiram’s Lodge. For many years, this house or the abutter at 12 Carver Street were home to William Henry Young and his family. Like his next-door neighbor, Moses N. Gifford, Young was a man whose presence was felt in many fields; so many, in fact, it’s hard to know where to start. More pictures and history»
Brass Key Guesthouse
Now designated the Gatehouse as part of the large and eclectic Brass Key Guesthouse compound, 12 Carver Street was built in the 1850s. William H. Young and his family lived here and next door, 10 Carver Street, where their lives are discussed more fully. The Rev. James F. Albion of the Universalist church lived here in the late 1920s. In the 1930s, Mrs. Fred H. Graham [?] held weekly duplicate bridge contests here, the results of which she would chronicle for The Advocate in a column called “Tops and Bottoms.” (This seems the perfect point on which not to comment.) More pictures and history»
A path behind the Public Library leads to Rose Acre, a four-room guest house, run for women by women (Rosemarie A. Basile and Carol J. Noyes). The building was constructed around 1840. Capt. Loring A. Russell Sr., owner of the fishing vessel Loretta R., bought the house in 1952 and lived there several decades with his wife, Etta Robar Russell. “He owned the Provincetown Ice Company in his early years,” The Banner said in a 2004 obituary, “but his greatest love was the sea, and his proudest profession was that of fishing boat captain.” More history»
Heritage House is a four-bedroom bed-and-breakfast operated Lynn Mogell, an artist and Web designer, and her wife, Sarah K. Peake, who serves as the State Representative for the Fourth Barnstable district, comprising Provincetown, Chatham, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Truro and Wellfleet. True to its name, the house claims a considerable heritage, having been constructed in 1856 for Timothy Prosperous Johnson. Its large size was appropriate to the mission of sheltering 10 children. It was later the home of William Wilson Taylor, who personified — until his death in 1954 — Provincetown’s days as a whaling capital. More pictures and history»
Howard B. Burchman, who runs the Tucker Inn with his partner, Thomas Kinard, believes he may have been imprinted with the innkeeping gene. “I was conceived while my parents were running a small hotel in the Catskills,” he said. The distinctive mansard-roofed house, in the Second Empire style, is currently laid out with eight guest rooms. There is also a freestanding guest cottage. It was constructed in 1872. By 1910, it had become home to the Bowley family, which produced a decorated naval hero in Rear Admiral Clarence Matheson Bowley. Continue reading
Under three distinct proprietorships, 7 Central Street has served as a guest house for more than a half century. It is currently the luxury-minded Carriage House, with 13 rooms, run by David McFarlane, a Cypriot software executive, and Ken Hassett, an Irish designer. The opened the lodging in 2000. Before that, beginning in the 1980s, it had been Lady Jane’s Inn, owned and operated by Jane Antolini, who also served on the Board of Selectmen in the 1990s. She bought the property in 1976 from Mary A. Cabral, who had owned 7 Center Street since 1929 and had run it as a guest house for at least part of that time, in the mid-1950s.
Well worth a visit even if you’re not staying here, the sprawling Provincetown Inn Waterfront Resort and Conference Center — part of which stands on four acres of landfill created especially for the hotel — is so large that its parking lot alone could fit the Crown & Anchor and the Boatslip and the Land’s End Inn combined. The principal attraction are historical murals of Provincetown and Long Point, painted by Don Aikens from 1966 to 1972. But you shouldn’t miss the two-story interior court of the original inn, built 1923/25, or the outdoor swimming pool in the shape of a Pilgrim hat, tapering to the deep end, with symmetrical staircases on either side of the shallow end, where a brim ought to be. More pictures and history»
This view up Commercial Street may be the most storybook tableau in town — a 20th-century fiction, of course, but wholly beguiling all the same. Ten Commercial Street is the other half of the Delft Haven cottage colony (see 7 Commercial Street), created around 1934 by Ralph S. Carpenter, who lived across the way at 11 Commercial Street. It was, in a modest way, a predecessor to more recent developments like Telegraph Hill; borrowing many aesthetic cues from the town but packaging them in an improbably immaculate — and isolated — setting. More pictures and history»
There are few hostelries in town as charming – and none as photogenic – as the Red Inn at 15 Commercial Street, which has been receiving guests for a century, and has operated under the current name since the 1910s. Sitting at a slight bend in the road, lushly planted, sharing a bit of its expansive water frontage with passers-by, it really resembles nothing so much as one of those pastel-tinted, linen-paper postcards of the early 20th century, come to life. More pictures and history»
If the architecture of the Red Inn epitomizes the town’s genteel past, Land’s End Inn — owned and operated through 2012 by Michael MacIntyre — represents the wild and wonderfully woolly. Though it has the address of 22 Commercial Street, this Shingle-style, tchotchke-and-craftwork-stuffed polygonal hulk is actually perched crazily atop Gull Hill. Its builder, Charles Lothrop Higgins, was a Provincetown native, descended through his mother from Peregrine White, a Pilgrim. He has been described as a Boston haberdasher, a world traveler, a lecturer, a lifelong bachelor and — as is obvious from the Bungalow, the summer house he constructed on Gull Hill — something of a nonconformist. More pictures and history»
Formerly Westwinds on Gull Hill, a guest compound that included a cottage at 21 Point Street, and an outdoor pool. Roger Hanzes was the proprietor.
From 31 to 41 Commercial Street are seven buildings on 450 feet of beachfront, collectively the Masthead Resort, owned and operated since 1959 by John J. Ciluzzi Sr. (b 1923) What seems at first like a completely random group can actually be discerned as a symmetrical compound of three substantial houses at the ends and center — No. 31, the Old Furniture Shop; No. 37, a Long Point floater; and No. 41, the Helena Rubinstein summer home — with two cottages in each of the two interstices. More pictures and history»