Provincetown, MA: Beaches, Ice Cream, The Purple Feather

I got to Provincetown pretty late and stayed at the Outermost Hostel, run by an incredibly sweet woman named Sheela. Of the three cabins with six bunks each, there were only two guests: one Australian man in Cabin 1 and me in Cabin 3. Pretty sweet! The cabins were clean and comfortable, and the room was only $27.50! The summer at Outermost Hostel must be CRAZY fun, because in the office there were a million thank you notes from last year’s visitors as well as several pictures of Sheela with beach goers and drag queens.

Unfortunately, I was reminded how NOT summer it was when I woke up FREEZING, so I skipped showering and just pulled on jeans and wandered around. It was a rainy chilly morning on the cape, which actually made it a GREAT time to explore the town. The only tourists were a few European families who clearly didn’t know how cold it was going to be when they planned their trip.

There were a few delivery trucks rolling through the streets and some grumbling fishermen unloading lobsters and clams for all the restaurants, but otherwise everything was pretty quiet.

I mostly stayed on Commercial St., which is where (yep!) the bulk of the stores and restaurants are located, including a schmancy looking cafe called Patio and a Marc by Marc Jacobs store. Cape Cod is apparently not exactly the Jersey shore.

After I realized my right hiking boot had a hole on the bottom and my umbrella was broken, I decided to take a break and get some much needed coffee.

I wandered into The Purple Feather based on promises of Wifi and baked goods and I could not have been more satisfied. I had a scrumptiously greasy Morning Glory muffin and ended up chatting with the owner (or it might have been the manager?) for a while. As all good conversations do, this one started on the topic of fudge recipes, and how the Purple Feather spent a long time perfecting their fudge so that it wouldn’t be gritty. I talked about how when I was in high school I had this dream of opening a gelato and international dessert cafe almost exactly like this one, to be called “One Sweet World” after the Dave Matthews Band song (yyyyyep- let it go). It turns out the Purple Feather man (whose name I canNOT remember), had kind of stumbled into the business. When he was younger he moved from St. Louis, MO to San Diego to work for the phone company, but after realizing that the job kind of sucks he started working for Starbucks. He ended up managing Starbucks locations for 9 years, during which time he learned a TON not just about the business side but also about coffee roast connoisseurship, so one day he woke up and decided to make a change.

This is kind of a theme in Provincetown!

Ellen (to be honest I didn’t write her name down either, so ‘Ellen’ might not be right) from the Shell Shop had a similar path, having grown up in the Midwest before moving out to the cape. People who move to Provincetown seem to just really want to live in Provincetown, which explains why everyone’s in such a good mood even when the weather’s crappy.

For example later in the afternoon I passed a middle-aged mailman pushing his cart down the street whistling and wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt and baggy shorts under his unbuttoned uniform shirt. Inspired by my new mentor the Cape Cod mailman, I skipped into the nearest ice cream shop humming zip-a-dee-do-da and ordered a cookies and cream cone.

I am so cut out for Provincetown living.

After lunch the sun finally came out and all of a sudden it was a BEAUTIFUL day, so I went over to the Head of the Meadow Beach in Truro a little further South of Provincetown.

It was completely empty, which, judging from the huge parking lot, may not happen again for the rest of the summer, so I rolled up my jeans and ran straight down to the ocean.

I got soaked up to my knees and then sat in the sand for a while looking around. SIGH.


My jeans are STILL not dry, my car is filled with sand, and I nearly lost my keys when I dropped them in the ocean and didn’t realize until 5 minutes later when they washed up next to me, but it was definitely worth it. Everyone should go to the beach immediately.

14 second Cape Cod meditation moment:


One response to “Provincetown, MA: Beaches, Ice Cream, The Purple Feather

  1. So Tim is pretty much from Truro, Cornwall, however he informs me that it is a city, NOT a town, because it has a cathedral. Even if your city is no longer the bustling hub of Cornish commerce from yesteryear, if you have a cathedral you are still a city. If you don’t have a cathedral, you will always be a town, no matter how big for your britches you get.

    Oh British people. So quaint.

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