Sunday, October 21, 2018

Fantasia Fair Day 7 – The Party’s Over

Well the fair is coming to an end, the weeklong conference end today.

I said my goodbyes at the Gala Awards Banquet last night, over the course of the week I met many new fair goers and longtime attendees. There were also many old friends who didn’t attend this year, many we lost track of over the years, and some who have passed away and will be sorely missed.

Well for me I didn’t do much yesterday.

A friend showed up at the cottage door step on her way back to Connecticut and we sat around talking for a while, when I looked at the clock I had missed lunch and the keynote was starting. So instead I drove around showing Wellfleet and the National Seashore s to a friend staying at my cottage and of course I had my camera with me.

Wellfleet Harbor

This could be the very view that Henry David Thoreau saw on that October 1849 afternoon…

American Heritage's Thoreau Walks The Cape
Shortly after noon the walkers passed through a stretch of low shrubs and then a belt of sand and suddenly stood upon the edge of a bluff, looking down at the ocean. They were just above the elbow of the Cape, where the eastward-stretching arm bends at a right angle and runs north to make a clenched fist at Provincetown. The ocean side of the forearm is what Thoreau called the Great Beach, stretching unbroken for thirty miles north from Nauset Harbor (plus another twelve miles south). Considering both its length and its quality, it may well be the finest beach in the United States and one of the best in the world.
From Henry David Thoreau "Cape Cod"
This Monday morning was beautifully mild and calm, both on land and water, promising us a smooth passage across the Bay, and the fishermen feared that it would not be so good a drying day as the cold and windy one which preceded it. There could hardly have been a greater contrast. This was the first of the Indian summer days, though at a late hour in the morning we found the wells in the sand behind the town still covered with ice, which had formed in the night. What with wind and sun my most prominent feature fairly cast its slough. But I assure you it will take more than two good drying days to cure me of rambling. After making an excursion among the hills in the neighborhood of the Shank-Painter Swamp, and getting a little work done in its line, we took our seat upon the highest sand-hill overlooking the town, in mid-air, on a long plank stretched across between two hillocks of sand, where some boys were endeavoring in vain to fly their kite; and there we remained the rest of that forenoon looking out over the placid harbor, and watching for the first appearance of the steamer from Wellfleet, that we might be in readiness to go on board when we heard the whistle off Long Point.
The Harbor of Provincetown—which, as well as the greater part of the Bay, and a wide expanse of ocean, we overlooked from our perch—is deservedly famous. It opens to the south, is free from rocks, and is never frozen over. It is said that the only ice seen in it drifts in sometimes from Barnstable or Plymouth. Dwight remarks that "The storms which prevail on the American coast generally come from the east; and there is no other harbor on a windward shore within two hundred miles." J. D. Graham, who has made a very minute and thorough survey of this harbor and the adjacent waters, states that "its capacity, depth of water, excellent anchorage, and the complete shelter it affords from all winds, combine to render it one of the most valuable ship harbors on our coast." It is the harbor of the Cape and of the fishermen of Massachusetts generally. It was known to navigators several years at least before the settlement of Plymouth. In Captain John Smith's map of New England, dated 1614. it bears the name of Milford Haven, and Massachusetts Bay that of Stuard's Bay. His Highness, Prince Charles, changed the name of Cape Cod to Cape James; but even princes have not always power to change a name for the worse, and as Cotton Mather said, Cape Cod is "a name which I suppose it will never lose till shoals of codfish be seen swimming on its highest hills."
Provincetown has a rich history of writers, artist, painters, and photographers; the Christian Science Monitor had an article about the colony...
When the bohemians of Greenwich Village began summering here to escape the heat of New York City in the early 20th century, they were drawn to the isolation and freedom they found here. Their presence, and that of those who followed, ensured a place for Provincetown in the history of American culture.

Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953) staged his first play, a one-act titled "Bound East for Cardiff," on the wharf here in 1916. Major 20th-century artists, such as Robert Motherwell and Franz Kline, joined legions of painters who summered here. Tennessee Williams (1911-83) wrote plays while staying with friends. Norman Mailer (1923-2007) produced 30 books during his 60 years visiting Provincetown. He moved here permanently in 1990, and his home is now the site of a writers' colony.

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