Provincetown Cape Cod

Provincetown, Cape Cod

Playing in P-town

By Mary Moran

Provincetown, Cape Cod
Provincetown, Cape Cod

Provincetown, located at the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula, is a small town with a whole lot of character. Taking a day trip to Provincetown will certainly not disappoint, because there are many interesting options when it comes to activities, both during the day and evening. You may want to linger later because of the great nightlife that P-town  has to offer. This historic art and theater community is the ideal place for the whole family. In Provincetown center you will discover numerous art galleries, unique boutiques, great dining, and a diverse and lively night-time scene. The evenings offer choices such as dancing, shows, performances, and movies. Just outside of town is the beautiful National Seashore,  the legendary Race Point Beach, and whale watching cruises if exploring the ocean and soft sand is more of your idea for a wonderful Cape Cod day trip.

Provincetown, Cape Cod bench.
Provincetown bench.

If you are interested in the history of this beautiful Cape Cod town, take a walk through the Provincetown Museum. Located at the foot of the Pilgrim Monument, The Provincetown Museum lets you explore the history of this once thriving maritime and whaling community. You can also learn about the first landing of the Mayflower and the Pilgrim’s five week stay in Provincetown before they set off for their final destination in Plymouth. The Mayflower Compact was actually written during the Pilgrim’s stay in Provincetown! In addition to the maritime history, the museum also focuses on the early American Theater that led Provincetown to become a famous community for the theater and arts.

After learning about some of Provincetown’s rich history, if you are ambitious, climb the Pilgrim Monument and get a view of Cape Cod and the ocean that is truly specular. This 252 foot tall monument was built in 1910 to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower and the arrival of the Pilgrims. The monument is open to the public and totally worth the 116 step trek to the top.

Winter beach in Provincetown Cape Cod
Winter beach.

To see some of the town’s modern art, visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Established in 1914, this museum is the most visited art museum on Cape Cod. Here you will find a variety of modern art exhibits all created by local artists. The Art Association strives to continue an active and diverse art involvement in the community. The Association and Museum holds multiple workshops and events year-round so that everyone can become involved and inspired to create His /her own unique works of art.

Rusty fishing buoys
Rusty fishing buoys
Waiting for the Tide
Waiting for the Tide

The old saying says, “The best things come in small packages”, and Provincetown is no exception. This small beach community has so much to offer. Spending the day there is great for vacationers of any age and at any time of the year. it is true that the town is a little sleepier in the off season but there are still activities. The easy commute from Falmouth makes this day trip even sweeter. Provincetown is only a little over an hour’s drive from the Palmer House Inn and is a straight shot east on Route 6. Getting lost is practically impossible! In addition, when you are staying in our Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast Inn and want to do a little pre-trip planning, you can relax in the Inn’s living-room and take advantage of our Wifi to find a schedule of the exciting year-round events in Provincetown. You are bound to find something that catches your eye!

More on Cape Cod


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures exploring Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs for a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available  to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.

How to Plan a Cape Cod Herb Garden

Chives in our Cape Cod Garden

The Palmer House’s Cape Cod Herb Garden

We are looking forward to some of the most beautiful gardens on Cape Cod this year (perhaps a little biased :).

Cape Cod Herb Garden hops

To be honest I’m not really an expert but this is how we put our garden together. Hopefully you can find some useful information or at least some inspiration for your garden. Most of our garden planning is a year-round activity. Early each year we sit down with a property plan to map out the best use of light and space. The inn has several distinct garden locations. The first one we will focus on is the Humble Innkeeper’s Herb Garden.

  1. Cape Cod herb garden
    Herb garden facing the main Inn building.

    Start by defining the requirements for the garden: This is the garden where many of the breakfast garnishes and ingredients  are harvested. We also want it to be a peaceful place to rest, while being a functional organic garden.

  2. Next, determine the environmental conditions: What sort of light is available? How warm or cold does it tend to get? What are the soil conditions?
    • This garden is in a small clearing that is surrounded by woods. This makes it a lovely place to watch birds and grey squirrels, or even hold a small wedding ceremony without it getting too hot, but it also means the plants on the edges are in shade much of the day.
    • We are on Cape Cod, so we start our seeds indoors or buy them in the garden center and don’t put them into the ground or containers until after the last frost of the year, usually in early May.
    • As for the soil conditions: you can get a test kit at our local garden shop to check for acidity.
  3. Cape Cod B&B Humble Innkeeper's Garden
    Humble Innkeeper’s Garden, the herb garden.

    Plan, plan, plan: I like to sit down on a chilly day in the winter with a pencil and paper. Then I sketch out how I want the garden to look. I also spend time researching plants requirements and how tall it will grow. Our herb garden is quite structured. There are 8 squares, each lined with locally sourced light grey granite cobblestones that are quite common to the region. One can walk around each square, therefore, we have arranged  the plantings so that the tallest plant or centerpiece (bird bath, orb, statue,…) is in the center.

    Cape Cod Herb Garden plan
    Cape Cod Herb Garden plan
  4. Cape Cop B&B Garden purple flowers
    Purple blooms in the herb garden.

    I refer back to our list of requirements (No. 1) to make sure that we have the plants we will need: This year we will have plenty of mint, chives, rosemary, oregano, golden sage and parsley for our breakfasts. We will also have hops and heather to add visual interest.  Those herbs combined with the shiso, lemon balm and Egyptian onion should make for a beautiful garden of purples and green.

  5. The last step: We make sure the soil is ready. We start by mixing our organic compost into the soil. When we plant the seedlings we add organic (time released) fertilizer to each bed or container. We also add moisture absorbing pellets to the soil. We make sure that each container has a drain hole then we place packing peanuts in the bottom. Next, a layer of porous fabric, then the potting soil and the herbs. I make sure that the soil level is about 1/2 an inch from the rim of the pot so that when it is watered, the water does not run off. I like using containers because they are easy to move. I always place the “show-offs” at the entrance of the garden.


Chives in our Cape Cod Herb Garden


Then sit back and watch the show all summer.


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures or sitting in the garden, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.


Birding the Cape

Red-Tailed Hawk in the front garden.

Fall is prime time for birdwatching in Falmouth. Salt marshes such as those in Sippewisset offer great viewing opportunities for birds such as egrets and great blue herons. The Cape is renowned for its open spaces and beautiful beaches and remains a prime destination for vacationers and weekend tourists. In addition the Cape is known for bird watching due to its coastal topography and proximity to the sea. On any given morning it’s not uncommon to find bird people on our beaches or walking through secluded trails with binoculars and spotting scopes scanning for birds. Coastlines are wonderful places for birds to gather. Experts believe that this fall in particular is going to be very interesting, with lots of diversity of species.

This time of year is the tail end of the snowbird migration season with some birds overstaying plus the arrivals of winter birds such as sea ducks and mergansers. Fall is also a great time to watch hawks and other raptors.

During this time one will also see shore birds, especially on mud flats.

Getting into birding is very straightforward. One needs minimal equipment such as binoculars and a field bird identification guide such as Pearson, Audubon or Sibley’s. A visit to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is a good way to learn about birds and identification. If you decide to go out on your own, beaches, open fields and salt marches are good places to observe birds. It is not always critical to identify birds, it is perfectly fine to just go outside and watch the birds.