Thursday, 2 August 2012

Dunes and the Drive In.

Provincetown does mornings reluctantly. We headed back to near deserted Commercial Street, hired a couple of bikes, picked up a basketful of picnic provisions and headed out of town via the salt marsh to Herring Cove Beach, which runs the Western length of the peninsula. We locked up the bikes and waded through the warm white sands to the water's edge, where the earliest of the days sunbathers were beginning to take up positions.

Local news yesterday had reported a great white shark attack ten miles South in Truro, but the news didn't seem to have put anybody off. Slowly, like an extended yawn, the town began to wake up and lazily make it's way down to the sea.

The beach is long and populated in a fairly gendered way. Men gather at the Southern end, mixed couples in the middle and women and families towards the north. Only children, it seems, have the full run. We had a quick dip in the cooling water and then let the sun suck the water, a droplet at a time, off our skin before setting off again on the bikes to the dunes which stretch out, protected from development, to the North of the town. A single track bike trail winds this way and that through a magical pine forest, punctuated in places with impressive salt encrusted dunes until, after several miles you emerge at Race Point, Provincetown's second beach, on the Northern shore.

We went to explore the Old Harbour Life-Saving Station, a welcome shelter from the midday sun, before heading on through the Beech Forest back to our bed and breakfast, where our perfect hosts Brian and Bill had left out chilled white wine and lemonade for those returning for siesta.

As the sun began to set and day cooled we took the car and headed down to Wellfleet for some fried fish at Mac's Seafood Market in the harbour before heading onto the nostalgic glory of the fifties drive in movie theatre to see The Dark Knight Rises under a gorgeous full moon.

This was a different side of the Cape, very different from the sockless, polo shirted shabby chic of the resorts. Large families drove up in their well worn four by fours, excitedly piling out hampers of chicken wings and coleslaw to settle down for an affordable evening out.

The complex still offers the attachable speakers which perch on the dashboard, but most of the audience preferred to tune their car radios into the cinema's channel to get their soundscape. Soon enough we were settled in, the beams of light cutting through the night sky onto the huge screen at one end of the lot. It's a surprisingly good way to watch a movie and made me wonder why these places have slipped into the world of heritage curiosity. There's only a handful left across the States.

As the film ended we revered our engines, flicked on our headlights, and, with the sound of the dramatic play out music still coming through our car speakers, snaked our own Batmobiles back onto the open road, back through the warm night back to Provincetown.

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