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Provincetown :: Monday, July 28th 2014

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Walk across the Harbor

On the Breakwater's Rock Passage


July 29th, 2006

Unintended consequences can be a boon or a bane. In the case of Provincetown’s breakwater, which was constructed in 1911 to protect the town’s harbor from the dune’s shifting sands, the unforeseen falls solidly in the category of boons.

The audacious dash of the breakwater across the harbor says something to the eye about courage and survival at the farthest ends.

The breakwater has done its assigned duty well over the years, but its rock structure has also added to the town’s beauty and the accessibility of the Cape’s tip. Visitors and residents can follow its solid path across the harbor, passing easily to the outermost finger of the jutting Cape and the sentry of Wood End lighthouse. Along the way, if the tide has taken its ritual leave, the harbor floor can be explored, which holds abandoned rowboats, horseshoe crabs, seaweed and other ocean oddities.

Upon reaching the other side, amblers can continue on to Long Point lighthouse at land’s end or cross over to the quiet beaches that lie on the Cape Cod Bay side of the spit.

The audacious dash of the breakwater across the harbor also says something to the eye about courage and survival at the farthest ends. Standing at its center, the Cape’s serpentine land windings can be witnessed and the remoteness of Provincetown’s location seems all the more astounding. Nearby, the moors stir softly with their grasses, serving as a gentle counterpoint to the vision of the breakwater’s brave rock tumble from one narrow land spit to another.

Depending on speed, a walk across the breakwater can take anywhere between one to two hours. The rocks are not evenly laid so only those with sure footing should plan on the amble. It is also important to check the tide’s schedule before crossing the breakwater because from time to time the harbor’s water rises above the rock passage.

The breakwater is located in the far west end near the Pilgrim’s Memorial at the juncture of Commercial Street and Route 6.




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