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Art’s Dune Tour kicked off at 4 Standish Street in the heart of Provincetown. Each tour group headed out in one of the several large SUVs lined in front of the headquarters. Our vehicle was large and roomy and easily sat the six of us in my tour group. The seats were comfortable and there was even air conditioning—quite the luxurious dune buggy ride. Art’s Dune Tours have been at this for over half a century.
A quick journey later and the colorful streets of Provincetown were replaced with the rolling white hills of the sand dunes. The vehicles kept their tire pressure at 11psi in order to avoid getting stuck in the sand.
A bumpy ride up the first hill and we could catch sight of some bright pink spots sticking out against the patches of greenery. These were Beach Roses, or Rosa Rugosa plants. We learned that sailors used to eat this type of plant as a source of vitamin C, to avoid getting scurvy. We also noticed that nearby leaves were shiny enough to appear polished, which is apparently from the salty sea spray.
While we didn’t see any animals on our daylight tour, coyotes, deer, foxes, bats, and a variety of birds all call the dunes their home. They’re joined by those who reside in the Dune Shacks, who can stay in these dune homes either by inheritance, or lottery application. And of course, the infamous dune shack artist residency program, which has inspired artists for decades.
These shacks are perfect for anyone hoping to get off the grid—while they have well water and an outhouse, there’s no electricity. Just peace and quiet by the sea. One dune home is known for its beach chair on the roof. I can’t imagine many better places to watch the summer sun dip down over the horizon.
Another structure among the dunes is the old Peaked Hill Life Saving Station, which now exists in only remains.
At the top of one of the larger dunes, the tours stopped to allow passengers to take photographs of the scenery from the unique vantage point. We got to see Pilgrim Monument rising up in the distance over the miles a sand, which is a view I’ve never seen of it before.
Art’s Dune Tours are in their 70th year this year, and it’s easy to see why visitors to P-Town keep coming back! Take a look through the gallery above for some highlights of the dune trip.
By Kaitrin Acuna