The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #119


A reader writes:

Rental bikes, coffee cups, poorly dressed tourists, and a picturesque bay … I’m guessing Monterey Bay, California.


Long time thrice-daily Dish reader here and haven’t seen a VFYW contest I’ve even dared to enter until this one (and probably should have resisted the urge this time).  But that pic just screams Eastern Seaboard to me and probably New England, complete with commercial fishing boats, clapboard buildings with window sashes, brick sidewalks and what must be American tourists in shorts and baseball caps.  If I could expand the pic on my phone I’m guessing those signs in the store windows would be shilling either t-shirts or saltwater taffy. And, well, since I’ve never been to Kennebunkport or Martha’s Vineyard I’m just going to go with the only coastal town I’ve ever visited on the east coast: Salem, Mass.


Marblehead, Massachusetts is the yachting capital of the world, which means in today’s terms that the harbour is filled with sailboats like in the picture. It also has the most pre-Revolution homes in any town in New England, which would explain the clapboard. It’s one of my favourite places in the world, and I do recall brick outside an old mansion, the Jeremiah Lee house, on Washington St. So I’m thinking the picture was taken from right inside the tourist entrance.


This view screams Maine.  But it could be from about any town in Maine’s midcoast.  My guess is Boothbay Harbor, somewhere on Union Street, looking out at the harbor.


I’m an appreciative fan of this feature, and I marvel at the somewhat chilling accuracy of successful searchers who use mapping sites and plot trajectory lines like drone-navigating cyberstalkers. By a more primitive method known as a “hunch”, or perchance a “lucky guess”, I’d say it’s a view of Gloucester harbor on Massachusetts’ North Shore.  My Dad is a native of Newburyport; it’s an area where many (O)Sullivans from the Muskerry region of West Cork settled. Without much recall of the town’s layout, I’ll guess its Rogers Street or Main Street.


Mackinac Island, Michigan? I can’t find the correct building or even street in Google Maps, but I’d swear I remember that frontyard and red brick walkway from my honeymoon 11 years ago. The Mid-West building style with a view into the small harbor on the south side of the island combined with tourists brings back strong memories – even if I don’t have the right location. What a wonderful contest!


It’s Makinac (pronounced Mackinaw) Island. The bicycles and pedestrians give this away, as the internal combustion engine is prohibited on the island. If you don’t get 200 correct guesses I’d be surprised.

Closer to 20, but Mackinac was the second-most popular guess by far. Another:

I usually just marvel at the entries to these contests because I don’t feel quite traveled-enough or Google-Earth-proficient to hazard a guess.  But I have an odd sensation that I’ve seen that distinctly-shaped courtyard before, when I was on Martha’s Vineyard a few years ago for a wedding.  I believe it’s in Edgartown, somewhere on North Water Street, though I can’t quite find anything through Google Maps that looks just like it. Ah, well.  I’ll see if that gets me anywhere in the vicinity, at least, and let the experts take us closer from there.

An expert writes:

This week’s view was intended to be like the center space in BINGO – a freebie for everyone, right?

This is a view from the public library in Provincetown, Massachusetts. I think it’s the window is noted in the photos attached:


It looks to be about the same height as the power lines on Commercial. Toss this one onto the heap of correct answers.  I don’t have a dazzling anecdote to share to help launch me over the finish line. How does one choose from all the magical moments that are spent on this spit of land at the end of the world?  Thank you for taking me back to so many happy summer days on this chilly and very autumnal evening.


That shot is from the restored tower (which was decapitated for a few sad years) of what has become the Provincetown Public Library, formerly the Heritage Museum, formerly a Methodist church.


I was just sitting there the other night eating a cupcake, so I recognized the view. The location of the pier and the bikeracks also line up with the satellite photo on Google Maps:

Screen shot 2012-09-11 at 3.53.28 AM


Fun fact: the library just went through a renovation, including the new brick-work present in the photograph.


Maybe you were the photographer, Andrew, during a tour related to the restoration project described here?

Nope, although I love the library and despise the monument. Another:

Surprisingly, Google maps clearly shows the brick walks and grass area with white wall/curbing while Bing maps shows the site under construction:


Perhaps one’s search preference will lead some searchers astray this week.


It was clever of you to leave the metal statue out on the right. That would have been a dead give away. We were there a few weeks ago and the kids had a blast checking out the massive boat inside the library.

The statue is an homage to tourists. And not too flattering (see below). Another:

Specifically, the photo is taken from the second floor window in the the large room with a half-scale replica of the Provincetown-built Grand Banks fishing schooner Rose Dorothea.  I’ve spent many hours studying in this exact spot:

Ptown Libs inside

I wrote my Atlantic cover piece on torture there.  Another:

More specifically, this was taken at approximately 10:27AM, standing 1.06 meters back from the window. The photographer is a 47-year-old straight male, 6’0, 181 lbs. He was wearing ecru linen shorts and a beige Tommy Hilfiger t-shirt (80% cotton, 20% polyester). You can totally tell from the way he’s holding the camera.

It was a Marc Jacobs t-shirt, I’m afraid. Another:

The library had a fantastic display on the second floor this summer, around the huge ship that’s built inside. The display highlighted gay people and their relationship with their faith – it almost made me cry.


Ptown-statueHello from NYC, a fellow gay conservative in search of a party, and a serious fan of Provincetown. Something I did not know until researching this contest was that each of the three main windows is named after a famous patron, the middle one (from which the photo was taken) being dedicated to Roberta Lasley. Intrigued, I did a bit of research to discover she was an amazingly successful business woman who had moved to Provincetown after retiring.

Once in Provincetown she developed the idea of a franchise of condom stores, culminating with two successful chains: Toys of Eros and Wild Hearts. What an amazing life, given that she went from being one of the first three women at Harvard Business School to a major force for social good, to a business person that addressed the critical need for promoting safe sex. What an amazing woman and thanks for turning me onto her biography through the contest. Even if I don’t win, it was worth it.

Another sends the above photo of the aforementioned statue. Another:

The two main clues that I used were the large breakwater, and the fact that the view appeared to be south facing, based on the shadows.  I googled “New England south facing harbor breakwater” and found a Corps of Engineer document of New England harbor breakwaters, with maps for each one.

Another view:

VFYW Ptown Overhead Marked - Copy

I can see my cottage from here. Another reader:

Instantly recognizable from the perch of the Provincetown Public Library is the breakwater that protects Provincetown harbor and the lobster fleet. Truro and Wellfleet stretch along the horizon. If the camera was nudged to the right, you might also be able to see the pier for the Boston fast ferries. And, if you look closely enough at the blue house across Commercial Street, you’ll see the very familiar lettering of Box Lunch – a Cape Cod staple!


You can see the womyn’s bookstore on the far left, the art gallery next to it, and then the t-shirt shop.  Nearby is Harbour Lounge (“Thirsty? We got liquor!”)  Further to the east is Dyer Street, where we spent a wonderful week (the one before Carnival) this August.  I’m attaching the view of the harbor from our bedroom window:



I haven’t been there for years but couldn’t forget that view.  The building in front of it, to the right there (without Google streetview mind you), is the nice little bookstore in town named after the old Bette Davis movie Now Voyager.  Thanks for the memory of that beautiful place I miss so much.

Actually, that book store just died. Another:

The photo looks like it must have been taken recently, during my favorite time in P’town. After Labor Day, the crowds have died down, and the temperature is dropping, and everything just has a much less frenzied air about it… Lovely. Unfortunately, I have no amusing anecdotes to share about the library – I’ve never even been inside, although my brother-in-law was inside just last month in search of free Wi-Fi. Does that count?


Do you need a cute story? I took my mom there for 4th of July family vacation one summer. We stayed as always at the Cape Codder. The guy who owns the guest house started the Dolphin Fleet whale-watching tour. My mom was open mouthed when she saw all the drag queens on fire engines during the parade out front. I had my 10 month old with me that year. I was pregnant the year before on vacation when we went whale watching and my older daughter who was 7 was so fascinated by the whales and dolphins she decided the new baby, if a girl, would be named Delphina after the Greek meaning for dolphins. The docs said I was having a boy so I never gave it another thought. Delphina is now 23.


I not only know where this is, but last year – in this town – I was one of the producers of an indie romantic comedy film “BearCity 2”, that has as one of its stars, Andrew’s husband Aaron! The picture was taken out the front 2nd floor window of the just-renovated Provincetown MA library, formerly the Central Methodist Church, built in 1860 and on the National Register of Historic Places. We look over Ptown Harbor and see MacMillan Wharf to the right. Two of Ptown’s many fine art galleries are across the street. Just as pictured, the green lawn in front has, somehow, the most perfect flawless sod one could ever imagine, despite the salt air. Last week the lawn was decorated with thousands of colorful prayer ribbons. In fact, Andrew and Aaron when in Ptown get their coffee a couple dozen yards away from this very spot!


Another sends the above photo. Another reader:

I saw you and briefly introduced myself to you at frappo66 on Saturday afternoon (after walking back from a wonderful day at Herring Cove beach!)


I made my first Dishhead sight-seeing trip to P-town this summer on the day of the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. I believe you were preparing to live-blog the  event as we were eating our ice cream in the street on the east end. I think I might have seen your husband riding his bike, but no Andrew sighting. (My first actual Dishhead sight-seeing trip was last summer to Portland, Maine. I wanted to see the shop where my t-shirt came from, but it was closed! Did you know there was such a thing as a Dishhead sight-seeing trip? Perhaps it’s just me.) I imagine you’ll get a lot of correct answers, but I mostly wanted to point out that because of the Dish, I explored a new part of the world this summer and really enjoyed it. Next time, though, we are definitely going back at night! I have a feeling we barely got to know P-town with an afternoon visit.

There are many Ptowns. I’ve spent 14 consecutive summers here and I’m still uncovering them. Another:

A few years back we were visiting P-Town and a my sister and I were sitting right on those library steps when a guy next to us started choking on a piece of food! My sister, being the calm one, put her hand over her mouth and started screaming which I am sure made the poor guy much calmer. Eventually the guy coughed it out but it is one of those vacation memories that we still share a laugh about.


No special story for me, except the memory of a bad sunburn and a lousy boyfriend one 4th-of-July weekend after a long drive from UMass. I think I slept on his friend’s porch all night because it was so hot. I loved being so close to the ocean. Hope to return someday with my native Californian husband who, despite a great education, still thinks Massachusetts borders New Jersey.



Your picture looked awful familiar to me, because I am staying in the apartments behind the blue building as I write this. Your photographer took this picture from the second story of the Provincetown library, located at 356 Commercial. The blue building is 355 Commercial Street and houses Birdie Silkscreen Studio and Scott’s Cakes (legalize gay cupcakes!). This is an amazing coincidence. Even if I don’t win it has added an indelible highlight to my vacation.


I assume this is an homage to the end of summer in Provincetown.  This is from the public library that my son now refuses to go to since the day we went over spring break and a few teens from the neighborhood (sullen youth) made some kind of snide remark to him.  Our usual trip involves a walk up to the top of the Pilgrim Monument, a stroll on Commercial Street – where my wife always stops by the Wired Puppy for a potential Andrew sighting – and then on to Spiritus for pizza and sometimes boccie.  My daughter likes to visit all the libraries on the Cape, so we have spent much time in the Provincetown Library.


One evening along Commercial Street walking with my travel companion we passed a plaza with some park benches facing the street. At one was an elderly couple watching the people on the street. In the middle of it was a young family, mother, father, baby and child. At the other end was a couple of flirtatious bears being into each other but not overly PDA, just doing their thing. Nobody was upset or appeared to care. They were all so different but all together there, enjoying the public space and the evening. Acceptance, tolerance, fully integrated into the life of the community. Not a separate place like the Castro, but a place where everyone lives with each other. For a moment it seemed like I was in Western Europe, not the US in the 1990s. It left the best impression and a beautiful memory of Provincetown, it being one of those special places in the country where tolerance lives and breathes on a casual summer evening. Where the spirit and beauty of equality that our Declaration of Independence talks about is alive, right now.

My niece and nephew have only seen Ptown and Boston in America. I love that. Another:

I started going to P-town in 1960 with my family when I was five years old.  Exploring the sand flats at low tide is the happiest memory of my childhood, and bringing my own children there my happiest as a grown-up.  Your love of this place is one of the things that keep me coming back to the Dish.


Thank you for putting up an easy one for the masses! First time I’ve been even close to even knowing where to start looking and I got it! I bet this hooks me even more.

We received about 350 entries, and close to 300 correctly answered Ptown. Another:

Seriously, how are you going to select a winner?  Would they have to specify the date and time the photo was taken?  What floorboard the photographer was standing on? The type of camera?  If I send a 10,000-word essay on the Ptown public library, will that suffice?

Since isolating a clear winner is close to impossible, we are going to see if the library administrators will accept a copy of the View From Your Window book so that anyone can go see it. A parting view of the library from chez nous: