Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Boatslip Tea Dance Provincetown, Mass

In my Previous Life, I used to vacation every summer at that premier gay resort, Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Provincetown from The Monument (my photo) 1974

The first time I visited Provincetown was in 1974 with my friend Bob Mc.  This is the photo we posed for at an Old Time Photo place.  

Bob and me - Faux Cowboys 1974

Bob and I didn't know much about Provincetown other than it was a "gay" vacation resort.  That first week we spent there we didn't know where to go.  We actually stayed at a motel on the outskirts
of town after spending one night at a place called "The Ranch" which was anything but a ranch.  We were just too butch to stay there.

Bob soon met a guy from Canada named Brian and he spent the week with him.  I was on my own, a precursor to my subsequent visits to Provincetown.  

I would walk down Commercial Street, the unoriginal name of the main drag (no pun intended) of Provincetown.  One place I walked by  in the afternoon as I returned from Herring Cove was the Boatslip, which was a hotel right on the bay.  I would hear a "thump! thump!" behind drawn canvas curtains. I assumed it was a private party and as you all know, Ron is never invited to private gay parties, a pattern which continues to this day because I continue never to be invited to gay parties (hear that Rehoboth Beach and Camp Rehoboth?)  But I digress.  

Me (tall and skinny on right) with my friends Gino and Bob on Commercial Street

I spent my first week in Provincetown at Herring Cove, the beach outside of town.  I would return in the late afternoon, always passing the Boatslip and the "thump! thump!"  Sometimes I would meet my friend Bob and his boyfriend Brian for dinner but mostly I ate by myself.  One might say I wasted my first visit to Provincetown but I didn't know that until I returned home to Philadelphia.

Me at my room at the Crown and Anchor overlooking Provincetown Bay

When I returned home to Philadelphia and related my vacation to the Gay Disneyland to my gay friends they asked me "You didn't go to the Tea Dance at the Boatslip?"  I said "What is a Tea Dance?"   Well, needless to say they quickly informed me what I was missing.  Folks, I didn't make that mistake the next year when I visited P-town.  And the next year, and the following year and until 1986 which was my last year I visited Provincetown.  By then I was spending four weeks in Provincetown.  I was a "regular" at the Tea Dance.  

Just tonight I thought I would check You Tube to see if there was any videos of the Tea Dance.  Viola!  You know what folks?  Nothing has changed!  WOW!  Everything is as I remembered it.  Even the pool where I used to hang out.  WOW!  Oh how I miss the Tea Dance. How I miss Provincetown.  

Bill didn't like Provincetown.  He only went with me once and stayed the whole time at the semi-straight Best Western.  He never came out of his room except to go on the balcony.

Oh, he did go out once with me in a boat.  He wasn't happy as both photos show.  This is why Bill never went with me to Provincetown again. 

When I arrived in Provincetown by plane the first thing I would do was rent a bicycle.  

Me at the Provincetown Airport

During the week I would ride that bicycle to do my errands like going to the grocery store and ride to Herring Cove, which was outside the main part of town.  I also used to ride the National Seashore Bike Trail which was a great bike trail.

Me on the bicycle trail

In future visits I almost always stayed at Angel's Landing on Commercial Street.  Angela Calomoris was the owner and operator.  I stayed at her place so often one year she offered me a job to manage her apartment complex.  I was flattered but turned had to turn her down.  

Do I look like a vacation bank manager or a potential gay resort apartment manager?

After all, I had my banking career. Ironically, my last vacation in Provincetown was in 1986 for four weeks.  When I returned to my job at Mellon Bank in Philadelphia I was informed I was job eliminated. Thus ended my summer sojourns to the Gay Disneyland.

Angels' Landing - where I stayed in Provincetown - 1979

However, there were a few times I took a boyfriend (or two). Like me and Brad below on a chilly, wine imbibed boat ride. Jolly good fun!

Brad and I after a couple wines - happy fellas!

The water was always cold but I always took at least one dip even though I couldn't breath while I was in the 50 degree water.

Yes, I can swim - my "Michael Phelps Backstroke"

Much of my time in Provincetown was spent at Herring Cove working on my tan for which I am paying the price for now (regular visits to my dermatologist).  

Me at Herring Cove, Provincetown, Mass

When I arrived in Provincetown, I always rented a bicycle for a week. 

The below picture is of me at the pool at the Boatslip.  Back in the 70's when I was a regular, digital cameras and iPhones weren't available. I had just a regular SLR camera folks.  And since I was usually alone, I had to ask a stranger to take my picture.  This isn't one of my best photos but it is the only one I can find of me at the Boatslip.

Me at the Boatslip pool - 1986

I've often thought of returning to Provincetown.  Of course I wouldn't dare show my body like this at my now age of 71 years.  Are you kidding?  But I would like to go to the dance and listen to that "thump! thump!"  Folks, some of the best times of my life.  I am so glad that I was there during the Fabulous Seventies. 

Herring Cove, Mass
Looking at this You Tube video of the Tea Dance at the Boatslip brought back many fond memories.   

Outdoor Cafe Commercial Street Provincetown, Mass 1979
And folks, this is THE SONG that I will always associate with my many summers in Provincetown and the carefree, good times I had, Kelly Marie and "Feels Like I'm In Love."  When this song used to come on at the Tea Dance everyone would scream and rush to the dance floor.  It was Heaven folks, Heaven.


anne marie in philly said...

hottie! and I love this song; we play this one at next year's blogger meetup, yes?

Ron said...

Anne Marie,

The Kelly Marie song? I already have it on the Bloggerama Playlist.


pat888 said...

Hey Ron - Zoolander aside, you could have been a model. That's quite the bod - what, maybe 1% body fat? Good for you for looking so good. And what a scene. Never heard of it tho. We have a nude beach here on Toronto island which I'm told by a few straight people who wanted to check it out that it isn't too exciting.


Ron said...


Back then I did a lot of exercise, mainly lifting weights for body tone. I still exercise but not near as much. Age and gravity creeping up on me.

When I used to go to Provincetown in the 70's and 80's I met a lot of Canadians. A lot of NICE Canadians. Interestingly though, I never did the "sex thing" while I was in Provincetown. Maybe because there was too much competition. There were a lot of good-looking guys up there then. I just enjoyed getting out of Philadelphia for a week and enjoying the fresh air of the New England Cape Cod ambiance. I also enjoyed going to the Tea Dance and dancing at the bars at night. There was a lot of sexual activity going on but I wasn't part of it. I still had a good time.


Anonymous said...

Hi I know this might sound strange, but I currently work at the Boatslip and it's great to see all of your pictures from your time here in town.
Kudos to you for keeping all of them, I enjoyed reading your blog.


Ron said...

Hi Eric,

Good to hear from you. I have more pictures of my time in Provincetown during the late 70's and 80's. You've given me encouragement to post them. In a few weeks I'll turn 72. I want to make one more trip to Provincetown and the Boatslip. Maybe next year.

Have a great day!


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