Provincetown Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

Provincetown Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

After photographing cigar butts and other interesting things between Chatham and Provincetown, we arrived at Provincetown and, after looking at the plaques at the base of the hill, I climbed to the town’s best viewpoint, the top of the Pilgrim Monument .

The monument itself is located on a small rise called High Pole Hill providing clear views  out over the harbor.  There is a parking lot, a museum and a small store on-site offering books and tourist-style items.

Getting to the observation area at the top of the tower is a bit of a climb since there is no elevator (definitely not wheelchair accessible!). The Pilgrim Monument commemorates the arrival of the first Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower which arrived in at Provincetown on November 21, 1620.  The compact shown in the above photo was signed while the Mayflower was at anchor in the Provincetown Harbor before moving along the coast to Plymouth.

The ‘staircase’ in this monument is rather unique since it consists of a combination of sloped ramps along the inside walls with steps at each of the corners. In total, a combination of 60 ramps and 116 stairs get you to the observation platform.  The total height of the monument is 77 meters (253 ft 7.5 inches). It’s quite the climb but along the way you can stop to read (or photograph) the inscriptions on a number of stones embedded in the walls.  The stones highlight various aspects of the development of the towns in and around Cape Cod specifically and Massachusetts in general. I didn’t count the number of these stones and reduced lighting prevented me from photographing a great many more of them.


Once I had reached the top of the stairs, I had plenty of time to enjoy the view, but finding ways to photograph around the guard rails and glass was a bit more of a challenge.

The next step was the long way back down to the ground level where a museum was waiting to be explored.

 The Museum has a number of rooms with both the Pilgrim history and the history of the Cape Cod area being covered as well as a section highlighting some of the flora and fauna of the area.


A few pieces of scrimshaw art (etching on whale bone) is on display as well as an interesting bureau and guitar.


I was hoping to photograph a few shorebirds before dark descended on the area so, after visiting the Pilgrim Monument, we drove through town (an interesting experience – very narrow street) and headed over to the stone dike that I could see from the top of the tower.

Want more information. Try visiting the Pilgrim Monument and Museum website.

About Ron

Ron has long had an interest in photography and traveling and, in recent years, has had more time to devote to both activities. Long a Pentax user, Ron switched to Nikon gear when he went digital. The advent of the digital SLR camera, and the ease of the internet blogging process, has provided a venue for sharing his photography and travel experience at the local, national and international level. More about Ron
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