Swept Away: Our Spring Weddings Fashion Feature
The Different Vibes Of Different Spots On Cape Cod
Cape Air – Bird’s Eye View Magazine
‘Art’s Dune Tours’ provides a front row view of Cape Cod’s protected seashore ~ July 2016
Adventuring into a Stunning Landscape with Art’s Dune Tours ~ June 2016
Art’s Dune Tour provides unforgettable experience ~ May 2016
Swept Away: Boston Magazine Spring Weddings Fashion Feature
Photographed in coordination with Art’s Dune Tours, which offers wedding ceremonies for up to 50 guests on the Provincetown dunes.
Province Lands ~ Arts Dune Tours
A Long Weekend in Provincetown
Art’s Dune Tours in The Boston Globe
Art’s Dune Tours in Microguide: Provincetown
The Manual: The Essential Guide for Men – June 17, 2015: http://www.themanual.com/micro-guide-2/micro-guide-provincetown-massachusetts/
Art’s Dune Tours in Essence Magazine (Israel)
Summer 2015 click here to read article
Art’s Dune Tours in VacationIdea Magazine
Provincetown is a beautiful year-round vacation destination, home to sandy beaches, picturesque lighthouses, a vibrant downtown, unique museums and restaurants. This picturesque New England town is located at the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Ride a bike along the Cape Cod Provincelands Trail, explore Beech Forest, visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and see a performance at the Provincetown Theater.
You will get a chance to visit diverse art galleries, shops and restaurants on your trip. Provincetown is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching from April to October.
Art’s Dune Tours
Even the Kennedys went on Art’s Dune Tours. Visiting Cape Cod Dunes, a part of the Cape Cod Seashore National Park, when you are in Provincetown is an important part of the Cape Cod experience, and nobody does it like Art’s. Art has remained a legendary figure in town, even after his death.
He started the dune tours in 1946, driving tourists in his old station wagon and regaling them with the local history and lore. His son continues to take guests on one hour tours of the timeless expanse of sand dunes around Provincetown, showing them magnificent nature scenes along miles of sand – dry beach grasses, pine trees and dark red plums growing in dune hollows, silhouetted against the enormous expanse of blue sky.
You will also see the “dune shacks” where Eugene O’Neill and other artists looked for inspiration for their art, and you will pass by the wrecks of the Peaked Hill Life Saving Station, from which brave souls attempted to save thousands of shipwrecked mariners. The tour is conducted in comfortable air-conditioned trucks, in full comfort, and no walking is necessary.
4 Standish St., 508-487-1950 (website)
To read full article, visit http://vacationidea.com/weekend_getaways/best-things-to-provincetown-ma.html
Rob Costa of Art’s Dune Tours
When he came back from Italy after World War II, the late Art Costa began taking customers in his old Ford “Woody” station wagon out to see the sand dunes of Provincetown. His son Rob traveled the world as a tour guide, eventually coming back to land’s end to take over the family business from the “King of the Dunes.”
Q. Was the company grandfathered in to drive on the dunes?
A. There have probably been 14 to 15 companies out on the dunes through the years. We just happen to be the last remaining one. The last one went out about five years ago.
Q. Why have they all died out?
A. I think a lot of them came in for the quick-cash type of thing. My father started the company in 1946, long before the Park Service. In 1961, when they took over, my father was well into it. And it became his passion. He did not care so much about how much he made as how much he enjoyed his life doing it.
Q. When did you start with the business?
A. About 17 years ago, when he developed Alzheimer’s. I just turned 51. I worked for my dad since I was old enough to drive, even before that. I went to college and then got a job as a tour director. I traveled all over the world for quite a few years. But I always knew I’d come back and take over the reins. I loved doing it. I’ve always been a tour guide, ever since I was a little kid.
Q. As gorgeous as the dunes are, you see them every day. How do you keep them new for you?
A. That’s pretty easy. The lighting every single day is different. And more so, it’s people’s appreciation of it: the questions, how they react, and their connection to that area. Everyone comes out of it with something different, something unique. And I absorb their appreciation, which makes it all possible.
Q. They give tours of John Lennon’s childhood home in Liverpool, and one day Bob Dylan showed up to take the tour, like a regular guy. You must get stuff like that.
A. Yeah. In fact, we just had Rosie O’Donnell and her wife. I’ve also taken Ryan Murphy out, from “American Horror Story” and “Glee.” My father had a bunch of stars, too: Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. He took all the Kennedys out years ago. We’ve had John Kerry, too.
Q. Provincetown has changed a lot since you were a kid. It’s not a little fishing village anymore. It’s a pretty busy commercial strip.
A. The focus shifted from fishing to tourism. However, we do have a fishing fleet, and the ones doing it are hard-working, including my family. My brother and my nephew have a lobster business, and they also tuna-fish. That comes from my uncles, my grandfather, all Portuguese fishermen. We’ve still got connections down through all the generations.
Q. You do clambakes on the beach, right?
A. The last time we had competition, it made me think outside the box: How can I do tours that are different, to separate us from the competition? I thought, why don’t we serve a nice clambake or barbecue meal on beach? For the sunset tour, we can take 45 people, and we might do 20 dinners. They have an hour on the beach to do whatever you want. They can take a walk, bring their own food or a cooler of their beverages. Or we can serve you. A lot times, my nephew catches the lobsters. It’s pretty cool.
Art’s Dune Tours Radio Interview June 2014
Rob Costa interviewed on Rudy Maxa’s World: Click here to listen to interview
Click here to read RUDY MAXA’S WORLD CAREY CHECK-IN REPORT Cape Cod – Nantucket – June 2014
4-27-14 Cape Cod Times
Take 10 at Art’s Dune Tours in P’town
By ROBERT GOLD
Rob Costa spends his life in the dunes. The owner of Art’s Dune Tours in Provincetown runs tours through the Cape Cod National Seashore. “It’s a fun thing to do — it’s not like work. It becomes your life, not your work,” said Costa, who became owner in the late 1990s, taking over for his father, Art Costa.
What’s the most important thing your business does?
We provide our customers with an incredible, scenic, historic, fun-filled off-road experience. It is historical, it is educational, it is extremely scenic and it is a lot of fun.
How long have you been in business?
It’s been 68 years now, since 1946. My dad started it with a 1936 Ford Woody. His name was Art Costa. He came back from Italy after World War II and purchased a 1936 Ford Woody and started his own business.I took over about 17 years ago when my dad got sick from Alzheimer’s. Then my mom (Patricia) and I owned it for a while. And she eventually passed as well.
What did you do before?
I was a tour director for Collette Tours (for 6½ years). I traveled all over the world, tour-guiding senior citizens to different destinations like Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, California, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales.
I have always been a tour guide since I became old enough to drive. I worked with my dad when I was old enough to drive. Even before that, I was answering phones, doing customer service. I drove for him every summer during college. I went to school for communications. After I got out, I was applying everywhere for communications jobs in Boston. I took a salesman out from Collette Tours for a dune tour and he said, “Oh if you ever want to do this on a larger scale, you should do it. I did. And all of a sudden, within years, I was traveling all over the world. Then I came back to the dune tours.
How big was your staff when you started? How about now?
We had probably six or seven drivers and a person to answer the phones (when he became owner). Now I would say we have about 12 people. That is mostly part-timers and three full-timers.
How has the market changed since you started?
The market really hasn’t changed for us. We do every part of the market you can imagine, from students all the way up to seniors and everyone in between. The way we market has changed — more advertising on the Web than print advertising.
What are your plans for your business’ future?
I would like to do some scenic rafting in Pilgrim Lake and view the dunes from the raft, and include it in half-day excursions. I am still waiting, pending park approval, though. We are going to do half-day packages where we are doing a dune tour, a raft ride and then a trip out to Cape Cod Light.
What’s the best thing about having a business on the Cape?
I like it because we like to meet so many different people. The dune tours never become boring, because when you meet these different people, they share different experiences and they have different appreciations. So it’s never boring. It’s always fun. Everyone is always in a good mood, for the most part. It’s a fun thing to do, it’s not like work. It becomes your life, not your work.
What’s the biggest challenge to having a business on the Cape?
It’s a feast-or-famine environment. We are really, really busy in June, July and August. In the shoulder seasons, you try to keep your staff working, you are trying to make it all worth being open. The town has done a really great job with the different organizations in promoting festivals and extending the season. But the biggest challenge is dealing with that being really super busy. And then the park (Cape Cod National Seashore) closing and we close.
What has been the most memorable moment with the business?
I don’t have one that sticks out that is more memorable, but I can tell you I get memorable experiences every week — a lot of them. It happens every year. Just meeting different people “» today, we saw some awesome animal life out there, breaching whales and a snowy owl. The kids we were with were so impressed with it. To me, that is a great memory. It was memorable because they appreciated it so much. The thing (snowy owl) was so huge, I couldn’t believe it. I was even awestruck by it. It was right there in front of us, taking a bath in the water.
What advice do you have for someone starting a business on the Cape?
Always be open to suggestions. Always think outside the box, potentially. It doesn’t hurt to try things a little differently than you might expect. If you get an idea or suggestion from somebody, don’t dismiss it just because it’s not your idea. Just think about it. A lot of my ideas came from people inspiring me to think outside the box. We do clambakes on the beach now with beach fires. Before, we never would think about something like that. Just always keep an open mind of different ways of doing business.
A Cape Cod Notebook, Tue October 15, 2013
Art Costa, Witness to the Histories of the Province Lands Dune Shacks
Art Costa and the Province Land Dunes, A Cape Cod Notebook, by Robert FinchIt was fifteen years ago this month that Kathy and I first met the late and legendary Art Costa, whom we had hired to drive us out to the Provincelands dunes in his van. At that time Art had been taking people out to the dunes for over fifty years. His business, Art’s Dune Tours, is a Provincetown institution and is carried on today by his son Rob.Art was a large man with a big head, kind eyes, and red-dyed hair that made him look younger than his nearly 80 years. He was hard of hearing, and didn’t always respond to our questions. Instead, as we drove our the sand road, he launched into an automatic, but still enthusiastic “spiel” that he had been giving, elaborating, and refining for five decades. Art’s stories followed a groove as well-worn, and occasionally shifting, as the sand road we traveled over. He talked about the old dune dwellers who had lived in the shacks back then, all of them now dead. But he had known all of them: Peg Watson, Charlie Schmid, Jan Gelb and Boris Margo, Ray and Nicky Wells, and Hazel Hawthorne, who bought the shack named Euphoria just before World War II.
(Listen to Robert Finch’s full reminiscence of Art Costa in the audio posted here: Listen)
Provincetown’s Literary Dunes
Art’s Provincetown Cape Cod National Seashore Dune Tours
In many beach towns, dunes serve as hilly sand-stages for memories. But in the case of Provincetown, Massachusetts, Cape Cod’s northernmost town, set on the protected National Seashore, a three-mile stretch of dramatically tall, wind-sculpted dunes offered the isolation and solace that some of our nation’s best writers and artists sought in order to create world-changing work.
In the 19th century, small dune shacks without electricity and running water were built on this sand, now called the Peaked Hill Bars Historic District. They were originally intended as shelter for life-saving personnel. But in the 1920s, the lifeguards had more choices, and playwright Eugene O’Neill bought one of the shacks in order to spend summers there with his wife. Poet Harry Kemp soon joined his community as the resident of another shack. And, as years passed, the shacks were passed down from one artist to another, offering temporary respite to Willem de Kooning, E.E. Cummings, Jackson Pollock, Norman Mailer, and Jack Kerouac.
The area was also used as a set for the first ‘Thomas Crown Affair‘ film made in 1968. Today, it’s still possible to stay in two of the shacks – you must apply for a short “residency” through a Provincetown arts organization – but we prefer to take a 4×4 tour of the dunes from the only company that has the license to traipse about this protected area: Art’s Dunes Tours, which has been in business since 1946. Art’s tours, which explain the history of the once-forested dunes and its protected shacks, are otherworldly drives up and down the ever-changing inclines that offer plenty of chances to get out on foot and take exceptional photographs.
We prefer the two-hour sunset trip, which includes a beachside lobster bake with chowder or Portuguese kale soup that Art’s team preps for your group as you watch the waves crash on a secluded patch of sand. The tours aren’t about physical exertion or risky adventure, per se – although significant endurance is required to hike here, and you could easily get lost if you wanted to. We’re just passionate about the strong sense of calm that overcomes you as you spend this time off the grid, learning about the nature that surrounds you and hearing stories of how it sheltered and inspired so many of our most admired people.
More Information: artsdunetours.com; 508-487-1950.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Art’s Dune Tours, Provincetown, MA
See the Start of Route 6 From the Beach
If you just have one afternoon to spend in Provincetown, I strongly recommend an Art’s Dune Tour to get an overview of Cape Cod history and landscape. Rob Costa has been driving visitors around the Provincetown, MA sand dunes for 30 years, since he was a mere 18 years old. His Dad, Art, launched the company in 1956, and though there were imitators over the years, Art’s remains the sole surviving Dune Tour operator on Cape Cod. Among the eminent guests that Art escorted around were Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway who were in Provincetown filming the Thomas Crowne Affair.
Rob continues that folksy tradition. He’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of Provincetown and its sandy habitat, spouting off tidbits as diverse as “The Cape Cod National Seashore – a National Park established by President John F. Kennedy – takes up nearly 75% of the whole of Cape Cod,” and “Marlon Brando crawled across these dunes when he was rehearsing for A Streetcar Named Desire.” He points out the tenacious plants that cling to life in this sandy environment – rosehips, beach plums and cranberries that thrive in fresh-water pools found throughout the dunes.
Poets, painters and writers (Eugene O’Neil, Thoreau, Jackson Pollock, for example) stayed in squatters shacks originally built in the 1850’s as temporary shelters for heroic “Surfmen” who patrolled the beach, ever ready to rescue shipwreck victims. A bit over 100 years later, the US Government removed all but 19 of these primitive dwellings – and now a few are available to Artists In Residence willing to live without electricity, fresh water or plumbing (but with one of the best vistas on the planet) for a few weeks at a time. —http://gonewengland.about.com/cs/capecodsights/l/aa082301a.htm
Do the Dunes! You Haven’t Seen Cape Cod Until You’ve Toured the Dunes
Ah, the dunes of the Cape… they’ve been written about, sung about…and they’re probably one of the first images that pop into your head when you envision Cape Cod.
And yet, many tourists visit Cape Cod without ever really experiencing one of New England’s most remarkable natural wonders.
It’s easy to get caught up in all of the other enticements of the Cape… sandy, family beaches; villages teeming with cute little shops; seaside seafood shanties… but you haven’t truly been to Cape Cod until you’ve done the dunes.
Of the 43,604 acres that comprise the Cape Cod National Seashore, 4,000 of them make up two-thirds of the town of Provincetown at the very tip of the Cape. It is here that you’ll find the most dramatic dune views. The enormous sand deposits were left behind when Ice Age glaciers receded. It’s difficult to imagine, but the dunes were covered with a layer of soil and densely forested before the arrival of European settlers. Deforestation led to massive shifting of sand as the winds sculpted the exposed landscape. Efforts to stabilize the dunes began in the 1800s, and the National Park Service has continued beach grass planting efforts since 1961, when the Cape Cod National Seashore was created.
Want to experience the dunes? There are several ways to see the dunes (including my own virtual tour), but by far the most entertaining is Art’s Dune Tours. This tour company has a history that is almost as long and storied as that of the dunes themselves. OK, I exaggerate a bit, but Art’s Dune Tours has been in existence for more than 60 years.
Art Costa first began sharing the wonder of the dunes with Cape Cod tourists in 1946 in a 1936 Ford Woody. Today, the family business is run by Art’s son, Rob, and he and a “cast” of tour leaders keep alive the tradition of taking small groups of seven to nine passengers out onto the dunes in four-wheel-drive Suburbans.
Now, you can go out on the dunes in your own four-wheel-drive vehicle, but obtaining a permit will cost you quite a bit of cash, there aren’t exactly any road maps to follow and you’ll have to entertain yourself with amusing anecdotes and corny jokes. It’s much more relaxing and amusing to simply book passage with Art’s Dune Tours, grab the camera and allow Rob or one of the other guides to regale you with tales of the dunes’ animal and human inhabitants as you make tracks through the sandy turf.
For a preview of what you’ll see, or if you can’t get to Cape Cod, come along with me on a virtual photo tour as I set out with Rob on a daytime dune excursion. (I promise not to give away too many of the jokes in Rob’s repertoire.)Art’s Dune Tours operates from mid-April to mid-November, and in addition to one-hour, narrated tours throughout the day, you can also reserve your place on a two-hour Sunset Tour with or without a BBQ, sushi or clambake dinner. Private charters for weddings on the dunes or other events are also available. Tours depart from 4 Standish Street in Provincetown–look for a small table set up on the sidewalk. Reservations are always a good idea, as tours only operate with a minimum number of passengers, and summertime can be quite busy. For reservations and pricing information, call 508-487-1950 or toll free, 800-894-1951.