P-Town, MA is A Chill Place to Visit Any Time of Year
Cat Hartwell took a trip to Provincetown, MA (aka P-Town) off season, but her recommendations of where to eat, drink, hang, beach and visit are spot on anytime of the year!
My decision to take my straight boyfriend to Provincetown, MA in the dead of winter for his 40th birthday was certainly not the most conventional, but we both have a deep history in Massachusetts and a fondness for the Cape. Plus there's something secretly romantic about the beach in the dead of winter. So we packed up our car and drove the 5+ hours to the end of the world as it's sometimes known, beating a blizzard in the process, to see what Cape Cod had to offer off season.
And though the legends we heard on our trip of drag queens on roller skates performing in the height of season looked nothing like the snow covered streets we traipsed around, we were definitely not disappointed by our trip. By the end of our time in P-Town, we were on a first name basis with several townies and shooting pool with locals who had been around for almost fifty years.
Provincetown has something for everyone.
Where to Eat
Far Land Provisions is a high end grocer with a full deli, pastries and coffee bar. You can also buy wine and cheese for your late afternoon picnics. Great spot. farlandprovisions.com
Wired Puppy is a fancy coffee joint on the strip. wiredpuppy.com
Squealing Pig serves upscale pub fare for lunch or dinner and is also a great place for a night cap. Facebook Page
The Mews is more of a fine dining experience with quality food and great service. I took my man to his 40th birthday dinner here and we were treated like royalty. mews.com
The Lobster Pot is another P-Town institution that was prominently featured in an episode of Parts Unknown and looks just like a classic New England lobster joint. Only open during season. ptownlobsterpot.com
The Canteen is an easy option with good food on the strip. thecanteenptown.com
Jimmy's Hideaway was my second choice for the birthday dinner, but we never made it here. It’s tucked away near the water and looks very old school and is probably a great place to get a drink as well. jimmyshideaway.com
Where to Drink and Hang Out
Atlantic House is arguably the oldest gay bar in the country, "A-House" as it's commonly known is a P-Town institution. In addition to providing LGBTQ folks a safe place to drink back in the day, it also has been the watering hole to many artists and writers like Nina Simone, Andy Warhol and Tennessee Williams whenever they where in town. Come for happy hour, stay for late night dancing. ahouse.com
Governor Bradford is one of the few places open year round, and this drinking establishment caters to all. Fisherman shoot pool here after a day's work, and there is a regular karaoke night hosted by drag queen and local personality Dana Danzel. I can't imagine a trip to P-town without several stops at Governor Bradford. Facebook Page
Where to Stay
Carpe Diem Bed and Breakfast We came here for a winter jaunt, which is the off season, so a lot of the town was empty, but all of our hosts at Carpe Diem went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that we had the best stay ever. Breakfasts are decadent and made fresh daily, and there are always snacks and lemonade in the house during the day. The owners encourage guests to enjoy a glass of complimentary port or sherry in the common room which has a very cozy fireplace. It was in this room that I begged for the haunted history of the hotel (it's old!) and there were definitely stories to be told. BUT the best thing of all about Carpe Diem is the sauna, steam room and outdoor hot tub that is complimentary to guests. You pretty much have to force yourself to leave the property. carpediemguesthouse.com
Beaches and Things
Provincetown Marina is a fun place to walk around and check out all the boats. ptownmarina.com
Race Point Beach is a national park with beautiful beaches and a historic lighthouse capecodonline.com
Herring Cove has beautiful beaches and great sunset views capecodonline.com
Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is a beautiful, modern building located in the middle of Commercial Street. Since P-town has been a haven for artists and counterculture for a long time, the art museum has become a central figure in town. It’s a great place to visit and then pad your day stopping in and out of the many galleries nearby. paam.org
Provincetown Museum and Pilgrim Monument is the tallest building in P-town, you can't miss this thing if you tried. This skinny tower honors the Mayflower landing, and there's a rather heated dispute between Plymouth and P-town, as P-town claims the first landing of the pilgrims, whereas Plymouth is the first settlement. pilgrim-monument.org
Provincetown Ghost Tours Ghost tours are a guilty pleasure of mine, but they are also secretly a great way to get some local history that doesn't make it into the mainstream museums. provincetownghosttours.com
The Old Provincetown Public Library Visiting a library on vacation is weird and not something I would ever think to do, BUT this one is in the center of town and has one of the best views available of the marina and everything around it. Also there's a half size model of a 1977 fishing schooner which is huge in the middle of the building. It's worth the fifteen minutes it takes to stop in and look around. provincetownlibrary.org
Waters Edge Cinema + The Art House show indie and art films as has live theater and comedy performances during the season.
All photos by Cat Hartwell except where noted.