By Joey Amato
Photo courtesy of Provincetown Tourism
I think it’s safe to say that I found my new happy place. I had visited Provincetown, Massachusetts, once before during the winter season, and even then, I enjoyed my time there. Of course, P-Town is much slower during the colder months than it was during my most recent visit, but I still enjoyed the small-town charm of this iconic coastal destination.
Provincetown is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly destinations in the country, if not the world. From the moment you arrive by ferry or by car, you are quickly transported into a rainbow oasis which makes it seems as if you are on an island where you are free to express yourself in any way you please.
As soon as I stepped foot off the Bay State Cruise Company ferry from Boston, I checked in to the Foxberry Inn, a beautiful property located less than a mile from the heart of P-Town. Most of the destination is walkable, but biking is also common if you prefer. The staff at Foxberry Inn was lovely and quite attractive, which is always an added bonus. My corner room came complete with a water view as well as a separate seating area and balcony to enjoy some morning coffee.
Each morning the staff prepared a delicious hot breakfast, which is included in the price of the room. The breakfast burrito was definitely my favorite and possibly one of the best I’ve ever had in recent memory. Every afternoon, guests are welcome to enjoy freshly baked cookies and a hot beverage if they desire in the common area.
One of Provincetown’s most famous attractions is not a physical attraction; it’s a dance. More specifically, a tea-dance. The concept of a tea-dance began in New York in the 1960s. Gay men would meet at off-the-beaten-path locations around New York City on a Sunday afternoon and enjoy tea, as it was illegal to serve alcohol to people known to be gay. How times have changed!
These tea-dances quickly spread around the country, and today, the weekly tea-dances held at Boatslip Resort have become legendary. The waterfront property features a large outdoor deck plus an indoor section with multiple bars and plenty of room for dancing. The drinks are a bit more expensive than I am used to coming from the Midwest, but the pours were heavy, so it balanced out. My guest Michael and I sipped our cocktails while grooving to the sounds of Sylvester, Donna Summer, and Chic. The people watching alone was worth the visit.
After the dance, walk over to Liz’s Café, just a few blocks away. The quaint restaurant gives off an island resort vibe, and the food didn’t disappoint either. We both began our meal with the ceviche containing a variety of fresh fish served with homemade tortilla chips and followed that up with the pan-seared cod prepared in a mouthwatering broth.
If you are in the mood for some after-dinner drinks and entertainment, head to Provincetown Brewery Co. or the Post Office Café & Cabaret for the Anita Cocktail Variety Hour. Hosted, of course by non-other than Anita Cocktail, the hour-long show also features performances by cast members Jona Williams, Abby Cummings, and Raquel Blake. My favorite part of the show was when Anita Cocktail sang live, something I rarely see drag performers do.
Keep the party going at Atlantic House, or A-House, as the locals call it. This is the only dance club that operates for the entire year, as some establishments shut down during the winter months. The complex consists of different rooms, including Little Bar, The Macho Bar, Provincetown’s original leather bar as well as the Big Room where people go to dance.
Wake up early the next morning and head to Boy Beach, which is located close to the Foxberry Inn or jump on Art’s Dune Tours to explore the Cape Cod National Seashore. Access to this area is seasonal and only authorized vehicles are allowed to operate in the park. The company, now in its 76th year in business, brings guests through the rolling dunes to various picturesque vantage points.
Spend the afternoon strolling around the town and exploring the dozens of boutiques and art galleries along Commercial Street. A bit further away is the Provincetown Art Association & Museum, a space housing a collection of works by artists from the Cape. The organization was originally established in 1914, so it’s a great place to learn about the cultural history of this destination.
If you are in the mood for some exercise, journey to the top of The Pilgrim Monument, a 252-foot structure built to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first landing. Since many of the properties in the town don’t offer fitness centers on the property, visitors can purchase a day pass and workout with the locals at Mussel Beach Health Club or Provincetown Gym.
P-Town is home to under 4,000 full-time residents, however, this number swells to over 60,000 during the peak summer months. If you aren’t a fan of huge crowds, I would recommend visiting during the shoulder season. This may also be a more budget-friendly time to travel as daily room prices tend to decrease.
For your final dinner in Provincetown, go to Café Heaven and begin your meal with their delicious Lobstertini made with lobster salad served atop an avocado and tomato salad tossed in a citrus vinaigrette. This was one of my favorite culinary treats of this vacation as the vinaigrette complimented the sweetness of the lobster perfectly. Michael and I decided to share the Provincetown Bouillabaisse for our main entrée. It tasted similar to a classic bouillabaisse, with the exception of linguica, which is a nod to P-Town’s Portuguese heritage.
Provincetown is an all-in-one destination, meaning there is something for everyone. Whether you choose to party or just relax on the beach, you will find your tribe in P-Town.
Learn more about P-Town at ptowntourism.com