7 Things to do in Provincetown in 2018

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Olliver

 

Tolerable spring weather is slowly rolling in our direction and I’ve already got my calendar out to make sure I’ve got a few boxes checked. This year, proper planning is taking precedent in my house and I’m giving ample notice for these Provincetown events where, if you like to have fun, attendance is mandatory. I know summer feels like it is never going to get here, but it will! And reservations in this town fill fast!

1) Single Women’s Weekend Provincetown (May 18-20) – All the single ladies put your hands up! From hot dance parties to spin-the-bottle, this long weekend offers lots of opportunities to meet and connect with someone special. For more details click here. While we’re on the subject of women in PTown, the official women’s week in 2018 is scheduled for October 8-14.

 

2) Provincetown International Film Festival (June 13-17) – The festival’s 20th year offers an impressive lineup of screenings and exclusive parties. You never know who you may see. If you want to get in on the action you’ll need early reservations! For details click here.

3) Portuguese Festival / 71st Blessing of the Fleet (June 21-24) – One of my all-time favorite blasts of local color, this festival kicks off Thursday and goes to Sunday (that’s when they Bless the Fleet). The parade is on Saturday from 3 to 5pm, bring the kids and your appetites!

4) July 4th Weekend – Boom! The July 4th parade and fireworks help bring this month in with a bang! I’ve been going to see the parade and fireworks in P-Town ever since I was a kid. My favorite parts? Tons of people enjoying themselves and its completely free!

5) Bear Week (July 7-15) –  Grrrr! Provincetown will play host to this EPIC event!  For all the details, consult the official bear calendar found here.

6) Carnival (August 11-17) – Are you ready? Get some early rest and schedule some time off from work because Carnival is taking over starting Saturday, August 11 and it won’t stop until Friday the 17th! This year’s theme: Mardi Gras by the Sea! Start working on your costumes now and get ready to party!

If you need any more, please check out ptownevents, they run a great website and their calendar is constantly updated with everything local.

Winter Walks on Cape Cod

One of my favorite Cape Cod activities is to walk the miles of deserted beaches after a Nor’Easter, marveling at the erosion and collecting random bits of flotsam and jetsam. Needless to say, I’ve been doing some serious beach walking after this recent (and ridiculous!) stretch of storms we’ve endured this month. Some of the more notable things I’ve seen are the North side parking lot at Herring Cove beach. The lot appears to be changing with the ever shifting sands and tides. Oh, Cape Cod National Seashore officials, you will be busy this spring! And who didn’t gawk at the Artimis, a 42-foot decommissioned dragger that now rests on the West End Breakwater. Thank you, March 2nd storm. Ever since it got stuck, there has been a steady stream of people walking out at low tide to check this old vessel out.

Marvel at Mother Nature

Moving a bit farther up Cape to Orleans, there’s Liam’s, the popular snack bar at Nauset beach that has been serving up awesome onion rings and fried clams for three decades. Now perched on a precarious ledge of sand, it makes for quite the sight. I grew up in Orleans and can’t get over how much Nauset beach has changed since I was a kid. The sand seems to be migrating south. It is what sand does around here, it comes and goes, reveals things here and covers them over there. At Nauset, 19th century carriage wheel tracks and horse hoof prints have recently emerged, carved into old layers of muck. They’re a good reminder that all this change is nothing new. Simply a fact of life. The only thing to do is wander along the shores, marvel at Mother Nature, and hang a few new washed up buoys on the barn out back!

Historic Provincetown

All of our Cape Cod towns do a great job when it comes to preserving the past and making their historic locations accessible for the public to enjoy. Provincetown just happens to be at the top of my list for places to see a number of sites all in one day. Here are three notable locations that will give the inquiring traveler a bit more insight into our local Ptown history.

1) Pilgrim Monument – Built between 1907 and 1910, this is the tallest all granite structure in the United States.  On a clear day you can see these from across Cape Cod Bay so it’s pretty hard to miss when you’re in town. The Monument commemorates the 1620 landfall of the Pilgrims and signing of the Mayflower Compact in Provincetown Harbor.

2) Race Point Lighthouse – This historic light has been keeping vessels from running aground since 1816 and sits in the beautiful sand dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore. For a really unique treat, accommodations for about 10 people are available if you want to stay overnight.

3.)  Old Harbor Life Saving Station – Originally built in Chatham in 1897 this building was relocated to Provincetown by barge in 1977.  Situated in the National Seashore the station offers insight into the lives of brave surf-men and their various methods for saving sailors in distress.  You’ve got to see the breeches buoy rescue re-enactments by the staff on Thursdays during the summer months.

If you need to find a place to stay after your busy day please be sure to check in with us here at the Brass Key Guesthouse!

What to do in Provincetown this February

Is this winter going by slowly for you too? For whatever reason, every time I look at the calendar, I’m shocked that it’s still only the beginning of February. This season has seemed like a slow slog. Normally I love winter, but this year, we’ve had our share of rain and almost no snow to speak of. Wet and cold is not my idea of fun. I’ll take a big snowstorm over rain any day of the week. I’m still waiting for the big one of the season.

So to pick myself up, I’ve added a few must-do’s to my schedule. Take note if you’re feeling adventurous or maybe just bored. First on my plate is Valentine’s Day dinner at The Pointe restaurant which falls on their 2 for 1 Wednesday night special. Both menu and staff are exquisite and everyone should experience the charm of the dining room.  Right around now, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provicetown is showing Maia Chao……I love her work! It’s a short show—the exhibition is up until the 14th. It’s a must see. Rumor has it that the Waters Edge Cinema is going to be showing “Pennies from Heaven” by Herbert Ross on the 21st at 7pm.  Who doesn’t like early an 80’s Steve Martin, Christopher Walken or Bernadette Peters?  FYI Bernadette won a Golden Globe for best actress in this, not to mention the film was nominated for 3 Oscars. Waters Edge is also showing all four of the Oscar nominated animated shorts (including some bonus films). I’m an animation nut so I’m psyched to be able to catch them. They’re not just for kids, you know! All in all, some solid entertainment for otherwise quiet Cape Cod evenings. Hope to see you on the town!

Provincetown Winter Nightlife

So, you did something this past summer that you can’t stop thinking about…. it’s there every time you close your eyes. I know what it was, I won’t tell anyone. Promise. If you think you have to wait a full year to relive that experience, you are clearly mistaken.  What am I getting at?  Night life and après party in Provincetown, it goes on and on and it goes year-round. Well, mostly year-round. We all know some months are a bit hotter and louder than others.

Nightlife in Provincetown

Right now, it’s cold. Really cold. There’s the misconception that Cape Cod goes to sleep to contend with the winter. It’s not entirely untrue. Those days when it’s pouring rain AND freezing? Yeah, that’s why they invented the phrase “hunker down.” But, in reality, there’s always more going on than one thinks. Here are a couple of places that are still hopping when the sun goes down this winter:

 

The Atlantic House or A-House: open 12PM -12AM:  Provincetown’s first post office turned dance club.  Got Male?

 

The Paramount at the Crown and Anchor: They’re hosting some of the Snowbound Leather Weekend XII events Fri, 2/23/18 – Sun, 2/25/1818.

 

Hope to see you all out there! We’re closed at the moment but Valentine’s Day weekend is coming up!

 

The Winter People

Are you aware that bears do not actually hibernate during the winter months? I hadn’t actually thought much about this until recent spells of cold weather beat down upon Cape Cod during the latter part of the holidays. Forced in to my own seasonal state of torpor and fueled by wine and a decanted holiday pastry, I began wondering if every other Cape dweller shares the same indoor fate on these oh-soooo-cold days and nights. Or, if by chance, there were other creatures unfazed by these Canadian downdrafts, people who charged out the door to enjoy mother nature in all her wintery glory?

Turns out, such creatures exist! And they all congregate at the Polar Bear Plunge. That’s right, bikinis, speedos and icebergs. Events occur from Provincetown to Cotuit, and are typically held on New Year’s Day. Hundreds of well-intentioned people come together not only to usher in the New Year but for the benefit of individuals and organizations in need. Unfortunately, this year’s frigid temps have put the damper on a few of these scheduled events but there is always next winter to look forward to. That’s right…I said it and I’ll repeat: let’s look forward to next winter! It’s not so bad, is it? So, if you’re in the need for a quick skin tightening and cup of hot cocoa on the beach in January I encourage you to come out of your wintery den and go for a swim at next year’s event. See you at the beach!

Holiday Plans in Provincetown

December starts with a bang (thank you, Holly Folly), simmers down and then kicks it up again for New Years weekend.  It’s the last big party before everyone either heads south or goes into hibernation until May. Here are a few of the other signature events that you won’t want to miss:

FRIDAY

With all the drag shows going on this weekend, you have to hit up at least one. Billie Jean and Tisch DeWilliams are lighting up the Crown & Anchor for a special holiday performance on Friday Night.

SATURDAY
Ptown Art House and Mark Cortale is hosting a concert at Provincetown Town Hall featuring WellStrung, a string quartet with a modern twist. The group plays universally recognized classical pieces while singing pop music hits from the likes of Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, and other pop stars for a uniquely engaging experience.

SUNDAY

We’ll be open and kicking all weekend long at Shipwreck Lounge but if you can only come one night, this should be it. Our “IN WITH A BANG” party kicks off at 5pm. Drinks, music, and good company go all night until 2am.

MONDAY

The POLAR BEAR PLUNGE takes place early afternoon at high tide at the Johnson Street Lot.  I will do this someday before I die.  Maybe this year will be the year. Hot chocolate is included in the registration fee and proceeds go to the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod. You can’t have New Years without fireworks, and this year, the First Light Fireworks will be on January 1st at dusk.

The other parties, performances, brunches, etc. are too numerous to mention but the Provincetown Business Guild has the entire itinerary, you can check it out here.

 

Christmas Shopping in Provincetown

The Christmas season is a great excuse to shop, isn’t it? One of my favorite haunts on Commercial Street is The Canteen and this season, I have one more reason to love it: The Canteen Holiday Market. It is a month-long pop-up shop featuring local artisans and vendors, inspired by the evening holiday markets found in many European cities this time of year. The market kicks off on Holly Folly weekend but continues throughout December and into the beginning of January. Listed below are a few of the vendors I’ll be hitting up for some holiday shopping. I’m also curious to check out their eco-friendly ice skating rink.

Seaside Designs

Sea-inspired paper goods including greetings cards and gift wrap.  Truro-based designer Rebecca Townsend’s style features clean illustrations and fun colors.

2 of 2 goods

One of this Provincetown maker’s handmade miniature houses made of birch, mirrors of translucent acrylic makes an elegant addition to a bookshelf or coffee table.

twigs and bones

Handmade leather goods such as bags and wallets from Florence, an artisan currently apprenticing with well-known owner of ‘Workshop’ here in Provincetown, Victor Powell.

Shoal Hope Ciderworks

This local Provincetown cider made its debut this past summer and is already a hit with locals.

Elixir Confections

This small-batch, family-owned business out of Sandwich, MA crafts sweet treats like the Maple+Maple Cinnamon Sugar Bar, Hot Chocolate on a Stick, and Holiday Advent Bars (a chocolate bar with 24 snap apart cubes embossed with a different holiday image).

This is just a taste of the kinds of distinctive treasures to be found on Commercial Street and beyond. Just the right place to find just the right gift. No time to wait! Shop on!

IT’S HOLLY FOLLY TIME!

It’s that time of year again! Well, no, not turkey time. That’s practically in the past already. We’re talking Santa hats, knit knickers, plenty of red spandex and fake fluffy beards…well, it must be time for Holly Folly Weekend!

Holly Folly is right around the corner. There’s so much to do that weekend, here are our top 5 picks of how to spend it right. Of course, this is just my opinion and you pretty much can’t go wrong with the general light-hearted merry-making that weekend. Just come…and bring your antlers!

THE BOSTON GAY MEN’S CHORUS

Well, obviously we have to start with them, since we ourselves are hosting a little shindig here at the Brass Key for them. The party starts at 9pm at Shipwreck Lounge. Tasty cocktails and talented tenors? Sounds pitch perfect to me. Oh, and of course, the main event is the BGMC’s annual performance on Saturday night at Ptown Town Hall.

JINGLE BELL RUN

Who says exercise can’t be fun?! Bust out your gold spandex and fluffy mittens (yes, the bathing suit is a requirement) and support the Ptown Business Guild in this fun-run followed promptly by a champagne brunch.

SHOP, HOP, & STROLL

Too many good things happening on Commercial Street on Saturday to name them all but suffice to say you should bring your wallet and see where the day takes you!

BAYSIDE BETSY’S PAJAMA DRAG BRUNCH

Brunch, brunch, I wish every day was brunch day! This is a well-loved annual tradition for Holly Folly Weekend and not to be missed! You’ll have to be patient though, as it’s first come first served.

GREGG’S COOKIE PARTY AT THE PORCHSIDE BAR

Yes, it’s Sunday but that just means there are still several more hours until we have to get back to reality so better take advantage! Finish the weekend with something to satisfy the sweet tooth. This is another fun holiday tradition, hosted by The Gifford House Inn.

A New Day

That’s the trick with Halloween. Just like that, it’s November. It sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? We did something new for Halloween this year, transforming the guesthouse into a Haunted Hotel, thanks to the magical skills of David Flower Productions. I like to think we put on a pretty good party. By my measures, we did. This morning, I woke up to a trail of glitter, feathers, fake fur, and impractical shoes leading to my front door. Always the sign of a good time had by all. The day after clean-up is never at the top of my list, so instead of tackling that chore, I’ll just jump right ahead to whatever is next on my calendar. What is next? Well, time to trade in the “no-strings-attached + free candy + excuse to wear goofy/crazy/sexy costumes” holiday for “everyone’s favorite end-of-the-year familial minefield” (a.k.a. Thanksgiving and Christmas). I don’t mean to be too snarky here, I really love both of these holidays too…just not as much as Halloween.

November and December are not obvious choices for a visit to Provincetown. But perhaps they should be. Tomorrow, it will be close to 70 degrees (so they say). Downright balmy by New England standards and perfect for a fall stroll on the beach. The off-season sales will be starting soon on Commercial Street, perfect for tackling the Christmas shopping list. Plenty still going on in town, between PAAM, the Provincetown Theater, and the many year-round restaurants (hello, Squealing Pig!). And, Bay State Ferry just announced they are extending the Fast Ferry service from Boston to Provincetown through Thanksgiving. Yay!

If you’re looking to book an off-season getaway before the year’s out, here are some fall/winter dates that are worth a visit:

Thanksgiving (November 22-26)

Plenty of good, old fashioned, Ptown traditions to take part in like the Lighting of Pilgrim Monument, the annual Pilgrim 5k Trot to benefit PAAM, Arts & Crafts Fairs, and the Lighting of the Lobster Pot Tbrasree.

Holly Folly Weekend (Dec 1-3)

A weekend full of festivals, parties, shopping and cultural events to kick start the Christmas season.

Christmas (Dec 23-25)

Make merry and celebrate with us!

New Years (Dec 28-Jan 1)

One of Ptown’s best parties of the year, New Year’s Eve is not to be missed. We know how to beat Cape Cod’s chilly weather!