Fall in Provincetown

There’s definitely a strong argument to be made that fall is THE BEST time to visit Provincetown (or the rest of Cape Cod, for that matter). Just as an example, the past two weeks have been dominated by glorious weather: abundant sunshine, temperatures in the 70s, with not a cloud in the sky. The crowds disperse. Traffic lessens. There’s still plenty of buzz around but it’s not quite so chaotic. And if you are paying attention, you just might notice something akin to relief in the faces of the waitstaff, business owners, and service folks you encounter. Yes, we made it through another summer season! Everyone literally has a chance to stop and catch their breath. It’s downright relaxing! So that’s where I stop. I don’t need any additional reasons, do you? Ok, fine. Here are a few:

ART & LITERATURE

PAAM has three new exhibitions up through the middle of October. Two of them highlight their wonderful permanent collection with one show devoted to abstraction and another to a recent acquisition of drawings, watercolors, and diaries by Edward and Josephine Hopper. The second annual Ptown Book Festival (September 15-16),hosted by the Provincetown Public Library, will feature authors Sebastian Junger, National Book Award winner Julia Glass, and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russos.

ON THE STAGE

The Tennessee Williams Theater Festival packs tons of international plays into a four-day event from September 21-24. The Provincetown Theater has performances running in September and October. The newly renovated Fisherman Hall is hosting performances through the fall, including comedian James Judd.

ON THE TOWN

PTown’s nightlife keeps pumping through the fall. The Tea Dances go strong until the end of October (with a kicking Halloween party to end the season).  Shipwreck Lounge continues its lineup of Mellow Mondays, TIki Tuesdays, and Rewind Wednesdays and also has two special parties coming up: the Gay Pilots Welcome Party Sept 14 (during Gay Pilots Cape Cod Classic Weekend).  and the Single Women’s Mixer on October 11 (during Women’s Week 2017). But for the biggest party of the fall, you can count on Halloween!

Provincetown’s Best Bakeries

Summer is for indulgence, am I right? Well, indulgence to me means one thing: food.  What can I say? I love to eat! And while I slurp up plenty of cool, frozen deliciousness in summer, I also appreciate a great morning treat.  Here are my favorite bakeries in town:

Provincetown Portuguese Bakery

May not look like much on the outside, but this Ptown treasure serves up delicious pastries and a little nod to history as well (it wasn’t that long ago when Ptown was a Portuguese fishing community).  The house specialty is malassada, the Portuguese version of fried dough.

Happy Camper

While they serve all kinds of treats (and delicious lunches and dinners too, the donuts are to die for!  Stop by and lounge in their comfy outdoor seating area in back.  Plus, the yellow paint job on the outside and the fun décor inside, makes me smile before I have even ordered.  Win!

Relish

Their tag line is ‘more than just great sandwiches’ and that is certainly true. One of the owners was trained as an artist, and you can tell from the stunning confections (the COOKIES!) that have become this small shop’s specialty. They are a little out of the way from the bustle of Commercial Street and are just steps away from the beach.  Grab a cookie. Sit on the sand. Eat and enjoy!

Connie’s Bakery

This home style bakery is small and hidden (tucked in the back of the Aquarium Mall) but it makes the “Must Eat Here” list for many visitors and residents. People actually swoon over the sandwiches.  The cookies and treats are an added bonus!

A Taste of Provincetown’s Music Scene

 

Musical entertainment is never hard to find in Provincetown. Just stroll down Commercial Street in the evening and follow your ears! The options are vast. Everything from live performances, DJ’d dance parties, classic standards, Broadway show tunes, cabaret, and acoustic nights. Chances are, someone, somewhere on Commercial Street can scratch whatever musical itch you’re feeling at any given time. If you are looking to catch some live music, here are a few of my favorites venues.  Each one has a jam-packed schedule for the summer season.  No matter when you’re here, you can catch a great show.

Crown & Anchor

This perennial favorite rocks all kinds of music in each of its signature venues. Listen to sing-along favorites while dining on delicious bistro-style fare at the Central House Piano Bar. Looking for the afterhours hot spot? The Paramount may hit the spot, with top international DJs and entertainers lined up all summer long.

Payomet Performing Arts Center

Just down the hook, in North Truro, Payomet is an easy drive from Ptown and brings an eclectic mix (40-50 concerts a year!) of up-and-coming and established performers to the Outer Cape. It’s a great venue with a real range of national and international talent, on a local stage. Upcoming artists for 2017 include Suzanne Vega, Aaron Neville, Las Cafeteras, the Skatalites and newer musicians such as Anna & Elizabeth, Sienna Hull, and Harold Lopez-Nussa (direct from Havana, Cuba!).

The Art House

This place embraces and upholds Provincetown’s spirit of fun, adventure, and escape…for all. Presenting high quality performances ranging from live music to stand-up comedy, it has something for everybody. The Broadway@The Art House series, now in its fifth seasons, brings Broadway superstars to the Outer Cape.  This year’s series includes Tony award winners Sutton Foster and Laura Benanti.

Post Office Café & Cabaret

If it’s cabaret you’re after, this must be your first stop. Located right in the heart of town, with a fantastic line-up of performers such as Thirsty Burlington, Elektra!, Atomic Bombshells, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Jimmy James. Plus, their breakfasts are legendary.

Celebrating in Style: July 4th in Provincetown

I suppose I’m biased, but I think Provincetown is one of the best places to be for the 4th. It is crazy, fun, happy wild, beautiful. If “party” is the word that first comes into your mind when you think of July 4th, it may just be the perfect place for you too. A few caveats: it’s not exactly kid-friendly—so leave the littles with the grandparents and keep it adults-only.  Also, it’s crowded and crazy.  If you are not a crowd person, probably not your ideal weekend to come visit. July 4th festivities kick off on Thursday and go all weekend and right up through the holiday.  Here’s the breakdown on what you need to know:

FOR THE DANCE PARTY

Independence 2017 is the Crown & Anchor’s signature full-on, weekend-long july 4th extravaganza. Think great entertainment, DJ’d dance parties, pool parties and more. You’ll need to purchase tickets to get in. They have tons of events going on all weekend.

FIREWORKS & PARADE

What is July 4th without the fanfare and pyrotechnics? The JULY 4TH PARADE starts at 11am, begins East End, Harbor Hotel and proceeds up Commercial to Franklin Street. FIREWORKS start at dusk over Provincetown Harbor (view from any bayside beach).

CATCH A SHOW

With some of the best acts in town, Post Office Cabaret will be lighting it up all weekend with Electra!, Male Call, Trixie Mattel, and Raja: Gawdess Show! Broadway @ The Art House presents Michael Cerveris for two shows only on July 1 & 2. It will be a seamless mix of intimate behind-the-scenes stories and songs from some of the biggest hits from his musical theatre repertoire. A spontaneous evening of hilarity and show-stopping songs not to be missed. The Camp Lightbulb Variety Show is Friday, June 30 and features performances from the Camp Lightbulb campers, MC Zoe Lewis, Janet Mock, and the Hat Sisters. Proceeds benefit Camp Lightbulb, Ptown’s very own camp for LGBTQ youth.

CHECK OUT SOME ART

Well, we can’t party the whole weekend, can we? Don’t answer that. Either way, Friday Night Gallery Strolls are a nice change of pace. Wander down to the East End of Commercial Street for a sampling of amazing contemporary art from local artists and beyond. For this weekend’s line-up of opening shows, click here.

The Best Men’s Apparel Shops in Provincetown

We will start with the obvious: I’m a woman.  A hetero one. So, I suppose my insight into what makes a great men’s apparel store is somewhat limited to the fact that I am often stealing my husband’s clothes…and purchasing things for him so that I can steal them at some point in the future. But here’s what I do know: the shopping on Commercial Street is the best on the Cape. With the exception of an outlier here and there (Puritan in Hyannis, for example), if you are looking for menswear, Ptown is the place to go.  Next time you’re in town, don’t miss these Commercial Street shops (it’s not a complete list, but hey, I had to stop somewhere!):

BodyBody

I remember wandering into this shop back in the 80s, when I was kid visiting Ptown with my family. Shops come and go frequently in Ptown. To stick around this long, you have to be doing something right. Sexy, high quality (and therefore, a bit pricey) clothes—a head-to-toe one-stop shop.

Henry & Co.

Forget shopping for my husband—I always find the coolest kicks, hats, and backpacks here. I want to buy them all.

Kenneth Scott

A relative newcomer to Commercial Street (I think this is their second season). A fresh crop of nautical prep style. Again, I guess it’s a given but great brands, high quality, fun colors.

ITEM

Classy clothes with a preppy, nautical flare. Sweaters, bags, polos, button-downs, shorts—another spot for a fun, head-to-toe dress-me-up game.

MAP

Folks RAVE about this place. A favorite Ptown shop for many. Amazing clothes. Classic style with an 80s punk twist.

Coffey Men

A one-man operation, with everything made here on the Cape. Particularly known for his fab belts, hip t-shirts, and retro flare (think velour zip polos).

TimScapes

With a pop-mod aesthetic all its own, this shop has everything, home décor, apparel, art. But the custom-designed and printed t-shirts are the highlight. Want a t-shirt that everyone back home will compliment you on? Stop here.

June Events in Provincetown

June is a great time to visit Provincetown. There is already so much going on. Here are some great events happening this month to entice you to come for a visit (if you haven’t already booked a stay). Quick! Get here before the kiddies get out of school!

Twenty Summers is wrapping up their 2017 season in a couple weeks.  Some of the events have sold out but there are still tickets available to see author David France and political commentator Andrew Sullivan (Friday, June 2), architects Peter Bohlin and William Rawn (Saturday, June 10) and poets Sharon Olds and Mark Doty (Saturday, June 10).  Such a spectacular setting.  Really—this place is a must-see.

Provincetown Theater has two events going on this month.  First up is Amadeus.  Starring Billy Hough, this Tony Award winning play by Peter Shaffer tells a highly fictionalized biography of the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his rival composer Antonio Salieri.  It is playing now through June 11.  Get your tickets soon!

Second: Presented by both Provincetown Theater and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill is the 2017 Provincetown Dance Festival, June 23-24. Showcasing hip-hop, ballet, tap, contemporary, and classical Indian dance, this year’s event features Seattle’s Spectrum Dance Theater, with work by Tony Award nominee, Donald Byrd, Rachna Agrawal (Hartford), Rovaco Dance Company (New York City), Case Closed! (Providence), Portland Ballet (Portland, ME), Boston Tap Company and Tony Williams Ballet (Boston).

June 14-18 is the 2017 Provincetown Film Festival, one of the country’s best film festivals presenting an array of American and international narrative features, documentaires and short films.  In addition to the awesome line-up of independent films, some of this year’s guests include Sofia Coppola, Chloe Sevigny, John Waters, and Sebastian Junger, who will all be present for a different panel discussion.

And of course, Tea Dance season is…ON!  Can’t miss those SOLID GOLD SUNDAYS courtesy of Boatslip!

 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Amanda Wastrom is a Cape Cod-based writer, artist, and curator. She is a frequent contributor to Cape Cod LIFE and Cape Cod Magazine. For more on Amanda’s work, click here. Thanks! Amanda [/author_info] [/author]

5 Tasty (and Sweet!) Reasons to Visit Provincetown this May

Provincetown’s ‘Shoulder Season.’ It usually starts off pretty darn slow, but by May, things are picking up and seasonal restaurants are back open.  It’s a great time to visit Cape Cod. The weather is warmer but not actually beach weather, so it’s a great time to explore town and do the things that you don’t want to do when it is 80 degrees and glorious (think: museums, shopping, that sort of thing).  It can also be miserably rainy and cold—there, you’ve been warned—but don’t worry, there’s plenty of indoor activities to be had. The best part about May?  My FAVE restaurants and haunts are back open again so it’s time to indulge in those tasty vittles we have been craving all. Winter. Long.  Hoorah!  Here are five yummy reasons to get to Ptown this month.  Bring your appetite (and your sweet tooth)!

Reason 1: A Great Meal for $35

Cape Cod Restaurant Week is going on NOW (May 15 – 21).  The Red Inn, Spindler’s and The Pointe are all participating with a fixed three-course menu for $35 per person.  A great way to try some new restaurants.

Reason 2: Donuts

Donuts.  Ice Cream.  Coffee.  What a heavenly combination, right?!  Want a donut decorated like a kitty?  How about piled high with marshmallows and chocolate like the s’more of your dreams? Happy Camper on Commercial Street just opened for the season two weeks ago and they’re making up for lost time.  Yay for the rest of us!

Reason 3: Cookies

If cupcakes and cookies are more your style, Relish is open for the summer season.  Their confections are almost (almost!) too pretty to eat.  But oh, are they worth it.  Plus, they’re on the way to the beach!  P.S. They’ve also got delicious sandwiches but what can I say? They aren’t nearly as fun as the cookies!

Reason 4: Cocktails

While I am obviously partial to the vibe here at Shipwreck Lounge (and oh, how I missed those Tiki Tuesdays!), I do occasionally venture elsewhere.  If I do, Aquabar is my next choice.  Creative cocktails plus one of the most beautiful views in the world, IMHO.  Perfect combination.  And they’re open now too.

Reason 5: Ice Cream

Nothing says “hello, summer!” here on Cape Cod better than the mass reopening of the ice cream shops in May every year.  If you’ve been to Ptown before, you’ve probably been to Lewis Brothers—they’re the classic, homemade, can’t miss spot.  But have you checked out I Dream of Gelato?  If not, you should. Even if it’s pouring rain and raw and 40 degrees out.  Especially if it’s pouring rain and raw and 40 degrees out. They’ve even got vegan and dairy-free options (and I don’t mean like one or two flavors, I mean like a whole legit menu).  YUM.

Weddings in Provincetown: Brass Key Style

 

It’s almost May which means Wedding Season is upon us. Many people (me included!) think of Brass Key Guesthouse as their favorite getaway stop in Ptown.  I’m thinking perfect lounging by the pool, cocktails in Shipwreck Lounge, and those guestrooms!  Guess what?  We do weddings too!

 

If vanilla is your favorite flavor—you may want to look elsewhere.  But if you want your special day to fit who you are, Brass Key may be just what you are looking for: a unique off-the-beaten-path wedding venue.  Comfortable.  Customizable.  Classy.  If you’ve stayed here before, you already know about our service and the laid-back, comfortable vibe that we strive for here.

 

For weddings, we have a new Special Events Pavilion featuring beautiful gardens and a large pergola—a setting that offers privacy and intimacy.  Plus, staying at the Guesthouse, you get the added perks of built-in accommodations and bar service.  For more formal receptions, we can work with our sister property located just across the street: The Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa, with its award-winning restaurant, The Pointe. We have professional wedding planning services available, so you can be as involved (or hands-off) as you’d like in planning the details of the day.  There’s a variety of packages to choose from and we can handle parties of anywhere from 50 to 150 guests.

 

Let’s face it, no one wants their wedding to be an automatic, cookie cutter affair. That’s why we only do one event at a time.  All attention is on you. Convinced yet?  Click here to get into the nitty-gritty details and see photos of past events.

Beyond Provincetown: Discover Truro

Truth be told, there’s so much to do in Provincetown that visitors really don’t need to venture beyond town lines.  There’s also this thing that happens whenever anyone visits Cape Cod.  I know cause I was a summer kid. Wherever you end up, you tend to stay there and settle into your routines. You come, you park, you vacay—whatever that means to you: a cloudless sunny day at your favorite beach, mid-afternoon ice cream break at your favorite shop, dinner at your favorite restaurant, morning paper and coffee at your fav bakery/coffee shop. Repeat every summer weekend.

But perhaps this time you are looking for a bit of an adventure. A short mystery ride? Or better yet, a bike ride? If so, check out Truro.  Sandwiched between Provincetown’s busy, rolicky buzz and Wellfleet’s just-a-little-bit-out-there quirkiness, Truro is like Ptown’s cute little sister.  It is also perhaps the last bastion (at least for now) of Cape Cod wild.  You can still get lost there.  The rambles through the National Seashore bring you temporarily back to what the Cape must have felt like before the 20th century found it. Truro is also one of the hottest spots on the Cape for new construction and development so who knows how long it will stay quiet.  All good reasons to put aside one day of your next Ptown jaunt for a little Truro exploring.

What to do in Truro

  • Wine tasting at Truro Vineyards.
  • Dine at Blackfish Bistro (described as “one of the lower Cape’s best kept secrets by com.
  • Hike in the Cape Cod National Seashore.
  • Visit Highland Lighthouse (one of the oldest in the United States)
  • Golf at Highland Links (known for amazing scenic views and challenging natural rough).

Springtime Whale Watching in Provincetown

It’s been a cold, cold spring, but as it is now the end of March, the end of the cold, cold weather has got to be coming soon.  While we all do our best to get out in the winter, when that warmer (i.e. above 50 degrees) weather finally does arrive, it is a breath of fresh air-literally-as we all venture outdoors into the sunshine.  It also means it is almost time for us to open our doors.  We will be open for the season in just a couple short weeks!

Spring is a great time to get out into nature and enjoy all that the Outer Cape has to offer.  You’ll likely beat the crowds i.e. there won’t be any.  It also just happens to be THE BEST time of the year to see whales from shore.  The best spot to do it is Race Point Lighthouse, which also happens to be a great hike with a beautiful scenic finish.

Provincetown also happens to have one of the world’s most respected marine research and rescue institutions, the Center for Coastal Studies.  Founded in the 1970s by three Provincetown scientists, the center does an amazingly broad range of programs¾everything from running a sea discovery space for kids, to offering educational programs and films, and conducting research on marine mammals, climate change and a whole host of other issues.

If you are in town this weekend, the Center is sponsoring a free whale walk on Saturday, April 1, 10am.  Jesse Mechling, Director of Education at the Center for Coastal Studies, will be leading a walk along the shore, teaching how to identify the different whale species by their appearance and behavior.  At this time of year it’s possible to watch rare North Atlantic right whales, humpback, fin and minke whales from the beaches of Provincetown.  For more information, click here or visit the Center for Coastal Studies facebook page (where they also post updates on any recent whale sightings).