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).

Provincetown for Art Lovers-Spring Edition

Provincetown’s reputation as a creative destination is well established.  Artists, writers, and performers have been flocking here for well over a century now.  Even in the off-season, there is plenty going on.  For the visual arts lover, there is plenty to see and do this March.

The Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC) is one of the country’s premier artist residency programs for visual artists and writers.  This month, visual arts fellow Victoria-Idongesit Udondian’s work will be on view at FAWC, with an opening reception on Friday, March 17, from 6-8pm.  I recently saw Udondian’s work at the Higgins Art Gallery at Cape Cod Community College.  Working primarily with found clothing and fibers, I’m sure she gets comparisons to Nick Cave all the time.  I loved the way she played with materials and color, for example, using wire to transform a pair of pants into tentacle-like tubes.  Definitely worth a visit this month!

The Provincetown Art Association & Museum (PAAM) has several great shows up at the moment.  The Members’ Juried and Open exhibitions are an ideal way to get a taste of the variety of artworks currently produced in Provincetown and beyond. Check out the watercolors and block prints by Lester Johnson, in a show curated by Christine McCarthy that’s up through the end of the month.  Johnson was an important Provincetown artist who showed actively in the middle of the 20th century.

The galleries (mostly located at the East End of Commercial Street) are quieter this time of year (many are closed) but if you visit on a weekend, there’s still plenty to see. Berta Walker Gallery, Julie Heller Gallery, Rice Polak and Simie Maryles (Saturdays) are all open on the weekends this month.

Provincetown Performances: What to See in Winter

In the summer, Provincetown has some of the best theater around.  Top notch.  Between the Provincetown Theater, Peregrine Theater Ensemble, Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival, there’s plenty worth watching (and that’s not including Truro or Wellfleet.  But come February, most theater doors around here are locked and the voicemail messages may say something about calling back in June.  Theater-wise, it’s a bit bleak.  But there are some bright spots.  Here are a few performances (some live, some not) worth checking out:

 

Romeo & Juliet at Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater

Adapted and performed by Psittacus Productions in association with Lincoln Center’s Education Department, this performance features original music and stylized movement in a fresh look at the familiar story.  Runs March 25 through April 9.  For more information and tickets, click here.

 

Sea Change Film Series

On March 18 at 7 pm at the WHAT Theater in Wellfleet, Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, WCAI, and WHAT present Wild Ways: Corridors of Life, a documentary featuring some of world’s most cutting edge conservation biology work.  Following the film, David Paulson of Mass Wildlife will discuss the state’s Linking Landscapes program and efforts to accommodate wildlife, especially around major roadways. He’ll be joined by Bob Wilber, director of Land Conservation for Mass Audubon, the largest owner of private conservation land in Massachusetts. WCAI’s Heather Goldstone will moderate the panel.

 

Open Mic Nights

Now in it’s 26th (!!) year, the Coffeehouse @ The Mews is an open mic for writers, playwrights, poets, singers, songwriters, comedians, etc.  It is every Monday night through May 8, 2017 with host and co-founder, singer songwriter Peter Donnelly. You can also listen live, on Mondays, from 7-9:30pm here.

 

Movie Nights

As part of the Film Art Series at Waters Edge Cinema, the Provincetown Film Society presents screenings every Wednesday, 7p.m. of a wide variety of films ranging from 1931’s Le Million (a French film about the journey of a winning lottery ticket) to Popeye (Robin Williams and Shelley Duvall circa 1980) to Nightcrawler (a 2014 psychothriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal).

 

This Winter, Sage Inn & Lounge presents the Crone’s Film Series every Friday, 7p.m. Film historian Michelle Crone presents a different film from 1939, a year she describes as “the greatest year in the history of filmmaking.” Films include The Wizard of Oz (March 3), Wuthering Heights (March 10), and Goodbye Mr. Chips (March 24).

Presidents’ Day Weekend in Provincetown

February must be the darkest (not literally) month here in Provincetown.  It gets REALLY quiet.  But there is a glimmer of hope.  A few holiday weekends to spark up some activity and remind us that the glowing days of summer are really not that far off.  Ptown comes to life briefly this weekend and there’s plenty happening to brighten the spirits.

 

Check out the Luv Lounge

While the guesthouse will still be closed (see you in the spring) but Shipwreck Lounge is getting into the party spirit with the Luv Lounge, this Friday through Sunday, beginning at 5pm.  Stop by for festive cocktails and conversation.  If you are looking for accommodations, check out Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa.  Not only is it right across the street, but it also features world-class rooms and amenities.

 

Performances

Provincetown Theater is open this weekend for one performance on Saturday evening: The 7th Annual 24-Hour Theater Festival.  Presented by Provincetown Playwrights’ Lab, this perennially sold-out event features eight ten-minute plays shown as script-in-hand performances.  Ptown’s favorite piano man, Bobby Wetherbee, will be performing at the Central House Piano Bar at Crown & Anchor on Saturday evening.

 

Visual Art & Literature

Provincetown Art Association & Museum has an opening reception on Friday evening for its exhibition of watercolors and block prints by legendary Ptown artist Lester Johnson. The Fine Arts Work Center keeps a fairly busy winter schedule of readings and exhibitions.  Visiting writer Paul Lisicky will be reading from recent works on Saturday evening in the Stanley Kunitz Common Room.

 

Winter Hikes

A trip to Ptown wouldn’t be complete without an adventure out into nature and the Outer Cape’s winter landscape is rich and invigorating in its own way.  A favorite new hike that I just discovered this weekend are the Pamet Area Trails in Truro, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  There’s easy parking, it’s not too long, and it offers amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean, the great dunes, and now defunct cranberry bog that was once used in commercial cranberry harvesting.  Cranberry plants grow wild all along the trail.  If you are willing to negotiate some steep sand, you can even treck down to the beach and walk for as long as you want. Located at 111 North Pamet Road. Take Truro Center/Pamet Roads exit off Route 6 in Truro. Proceed 1.5 miles on North Pamet Road to the end. Trail begins at the parking area adjacent to the Environmental Education Center (a hostel in summer).

 

 

Valentine’s Day Gift Picks-Provincetown Edition

 

We will be closed for everyone’s favorite chocolate and rose extravaganza (we open again in April).  I think Valentine’s Day shopping is fun.  I love picking out just the right small something for my sweetie.  Here are some of my favorite, Ptown-centric gift picks for this Valentine’s Day.  Not local?  That’s ok¾most of the options below are available online.

 

For the Man My guy just started growing a beard this winter (love it!).  So I am hitting up everyone’s favorite Ptown skin care and make-up shop, Kiss and Makeup.  They carry such a great selection of men’s products.  I’m eyeing their beard care products from Billy Jealousy, in particular, the beard oil in Charm Offensive.

 

For the Sweet Tooth Chequessett Chocolate, located just down the hook in Truro, makes small batch, handcrafted chocolates that are like little joy bombs in your mouth.  The winter season flavors they’ve been featuring recently include caramel, peppermint, and maple flavored confections.  Delish!   And just for Valentine’s Day, the master bakers at Relish Provincetown have put together a selection of specialty cookies, available online through ptownie.com.  My other favorite sweets purveyor is The Purple Feather.  They are a go-to stop for tasty, no-artificial ingredients-allowed, slightly sinful sweet things.

 

For the Home Loving Tim Scapes line of prints inspired by 50 different U.S. places.  There’s a destination for everyone from Mystic, CT to Anchorage, Alaska.  The tees are cute too.

 

For the Body The gift that never gets old and keeps you young!  Shui Spa is offering a 25% discount with its winter/spring 3 Pack Massage Saver package. 

 

Still searching?  Check out ptownie.com’s online Valentine’s Day shop¾jewelry, home décor and accessories and more all courtesy of local Ptown shops.  

Off-Season in Ptown: What’s Happening This Winter

BK winter

The Brass Key Guesthouse is closed until the spring.  It’s pretty bleak here in Ptown in January and February.  So, some of us go south.  Some of us go hermit.  Some of us absolutely love and crave the quiet of the off-season, when we have the empty beaches to ourselves and we can park anywhere we want on Commercial Street.  The secret advantage to the off-season is that the few that do stick around are always looking for (or creating their own) fun, culturally rich things to do.  Here are some ways that Ptowners make the most of the quiet off-season.

 

To Be Entertained

Now in it’s 26th (!!) year, the Coffeehouse @ The Mews is an open mic for writers, playwrights, poets, singers, songwriters, comedians, etc.  It is every Monday night through May 8, 2017 with host and co-founder, singer songwriter Peter Donnelly. You can also listen live, on Mondays, from 7-9:30pm here.

 

To Be Fed

This month, Mac’s Fish House ‎Provincetown is bringing back its Winter to Spring Dinner Series on select Wednesdays through April 19.  Each special dinner event featured a multi-course meal and paired wines.  Upcoming dinner themes include Braised Meats & Slow-Cooked Foods, Pan Asian, and New Southern.   A meal worth getting out of the house for?  Perfect for winter!

 

To Be Inspired

If you are the hunkering down/hermit type, the Fine Arts Work Center’s 24PearlStreet Program is a robust online platform offering 100 writing classes in non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and more.  Taught by nationally recognized writers, these classes offer rigorous work on the craft of writing, feedback, and discussions.

Provincetown’s Best Off Season Eats

salmon[1]

Yup, it’s getting pretty quiet around these parts.  Will be even quieter after New Year’s, when Ptown goes deep into hibernation. There is at least one perk to this seasonal slumber: it is an ideal time to get out and enjoy the year-round restaurants that remain open.  No crowds, no waiting, impeccable service.  Most locals don’t even bother eating out from July to September.  So we get excited for this time of year so we can venture forth and treat ourselves to an excellent meal (and no dirty dishes to clean up afterwards!).   The Provincetown Chamber of Commerce has a nice list of Ptown’s year round restaurants here.  Here are three worth a visit:

 

Squealing Pig, Commercial Street

I love their burgers.  I love their fried chicken.  I love their curry (thanks to the Nepali cooks in the kitchen).  I love their shellfish.  This casual, Irish bar does comfort food so well and is a great place to catch a game and a beer.  The menu has just enough variety and I’ve never had a bad meal.

 

The Pointe Restaurant, Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa, Bradford Street

Going a little more upscale, The Pointe specializes in serving fresh, local fare (great seafood, meat, and vegetarian options here).  They are known for their fabulous wine list.  Best-loved dishes are the Lobster Ravioli and the Lobster & Chive Gnocchi.

 

Sage Lounge, Sage Provincetown Inn & Lounge, Commercial Street

This is the ideal place to unwind in the off-season.  And the small plate style menu is made for sharing and sampling.  While we are obviously partial to our own cocktail offerings at the Shipwreck Lounge, we also appreciate the cocktails and craft beers that Sage is offering.  The lamb sliders (actually, all the sliders) are a highlight, as are the assorted fry options.

Ringing in the New Year – Ptown Style

First Light monument 3

New Years weekend is a big one here in town.  It’s sort of the last big party and after that, everyone goes into hibernation (or to warmer climes) until May.  We’re having our own countdown party at Shipwreck Lounge.  Here are a few of the other signature events that piqued my interest.

 

The Sound of Music Sing-a-Long with the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence on Friday December 30 is going to be the marquee event for me.   There’s popcorn, Maria and Georg Von Trapp, singing and the invite says to come in costume.  Oh my heavens, this event was meant for me!!  I L.O.V.E. The Sound of Music.  Every year I bust out this tatty old VHS cassette (yes, I still have a VCR) on which I recorded the movie off the TV circa the early 1980s.  I love the movie, I love the music, I’m off to find my goat herder costume.

 

Because we can’t go too long without talking about food…the Provincetown Farmer’s Market is on Saturday December 31 at the Town Hall.  Let’s kickoff the New Year by shopping and eating local, shall we?

 

On Saturday and Sunday is a bit of a scary treat for those who like their holidays with a twist of the wicked.  It’s the WICKED WINTER WONDERLAND, an Interactive Holiday Fright Maze for Naughty Kids & Adults of All Ages.  Produced by the DEAD SILENCE team at the Provincetown Art House.  It’s a 10-15 minute show to raise funds for the Friends of the Provincetown Public Library.

 

The POLAR BEAR PLUNGE takes place early afternoon at high tide at the Johnson Street Lot.  I will do this someday before I die.  Not sure if 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.

Ptown like a local—5 sites to check out

 

Carriage HouseOne thing I have always loved about Ptown: it’s a pretty welcoming place.  That’s probably a bit of an understatement, but at any rate, Ptown gives us New Englanders hope that we can, if we choose to, be friendly, out-going, even downright jolly!  If you’re not sure what I mean there, you probably haven’t lived in New England.  We locals have this reputation for being a little, well, reserved.  We keep to ourselves and it takes us longer than most to open up.  Most of us, myself included, are quite proud of this fact.  We are not superficial.  We are not phony.  We may not go gaga over you from the get go, but that’s just because we don’t know you yet.  I think this approach has its plusses, as you can be sure, once we have decided that we like you, that we are in it for the long haul and we won’t change our minds (other fine qualities of New Englanders are that we are stubborn as hell and fiercely loyal).  If you visit other Cape Cod towns, particularly this time of year when the locals actually venture out of hiding, you may come across us being quiet and, well, reserved.  But I have never felt that way in Ptown.  Ptownies are just an all-around friendly lot.

If you are coming to Ptown for the first time and are unsure of what to do, it is only a question away.  Almost anyone you meet will be ready and forthcoming with suggestions.  This works great for those of us who are fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants travellers.  If you are not one of those and you like to plan, there are some online resources you can check out to get a feel for the town and a lay of the land.  Here are some of my go-to blogs and websites to find out where to go, what to do, where to stay, etc.

 

Ptownie.com

This relatively new site has perhaps the most comprehensive (and most readable) calendar of what’s going on in Ptown every day¾with everything from coffeehouses to small fundraisers, performances, and more.  It has a nice blog and also highlights the great local shops that are the heart of Ptown commerce.

 

The YearRounder’s Guide to Provincetown

This narrative blog covers everything from local food and restaurants, history, events, art, and human-interest stories.  It’s updated about twice a week so there’s plenty to keep a reader busy.

 

Provincetown Business Guild

The PBG is the central hub of promotion and support for Ptown to the GLBT worldwide community.  Their website has a comprehensive events calendar and plenty of info on local businesses.  The non-profit also sponsors some of Ptown’s signature events such as Carnival in the summer and Holly Folly in December.

 

Ptown Events

This community calendar is easily searched by date or genre (i.e. art, entertainment, community, etc.).  The site’s blog features tons of beautiful Ptown pics and weekly roundups of Ptown related newsstories¾a great way to keep up to date with what’s going on.

 

Provincetown Gallery Guide

If you are an art lover, this website is a must.  It has an arts-centric calendar with gallery openings, exhibitions, and theater events.  It also features a comprehensive list of museums and galleries with links to their websites and articles on artists, recent exhibitions, and more.