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

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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

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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.

5 Things to do in Ptown this November and December

First Light MonumentIt’s November!  It’s officially the shoulder season and somewhere in between fall and winter.  But fear not, the social calendar keeps filling up and there is plenty to do.  Here are a few great reasons to book a weekend/holiday trip now.  Stay here  in town at our sister property, .  Crowne Pointe Historic Inn (locately conveniently just across the street), relax with a drink in the lounge, and join in the revelry. If you are looking for a Thanksgiving meal, check out the The Pointe Restaurant. They are offering a four course thanksgiving dinner special on Thursday, November 24.  Visit The Pointe for more info.

 

The Annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument

November 23, 5-7pm

pilgrim-monument.org

Every year, the Pilgrim Monument is lit to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first Landing in America in November of 1620.  Thanksgiving weekend is a fun one in Ptown, with a 5k race and much more going on.

 

All-Town Art Exhibition at Fine Arts Works Center

November 18 – December 11

The Fine Arts Work Center is hosting an open invitational exhibition featuring works of artists from the Outer Cape (Provincetown, Truro, and Wellfleet).  The show is presented in the Hudson D. Walker gallery with an opening reception on Friday, November 18, 5-7pm.  Go to fawc.org for more info.

 

‘Tis the Season Holiday Revue

December 2

Crown & Anchor

In honor of World AIDS Day (December 1).  A holiday extravaganza featuring many of Provincetown’s amazing local talent including Billy Jean and Tisch DeWilliams.  All proceeds support the work of AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.

 

Provincetown Holly Folly 2016

December 2-4

Ptown.org

A LGBT Holiday Festival. Come enjoy a weekend filled with a Jingle Bell Run, Drag Bingo the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, great holiday sales with our Shop Hop and much more.

 

First Light Provincetown, Fireworks, Food and Fun!

December 29, 2016 –January 2, 2017

Ptown.org

New Years is always a blast, with fireworks, parties, a polar bear plunge, and a holiday market.  Family activities at Provincetown Town Hall and the Library.

 

Halloween in Provincetown

halloween

It’s October, so it’s time to start making your plans (and your costume!) for that goofy/scary, holiday Halloween.  I love Halloween, so I’ve been planning for months already.  And now that it’s October, I keep humming “it’s the most wonderful time of year” as I walk around town.   I know it’s a Christmas carol but whatever.  Christmas is stressful.  Halloween is pure and unadulterated joy.

There’s plenty to love about Halloween in Provincetown.  The last weekend of the month (Friday, October 28 to Monday, October 31) is chock full of parties, costume balls, and mixers.  Check out the Provincetown Business Guild for a full line-up of all the events.

You don’t have to wait until Halloween to get into the spookiness of the season.

“Dead Silence” a horror theater attraction, is returning to the Art House (Oct 8 – 31).  This is not just any old haunted house.  Best described as an immersive story, visitors engage and become participants as the plot unfolds.  Last year’s inaugural haunted experience was such a success that the production team of David Flowers Productions (run by David Mazochi) and Michael Soldier are returning for an encore.  These two are seasoned pros and the sets, the costumes—the entire production is over the top.  This year’s production entitled “The Disease of Astonishment” comes to life in an ancient witches’ burial ground.  All funds from sponsors and ticket sales go to the Provincetown Public Library.

Tickets are already on sale for the Second Annual Provincetown Masquerade Ball, October 29th, at Provincetown Town Hall from 7 to 11 p.m.  It’s a party full of entertainment, surprises, and a costume contest with cash prizes.  This year’s party theme is ‘Creatures of the Night.’  Click here for more info and to purchase tickets.

If you come and stay at Brass Key Guesthouse, you won’t even have to leave the building to get in the spirit.  Our Goblins and Ghouls Lounge party is on Friday and Saturday night at the Shipwreck Lounge.   It’ll be two nights of parties, random prizes for best costumes, specialty drinks, and scary fun videos.   A scary great time all weekend long.

 

Fall Festivals in Ptown (and beyond)

beachPtown

It is no longer high season here in Ptown but that just means there are fewer tourists.  That does NOT mean there is less to do.  The September and October calendars are chock-a-block full with all kinds of festivals, special events, and more.  Check out the Ptown Chamber of Commerce’s Events Calendar or Ptown.org to see what’s happening.  Here are a few events that I am looking forward to this fall:

 

11th Annual Ptown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

September 22 – 25

This festival honors Tennessee Williams by presenting his classic and undiscovered plays, the work of his peers, and new work inspired by Williams’ creative vision worldwide.  In the 1940s, Williams spent summers in Ptown, writing prodigiously while here.  The work he did included ‘The Glass Menagerie’ and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.’  This year, the Ptown TW Fest is juxtaposing Williams with another famous Ptown visitor from a generation earlier, Eugene O’Neill.  Works by both playwrights will be presented.  For more info, visit twptown.org.

 

Monumental Yard Sale

October 7-10

The yard sale to end all yard sales, stretching up and down Commercial Street and at residences throughout the town. Who knows what treasures are awaiting discovery!  For more info, visit Ptown.org.

 

Wellfleet Oyster Fest

October 15-16

If you have never been to OysterFest, you should go.  It’s a scene.  This annual celebration is a great way to enjoy the town’s famous shellfish.  The Main Street comes alive with food, art, music, games, and more for this two-day family festival that brings together locals and visitors.  For more info, visit wellfleetspat.org.

 

Fantasia Fair

October 16 – 23

Fantasia Fair is a weeklong transgender event held every October here in Ptown.  Part conference, part social gathering, the Fair is a “full immersion” experience, meaning that attendees can and usually do spend an entire week 24/7 presenting their gender as they wish.  Running each year since 1975, Fantasia Fair attracts people from the entire spectrum of the transgender community.  Individuals can attend workshops, seminars, banquets, special events and shows. There’s nothing else like it.  For more info, visit FantasiaFair.org.

 

Dead Silence: The Disease Of Astonishment

October 8 – 31

I can’t wait to check out producer David Flower’s newest immersive haunted horror attraction.  It takes place here in Ptown and combines a little bit of theater, special effects, and haunted mazes, all within the framework of a story.  It’s about 30 minutes long and proceeds from ticket sales benefit the Friends and Supporters of the Provincetown Public Library.  For more info, visit deadsilence-terror.com.  Yeah, pretty much that domain name says it all!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Need To See Pilgrim Monument

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Pilgrim Monument.  Over the past 100 years, it has become one of the classic symbols of Ptown.  Yes, it is completely touristy—arguably THE most touristy thing you can do on a visit to Provincetown.  But you’ve just got to do it.  Building tall things just so we can climb up and catch a great view seems to be an inherently human thing to do.  There’s something magical about getting up off the ground for a little bit.

Built between 1907 and 1910 to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first landing in Ptown, the castle-like tower stands 252 feet high—which by Cape Cod standards of elevation (or lack thereof) is gargantuan.  It is also the tallest all-granite structure in the U.S.  This time of year is ideal for a visit.  The weather has cooled down just a bit, making the trek up the 116 steps a slightly less sweaty endeavor.  The climb isn’t bad.  I’ve done it (carrying a toddler) with my 70-year-old mom walking right alongside.  In our experience, people of all ages can handle it.  It’s about 10 minutes up and just as you are feeling like it’s time to stop, it is.

Plus, the payoff is huge!  You get your daily exercise.  You can feel like you accomplished something (you did!).  AND from the top, you can take in a breathtaking 360-degree view. On a clear day, you can see the entire ‘hook’ of Cape Cod, Plymouth, the South Shore, all the way up to Boston in one direction and straight out onto the Ptown dunes, the Cape Cod National Seashore, and the vast Atlantic Ocean in another. Of course, you can also peek down at all of Ptown bustling below you.

Located at the base of the monument, the Provincetown Museum is also worth a stop.  The Museum is a hodge podge of eccentricities, most of which have at least a tangential connection to the town and its history.  The giant polar bear (yes, it’s real!) is my personal fav, followed closely by the antique fire wagon and the furniture painted by Ptown folk artist, Peter Hunt.  I’m also a bit of a history nerd—or at least someone who dreams of living in the 19th century–so I think the recreation of a Captain’s Quarters aboard a whaleship is pretty cool too.

If you go, choose a clear day and bring a hat and a camera.  The Monument is open seasonally, April – November 30.  For more information, go to www.pilgrim-monument.org.

Rest and Relaxation in Provincetown

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This past week was Carnival Week and it tends to be a little…rowdy.  We may have partaken of a few too many late (or early) nights and a few too many cocktails.  So, if you are finding yourself in need of a little detox and some quiet time, here are some ideas for you.

 

Visit Shui Spa

What could be more convenient than a luxurious, high-end spa located just down the street?  With its private mineral soaking tub, full line of massages, facials, and mani/pedis, and all done with kiehl’s signature skincare products, you pretty much can’t go wrong.  It’s the perfect indulgence and an ideal way to relax and recharge.

 

Mellow out at Shipwreck Lounge

Mondays are #MellowMonday at Shipwreck Lounge.  Comfy lounge chairs, chill music, and a tasty nightcap are my favorite way to unpack the weekend.  Plus, there’s the pool.  Ahhh, the pool.  I love the pool.

 

Visit a Garden

Located at 608 Commercial Street in Ptown’s East End, Suzanne’s Garden is a public garden full of flowers¾one of my favorite places to stop and sit for a moment.  It simply makes me smile.  The story of how the garden came to be is equally as charming and heartwarming, but I’ll leave that for you to discover when you visit!

 

Take a Hike

No one needs an excuse to get moving but a walk sure is a good way to reset your body and soul.  The options are endless when it comes to getting outside for a walk.  The blog at the Crowne Pointe Historic Inn features a list of some of the best hiking trails in Provincetown.  If you in the mood for a treat, venture out to the Great Island Trail in Wellfleet (click here for information on all of the trails in the Cape Cod National Seashore).  In my humble opinion, it is one of the treasures of Cape Cod.  As a peninsula on the outer edge of Wellfleet Harbor, it offers an 8-mile round trip hike along salt marshes, woods, and sandy beaches.  But you can also just take the short walk out and up over the dunes to Cape Cod Bay, where you will most likely have the entire beach to yourself (you may have to share with the gulls).  Solitude on a Cape Cod beach in August?  Treasure indeed.