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March 2010 Email this to a friend


By Staff reports

Ptown Bikes, Provincetown

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Provincetown article click DailyXtraTravel

Once a sleepy Portuguese fishing village, Provincetown has reinvented itself over the years, first as an artists' colony and then as New England's gay playground. At the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a favorite destination for gays from around the country, as well as around the world.
Quiet throughout the winter months, Provincetown's bustle returns at the end of May, when the crowds make their way to the seaside town for Memorial Day weekend. The height of the season is Carnival; an anything-goes festival that takes place in mid-August. The pace slackens after Labor Day, but the line- up of special weekends and bargain shopping draw visitors into the fall season. Winter here has its charm for those who prefer the peace and quiet of snowy sand dunes.
During the summer, Commercial Street is the place to be to watch the colorful parade of visitors who descend on this town, from drag queens dressed as Cher to gay men on the prowl to lesbian couples pushing strollers. The relaxed vibe is appealing to many straight families as well. However, they are most often day-trippers, meaning gays pretty much have the place to themselves once the sun sets.
Provincetown might not be as wild as it once was, but there's still plenty of cruising on the street and in the dunes (keep an eye out for park rangers who regularly patrol the dunes). After the bars let out, people gather in the street in front of Spiritus Pizza for last-minute pick-ups. Provincetown is also home to the famous outdoor cruising spot called the 'Dick Dock' located under the Boatslip's boardwalk.

Provincetown's many guesthouses and inns cater to visitors of every budget. From simple rooms to cottages to whole houses, the options are numerous. Most are open mid-April to late October while others have joined the growing trend of staying open year-round. Most have refrigerators and internet access; some have kitchens, fireplaces, and rooftop sun decks. A five-night minimum stay is often required during high season.

Admiral's Landing B&B (158 Bradford St; 800-934-0925) central location with private bathrooms, fireplaces in most rooms, hot tub, WiFi, near gallery district.
Aerie Guest House (184 Bradford St; 800-487-1197) and Beach Club (425 Commercial St) provide sterling guesthouse accommodations for any budget, plus luxury beachfront apartments with private decks, gardens, and sweeping harbor beach vistas.
Ampersand Guest House (6 Cottage St; 800- 574-9645) suites, rooms and studio apartment, private bathrooms, private sun deck, water views, secluded English garden, tranquil West End location.
Anchor Inn Beach House (175 Commercial St; 800-858-6257) grand converted mansion on Captains' Row, all amenities, private bayside beach.
Beaconlight Guest House (12 Winthrop St; 508-487 9603) luxury guesthouse, central location, sophisticated and eclectic decor.
Boatslip Resort (161 Commercial St; 800-547-3892) local gay institution at the heart of the action, huge bayside deck and pool home to the famous Tea Dance; choice of lively Commercial Street or waterfront views.
Bradford Carver House (70 Bradford St; 800-826-9083) relaxed and friendly vibe, comfortable cozy rooms, some with fireplaces and/or private entrance, at the heart of everything.
Brass Key Guesthouse (67 Bradford St; 800-842-9858) spacious complex, high-end accommodations, two pools with decks and lounge, gardens, plenty of sunning space, on-site spa for massage and facials.
Carl's Guest House (64 Bradford St; 508-487-1650) 14 comfortable, reasonably priced rooms with all amenities and private baths, common room for TV, reading, and mixing, plus clothing-optional private sundeck.
Carpe Diem (12 Johnson St; 508-487- 4242) private back patio with hot tub, bay views, handsome location, quiet atmosphere, French and German style, hospitality and charm.
Carriage House (7 Central St; 800-309- 0248) plush carpets, mahogany decks, wind-shielded hot tub, luxurious amenities and an international ambience.
Christopher's By The Bay (8 Johnson St; 877- 487-9263) relaxed comfort, sophisticated elegance and style at the heart of P-town, plus breakfast in their sunny courtyard.
Crown and Anchor (247 Commercial St; 508-487-1430) plush rooms and suites, harbor-side heated pool and deck, restaurant, unsurpassed gay entertainment at their popular bars and clubs.
Crowne Pointe Inn & Spa (82 Bradford St; 877-276-9631) a work of art renovated Sea Captain's estate house, open year-round, with luxury suites, fireplaces, two hot tubs on deck, restaurant, shoreline vistas.
Enzo (186 Commercial St; 508-4876-7555) West End location, five luxurious rooms, restaurant and bar; wake to fresh pastries, fruit and coffee.
Gallery Inn (3 Johnson St; 800-676- 3010) low-key guesthouse and apartments, friendly vibe, central with water views, large sun deck, free parking.
Gifford House (11 Carver St; 800-434- 0130) 140-year-old classic, wooden stairs and grand lobby, spacious rooms, water views, piano bar, restaurant and basement club.
Grand View Inn (4 Conant St; 888-268- 9169) Victorian-era captain's house at center of town, with panoramic views from two decks, moderately priced year-round, pet-friendly and parking available.
John Randall House (140 Bradford St; 800-573-6700) Victorian-style charm at town center, fresh-baked breakfast muffins and breads, fireplace, garden, enclosed porch and deck.
Moffett House (296a Commercial St; 800- 990-8865) ten rooms tucked off a private path at center of town, complimentary bikes, sociable common room, in-room internet access, ac, entertainment and fridge.
Oxford House (8 Cottage St; 888-456- 9103) luxurious English country house style hospitality and conveniences, rooms with fireplaces, private baths; breakfast, wine hour, business desk and complimentary transfers from airport or ferry dock.
Prince Albert Guest House (164-166 Commercial St; 508-487-1850) large stately rooms on the main drag, private baths, in-room amenities, courtyards, gardens, private rear sunning patio with hot tub, water views.
Ranch (198 Commercial St; 800-942-1542) guesthouse for men with 20 affordable single, double and queen rooms right by Spiritus; water views, video library, fireplace, and plenty of fun.
Revere Guest House (14 Court St; 800- 487-2292) private bathrooms, secluded back garden and patio, home-baked breakfast, common room for music, reading or socializing.
Seasons (160 Bradford St; 800-563-0113) restored stately 1860s captain's home, full gourmet breakfast, rooms with AC, WiFi and media devices, garden patio, free airport and ferry pickup.
Victoria House (5 Standish St; 877-867- 8696) private baths and private entrance rooms, steps from restaurants, shops, and beach; breakfast, garden patio bathed with scent of ocean breezes.
The Waterford Inn (386 Commercial St; 508-487-6400) since 2009, a beautiful restored 19th-century home, the former Commons Inn, all rooms with private baths, many with decks; gourmet breakfast served from their restaurant (see below).
Watership Inn (7 Winthrop St; 508-487- 0094) fifteen vintage rooms and apartments, all efficiencies, free parking; afternoon sun bathed front porch, yard for barbecue and volleyball, large common room with fire in cooler months.
West End Inn (44 Commercial St; 800- 559-1220), four cozy guestrooms, plus three apartments, one a whole floor with private deck; stylish but relaxed, located in the quieter West End close to beaches.
White Porch Inn (7 Johnson St; 508- 487-0592) central boutique hotel with nine rooms, private baths, WiFi, some with views of bay, fireplaces, spa tubs; common-room kitchen, living room and porch overlooking the water.
White Wind (174 Commercial St; 888- 449-9463) grand Victorian mansion with great veranda for people watching at busy central location; balcony rooms, some with fireplaces, water or street views, open all year.

Click here for links to these and another 30 Provincetown lodging options.

Bars & clubs
Atlantic House (8 Masonic Pl), known as the A-House, P-town's favorite gay club for over 25 years. Their three bars offer dancing, relaxing in the Little Bar from noon with it's cool weather fireplace, or cruising upstairs at the Macho Bar. Busy seven nights a week, especially on Fridays.
Boatslip Resort (161 Commercial St) "world's most famous tea dance," bayside setting. Poolside deck and grill, and Bouy Bar open daily 4 to 7pm.
Club Purgatory (Gifford House Inn, 9-11 Carver St) basement dance club, manly crowd, very popular Sunday night.
Crown and Anchor (247 Commercial St) bayside bar complex, dance club with top DJs, video bar, and cabaret with leading drag entertainers, comedians, singers, and theatrical productions.
Gifford House (9-11 Carver St) poolside lounge and Lobby Piano Bar draw a friendly weekend crowd throughout the summer months, plus a few weekends in Spring and Fall.
Good Times Pub (293 Commercial St) relaxed watering hole to play pool, watch sports on the ten foot screens; all are welcome.
Governor Bradford Restaurant (312 Commercial St) historic wooden building, busy corner, drag karaoke every night.
Pied Bar (193a Commercial St) bayside bar, men come for the daily After Tea Dance from 6:30pm; mostly women at After Dark in the later hours.
Post Office Cafe (303 Commercial St) restaurant and cabaret, always popular with gay crowd, and packed for Sunday brunch.
Vault (Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St) leather, bear and uniform bar, open year-round, and party-central during Summer Bear Week and Mates Leather Weekend (see events below).
Vixen (Pilgrim House Inn, 336 Commercial St) rollicking dance bar, mostly women, music and comedy shows.
Wave (Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St) sports bar with big screen and a dozen other monitors; poolside bar in summer months, pool games by the cozy fireplace during off-season.

Provincetown has a great selection of restaurants, many with harbor-side dining. Most fast-food chains are banned from the center, so each eatery has its own individual style.
Bayside Betsy's (177 Commercial St) popular waterfront restaurant and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Bradford Natural Market (141 Bradford St) natural and organic food, produce, fresh baked goods, and specialty groceries.
Bubala's By The Bay (183-185 Commercial St) fun entertainment, tasty homemade food, breakfast through dinner, street-side seating to see and be seen.
Enzo (186 Commercial St) classic Italian, fresh seafood, good wine list; the Grotta Bar below has ambience of an old speakeasy.
Fanizzi's By The Sea (539 Commercial St) eclectic menu, burgers to elegant entrees, relaxed ambience for lunch or dinner, low-pressure service, nice harbor views from windows lining the walls.
Far Land Provisions (150 Bradford St) groceries, deli and bakery for omnivores and vegetarians alike, with soups, made-to-order sandwiches and snacks to go.
Grand Central (5 Masonic Place) across from Atlantic House bar, good basic meals, ample portions and exceptional service.
Jimmy's Hideaway (179 Commercial St) affordable innovative tavern cuisine with wide variety of starters and entrees, meat, fish and vegetarian.
Lobster Pot (321 Commercial St) harbor-side waterfront seafood restaurant specializing in lobster, with retail fish market on the street side. Also serves steak, poultry, Portuguese specialties and vegetarian meals.
Napi's (7 Freeman St) 'Provincetown's most unusual restaurant,' set on winding flower-lined back street, amidst artworks and stained glass; fine seafood, international and vegetarian cuisine. Open year-round
Red Inn (15 Commercial St) charming guesthouse dining room with fireplace overlooking the bay; seafood and seasonal fare, reservations recommended (up to six weeks in advance).
Sal's Place (99 Commercial St) fine, authentic southern Italian restaurant on the bay, popular with locals; outdoor dining beneath vine arbor, nightly dining April to October.
Spiritus Pizza (190 Commercial St) famous pizza slices of many toppings, premium ice cream and frappes, frisky late-night after-bars spot to stop awhile.
Waterford Cafe (386 Commercial St) open year-round with fresh local seafood, wood-fired pizza, savory meants to gourmet vegetarian selections, casual lunch through late-night dining.

Shopping & services
City Video (193 Commercial St) classic movie DVD and video games sales and rentals.
MG Leather (338 Commercial St) leather goods and accessories, selection of adult products.
Mussel Beach (35 Bradford St) gym for buff boys and girls; full workout facilities and personal trainers, plus tanning, sauna and showers.
Provincetown Fudge Factory (210 Commercial St) hand-crafted, small batch "butter creme fudge" using real chocolate liqour and fresh dairy products, since 1984.
Provincetown Gym (81 Shank Painter Rd) full-service gym, yoga and aerobics classes, exercise and fitness programs.
Ptown Bikes (42 Bradford Street) Quality bike rentals, comprehensive stock, experienced staff and repairs.
West End Salon (155 Commercial St) total spa for body and soul, latest equipment, innovative techniques; hair cuts, coloring, scalp care, body massage, facials.
Wired Puppy (379 Commercial St) gleaming specialty coffee and tea cafe with free wireless access.

Getting here, getting around
From Boston, Provincetown is 2 1/2 hours by car, 90 minutes by fast ferry, or 20 minute by air.
Unless you're driving to Provincetown, you will probably have to pass through Boston. Cape Air (800-352-0714) has frequent flights from Boston and elsewhere in New England.
There are two speedy ferry services from Boston, Bay State Cruises (877-783-3779) and Boston Harbor Cruises (877-733- 9425).
Walking and biking are the best ways to get around, and few drivers will attempt these narrow streets after their first try. Park your car at your hotel.

Event planner
Chef's Table
An evening of dining and discourse with the chefs of P-town.
June 3, 2010

Provincetown International Film Festival
Movies from around the world, many with gay themes.
June 16 - 20, 2010

Fine Arts Work Center
Summer Workshops in Creative Writing and the Visual Arts
June 13 - August 20, 2010.

10th Anniversary Bear Week
The big guys hit the beach, bars, parties and pool decks.
July 10 - 18, 2010

Provincetown Jazz Festival
This year celebrates the survival and revival of New Orleans Jazz
Aug 13 - 14, 2010

Carnival Week
Parade, parties, a king and lots of queens.
August 15 - 21, 2010

Fine Arts Work Center
34th Annual Auction, 24 Pearl Street
August 21, 2010

September / October
Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla
Hundreds of swimmers and kayak paddlers raise money for charities.
September 11, 2010

Mates Leather Weekend
14th annual affair of leather, rubber, uniform and fetish events.
September 30 - October 3, 2010

Fantasia Fair
Week of transgender events.
October 17 - 24, 2010

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