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Escape to the Cape

Provincetown, Mass., beckons with culture galore, a Bohemian vibe and miles of shore.

Escape to the Cape

Provincetown, Mass., is known for its diversity, artistic flair and fine dining.

(Photo: CREDIT: Denis Tangney Jr / getty images)

Famous for its celebration of diversity, Provincetown, Mass., is equally appreciated for its melange of rugged nature, spirited creativity and entrepreneurial zeal. Visitors to Cape Cod’s outermost town will soak up vibes from its Portuguese fishing heritage and art colony roots along with the electricity generated by one-of-a-kind shops, eclectic galleries and some of the area’s fi nest restaurants.

While PTown, as it’s affectionately known, is a popular daytrip destination, to do it justice calls for at least an overnight. The Crowne Point Historic Inn & Spa on a bluff in the West End offers luxurious accommodations and the Shui Spa. Nearby, the gabled Anchor Inn Beach House offers an intimate setting with balconies, fireplaces and direct beach access.

Strolling along the 3-mile stretch of Commercial Street is a movable feast for all senses. Java aficionados tout Kohi Coffee Company, so grab a pour-over and head across the street to Connie’s Bakery & Cafe for a warm-from-the-oven scone, muffin or breakfast sandwich.

After fueling up, head to Marine Specialties, an army-navy surplus shop on steroids that’s jam-packed with items overflowing the shelves and hanging from the rafters.

Art lovers have a wonderful array of galleries from which to choose, including Schoolhouse, Berta Walker, G-1 and Albert Merola. Don’t leave town without a visit to the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, a veritable shrine to its hometown, the longest running art colony in America.

Keep lunch casual at The Canteen, with seating inside, on the street and in the backyard near the beach. Along with lobster rolls and chowder, we hear the cod banh mi, pulled pork tacos and crispy Brussels sprouts in fish sauce are especially good.

Time to stretch your legs again? There are over 30 miles of beach in Provincetown, all part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Herring Cove scores points over Race Point for its calmer and warmer water; in the spring you can see whales breach. In the off-season, a walk through Beech Forest is a must. Both Herring Cove and Race Point are accessible by shuttle bus, bicycle or foot. If you have time, take a whale watch offered by the Center for Coastal Studies.

Go a little upscale for dinner at stylish Joon Bar and Kitchen for innovative small plates and entrees like duck confit with carrot-ginger puree and a crispy lentil cake. Or try local favorite Mac’s Fish House for fresh fare from the sea.

Check out more great locations at AAA.com/NortheastExplorer.

Comments
  • James F.

    I am disturbed, dismayed, and disappointed that your March/April 2020 magazine article, “Escape to the Cape,” avoided using the words gay or lesbian, or the acronym LGBT in a tourism profile of Provincetown, Massachusetts.
    It is unbelievable that AAA—which prides itself in providing complete and accurate information for the traveler—would fail to mention the above, considering that according to the 2010 census, Provincetown has the highest rate of same-sex couples in the country. Additionally, P-town, was voted “Best Resort Town in 2011” by Gaycities.com.
    The AAA CT/MA/RI TourBook (2019 edition), calls Provincetown “…an East Coast mecca for gays and lesbians” and goes on to say, “In season, glib drag queens are out in force handing out show flyers to the throngs of vacationers…” If this nationally distributed publication can be that explicit, why can’t the AAA Northeast magazine—serving a very progressive part of the nation—do the same? If AAA is worried about offending some intolerant conservatives (at the expense of young LGBTers who again will feel ostracized by the exclusion), all the more reason to mention that the summer population is majority gay, so homophobes can avoid it.
    I’m sorry, but just writing it “is known for its diversity,” doesn’t cut it in 2020. “Diversity” can refer to simply cultural, racial, religious and economic variation.
    Unmistakably, it’s not PTown’s beaches, eateries, or art galleries that make it what it is. Provincetown is unique because of its LGBTQ people and the fabulous milieu they create.

    James E. Fayal
    Providence, RI

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