Provincetown

Photo Credit: PAUL SCHARFF

Provincetown, Cape Cod

Provincetown is as far out as you can get – in more ways than one. Cape Cod’s outermost community, at the tip of this great sandy curve, has been home to Native Americans, explorers, Pilgrims, fishermen, whalers, artists, beach-lovers and pleasure seekers.

Provincetown embraces you, and then will not let you go. Perhaps this is the reason that people of all walks of life are so drawn to this stunning place surrounded by sea, sand and sky. This is the spot where the Pilgrims first landed in the New World in 1620; the 252-foot Pilgrim Monument, the tallest granite structure in the nation, commemorates that landing. Here, too, the Center for
Coastal Studies first began studying whales, and started the whale-watching phenomenon.

A place known for celebrating individuality, Provincetown has long been a favorite vacation destination of the LGBTQ+ community. Its sheltered harbor contributes to its long economic success as a fishing port, and many of the town’s fishermen are descendants of Portuguese sailors who arrived here during the whaling days of the 1800s.

Ever since 1899, when artist Charles Hawthorne first opened the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Provincetown has welcomed, nurtured and inspired artists from all over the world – earning its distinction as America’s oldest continuous art colony. Among these artists are such luminaries as Edward Hopper and Jackson Pollock. In 2017, Provincetown was designated as one of the state’s Cultural Districts, encompassing its art galleries, three museums, eight performance venues and numerous cultural attractions and historic sites.

The town’s vibrant Commercial Street boasts a diverse mix of shops, boutiques, galleries, inns and restaurants. Provincetown is renowned for offering an eclectic mix of entertainment, drawing A-list talent to this section of the Cape. The Crown & Anchor boasts some of Broadway’s biggest stars, and the annual Provincetown Film Festival has feted such Hollywood heavyweights as Sofia Coppola, Ang Lee, Matt Dillon and Quentin Tarantino. Top musicians from around the world make their way to Cape Cod each year for the Provincetown Jazz Festival.

Provincetown’s uniqueness extends far beyond its arts and entertainment scene, all the way to the pristine beaches and the ocean that surrounds it. The town, at the very tip of the peninsula, is surrounded on three sides by water and 90% of it is contained within Cape Cod National Seashore. Provincetown is served by two seasonal ferries from Boston and one from Plymouth.

Pack your bike for a hilly ride through sand dunes, beech forest, freshwater ponds and coastal paths along the Province Lands Trail, a 5.5-mile loop start at the Province Lands Visitor Center in Provincetown and rounds around colorful cranberry bogs and trees that hit peak foliage in October. Whale watching excursions depart out of Provincetown Harbor, providing Instagram-worthy views of whales in the plankton-rich waters of Stellwagen Bank. Guided tours will take you out over the town’s remote, majestic dunes, past historic dune shacks and all the way to iconic Race Point Light.

Regardless of the time of year, Provincetown always knows how to entertain. Perhaps no one event epitomizes that spirit and the inherently welcoming nature of Provincetown more than the annual Carnival Week in August, when the town celebrates the diversity that make it so unique. The event is one of the largest outdoor celebrations in Massachusetts, featuring sunset boat cruises, costume balls, art fairs and a larger than-life parade.

Find more information on Provincetown through the Provincetown Chamber of Commerce.

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Spotlight on Cape Cod