A Weekend Getaway to Provincetown
There are times that a weekend getway is just what you need. So, road trip style, with a minimum of planning, head East on I-195 until the freeway runs out and you find yourself in the very eastern tip of our neighboring state Massachussetts in the artsy destination Provincetown.
Popular activities such as boating, whale-watching, fishing and kayaking are perfect ways to spend a morning before heading down Commercial Street and stopping in the many shops and galleries that feature work by local artisans. Or choose to spend a day relaxing on one of the many beaches with stunning views. The Cape Cod National Seashore offers amazing opportunities to enjoy Provincetown’s world-renowned dunes that have been artist destinations for years.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) sits comfortably amongst the historic homes that line the main thoroughfare; its galleries housing an extensive collection of American artwork. Restaurants for any budget offer everything from locally caught sea food to innovative and eclectic cuisine. No matter the taste or the budget, something for everyone can be found in Provincetown.
A seaside fishing village that is truly like no other, Provincetown has been hosting culturally diverse visitors since the Pilgrims first arrived in 1620 and encountered the Native Americans. A year-round destination nestled along the National Seashore, Provincetown transports visitors into a world that meshes significant arts and culture with America’s best beaches, the historic with the modern, and old-world charm with world-class lodging, dining and entertainment. Provincetown is also the number one destination for same sex weddings in America.
In our most recent visit to Provincetown, we were guests of the newly-rennovated Harbor Hotel, sitting right on the water. Locals remember it as the former Holiday Inn and more recently the Cape Inn. In its new incarnation, the hotel features crisp interiors that decorators call “Mid Century Modern”, a decor that feels appropriately artsy for Provincetown. The hotel has 118 rooms, some of which are dog friendly. We stayed in one of the ten suites, ours was on the second floor looking out across the tidal flats. As the weekend progressed, we watched the water advance and withdraw hundreds of feet across the sand.
On Saturday night, after a fine meal at the hotel’s restaurant, the Whaler Lounge, we sat outside at the fire pit, listening to the weekend’s live music entertainment as we watched the distant lights sparkle on Cape Cod Bay. On Sunday morning, after a filling contenental breakfast, we took a walk across the sand, looking at discarded shells and hints of underwater life.
During the afternoons, we explored galleries and shops in the buzzing downtown area, but we were always happy to return to our room to just kick back and relax. For us, before the height of the tourist season, the hotel was nothing but peace and quiet. During the season, the hotel with its restaurant, pool, and poolside bar would likely be a great place to kick back and relax with friends.
Had we been able to spend more time, we would have explored more of Provincetown’s natural attractions, particularly the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Ways to spend a vacation in Provincetown
Guided and Self-Guided Tours
- Marsh Walks (guided) – Nature’s Nursery Comes Alive through Science and Observation
- Canoe Tours (guided) – Discover the Nature and Wildlife of Provincetown’s Wetlands and Marshes
- National Seashore Bike Trail (self-guided) – Explore Province Lands’ Wilds with a Bike Ride Moments Away from Town’s Center
- Nature Trails throughout Cape Cod National Seashore (self-guided)
- Lighthouses and Life-Saving (guided and self-guided) – Tour Highland Light in Truro, and Old Harbor Life-Saving Station in Provincetown.
- Kayaking (guided and self-guided rentals)
Provincetown Heritage Sites
- Provincetown-Area Shipwrecks on Stellwagen Bank www.nps.gov/caco/heritage/shipwrecks.html
- Outer Cape Cod Light Houses www.nps.gov/caco/heritage/light_move.html
- Provincetown Public Library and the 62-foot-long half-scale model of a Grand Banks fishing schooner
- Expedition Whydah Sea Lab and Learning Center www.whydah.com/
- Province Lands Visitor Center, Cape Cod National Seashore – Exhibits and Films Exploring a Diversity of Natural and Cultural Resources www.nps.gov/caco/places/provincelandsvc.html
- Race Point Station – Where Cape Cod Bay Meets the Atlantic Ocean www.nps.gov/caco/places/racepointstation.html
- The Truro Highlands – The Ice Age’s Glacial Outwash in the 21st Century www.nps.gov/caco/places/thehighlands.html
- Whale Watching Excursions – Dolphin Fleet or Portuguese Princess www.whalewatch.com — or — http://www.provincetownwhalewatch.com
The Arts in Provincetown
- The Provincetown Art Association and Museum www.paam.org
- Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center www.fawc.org/
- Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum www.pilgrim-monument.org
For more information about Provincetown, please visit www.provincetowntourismoffice.org.