For centuries, Provincetown, Massachusetts (known as PTown) served as a haven for those in the LGBT community. Weary New England residents who just wanted to be themselves found refuge in the community at the tip of Cape Cod. The tourist-friendly city offers plenty to eat, drink, and explore. Here are three activities worth your time (and money) as you explore Ptown.
1 High Pole Rd., Provincetown
The Pilgrims didn’t start their adventure in Plymouth. They first landed in Provincetown, making landfall on November 21, 1620. They spent 35 days exploring Cape Cod before moving on (the land wasn’t the best for farming). The Pilgrim Monument commemorates their stop and offers a great view of Cape Cod (and on a clear day, a view of Boston which is about 50 nautical miles to the west). The 252-foot tower rises 350 feet above sea level and is the tallest all-granite structure in the United States.
There is a $12 fee for admission (even if you don’t climb). A sign informs you there’s 116 steps to the top. That’s not bad, I thought. Well, I was wrong. In addition to those steps, the Monument has 60 ramps you’ll walk up. The view from the top was…windy. Plexiglass is up to shield you (and from accidentally dropping a camera). Honestly, the view was better at the base.
In addition to the climb, admission gets you access to the Provincetown Museum, which fills you in about the Mayflower’s voyage from England to the Free World, noting Provincetown’s role in the start of a new beginning.
Pro tips: pack some snacks and soak up the view from conjoined Adirondack chairs on the Monument grounds. Oh, and it’s better to walk there. Parking at the Monument will set you back $15 ($30 on July 4th).
Art’s Dune Tours
4 Standish St., Provincetown
Dedicated by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Cape Cod National Seashore is a relatively untouched (and essential) area on Cape Cod. A vast majority of the dunes are without foot prints or tire tracks. Art’s Dune Tours is the only company offering tours of the area and gets my stamp of approval.
You’ll ride in a SUV in a group no larger than eight and will have the opportunity to hop out and explore. My tour guide was witty and friendly, stopping repeatedly to point out what’s new and to answer questions injected by the others in the car.
I went on the sunset tour, which is well worth the $47 cost. You’ll end right on the shoreline and your guide will pull out a camping chair so you can take in the sights of the sun setting over the Atlantic. The LGBT-owned company also provides the option of ordering a lobster dinner to split with your sweetie.
Named by the father of the current owner, Rob, Art’s has provided tours in Ptown for over 70 years. Their season typically runs April 15 to November 1.
Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM)
460 Commercial St., Provincetown
Located on the far east end of Ptown’s commercial district, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum is a well crafted and big art gallery, especially considering less than 3,000 people live in the city year-round.
On your way, stop by the small studios and galleries you’ll pass by; Provincetown thrives with artists who use Cape Cod as their inspiration.
The Museum has multiple galleries and provides a quieter change of pace if you’re a seeking a quick break from the sun and the seafood.