Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa
Provincetown’s Holly Folly Weekend December 2-4, 2016 22 Nov 2016, 9:23 am
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I can hear the carols playing in my head already and it’s not even Thanksgiving. Many Cape Cod towns have holiday strolls and celebrations in early December (Falmouth, Sandwich, Chatham). If you are looking for quaint New England Christmas, just stop reading right now and google “Sturbridge Village” or “Strawberry Banke.” If, however, you get a little giggly and goofy around the holidays, then a December weekend in Ptown will put a twinkle in your eye and a merry smile on your lips enough to last through the rest of 2016.
I’m still reeling (and picking glitter out of my carpet) from some rollicking Halloween festivities. Any excuse for a costume! Thankfully, there are plenty of those here in Ptown! Many of the Holly Folly events are benefits for local organizations. Click here to visit the Provincetown Business Guild for a more detailed itinerary of each day’s events. The web listings are a little overwhelming to take in and I’m a planner (plus many of the events require preregistering). So, for the condensed version, here are my pics for the weekend:
There must be the requisite stroll down Commercial Street to take in the decorations and support local businesses.
Holly Folly Sing-A-Long
5:30-8:30pm, Friday and Saturday
Porchside Bar, Gifford House Inn
Request your favorite holiday tunes. Never a cover.
TIS the Season Holiday Revue
Doors at 8pm/ Show at 8:30pm
Paramount at the Crown & Anchor
This is a benefit for the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod. Join the finest drag performers in Town for a festive night of holiday cheer! Hosted by Barbie Que and Anita Cocktail, Featuring: Billie Jean and Tisch DeWilliams
Jingle Bell Run and Champagne Brunch
I’ll be doning my Santa hat and red knickers for the Jingle Bell run in the morning and then I’ll head to the Crowne & Anchor for the brunch. Proceeds of the event help to support and sustain PBG LGBTQ Cultural Tourism in Provincetown.
Annual “Souper” Saturday Lunch
Tin Pan Alley
The Soup Kitchen In Provincetown (SKIP) will host this annual event. The public is invited to enjoy hearty soups provided by more than two-dozen local restaurants and other businesses. Throughout the event, a variety of soups will be available for a donation of $5 per serving. SKIP merchandise, including mugs, T-shirts and caps, will also be available for purchase. Live music will be provided by pianist Jim Brosseau and other area performers during the fundraiser.
Boston Gay Men’s Chorus
A great Holly Folly tradition, enjoy the perfect kick-off to the holiday season in Provincetown’s own Grande Dame, Town Hall. One show only! Tickets are $27 each. Doors open at 7:30pm.
3rd Annual Gingerbread House Decorating
Holly Folly Headquarters
Bring your creative skills and holiday spirit to compete for the grand prize in gingerbread house decorating! Teams MUST register in advance to compete and arrive at Holly Folly Headquarters ready to decorate. Each team gets a prebuilt gingerbread house, icing and piping bag. Houses will be used as centerpieces at the David Asher Senior Dinner.
Thanksgiving in Provincetown 19 Nov 2016, 9:34 am
Looking for something inspiring to do this Thanksgiving (or perhaps looking to avoid unpleasant political discussions)? Why not come to Ptown? While the rest of New England is well into drabby and dull season (it really gets brown once all the trees are done with their fall performance), Ptown keeps it festive, colorful, and fun. With any luck, the weather will still be relatively mild (as it has in past years).
The best part is that you can join us, right here at the inn for Thanksgiving dinner. The Pointe Restaurant is offering a delicious four-course Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 24th from 1-7pm. Call 508-487-2365 for reservations. Here are a few other highlights of the holiday weekend to round our your stay:
The Annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument
Wednesday, Nov 23, 5-7pm
Every year, the Pilgrim Monument is lit to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first Landing in America in November of 1620. Thanksgiving weekend is a fun one in Ptown, with a 5k race and much more going on. Visit pilgrim-monument.org for more info.
Pilgrim 5K Trot: PAAM Fundraiser
Thursday, Nov 24, 9am
Start your Thanksgiving Day with a 5K race! And best of all, you’ll help raise money for the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. The route goes from the Sandcastle Resort Club to the PAAM and back to the SRC. First male and female finishers receive a $100.00 cash prize. Visit paam.org for more info.
Artisan Holiday Fair
Friday, Nov 25 & Saturday, Nov 26, 10 am–4 pm
Sponsored by the Provincetown Lion’s Club, the New Fine Arts and Craft Show at Provincetown Hall will feature footage of Provincetown from the film “Dad, I Wanna Go Fishing” by Peter Cook. Visit the Lion’s Club Facebook page for more info.
Drag Bingo Benefit
Friday, Nov 25, 8-10pm
Dress in your best and play to win! Come to this annual Thanksgiving weekend event at the Paramount at the Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial St. Hosted by Guthrie Brooks. Paramount is the largest waterfront nightclub in town. Proceeds benefit the Provincetown Business Guild, Provincetown’s LGBT business organization. Visit ptown.org for more info.
Escape to Provincetown this Fall! 17 Oct 2016, 7:20 am
Cape Cod does fall like
nowhere else. The air is brisk and crystal clear. I
love those cold nights (time to fire up the woodstove) and sunny
days¾that fall sunshine warms things up just enough to be outside
without a coat. Ptown is still bustling. Plenty of
people around and things going on and the calendar is still packed
with special events, festivals, and more (click here for what’s
going on in Ptown this time of year). But by far, the best
thing about Ptown in the offseason (or perhaps ‘shoulder season’ is
a more accurate label) are…the sales!! After the high tourist
season, the shopping gets really good as the stores on Commercial
Street plan empty their inventory to prepare for next season.
We are running our own “sale” here at the Inn. Our signature “Escape to the Cape” package starts the beginning of November and runs through May 2017. This deal is only available in the offseason (not holidays or holiday weekends) and includes accommodations in the Inn, meals (breakfast in bed and dinner at The Pointe Restaurant), and one spa treatment per person at Shui Spa, located right here at the Inn.
You can choose ONE of these one-hour signature Kiehl’s treatments (Note these packages include a total of 2 treatments included per package):
- a 60 minute Kiehl’s restorative massage (can be couples massage)
- a 60 minute Kiehl’s facial
- a 60 minute Kiehl’s manicure/pedicure finishing treatment.
There’s also complimentary wine and cheese every afternoon. Plus, Shui Spa guests can use Mineral Soaking Tub, Steam Room & Sauna with all treatments. It’s the perfect way to unwind. Come and let us pamper your loved one (and you!) this season. For more info including pricing and room availability, click here. And we’ll see you this fall!
5 Reasons To Visit Ptown This Fall 16 Sep 2016, 12:40 pm
Ahh, September. Isn’t it glorious? As a kid, I dreaded Labor Day as it meant the End of Summer. No more sun splashed adventures. We had to start wearing shoes again, tucking in shirts, washing our hair and speaking in full sentences. Oh, yeah, and school. Ugh. What a drag.
Cape Codders, however, are programmed in the opposite direction. We all breathe a huge sigh of relief once Labor Day hits. We’ve made it through another busy summer tourist season. And…Jackpot! The best part of the year is upon us: September. It is THE best month on Cape Cod. By Far. The weather is perfect. The crowds are gone (or are much much smaller at any rate). The place is not the deserted ghost town that it will be come February. If this isn’t enough to motivate you to plan a fall weekend getaway. Here are a few more reasons:
Ptown’s Commercial Street is always bustling and the beginning of fall and the approaching off season means one thing: SALES! Right now is probably a little too early, but soon enough all the shops will be unloading their summer 2016 inventory to prepare for next year. That means fun, fun, fun for you!
Maybe I’m just getting old or maybe it’s climate change, but man, that July sun is hot. This time of year, the weather is um, yeah. It’s perfect. Sunny, 70s during the day. Cool at night. Low humidity. Perfect beach days. Oops, I used the word ‘perfect’ three times in this blog post already. Well, there it is. You can even venture to the beach without sunscreen and live to tell the tale.
It is no longer high season here in Ptown but that just means there are fewer tourists. That does NOT mean there is less to do. The September and October calendars are chock-a-block full with all kinds of festivals, special events, and more. Check out the Ptown Chamber of Commerce’s Events Calendar or Ptown.org to see what’s happening.
A Lack of Traffic
It is so much easier to get here in the fall. If you are coming by car, it means less traffic all up and down the Cape and an easier and more enjoyable drive for you. It also means parking in Ptown is a bit easier. You can also avoid the traffic issues entirely by taking the fast ferry from Boston, which continues running through October 10.
If there is a slightly less beachy day, head to the East End, check out the galleries and visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM). There are some great things happening this fall including an exhibition of paintings by Edwin Dickinson, one of the founding members of the museum and one of the only artists to live in Ptown year-round in the early 20th century. Also on view is the museum’s annual 12×12 members’ exhibit and auction¾a great way to acquire some art and support the museum.
So, when should we expect you?
Dune Tours 2 Sep 2016, 6:53 am
“In some pictures of Provincetown the inhabitants are not drawn below the ankles, so much being supposed to be buried in the sand.”
– Henry David Thoreau
Sand. There’s a lot of it here in Ptown. If you arrive by car, you will notice it starting to surround you, sneaking in on both sides as you drive further down Route 6. Roughly one third of the Cape Cod National Seashore is coastal dunes. That’s about 8500 acres from Chatham to Ptown.
Locals know better than to fight the sand. It’s inevitable. It. Gets. Everywhere.
But the sand does have its perks. Without it, what would our coastline be? Rocky and impassable (I’m looking at you, Maine). So, we say ‘yes!’ to the sand and you should too. Simply driving by Ptown’s crazy sand dunes is not enough. You have to really get out there. Those silent windswept expanses also offer a welcome bit of peace and quiet¾and quite the contrast¾after the the buzz of Commercial Street.
The NPS tour includes an option that will take you to visit the dune shacks, where artists and writers work in blissful (hopefully) solitude, having left their lives in some other zip code. Best place to start is at the Province Lands Visitor Center (171 Race Point Road, Hours: daily, May 1 through October 31, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. 508-487-1256).
Having been around since 1946, Art’s Dune Tours are a Ptown institution. After 70 years, they’ve got this gig down. You get to pile into an SUV and explore the dunes up close in myriad ways. Tours have titles like “Land ‘n Lake (includes lunch and kayaking), Land ‘n Sail (includes an afternoon sail), and “Land ‘n Sea” (includes fishing aboard a charter boat). There is something for everyone¾adults, kids, families, singles (sorry, the pets have to stay behind though). In September and through the fall, their Sunset Tours are available almost every day (starts at 4:30pm) and includes a traditional New England style Clambake, with alternative food offerings of course. And I’m pretty sure they don’t mind if you get sand in the car.
Sharktastic: Sharks on Cape Cod 23 Aug 2016, 11:55 am
Many of us who grew up on Cape Cod have a special place in our hearts for “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg’s late 70s classic thriller about a killer great white shark tormenting an east coast community. The movie was shot on Martha’s Vineyard and “Amity,” the imagined seaside vacation town in the movie, was based on life here on the Cape and Islands. The movie, in turn, spawned a new wave of tourism to the area.
Growing up, the great white shark was our monster. Our shark-filled imaginations tormented us every time we stepped into a body of water, be it stream, marsh, or open sea. I distinctly remember my best friend asking me—literally every time we set foot in the water—are there sharks here? Technically, the answer has always been ‘yes.’ Basking sharks and dogfish are common around Cape Cod. White sharks have always been part of the aquatic ecosystem here¾just not in the numbers we are seeing now.
Over the past decade, the arrival of more and more white sharks to Cape waters has stirred up a mix of excitement, curiosity, and fear. It is quite the phenomenon.
For scientists, it is a rare opportunity for close observation. Sharks have often been found in great numbers in other parts of the world. But is only recently that they have been in the North Atlantic in such high numbers. The fact that they are following a somewhat predictable pattern makes it enticing for scientists. They can reliably study these animals for the foreseeable future.
For some, the sharks are a conversation point. For most of us, the main impact has been that occasionally, the beaches are closed. Rangers patrol the ocean side beaches a little more closely and have been known to call everyone out of the water if a shark is nearby. Not surprisingly, Cape Codders have jumped at the new eco-tourism boom. You can find shark themed gifts and t-shirts in almost every shop. But I do think it also reflects a genuine interest and innate curiosity that we have about these animals.
If you are looking to learn more about the growing White Shark population on Cape Cod, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is a great place to start. The non-profit supports shark research and offers all kinds of educational programs from a “Shark Week” summer camp to boating expeditions. You can also visit the Chatham Shark Center, the home of the AWSC where you can learn more through their exhibits and programs. Chatham is the place to be when it comes to white sharks, thanks to the huge grey seal population on Monomoy and the surrounding areas.
The AWSC just launched Sharktivity, a smartphone app that tracks shark sightings and warnings and allows users to submit their own. I checked it out the other day and I have to say, it’s pretty cool to see all of the recent sightings. Now, the next time my friend (that same one from childhood) asks that burning question, I can simply take out my phone and check for her.
Vegan’s Guide to Ptown 29 Jul 2016, 5:36 am
Eating vegan on Cape Cod can be a challenge. One of my close friends (we’ll call her ‘S’) is vegan and every time she visits (her father lives in the mid-Cape area), I witness her struggle to find solid, vegan options for herself and her children. She usually has to carefully plan her day to make sure she can hit up a vegan spot for lunch. Luckily, S would feel downright pampered with the number of vegan choices in Ptown. From breakfast to dinner to snacks, desserts, and basic grocery needs (for a longer stay)–you can find it all here. While I am not vegan, I love variety and I try to eat healthy, so vegan dishes are a regular feature of home cooked meals at my house. I am always on the lookout for restaurants and cafes that go beyond typical Cape Cod fare of fish ‘n chips and clam chowder. I have noticed that those establishments that cater to vegans often are also pretty innovative in the rest of their menu offerings (an added bonus!). Below are some of my favs but it is by no means a complete list.
Grab n Go Health
Ask around and you will quickly discover that this small juice bar is every vegan’s first stop. It has a selection of juices, bottled beverages, smoothies, sandwiches, and snacks. Staff is friendly and knowledgeable. But by far, the highlight of this place is the vegan soft serve ice cream. 212 Commercial Street, 508-487-1827.
141 Market (Bradford Natural Market)
The folks behind 141 Market believe in the importance of supporting organic farming methods, sustainable agriculture and ecologically sound land management. You’ll find a wide variety of wheat-free, gluten-free and other options for those with special dietary needs. The kitchen cooks up ready-to-eat veggie foods for their hot bar as well as sandwiches, soups and home-baked goods with an assortment of GF and vegan desserts. 141 Bradford Street, 508-487-9784.
Fresh off a makeover for 2016 season, Devon’s is a great spot, with vegan options on the dinner, lunch, and breakfast menus. Highlight are the breakfasts–think vegan French toast, fresh fruit, and granola. 31 Bradford Street, 508-487-4773.
While specializing in local seafood, the Pointe’s focus on fresh ingredients and great taste extends to every offering on their menu. Vegans in your party will enjoy their seared tofu dish with brown rice and fresh veggies. 82 Bradford Street, 508-487-2365
Bring the vegans, the meat lovers, and even the dog to this place! There’s plenty of herbivore-friendly fare and gluten-free choices. Their signature vegan dish is a saucy tofu burrito; filled with greens, carrots, rice and pan seared marinated organic tofu, with a choice of 4 sumptuous sauces. The carnitas are popular with the carnivores and for the canines, they have the PAWrito™ (a veterinarian-approved dish deemed safe for dogs accustomed to eating human food). Aquarium Marketplace, 205-9 Commercial Street, 508-487-4432.
Headed down to the West End of Commercial Street? You can’t pass up Relish with their delicious offering of home baked goods and sandwiches. Oh and they just happen to offer a number of mouth watering vegan, gluten-free and organic options to quench your hunger. 93 Commercial Street, 508-487-8077
Provincetown’s Secret Gardens 14 Jul 2016, 11:19 am
July is a happening month here in Ptown. The party pretty much doesn’t stop until, well, September? We just finished up July 4th of course, another memorable parade down. And the bears have arrived on their yearly migration to town. Girl Splash is coming, along with Family Week and more. But I have to be honest, the event I am anxiously awaiting? Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s annual Secret Garden Tour.
What can I say? I’m not the party animal I once was (if I ever was one). And I was brought up by a gardener, who came from a long line of gardeners and farmers. So I was doomed.
I am a geek when it comes to gardens. I have rhubarb growing in my vegetable garden that has been in my family for probably about 100 years now and has traveled from house to house to house. We don’t have heirloom jewelry. We have heirloom plants. Every girl’s got her thing, right? My mom and I have a hard time—a really. hard. time—going to a nursery and NOT filling up the entire back of the car with plants. My mom has started filling up my garden because she’s all out of room at her house. It’s a problem. Sort of.
Not Just Another Garden Tour
In the past ten years or so, garden tours suddenly became THE thing. Like, every single town on Cape Cod had their garden tour. It has died down a little but for a while, they were popping up like dandelions. And my mom and I? We’ve been to many of them. I wish I could say they were all fabulous. They weren’t. Too often, it was a disappointing display of what I call landscaper insta-gardens: the same plants in a different order—hostas, daylilies, hydrangeas, knockout roses. Yawn. No offense to you workhorses of the perennial garden, I love you, truly! But I don’t need to see boring old foundation plantings done by a guy who would rather be mowing. And I certainly don’t need to PAY to see that. There are plenty of similar plantings in my own neighborhood.
Thankfully, the PAAM Secret Garden Tour (now in its 19th year!!) is never that. It is a chance to walk through and enjoy some of the most original, stunning, and immersive gardens on Cape Cod. Basically like stepping into the pages of Fine Gardening magazine. In my many visits, I have seen cottage style colors masses pouring over the picket fence of an antique Cape, Asian inspired meditations of green, formal, European style gardens, and a yard full of serious dahlia cultivation. Often, the houses are open as well⎯double score! My mark of a good tour? When I get that feeling that I just want to run home and dig in the soil.
If You Go
- A hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes are basic essentials. You can walk as much or as little as you want, as there are shuttles that take you from garden to garden but inevitably you will be standing and in the sun quite a bit.
- Don’t miss PAAM’s current exhibit of William Evaul’s white line woodblock prints (your garden tour ticket gets you admission to the Museum).
- Bring your design enthusiast parent/friend/significant other. They will love you forever.
- Looking at gardens is like looking at art in a museuma little goes a long way and it’s exhausting. Sustenance is definitely needed to carry the day, so be sure to stop for lunch (and perhaps bring water and snacks).
Some years are better than others but every year is an inspiration. I can’t wait to see what this year holds. Added bonus? Money from ticket sales supports PAAM, an exciting, locally grounded cultural organization. For more information visit paam.org.
Provincetown Gallery Tour 29 Jun 2016, 6:16 am
Art and Ptown. The two words are inseparable and the first is quite central to the identity of the second. As Ptown artist Edward Walsh recently described to me, “art is just an integral part of being a human here. Even if you are not a painter or an artist, you can’t walk down the street without being affected by it. In casual conversation, it’s just part of the norm.” A visit to Ptown’s many galleries is definitely worth a look. Most of them are clustered at the East End of Commercial Street but a few are sprinkled throughout town. If you want to go the museum route, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, the Fine Arts Work Center, and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill have exhibition programming throughout the year.
Below are a few of the galleries I try to visit every season. This list is my personal opinion and by no means exhaustive or complete. To see all Ptown has to offer in terms of art galleries, check out the Provincetown Gallery Guide, which has a great website and is usually available in magazine form at most of the galleries in town.
Simie Maryles Gallery “Representing Traditional Art with a Contemporary Point of View” is this gallery’s tag line and their curated selection focuses on representational genre painting such as still life, landscape, or portraiture–all with a 21st century twist. To see their offerings, you don’t have to go far; we feature their artists in the hotel’s public spaces.
435 Commercial Street, 508-487-7878.
Alden Gallery Don’t be fooled by its small, intimate space. This gallery shows a broad range of contemporary work from the visceral, emotionally charged drawings of Raul Gonzalez III to the bright, modernist wood constructions of Ptown native Mike Wright.
423 Commercial Street, 508-487-4230.
William Scott Gallery This well-established gallery shows predominantly painting, with a dash of sculpture. It is a bit of an awkward space, but the quality of the works–quirky portraits by Daphne Confar and austere, haunting landscapes by John Dowd, as two examples–speaks for themselves.
439 Commercial Street, 508-487-4040.
Four Eleven Gallery Painter Liz Carney opened this storefront gallery in 2011 in a building that has been a Ptown studio for over 50 years. She presents a small, focused selection of artists, all painters.
411 Commercial Street, 617-905-7432.
Berta Walker Gallery As the “grand dame” of the Ptown art scene, Berta Walker has been showing and supporting artists virtually her entire life. She shows a classic cadre of past and present artists—all with strong Ptown ties—including Sal Del Deo, Varujan Boghosian, Robert Henry, Judyth Katz, (estate), Peter Watts, and Nancy Whorf (estate).
208 Bradford Street, 508-487-6411
ArtStrand Owned by well-known Ptown artists Bailey Bob Bailey, Breon Dunigan, Maryalice Johnston, Francis Olschafskie, Jim Peters, Anna Poor, and Bert Yarborough, ArtStrand has a strong commitment to showing works that represent Ptown’s past and present as an art colony. The art shown is at once vital, experimental, serious, and not so serious.
494 Commercial Street, 508-487-1153.
AMP: In a town full of the avant-garde, this is one of the only galleries in town showing conceptual, experimental, performance based works by a robust slate of artists, writers, and filmmakers.
32 Commercial Street, 646-298-9258.
Guide to the Cape Cod National Seashore 22 Jun 2016, 4:21 am
Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa
The Cape Cod National Seashore is, in my opinion, a must-see on any visit to Provincetown. Even folks from other towns on Cape Cod make sure to visit the “Outer Beach” when they venture to the outer arm of the Cape. Why? By far, some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Other added perks: exercise, nature watching (specifically birds, whales, and seals), special programs and exhibitions, bike trails. Spanning several towns, with six beaches and twelve trail systems, CCNS never disappoints. It is Cape Cod at its most rugged¾and its best. Here’s what you need to know to check it out:
Start at a Visitor Center
There are two. The Salt Pond Visitor Center, 50 Nauset Road, in Eastham, is the main one and has a well-stocked bookstore, restrooms, and a museum with special exhibitions on local geography, history, and culture. The Province Lands Visitor Center, 171 Race Point Road, about a mile from the center of Provincetown, has a 360-degree observation deck to see views of the dunes and beaches. Both visitor centers have trail guides and additional information on tours and activities, so they are an ideal first stop.
Take a Tour
Lighthouses, nature walks—take your pick! There are three lighthouses in the CCNS and all offer daily tours (in season): Nauset Light (Eastham), Highland Light (Truro), and Three Sisters (Eastham). Highland Light is also next to a fabulous, well-known links golf course, so bring your clubs. If nature is more your style, the park has a diverse schedule of Ranger guided walks/hikes, lectures, and exhibitions. For a full list of activities, click here.
Get to the Beach!
The CCNS beaches are some of the most memorable on the Cape—and that is saying something. The two Ptown beaches: Race Point and Herring Cove, are spectacular. Race Point has ample parking, handicap access, a short walk from parking lot to beach, and the chance to see whales offshore. Herring Cove, located on the West-facing side of Ptown, is an ideal place to see the sunset.
If you are looking to explore beyond Ptown, Coast Guard Beach and Marconi Beach (Wellfleet), and Nauset Light Beach (Eastham) feature massive dunes, expansive beaches and fun waves (depending on the weather). Since all of the CCNS beaches are on the Atlantic Ocean, expect brisk winds, decent waves, plenty of seals, and often, a strong undertow. Head of the Meadow Beach, in Truro is the most kid-friendly, with no stairs or dunes to walk down and plenty of sandbars at low tide for easy swimming (free from the undertow). Marconi is a convenient option for those on the Cape Cod Rail Trail (CCRT). Many of the beaches are handicap accessible, with parking and thick mats that lay atop the sand. Even folks who may not be that sturdy on their feet are now able to enjoy the beach.
Daily fees for any of the CCNS beaches are $20 per vehicle or $3 per pedestrian/bicycle. A season pass is $60. The CCNS website is a great resource to plan your visit. Click here for more information.