Crowne Pointe Historic Inn & Spa
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.
5 Must See Activities in Ptown 7 Jun 2016, 6:38 pm
I love meeting folks who are visiting Provincetown for the first time. A few minutes into those conversations, said visitor always asks the perennial question: what are your favorite things to do here? What can’t we miss? Personally, I love playing this game and while your preferences will change depending on your interests, here are some of my go-to answers to the question:
Must See #1: Whale Watch
Yes, it’s a bit clichéd, but for good reason. Whales are amazing creatures. Best seen in person. There’s only one way to do it: by boat. And the kitschy/touristy vibe of the whole experience (think uncomfortable deck seating, naturalist guides in polo shirts and chino shorts, and cheap processed food as snacks)? An added perk if you ask me.
Musts See #2: Sunrise on the Cape Cod National Seashore
If you are not the early rising type, just stay up all night instead. Believe me, it’s worth it. Cape Cod is the eastern most tip of the United States. It sticks way out into the Atlantic Ocean. So you get to see the sun before anyone else in the country¾wrap your head around that for a moment. Seeing Mother Nature at her most glorious is also just stunning, awe-inspiring, and rejuvenating. Plus, you’ll probably have the beach all to yourself…well, you may have to share it with the birds…and seals.
Must See #3: Sunset at Long Point Light
You simply cannot leave Cape Cod without taking in at least one spectacular sunset and this west-facing vista, complete with lighthouse is the perfect way to do it. The walk to Long Point Light provides the classic Cape Cod day: beaches, birds, ocean, etc. It’s a long walk so timing is critical. If you prefer a less physically taxing option, there is a ferry.
Must See #4: Commercial Street
Ptown wouldn’t be Ptown without Commercial Street. The shops, restaurants, galleries and other small businesses that make up Ptown’s main thoroughfare celebrate the quirky, joyous, eccentric, eclectic, individual, artful, and charming. Find a vintage clothing shop tucked away in a corner, enjoy acclaimed art exhibitions at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) or pose for a selfie with one of many flamboyant characters you may meet. Commercial Street is a new adventure every day. It never gets old.
Must See #5: Provincetown Public Library
To say this library is full of surprises is an understatement. Housed in a former church, the library is a cultural center for the 21st century featuring programs and speakers, a robust archive and art collection, and…wait for it…a half-scale fishing schooner (the Rosa Dorothea) inside the library (in the children’s room). Yes, you heard me right. Just go see it.
This just scratches the surface of the best things to do in Ptown. What’s on your list?
Hiking Around Provincetown 24 May 2016, 4:15 am
Provincetown’s unmistakable landscape has a wonderful way of transforming even the most reluctant city slicker into a veritable nature lover. Who can resist those crazy dunes, the classic lighthouses, and the mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets? While you can, most likely experience the beauty of the ocean out of virtually any window in town, it’s still nice to get beyond the village to enjoy Mother Nature at her best. Take a walk on the ocean side (or bayside, if you prefer)! Here are three of our favorite hikes in and around Provincetown:
1) Long Point, Cape Cod National Seashore (6.6 miles)
As the perfect way to enjoy the best of Ptown’s scenic vistas including Ptown Harbor, Wood End Light, and Cape Cod Bay, this out-and-back walk brings you to Long Point Lighthouse, which stands at the very tip of Cape Cod. It’s a challenging walk but worth it. Dogs are welcome. Be sure to time it right as parts of the route are impassable at high tide. Choose a wind-free day and bring your scope if you are a bird lover. Wanna enjoy the Lighthouse with a little less walking? There is also a ferry: http://www.flyersboats.com/long-point-shuttle-provincetown.php
Directions: Go to the very end of Commercial St., where it meets Province Lands Rd. The hike begins at the Provincetown Breakwater.
2) Race Point Lighthouse (4 miles)
Birders, dog walkers, and whale watchers, this old Ptown Fire Road is for you. It’s also an easier route to Race Point Lighthouse than trekking across the soft sand of the beach. People know Race Point Lighthouse as one of the quintessential symbols of Provincetown and the outer cape. What is less well known is that it is also one of the best spots on the Cape, and most likely the East Coast, to see Right Whales up close. Right Whales typically arrive off our shores anywhere from February to April. Bring bug repellent and choose a calm day.
From Route 6 take a right onto Province Lands Rd. heading towards Race Point. In about ½ mile, just after the bike path crosses the road, there’s a small dirt parking lot on the left. The trail starts from the parking lot.
3). Beech Forest Trail (1.22 miles)
(NPS Trail Guide: https://www.nps.gov/caco/planyourvisit/upload/BeechForest.pdf)
Offering a unique ecosystem of brackish swamps and beech forests, this trail is in the Province Lands area, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Some of the trail is soft sand making it a decent workout, despite the shorter distance. At the wood walkway at the beginning of the trail, chickadees have come to expect sunflower seeds. Fill your pockets before you head out and the birds will take the seed right out of your hand.
Directions: Beech Forest trailhead is located on Race Point Rd
For more great walks/hikes around Cape Cod, check out hikingcapecod.com.
Off the Beaten Path 2 May 2016, 9:07 am
There are essentially two types of people who live on Cape Cod year-round: those who were born here (you know, the 13th generation Cape Codder whose great-great-great-whatever came over on the Mayflower) and those who came for a visit and stayed. I am one of the latter. We affectionately call ourselves “wash-ashores.” The sand got into the shoes and never left. Of course, I don’t know about you, but I never really tried to shake it out. I spent virtually every summer weekend of my childhood making a pilgrimage with my family down to Cape Cod. And the older I got, the longer I stayed.
The Cape captures the imagination. Don’t tell anyone, but that sugar smooth sand has some kind of mystical power. What is that power—that pull—that seems to creep over the bridge like fog, wafting in on cold spring days? Escape. Pure and simple. No phone calls. No junk mail. No vacuuming. No laundry. No one from home trying to find me.
It used to be easier to unplug. There was no Internet, no smartphones¾no connections that can, if you let them, follow you all the way out to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, we do get cell service on the Cape Cod National Seashore…unfortunately. So that just means that today, escaping takes a bit more intentionality. To get off the beaten path is more of a mental exercise than a physical one. Although a change of scenery is certainly a good place to start.
And Provincetown, our magical village clinging onto the edge of the continent, is the ideal spot to give it a shot. Even for Cape Codders, Ptown feels like an otherworld. It’s more cosmopolitan, less provincial perhaps, than every other town on the Cape. To me, it has always felt a little bit European¾something about the small streets, the houses tightly packed, the gardens overflowing, the colors—with a dash of New York City thrown in. And then there are the endless miles of sun-bleached beaches. Those are nice too.
Ptown is a state of mind. A deliberate leaving behind. It has all the pieces of the puzzle for you. The outdoors. A soft bed and a cozy comforter. A stiff, salty breeze. A delectable, unhurried meal. A leisurely afternoon bike ride. A steaming cup of tea. Brisk, refreshing water pooling around toes. And that intoxicating light.
All you need to do is turn off your phone, park your car, and look up.
…Are you coming?
Why Provincetown Makes The Perfect Honeymoon Destination For The LGBT Community 18 Mar 2016, 12:26 pm
Provincetown is a small coastal resort town located at the tip of Cape Cod in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. It is alternatively called “Land’s End” and more affectionately referred to as P-town. It has a year round population of 3,000, which grows to 60,000 in the bustling summer months and is well known for its status as a vacation destination for the LGBT community. With its welcoming shores and wealth of activities, its no wonder that many gay and lesbian travellers make Provincetown their first choice as a honeymoon destination.
Provincetown, which got it start as a quiet fishing village in New England, suddenly transited to a ‘Mecca’ for artists, painters and poets in the 1950s and 1960s. The evolution of the town from its early history as a mid-nineteenth century colonial village to its present stature is largely due to the fact that many cultures and groups of people with dynamic backgrounds, orientation and statuses have influenced Provincetown. The presence of the
se factors have in conjunction with larger economic and political forces come together to create a favourite vacation, relaxation or honeymoon destination for the LGBT community.
What makes Provincetown the perfect and ideal location?
Countless LGBT couples have made Provincetown their favorite destination for their honeymoon. Why is this so? In this town, there are events scheduled throughout the year. From the quieter spring and fall seasons with with events such as Cabaret Fest and the Tennessee Williams Festival to the very famous Carnival which is the height of P-town’s summer celebration, there is something to suit all travel tastes. Also the folks in Provincetown observe religiously Holly-Folly, which is the world’s only LGBT’s holiday festival. Provincetown is famous for its drag shows and amazing restaurants, quaint and beautiful guesthouses, and a vibrant local LGBT community that has been there for decades. It is also the perfect place to do nothing at all if you choose and just be you’re your new betrothed. There are tons of charming gay friendly guesthouses and inns, but the Crowne Pointe Inn offers exclusive services and luxurious amenities. Also when in town, the ideal place for your skin treatment should be Shui Spa. They offer an extensive and wide range of body treatment services.
It is quite difficult not to love Provincetown, the location is one that is as inviting as it welcoming to all travelers. Massachusetts was the first state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage and almost instantly, gay wedding bells started ringing in this seaside town. With gay weddings come gay honeymoons and Provincetown was first in line. Here its easy for same-sex couples to fit in, enjoying and celebrating their new love openly and freely. Along with its long history of acceptance, Provincetown has every tourism infrastructure needed to create an ideal romantic vacation. With great dining and classy accommodation options, you can settle in with your new lover and forget the rest of the world.
Accommodations: There is a guesthouse or hotel for every budget. There are small bed and breakfasts or intimate boutique hotels with amenities ranging from indoor saunas, to private decks with amazing views. One of such hotels is the sophisticated Crowne Pointe Inn, which is located just a block off of P-town’s commercial street and is practically close to everything in P-town. At Crowne Pointe, you’ll also find the wonderful Shui Spa. Here you can enjoy the company of your newlywed in their steam room, sauna, and warm mineral soaking tub – perhaps after a relaxing couple’s massage – away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world.
Dining: Finding good food in Provincetown is never a problem. You can easily get really amazing restaurants when you go to the right places. Besides seafood and Portuguese specialties that are readily available, the town offers amazing top notch restaurants, which churn out creative and delicious meals. When in town, be sure to enjoy a meal at The Pointe Restaurant and Wine Lounge serving creative cuisines that celebrates local flavors with its farm to table and pier to plate approach to dining. Its sophisticated dining room is also known as as one of the most romantic spots in town.
Entertainment: Provincetown really goes agog with different forms of entertaining activities, most especially during summer. When you are ready to leave the confines of your hotel room you will have no shortage of entertainment options. From drag show to music acts to top notch Broadway performers, many talented entertainers are attracted to Provincetown and perform for the adoring crowds.
Culture: For a small resort town like Provincetown, there is some unique culture available. Most shops and boutiques are found along Commercial Street which is the main hub of the town running from east to west through the center of town. Along with many world class art galleries these specialty boutique shops provide the perfect mementos to remember a Provincetown honeymoon. When you tire of shopping be sure to catch a show in one of the town’s many theaters. Be sure to enjoy a glass of wine at the Shipwreck Lounge before or after and cuddle up by their fire pit.
Traveling With Pets To Provincetown 29 Jan 2016, 6:37 am
Year after year Provincetown has been named one of the most pet friendly towns in the U.S. Dogs love the freedom found on Provincetown’s year round, off-leash beaches and trails. Pets are also welcome to roam the Province Lands Bike Trail Loop, a 5 ¼ mile trek that begins on Race Point Road and winds through the town’s dunes and forest. In addition, more adventurous pets are welcome to join their owners for whale watch tours, sunset cruises, kayaking, parasailing, a sightseeing trolley, sailing charters and walking tours. If you are traveling to Provincetown with your four legged friends here are some great resources:
The Pilgrim Dog Park www.pilgrimbarkpark.com – Opened in 2008 by the Provincetown Dog Park Association, Inc.,a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Pilgrim Bark Park is located on an acre of land where dogs can run free and socialize off leash. There is a general dog section and a section exclusively for small dogs under 25 pounds. The park is home to many beautiful sculptures and structures donated by local artists.
Provincetown Pet Resort & Supply 79 Shank Painter Road Provincetown www.provincetownpetresort.com – Provincetown Pet Resort is a family owned and operated business offering high quality, convenient doggie daycare, grooming, cage-free dog boarding and cat boarding, and premium pet supplies. This facility was designed especially for your pet’s safety, health, happiness, and comfort. The manager lives on-site and ensures your pet’s safety and security at all times. Your pup will enjoy over 7,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor play areas all under the watchful supervision of the caring, trained staff.
Herring Cove Animal Hospital – 83 Shank Painter Road Provincetown 508-487-6449 This full service Vet is located on Shank Painter Road right next to the pet resort and offers parking.
Turtle Stranding Season Effects Ptown 28 Jan 2016, 12:07 pm
Since the Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary began keeping records
back in the 1980s this is the second worst year on record for
semi-frozen Kemp’s ridley sea turtles washing up on the sand of
Cape Cod Bay. But compared to 2014’s staggering tally of 1,242,
which caught all unawares and overwhelmed, it’s manageable – at
least on this end.
Outside of one 120-turtle day when the first wintery storm hit before Christmas the Sanctuary’s hardened volunteers have tracked the turtles down, collected them and transported them to the New England Aquarium in Quincy for safe-keeping.
Typically the turtles wash up between Dennis and Eastham but due to variable breezes they’ve been found from Sandy Neck to Provincetown this fall
Whales are back! 16 Jan 2014, 11:14 am
TWELVE MILES OFF PROVINCETOWN — The dark waters began to roil. Silently, two black, 70-ton leviathans emerged from the depths of Cape Cod Bay, skimmed the surface, then quickly slipped back into the sea. Scientists in a nearby boat tracked their “fluke prints” — the large surface swirls created from their underwater tail sweeps — but soon lost the watery trail of two of the world’s rarest whales.
For years, scientists have sounded a dirge for the North Atlantic right whale. Its population stalled around 300 in the 1990s, pushing some researchers to make mournful extinction predictions for the mysterious, 45-foot-long creatures that come to feed and frolic every spring off Cape Cod.
Now, the critically endangered population has hit 500 whales, probably for the first time in centuries — a poignant milestone for a marine mammal whose numbers dwindled to perhaps a few dozen after being hunted relentlessly for their oil and baleen from the 11th to the early 20th centuries. Researchers, while joyful, say that number is still tiny — and they remain deeply concerned about recent environmental changes, including global warming, that spell uncertainty for the creatures’ future.
“Five hundred whales make you want to sing,’’ said Charles “Stormy” Mayo, senior scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, which studies the whales. “But you have to hold your breath when you sing. We have a substantially changing ocean. We don’t know what the future holds.”
Last Monday, he and his staff aboard the research vessel Shearwater scanned the horizon for spouts from the whales’ blowholes. An airplane flew transects above, searching for dark shadows in the relatively small bay and radioing their locations to the boat.
Scientists don’t know what a healthy right whale population even looks like, but they suspect it is in the thousands or even tens of thousands. Today, the population is increasing about 2.5 percent a year — far better than the 1990s — but hardly the 6 or 7 percent researchers would like to see.
The reasons for the increase are likely myriad. Ships have slowed down and moved to avoid the creatures. Fishing lines have been developed that allow some whales to avoid being tangled. A number of good feeding years — the animals can consume tiny shrimplike plankton at a rate of 125 pounds an hour — probably helped with a dramatic increase in calves starting around 2001.