Congratulations, you’ve got (digital) mail in the form of this postcard from Provincetown! Ever heard of it? If you make a muscle with one of your arms, the part from your elbow to your fist approximates the general shape of the area known as the Outer Cape of Cape Cod. Your curled fingers also morph into a rough outline of the tip of the Cape, known as Provincetown. This is where the Pilgrims first landed when they arrived in the New World.
That was 1620. It’s so much easier to land here now, thanks to the fast ferry service from Boston and charter flights out of Logan Airport. Plenty of people still hop on a bus or drive the distance, knowing they have a second homeowner’s driveway or a vacation rental that includes parking. With good reason, because Provincetown, usually referred to as Ptown, “ranks among the world’s great seaside vacation destinations.” It also features a well-established LGBTQ+ community that will nourish your mind, body, and soul.
Everything from tea dances to drag karaoke to live theatre, the nightly entertainment options offer something for everyone. Throughout the year, there’s also a jazz festival, a dance festival, and an international film festival. When it comes to food and drink, your thirst and appetite will want for naught. And as the oldest continuous art colony in America, galleries galore will dazzle your eyes and impart memorable aesthetic pleasure.
Highlights from this summer’s annual getaway included an evening with Tony Award winner and Broadway star Beth Leavel. The woman truly is a triple threat; she can sing, dance, and act! Accompanied by pianist and writer Seth Rudetsky, their show brought so much laughter, hope, and joy. To wit, Leavel is already gearing up to star in next summer’s musical theater premiere of The Devil Wears Prada. With music by Elton John, the show opens in Chicago next year.
— broadway.com (@broadwaycom) January 14, 2021
After a leisurely Monday strolling along Commercial Street and soaking up the Ptown lifestyle, Tuesday was a glorious beach day. Ptown’s two main beaches are Herring Cove and Race Point, both part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. Herring Cove is an easy bike ride or a moderate walk past the west end of town, and my partner and I were on foot.
Packing no more than a couple of towels and some sunscreen, I welcomed the warm sand in between my toes. The exquisite beauty of the dunes in all directions is breathtaking; the lighthouses are reassuring. Of course, Herring Cove overlooks Cape Cod Bay, so the water is gentler on this side. At Race Point Beach, expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean await the more adventurous beachgoer. Just know that high surf advisory and rip tide warnings are not uncommon.
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Later in the week, I reserved tickets for an event at East End Books. As one of many LGBTQ+ writers who lives in Ptown, Andrew Sullivan can readily do a reading overlooking the harbor. And he did, choosing several essays from his new book Out On a Limb, featuring his selected writing from 1989 to 2021. He welcomed discussion from the audience and signed books afterward, as the sunset on another gorgeous day.
As the week ended, what I thought about most while contemplating this postcard from Provincetown is the area’s magnificent vibrancy. Its mix of global cuisine, sophisticated art scene, and everyone’s relaxed mien make it an obvious summer travel spot for the queer community. While many businesses do close or reduce hours during the fall and winter months, advance planning for a warm-weather escape in Ptown is the best kind of self-care I can think of.
We will all travel again, and perhaps someday soon we’ll meet in Ptown. Either way, a postcard from Provincetown is the next best thing.
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