A Provincetown Women’s Winter Wonderland
Cape Cod’s legendary lesbian haven is calling, all year long.
Provincetown in the snow.
Heading up the coast of Cape Cod is a like exiting reality and entering a dreamy, queer bizarro world. The narrow Atlantic peninsula— itself shaped like a hook, a flexing arm, a come-hither gesture—invites travelers up the central highway, bay and ocean waves lapping at each side. At last, the highway runs out, and there at the very tip is Provincetown: the LGBTQ capital of New England.
Welcome to the gayest town in America. This little Massachusetts town, layered with history dating back to the 1620 Mayflower landing, is home to more LGBTQ citizens than anywhere else in the country, says the U.S. census.
It gets even better: Provincetown has more lesbian-owned businesses per capita than anywhere on the planet, from inns and eateries; to galleries, boutiques and sailing-charter companies. And along with year-round events and festivals planned by and for queer ladies, 2019 marks 35 years of Provincetown Women’s Week. Mark your calendars for it this October 14-20, when you can also catch the third-annual Bride Pride, the world's largest all-female wedding and renewal ceremony.
Dearest Curve readers: You’re correct to think this place sounds like feminist heaven. Upon arrival, the ocean breeze may even feel like it’s blown off the crusty dust of patriarchy, if only for the precious time you’ll spend here. Indeed, sweet little Provincetown is a haven of LGBTQ enlightenment, with incredible seafood to boot.
Annual Women Of Color Weekend
Image: Lynette Molnar
Many travelers plan getaways up the Cape for fun events and festivals that crop up all year round—like May’s Single Women's Weekend and Memorial Day Women’s Weekend, Women of Color Weekend in June, Girl Splash in July, plus a steady stream of theme weeks. All this on top of fundraisers, drag events, fireworks, dances, and Provincetown Pride. (Visit ptowntourism.com for a year-long calendar.)
Then, on the other hand, is the off-peak season. That’s when winter brings a wonderfully different vibe, one that’s more low-key, affordable, and perhaps more authentically homegrown thanks to fewer tourists. It’s relatively mellow even during the vivacious annual First Light celebration, when P-town rings in the new year. Happening this season from December 28th to January 2nd, there’s a sleigh full of events: like holiday markets, ice skating, live shows (from cabaret to comedy), the dazzling Light Bright Bike Ride down Commercial Street, New Year’s Eve fireworks on the beach, and of course, the fundraising Polar Bear Plunge into Cape Cod Bay on January 1st.
out on the town
image: BRIAN perkins
As First Light festivities wrap in early January, winter serenity emerges across Provincetown. Travelers can find room to stroll, browse, sip, and flirt without lines or crowds, and restore some inner peace. Lodging in a cozy inn summons tranquility, and several lesbian-owned accommodations are perfectly inviting. Many of these guesthouses have happy hours, wine tasting and are centrally located within quarters – perfect for feeling at home, away from home.
Commercial Street is the main drag, and restaurants helmed by gay women abound. Fine dining awaits at an array of restaurants with lively bars, hosting many Women’s Week shows and other year-round performances.
storefront ready for the holidays
As the country’s oldest artist colony, Provincetown’s fine-art galleries are always exhibiting and selling diverse works by local artists. Among these you will find history of American art as seen through the eyes of P-town artists. You’ll also find handmade housewares, leather goods and lighting, often made with reclaimed materials. The culture continues with glimpses of local buccaneer history at the women-run museums. Be sure to check out their active event calendars.
That’s the amazing thing about Provincetown: There’s always something special to do, or some fabulous connection to be made. For a small town, P-town is home to a grand community.
For more info, check out Provincetown’s travel tips ptowntourism.com