Why I Love…Provincetown

I thought it would be fun to start a regular series of posts about things that I love. This would not only give me a forum to share those things in life I truly enjoy, but also give my readers some further insight into the man behind the computer screen and the novels. It’s my way of trying to bridge the gap between us since most of us only see each other once a year at GRL or other conferences.

So, today, for the premiere post of the “Why I Love…” series, I will be talking about Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Where is Provincetown?

Provincetown is at the tip of Cape Cod, which is the arm like appendage that juts out from the state and into the Atlantic Ocean.


See? Looks like a flexed arm, doesn't it?

See? Looks like a flexed arm, doesn’t it?

It is also the actual site of the Pilgrim’s first landing. It wasn’t Plymouth like many people believe. The Pilgrims, after charting a rather interesting path all around the Cape (which often makes me wonder if someone was steering under the influence), landed in Provincetown but didn’t stay. The soil was not suitable for crops, so they got back on the boat, turned the wheel back over to Captain Drunky McDrunkerson, and then they headed to Plymouth.

Look at the path they took around the cape? Someone was D-R-U-N-K!

Look at the path they took! Someone was D-R-U-N-K!

What’s so great about Provincetown? The Pilgrims Didn’t Want it!

While the Pilgrims may not have found Provincetown sutiable for their needs, there are many reasons why it is one of the best places on this planet. It’s because of the:

  • People
  • Commercial Street
  • Beaches
  • And Parties

The People

The people who reside in Provincetown are perhaps some of the best people I’ve ever met. And it’s not just the year-round residents, who are called Townies, but it’s also the people who visit there every year.

You see, P-town, as those who know her well call her, is a place that knows no stranger. She welcomes you with open arms upon arrival. You truly feel accepted by the men and women who live and visit the tip of the Cape. These people are friends just waiting to be made, and my husband and I have made many life long friends upon her sandy shores. We have been returning to P-town every year for the past seven years, and we were even married there in 2010. Each year, we not only meet up with friends who have become like family, but we also meet new people who join that ever-growing number of friends.

Commercial Street

Commercial Street is always a bevy of activity. There are shops, art galleries, clothing stores, and restaurants. You can spend an entire day just walking up and down this one street, peeking into every store. You can purchase a new wardrobe, a new centerpiece for your table, or a great meal. And at all of these places, you are guaranteed to make at least one friend at each stop. The waiter and shop owners typically remember you and will stop and say hi the next time you run into each other. And, on Commercial Street, you will run into the same people for your entire visit. It makes you feel less like a visitor and more like a Townie.

Commercial Street

A view of Commercial Street

The Beaches

Herring Cove and Race Point are spectacular. Herring Cove has a gentle surf, where you might even spot whales from the beach. Beautiful, rolling dunes surround the beach, and if you walk far enough, you can even find a quiet spot just for you and your loved one. It can be quite romantic.

Families typically gather at Race Point, where the waves are just right for surfing. There’s even a lighthouse, which makes it a great place to sun and picnic on a warm New England day.

The Parties

The biggest and best party is called Tea Dance or just “tea.” They do not serve tea here, well, you could get a Long Island Ice Tea, but if you ask for a cup of tea and some cake, people will look at you as if you are strange.

It’s called tea dance because of the time the dance occurs. It takes place during what is traditionally tea time in England, between the hours of 4-7 p.m. So, there are no tea kettles or finger sandwiches. You will, however, find the pool deck jam packed with half-dressed, hot guys who are all drinking, dancing, and thoroughly enjoying the heck out of each other. Mobs of people usually crowd the Boatslip, where tea is held, and though it can get crowded, it’s rarely that type of crowd that you want to avoid.

Tea Dance at the Boatslip

Tea Dance at the Boatslip

You won’t really find obnoxious people at tea. Sure, there’s some drunk person who might get sick or pass out in one of the bathroom stalls. Yuck, I know. But beyond that, it’s all about dancing and socializing. When tea is done, there’s usually the After Tea dance. And after After Tea, there are the clubs. Some people, like my husband, demand food at some point, so usually after a light dinner, there’s a power nap before it’s club time!

There are so many parties and so many clubs to choose from: the underwear party at Club Purgatory, the Red Party at A-House, the Vault at Large at the Crown and Anchor, or any number other of events occurring at any of the other spots. Here, you don’t run out of things to do. You run out of time to do them all.

So as you can see, Provincetown is not only a place where you make friends, but it’s a place where you can be yourself and enjoy yourself.

Who doesn’t love that?


Prepping for Provincetown

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of the year to once again begin our annual trek to Provincetown, Massachusetts, the land of, uh, milk and honey. This year will mark our sixth consecutive year of summering in Ptown (as it is more commonly called), and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Those of you who have followed my blog know of my love of Ptown. I’ve posted about it here and here, and with just four days till I once again stand on the shores of what I hope to be my future home, it also means that I must begin the arduous task of preparing for my month in Provincetown.

Step #1: Step Up the Work Out

This step actually occurs all year round, but as Ptown draws closer, it’s always a good idea to increase the reps and amp up the cardio. There are plenty of well toned, nicely sculpted bodies parading shirtless down Commercial Street and don’t even get me started on the barely there swimsuits at the pool or beach. In order not to feel too bad about myself, I increase the weights and the reps to help add more definition to what I’ve been working on for the eleven months up to my return. Thankfully, this year we arrive during Bear Week (and I love the bears!) instead of during July 4th, which I lovingly call Twink Week. Since the bears tend to be of heartier fare, it’s a nice way to begin the month vacation and ease my way into the Ptown scene. I always feel petite during Bear Week, so it’s a good ego boost for me. (If you don’t know what I mean by bear, click here for a reference guide).

Step #2: Eat Meat

As part of the slim down and bulk up routine, it’s a good idea to eat meat and abandon the carbs as much as possible before the eventual arrival in Ptown. The added protein helps build muscle while the absence of carbs helps shed some extra body weight. Additionally, if you’re like me and drink more alcohol than you consume food while in Ptown, your body will need the extra sustenance.

Step #3: Dress Like a Straight Boy

During the week before departure, I don’t wear the clothes I’m taking with me because I don’t want to have to do laundry the same day I’m packing for the trip. So, I go to the back of my closet for the loose shirts and open the drawer containing my baggy shorts and don those the entire week up to my flight. The extra fabric is cumbersome; I freely admit that, but the time saved is well worth it.

Step #4: Gather the Gear

Provincetown has many themed weeks and an assortment of parties, so you have to make sure you are adequately prepared for the underwear and leather parties at the various clubs. Different clubs allow different “costumes,” and variety is the spice of life! Beyond the parties, you have to bring comfortably stylish clothes for general exploration of the town, a whole different set for dinner (when it is consumed), a different wardrobe for tea (which is a daily party from 4-7 at the  Boatslip), and then clothes for the clubs at night. That’s a lot of different ensembles, but being prepared is well worth it when you get there and saves you the trouble of buying new clothes when you are there.

Step #5: Play Supermodel

Once all the different outfits have been assembled, it’s important to try them on before you actually get there, so I turn on my favorite iTunes playlist and start the fashion show. It’s a good way to determine whether what looked good last year held the test of time, and what gay boy doesn’t enjoy being the star of his own runway every now and then? Favorite shirts fade or sprout holes, and it’s better to find out before you leave then when you get there and have to scramble for a new look. Last minute costume changes are the worst!

With only four days till my departure, I’m currently at step 3. Steps 4 and 5 will take place on Wednesday and Thursday since my flight to Boston is on Friday. While this week is a lot of prep time, the end result is well worth the labor!

Provincetown in the Winter

As you may have noticed, my blog has been silent for about a week. Life became hectic with final exams and the close of yet another semester. But once grades were finally averaged and submitted, my husband whisked me away to Provincetown, Massachusetts (my birthday gift), and we spent a glorious four day/three night vacation on the tip of Cape Cod, where we stayed at the Carpe Diem (our Ptown B&B of choice) not just because it’s a beautiful bed and breakfast, but because we adore the men–Rainer, Jurgen, and Hans–who run it.

Snow flurries in the Carpe Diem courtyard

Snow flurries in the Carpe Diem courtyard

Relaxing before the fire in our room











Provincetown is the best place on this planet partly because of the people who live there. The townies, which is what the the year round residents of this historical town are called, are warm and inviting. In fact, they give southerners a run for their money in terms of hospitality and congeniality. Their smiles are genuine, and they go out of their way to make visitors and other residents feel welcome. There’s a deep sense of community here far richer than any other place I’ve experienced that make it more than just a town. It’s part of who they are, and it’s fast becoming part of who my husband and I are as well.

You see, we typically visit Provincetown during the summer, but we wanted to experience what Ptown was like in the colder climate of its off season.

Pilgrim Monument lit up like Christmas tree

During the summer, the town is a blur of activity. Barely dressed boys hurry down Commercial Street, dodging not only bicyclists and a bevy of other barely dressed boys but also the never ending cars that insist on driving down the pedestrian clogged one way street. Drag queens and event promoters hawk their shows while zooming down the street on scooters or bikes or simply sashaying about in sequins and big wigs. Restaurants and lodgings are filled to capacity and the dance floors and clubs are packed with sweaty revelers intent on having a good time.

But in the off season, when the majority of the tourists have gone home, Provincetown transforms into something entirely different and just as spectacular. With the coming colder climate, the pace slows, and many don’t venture outdoors. A handful of tourists and townies can be spotted walking up and down Commercial, frequenting the few businesses that remain open in the off season. The drag queens all but vanish, and the shows that once lit up Commercial grow dark. The empty venues are boarded up with signs thanking passersby for a “great season” and promising to see us again in the spring.

Lobster Pot Christmas tree

What was once a bustle of activity four to six months ago no longer exists. It’s almost as if the town has pulled a blanket over itself and settled down for a long Winter nap. But in that quiet, hidden within the folds of that comfortable blanket, resides the true Provincetown.

In the summer, she puts on her make up and does her best to look presentable to those who come and visit her while the sun is out, but when summer sets in Ptown, she casts off her make up, packs up her wigs and flashy outfits, and lets her hair down. She no longer has to put on a show for the year rounders who love her whether she’s all sparkly or not. Provincetown just has to be who she is.

Provincetown Harbor in December

While the town may feel empty, she’s far from it. She’s filled with townies who get together for game nights, pot lucks, and townie gift exchanges for Christmas. The bars, which are filled with dance music in the summer, become quiet social gatherings where people play darts, pool, and ping pong. Laughter and true conversation replace the music, and it’s beat is far sweeter than any remix a DJ could spin. After all, what could be more fun than playing darts with Thirsty Burlington (a Provincetown drag queen) when she’s out of drag and still fabulous? In fact, during the game, Thirsty said, “I’ve never seen a more loving game of darts ever played in my life.” And she was right.

We played darts not to win (even though my team did!). We played darts for the experience, for what we gained from it. It was about being together with our friends and our loved ones. It was about sharing the bond that Provincetown wraps around you when she welcomes you into her loving embrace. It’s about visiting a place that feels like home, that welcomes you as one of her own.

We’ve met more than one person who said they came to Ptown for the summer and never left. I certainly understand that sentiment all too well. So much so that we are in the process of securing property of our own in Provincetown. If we have our way, we’ll become a part of this town that has come to mean so much to us, and we will do her proud once we are official Townies ourselves.

Naturally, we’ll return to Provincetown next summer, and we’ll likely find her all gussied up as we are used to seeing her. But when I see her again, I’ll remember how she embraced me during the cold of December, and it’ll be that embrace I’ll return for. It will be the one I long to feel wrapped around me once again.

Laboring for Provincetown

As my family of five prepares for the relaxing weekend that is Labor Day (yeah right!), I can’t help but think about Provincetown, Massachusetts. (The picture to the left fails to capture its beauty although it makes a good attempt).

For the uninitiated, Provincetown (or Ptown, as those who know her well call her) is a place unparalleled on Earth. When one reaches its shore, either by plane, ferry, or car, the sense of freedom and acceptance one receives here can’t be explained in words. In fact, words are simply not enough. But I will do my best to make my point.

Imagine a place where the stresses and cares of the outside world unfasten themselves from the yoke tied around your neck. Envision a setting where people are friendly and mean it. Picture being in a crowd of people and never once feeling alone.

Many of my non-gay friends often wonder: what’s so special about Provincetown (or Providence-town as many of them call it. Provincetown isn’t Providence, Rhode Island, but few see the difference!)

But I’m eight tracking here.

My non-gay friends cite various paradises they’ve visited. Hawaii. The French Riviera. Costa Rica. The Bahamas. In all those places, they’ve released their stresses, said goodbye to their cares for a few days, and made friends with many happy people.

And I’m happy for them. We all deserve those places.

But for those of us who love someone of the same gender, few places exist where we can truly be free.

I’ve been to Hawaii, Costa Rica, and many places around the world too. The beauties I’ve seen there have truly been exceptional. I certainly don’t deny that. But what my “non-gay” friends have difficulty understanding is that Ptown is where “being gay is normal.” It’s where I can walk hand-in-hand with my husband and kiss him without fear of reprisal. It’s where I meet other gay people like me, who are professional, educated, and just plain fun. In Provincetown, I’ve created so many friendships that I know will truly last a lifetime, despite the distances that may separate us.

So with the coming of Labor Day, which is the last hurrah for Ptown’s tourist season, I think of my friends that I’ve just left and will see again next year. To the Townies who I’ve grown to love–Maria, Michele, Earl, John, Kevin, and Bosco, I look forward to sharing more meals with you next year and probably a few drinks too!

To all my other Ptown friends Mike, Chris, Ron, H.L., Tony, Jerry, John, Gary, Brian, and Mike L., I can’t wait till we trek to tea and spend our days sunning, chatting, and dancing. I’m counting down the days until we are reunited.

And as always, when it happens, it will feel like no time has passed between us at all.

For those who think I’m naive, I know Provincetown isn’t perfect. No place is. But it comes as close to perfect as any place can get. Blemishes exists, but I don’t see them. You always look past the faults of those you love.

And Provincetown, I love you!