After a failed attempt to make it to Provincetown the last time I visited Boston – we missed the ferry by three minutes and ended up whale watching instead, which despite being educational, is not something that not necessarily bears repeating, I was determined to visit this renowned gay enclave on my next visit.
That said visit coincided with Easter and seemed the perfect time to experience one of the most famous gay destinations in New England. Situated on the tip of Cape Cod and home to one of the most Bohemian, laid back lesbian and gay communities in the States Provincetown, or P-Town as it’s known locally, should be in the top ten places that any self-respecting gay man or lesbian should experience. I’ve been to all the usual gay destinations, but it has to be said that there is nowhere that exudes such a unique charm or utter sense of belonging as this small town. Walking down the main street, and there is only one – Commercial Street, is like entering a different world. Initially it jolts the senses as all the men are holding hands together as are the women. Once you become accustomed to the queerness of it all seeing the odd stray straight couple gripping hold of each other for dear life seems out of place.
We were there before P-Town really starts rocking, which is from the end of May til early October, when thousands of queens descend on this gay Mecca for their summer vacation, but that didn’t stop us from squeezing every last ounce of enjoyment from what was on offer.
If you are planning a visit, especially at peak times, then you must sort out your accommodation well in advance as the nineteenth century character of the place has been preserved so, thankfully, there are no high-rise hotels disfiguring the landscape.
What’s available instead is a wide choice of guest houses, offering a personal touch that evades even the most client focused hotels.
We were fortunate enough to stay in the oldest guest house there – The Revere. Renovated to a standard of luxury and comfort that would shame many a five-star hotel, this property boasts eight rooms – all of which have been lovingly restored to their original splendour by owner Gary Palochko. No two rooms are the same ensuring that each has its own unique ambience and is equipped with a state of the art entertainment system.
Gary has managed to achieve the impossible with the Revere – 21st century luxury in a 19th century building of unsurpassable elegance. Not only are the rooms breathtaking but there’s the added bonus of an outside courtyard complete with hot tub. How the summer nights must fly by!
Not surprisingly The Revere is hugely popular, with rooms being particularly hard to come by during peak season, so if you are planning a trip to P-Town this summer you need to book now.
Numerous bars, clubs and restaurants nestle side by side on Commercial Street, jostling for attention and as we were only there for one night it would have been impossible to experience everything that P-Town has to offer.
Choosing one of the many restaurants in which to dine was no easy task but the general consensus of our Bostonian friends was that, with such a limited time, we should book a table at The Mews (429 Commercial Street). Offering a gastronomic experience over two floors we chose to eat in the downstairs restaurant rather than the more informal bistro upstairs. Right decision – the food was exemplary, the service impeccable.
We then weighed up the pros and cons of popping into the A-house (4-6 Masonic Place) for a night-cap. Despite feeling wrecked from the previous night’s excesses we decided to give it a go. Initially, with its décor that screams Captain Birdseye, we exchanged knowing glances that indicated our intention to stay for a swiftie then make for the exit. However we ended up staying til late as it seemed that every gay in the village had descended on this huge gay club to dance the Saturday night away. With three bars, an outside area and a dancefloor you don’t need to be a genius to see why the A House remains such a popular haunt. And after several vodkas the maritime theme became more appealing…funny that!
Before we said our farewells to P-Town the next morning, there was just enough time to have a browse round the many gift shops where you can pick up a whole range of ‘gorgeous things’ that you would be hard pushed to find over here.