Provincetown: Traveler's Tips
By Neal Broverman
PACKING FOR PROVINCETOWN
If you’re visiting Ptown during the regular travel season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the weather could be glorious — or resemble Seattle in November. You can still have fun in the rain, as long as you prepare for it. You should bring:
Umbrella. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but in New England, the weather is never a given.
Light jacket or sweater. If it’s raining in Ptown, it’s likely chilly, too. Walking out of Monkey Bar on a cold night in a tank top is an unpleasant way to lose your buzz.
Nice shirt, jacket, or dress. There are plenty of beautiful restaurants in Ptown — Victor’s and The Red Inn, come to mind — where a t-shirt just won’t do. Or just buy a new one at Item, a clothing store on Commercial Street. Owner Mark Ferrari has assembled a tasteful collection of New England-inspired beach wear, with everything from polos festooned with tiny anchors to windbreakers that JFK might have worn.
Comfortable sneakers. You’ll be walking and biking a lot. Capetip Sportswear is a good spot to find a fresh pair.
Bathing suit. The ocean is right outside and even if it’s too chilly to dive in, you’ll probably get invited to a pool party. If you forget one, swing by BodyBody, another Commercial Street haberdashery.
GETTING TO PROVINCETOWN
By plane. The closest major airport to Provincetown is Logan International Airport in Boston, where direct flights are available from virtually all large American cities and most U.S. airlines. The city of Provincetown can also be reached directly by airplane via the Provincetown Municipal Airport, with flights from Logan for about under $300 roundtrip (we didn't say it was cheap).
By ferry. Skip the traffic and take a ferry from downtown Boston. Boston Harbor Cruises, departing from Boston's Long Wharf, offers three departures Thursdays through Sundays at the height of the season. Tickets cost $53 one/way and $85 roundtrip; the "fast ferry" gets you to the center of Provincetown in 90 minutes. The Bay State Cruise Company, departing from 200 Seaport Boulevard in Boston, also offers fast ferry service for the same price at BHC, as well as a slower ferry service that costs about half as much but takes three hours.
By train/bus. The new CapeFLYER train will get you from Boston's South Station to Hyannis for $20 one/way or $35 roundtrip, where a transfer to two buses via Cape Cod RTA is required to reach Ptown. The Flyer train also allows bikes, so you can cycle the 47 miles from Hyannis to Ptown if you're feeling adventurous.
By car. Renting a car is always an option in Boston, but the traffic can be tricky. If the roads are clear, it will take about two hours to get to Provincetown via Route 6.
GETTING AROUND PROVINCETOWN
At only 17.5 square miles, Ptown is a place to ditch the car and work off all that lobster bisque by walking or cycling. But there are options if you can’t leave your wheels behind.
By foot. The cheapest way to explore Provincetown, walking is definitely a viable transportation option while in town.
By bike. The distance between the gallery district in the east end and the quiet, beautiful west end can be a bit of a stroll. Stop by Ptown Bikes and rent one of their hundreds of bikes to make it easier; owner Bill Meadows will hook you up with the perfect wheels. Provincetown also has a gorgeous bike trail that's worth your time.
By taxi. Taxi service is available for those who need it: hit up P-town taxi service if you need a lift.
Bike the trail. "The recently renovated National Seashore Bike Trails, particularly the Province Lands Trail, provide unparalleled biking adventures," according to Provincetown's tourism site. "The spectacular views of dunes, forest, ponds, and the ocean along the way are a great bonus."
Whale watching. A favorite activity of most Ptown visitors is seeing Moby Dick's descendents flip around for your pleasure. Tickets are about $44 a head.
Kick up your heels. Meet some like-minded folks at good-time watering holes like Shipwreck Lounge and Monkey Bar. You can always have a quiet (or not-so-quiet) night in with your husband, wife, partner, or friends: stop by Perry's Wine & Liquors, grab a few bottles, some cheese, and retire to your room.