STAY Crowne Pointe (82 Bradford St; 508-487-6707 or 877-276-9631; $109+)
This gleaming Victorian boasts 40 luxury rooms, suites and apartments. Several gloriously renovated buildings cluster around a sunning area with two Jacuzzis and a heated pool. Full hot breakfasts are cooked daily by the owner's mom. Mom also bakes cookies afternoons! The delights of this venue, with its on-site spa, have tempted in Eartha Kitt and Cyndi Lauper. Reserve well in advance. Mixed clientele. A spa with indoor steam room, sauna and mineral bath opened in April 2004. Massages, facials, wraps, manicures and pedicures are all on the menu.
Fairbanks Inn (90 Bradford St; 800-324-7265 or 508-487-0386; $120+)
An exceptional, lovingly restored and maintained 200-year-old Captain's house, which was also once home to a bank. You can bank on falling in love with its romantic and historic atmosphere. The choice of authentic period furnishings and modern accents are exquisite (the broad floorboards were formerly the decks of ship). There are attractive, more modern cottage accommodations on the property, too, which have their own decks. You might also enjoy a snooze in the garden's hammock. 2005 saw two new women owners at the helm and the property continues to improve under their loving care.
Gabriel's (104 Bradford St; 800-969-2643 or 508-487-3232; $125+)
This playful 23-room property is immensely popular. There have been incredible renovations including remote-controlled skylights, Ethernet connections and lovely new fireplaces. In addition to the leafy sundeck that bridges all four buildings, there are two hot tubs, steam room, sauna and small workout rooms. Fax and computer facilities are available. Rooms themed to noteworthy women such as Isadora Duncan and Alice Walker. Men and pets (who get on with the house canines) are welcomed.
Spiritus Pizza (190 Commercial St; 508-487-2808) This is the town's social hub. Grab a slice, an iced tea or ice cream and sit on the steps or bench outside and watch the parade go by. Or gather from about 12.45 a.m. to watch the drunken post-bar crowd grow. More fun than late-night TV.
Front Street (230 Commercial; 508-487-9715; $18-33) Continental cuisine with seating in wood paneled booths. An old favorite, Front Street and its friendly hosts and partners Donna and Kathy offer delightful food and an extensive wine list; unfortunately, the charming, romantic, wood-paneled basement can be too crowded in-season.
Lorraine's (133 Commercial St; 508-487-6074; $16-$26) is a local favorite, a chef-owned, warm and welcoming bistro with a modern, surprising and delightful Mexican-flavored menu and a habanero-hot tequila menu. Lorraine's peppers up Maryland crab and practices some mesquite magic on lamb.
Joe's Coffee and Espresso (148A Commercial St; 508-487-6656)
Sit and enjoy the parade of tipsy women, leather types, drag queens, and muscle boys who march to The Pied en masse starting at 6:31 p.m.
Bars The Pied (193a Commercial St; 508-487-1527)
The Pied is a harborside dance bar with beachfront deck. It may cost to get in, depending on the weekend, and drink prices can be exorbitant. Their "After-Tea T-Dance" attracts mostly men. From 10 p.m., however, May-October, the balance shifts and women fill up the bar and deck. Friday night Girlpower parties (www.girlpowerptown.com) are big nights in town.
Chaser's (293 Commercial St; 508-487-7200)
This neighborhood dance bar offers karaoke shows and dancing in a casual subterranean environment for women and their friends.
Clubs Vixen (336 Commercial St; 508-487-6424)
Vixen is the town's hopping club and performance space for women. New owners took over for the 2004 season. Tastefully decorated, a comfortable front-lounge bar is supplemented by an espresso bar, pool table and sitting area. The back area has dance floor and lengthy bar. Fun and danceable tunes. Each night boasts a slightly different theme. The diverse clientele includes some men, girl jocks, women of color, glamazons, and everyone in between. Vixen also draws fine talent to its cabaret, comedy and musical shows, from Catie Curtis to Kate Clinton. In 2006, they added wine bar Bacchanal and club Madeira Room.
EXTRA Sex Wild Hearts (244 Commercial St; 508-487-8933)
has a complete stock of toys to help while away the hours till the next T-Dance. Open late in-season.
Stores Womencrafts (376 Commercial St; 508-487-2501)
represents more than 50 women artists and artisans. Stock up on jewelry, pottery, sculpture, photography and artwork, or browse their hundreds of feminist books, CDs and videos.
Herring Cove (bikes, walk-ins $3, cars $10)
Hit the beach (at the west end of town) and head left to the sandier women's section. Though you'd probably not guess, nude and topless sunning is illegal.