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Exclusive | Provincetown: Gay Life

Exclusive | Provincetown: Gay Life

It's hard not to love Provincetown, or P-town as anyone who has been there calls it. Great New England cuisine, sunny beaches and thriving seasonal nightlife attract a diverse, friendly range of queer folks from every walk of life.

Peacefully sharing the charming, pedestrian-dominated main street are drag queens, families with baby strollers, muscle boys, awe-struck lesbians from middle America sporting pink-triangle earrings and rainbow T-shirts, teen skateboarders and others.

The day-trippers disappear with the last ferry out of town, leaving P-town with a gay majority at night. The social schedule here runs like clockwork in the summer. The whole town seems to come together for T-dance at the Boatslip every afternoon from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., migrating to after-T at The Pied from 6:30 to 9 p.m., and then dispersing for dinner. Those who aren't ready for bed when the bars and clubs close at 1 a.m., head to Spiritus Pizza and hang out, spilling into the street and slowing traffic. This is the moment to hit on that guy or gal you saw at the gym in the morning (and most likely at the bar you just came from -- P-town is that small). It's a fun summer ritual, easy to repeat daily, but not essential to enjoying this definitively gay destination.

P-town is increasingly becoming a year-round resort, with more and more guesthouses, restaurants and stores staying open into or through the winter months, and also a more eclectic crop of visitors frequenting the town, gay and straight. Although choices become somewhat limited from about January through April or May, lots of couples come to enjoy sweat-shirted walks on the beach and snuggling by a real wood fire. The town is at its busiest during the summer, with mid-June through September offering the best weather. Provincetown hosts a small, but popular Film Festival (mid-June; 508-487-FILM), which will return for its eleventh incarnation in 2009. Mid- to late August brings Carnival (Provincetown Business Guild: 800-637-8696), one of P-town's busiest weeks.

Although the social activities begin to slow after Labor Day, early fall offers great bargains in accommodations and shopping, and often Indian Summer temperatures. September is a wonderful time to enjoy Provincetown, with more manageable crowds, long, warm days and cooler evenings. A number of post-Labor-Day events keep P-town hopping. The Fantasia Fair, held in October, is the longest-standing transgender educational event in the world.

October also brings the Mates Leather Weekend with assorted leather events and the annual Women's Week. Meet Your Man Weekend is usually held around Veterans Day. P-town's annual gay and lesbian holiday festival, Holly Folly, is always the first weekend in December and locals claim it's one of the best events of the year.

On New Year's Eve, a popular night, bars stay open an extra hour (until 2 a.m.) and the guesthouses, particularly those with fireplaces, fill up early. It's a fun environment with the added bonus that it's easy to walk home no matter where you stay. So uncork that second bottle of bubbly! Take your "gaybies" to Provincetown's annual (and adorable) Gay and Lesbian Family Week, typically held in late July. In September, stoic and sturdy swimmers complete the Provincetown Harbor Swim for Life, a community benefit to raise money for AIDS, women's health, and youth causes.

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

Related Articles:
Provincetown: Introduction
Provincetown: Where to Stay
Provincetown: Where to Eat
Provincetown: Where to Play
Provincetown: What to See & Do
Provincetown: Where to Shop
Provincetown: Artistic/Cultural
Provincetown: Resources

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