When Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage ten years ago in 2004, Chris McCary and John Sullivan left their home in Alabama for Provincetown, planning to be among those in line for a marriage license on May 17. From Boston, they drove to the tip of Cape Cod and arrived just as the day’s first light washed over the blue waters and white clapboard houses of Provincetown harbor, where nearly 400 years earlier the Mayflower Pilgrims first landed in the New World, also seeking freedom.
This spring, Provincetown will commemorate a decade of marriage equality with a number of celebrations throughout the month of May, adding to the appeal of visiting this seaside destination before the summer fun heats up. Spring means warming sands, stunning sunsets, and leisurely strolls along Commercial Street. The town’s award-winning accommodations offer attractive prices, and guests are treated like locals as Ptown’s renowned shops, galleries and restaurants open their doors to the sidewalks to welcome visitors.
These are just a few of the reasons that Provincetown was recently rated one of the ten happiest seaside towns in America for 2014 by Costal Living magazine, adding to a long list of accolades in 2013, when Fodor’s Travel, Smithsonian Magazine and others named Ptown one of America’s 10 Best Small Towns to visit, and Travel and Leisure called it one of ‘America’s Most Romantic’ destinations.
“As towns across America start to look more and more alike, Provincetown has retained its authentic personality and world-class seaside charm,” said Anthony Fuccillo, Provinctown’s Director of Tourism.
None of this is news to the LGBT community, which annually ranks Ptown a top destination for gay men and women, who love the town’s accepting atmosphere, variety of theme weekends and celebrations, and the quiet natural beauty of its rugged dunes and tranquil beaches.
Everyone from wedding planners to photographers relishes Provincetown’s picturesque seascapes, dramatic coastal light and seemingly endless supply of unique character. And when last of the Cape’s sunshine has melted into the sea, Provincetown’s legendary nightlife takes center stage, with music and entertainment for every taste and persuasion.
Following a full slate of May celebrations, highlighted by Women’s Weekend, May 16-18, summer in Ptown officially kicks off with Memorial Day weekend, which has become one of Provincetown’s best LGBT holidays, blending the feel of a hot summertime party with spring’s relaxed vibe.
From there it’s all fun in Provincetown, with the International Film Festival in June, one of the East Coast’s best Independence Day parties on July 4th, Bear Week beginning on July 12, and Girl Splash from the 22-26. Those looking for a different kind of pulse-pounding experience can join the Outriders Boston to Providence Bike Race on June 21. To cap things off in August, Carnival is the LBGT event of the summer, an extravaganza nonpareil, unmatched in its mix of outrageous fun and true celebration of individuality.
As August fades and most vacation destinations are shuttering their windows, Provincetown rolls out a ‘Second Summer’ of diverse events. October is an LGBT favorite. Mates Leather Weekend, Women’s Week and Fantasia Fair lead up to one of the nation’s best Halloween festivals, which lasts for days and sees some of the best costumes and costume parties in the world, period. Halloween coincides with Spooky Bear Weekend, a four-day festival that is way more fun than fright!
The holidays round out the year, and New Year’s Eve is a favorite among both locals and loyal visitors alike. Provincetown’s restaurants serve up inventive local twists on classic Cape Cod fare, and the shows and parties sizzle at the town’s many bars and clubs.
Following the New Year, there is perhaps no better place to get snowbound and enjoy a little romance next to the fire than in Provincetown, which offers intimate weekend escapes, especially for Valentine’s Day.
America’s First Destination indeed!
For more information, please visit ptowntourism.com. And be sure to download the iPtown App, complete with a directory of town businesses and attractions, and a calendar of the year’s festivals events. Available on both iTunes and Google Play.