2016 First Light Provincetown Performances



Thirsty christmas

Like most holiday weekends, New Year’s Weekend in Provincetown is a blast with plenty of goofiness, fine dining, theater, parties, music…however you take your entertainment, Ptown has something to offer.  If theater/music is your style, here are five exciting performances happening as part of 2016 First Light Provincetown.  You’re gonna want to work one of these into your holiday weekend plan!  The Provincetown Business Guild has a complete list of the 2016 First Light Events here.


Edenville Live, Friday, December 30, Sage Provincetown Inn and Lounge

This duo featuring ethereal vocals and acoustic guitar is a mellow start to the weekend.  The Lounge at the Sage Inn is a great spot to relax and unwind.


Thirsty Burlington’s Christmas Special, Friday, December 30, Crown & Anchor

Legendary Ptown performer Scott Townsend AKA Thirsty Burlington’s got a hot new show just in time for New Year’s!


New Year’s Eve Supper Club with Mary Callanan & Brian Patton, Saturday, December 31, Tin Pan Alley.

For a more intimate atmosphere (there are only 46 seats), Tin Pan Alley offers a specially prepared 4-course meal combined with a show stopping performance by Broadway star Mary Callanan.


Suede in Concert Sunday, January 1, Crown & Anchor

She’s described as Adele meets Diana Krall meets Bette Midler.  She’s a master performer with moxie and an amazing voice.  Simply put, she rocks.


4 Hands, 2 Guys, 1 Piano Sunday, January 1, United Universalist Meeting House

Musicians Paul Biasaccia and John Thomas present a celebration of epic music including Berlin, Gershwin, Joplin, and more.

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Seasonal Givings | Ptown Edition

By December 12, 2016 STAY IN PROVINCETOWN



My parents and in-laws are impossible to shop for.  They don’t need any more ‘stuff’ (as evidenced by the fact that they are constantly trying to downsize by unloading their stuff on our family!).  So recently, I have shifted gears away from object gifts and towards experiences and charitable gifts instead.  Both parents and in-laws help with childcare, house projects, you name it.  So I very much want to find a way to express some tiny fraction of the gratitude we owe them.  Here are three ways to go beyond the box with gifting this year¾all with a decidedly Provincetown flavor of course!


A Gift of Travel

My in-laws love to travel but they never seem to take a break and get away.  This year, my husband and I are treating them to a weekend away as a huge thank you for hours and hours of babysitting, laundry folding, and support they have given us over the past year.  My in-laws are also quite frugal so when they do travel, they rarely treat themselves.  A weekend stay at the Inn would be a total treat.  The Inn’s offseason special “Escape to Provincetown” Two Night Package is perfect.


A Gift of Giving

Provincetown’s non-profit community is robust to say the least and it is easy to find organizations that match a person’s interest.  There are so many to choose from.  I picked a sampling of five nonprofits that run the gamut from arts and culture to community organizations: Twenty Summers (runs the historic Hawthorne Barn), CASAS (Carrie A. Seaman Animal Shelter), Outermost Community Radio (WOMR), AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod, Camp Lightbulb (camp for LGBTQ youth).  You can also check out the Ptown Chamber of Commerce’s list here.


A Gift of Sailing

This one would have to wait until summer (unless of course, you winter in Key West), but why not plan a memorable experience to share with family or friends?  One of my favs is the Schooner Hindu, a beautiful, early 20th century yacht available for daily cruises in the summer or private charters.

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Provincetown’s Holly Folly Weekend December 2-4, 2016



It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  I can hear the carols playing in my head already and it’s not even Thanksgiving.  Many Cape Cod towns have holiday strolls and celebrations in early December (Falmouth, Sandwich, Chatham).  If you are looking for quaint New England Christmas, just stop reading right now and google “Sturbridge Village” or “Strawberry Banke.”  If, however, you get a little giggly and goofy around the holidays, then a December weekend in Ptown will put a twinkle in your eye and a merry smile on your lips enough to last through the rest of 2016.


I’m still reeling (and picking glitter out of my carpet) from some rollicking Halloween festivities.  Any excuse for a costume!  Thankfully, there are plenty of those here in Ptown!  Many of the Holly Folly events are benefits for local organizations.  Click here to visit the Provincetown Business Guild for a more detailed itinerary of each day’s events.  The web listings are a little overwhelming to take in and I’m a planner (plus many of the events require preregistering).  So, for the condensed version, here are my pics for the weekend:



There must be the requisite stroll down Commercial Street to take in the decorations and support local businesses.


Holly Folly Sing-A-Long 

5:30-8:30pm, Friday and Saturday

Porchside Bar, Gifford House Inn

Request your favorite holiday tunes. Never a cover.
TIS the Season Holiday Revue

Doors at 8pm/ Show at 8:30pm

Paramount at the Crown & Anchor

This is a benefit for the Aids Support Group of Cape Cod. Join the finest drag performers in Town for a festive night of holiday cheer!  Hosted by Barbie Que and Anita Cocktail, Featuring: Billie Jean and Tisch DeWilliams


Jingle Bell Run and Champagne Brunch

9:30am–12:30pm, Saturday

I’ll be doning my Santa hat and red knickers for the Jingle Bell run in the morning and then I’ll head to the Crowne & Anchor for the brunch.  Proceeds of the event help to support and sustain PBG LGBTQ Cultural Tourism in Provincetown.


Annual “Souper” Saturday Lunch

11:30am-3:30pm, Saturday

Tin Pan Alley

The Soup Kitchen In Provincetown (SKIP) will host this annual event.  The public is invited to enjoy hearty soups provided by more than two-dozen local restaurants and other businesses. Throughout the event, a variety of soups will be available for a donation of $5 per serving. SKIP merchandise, including mugs, T-shirts and caps, will also be available for purchase.  Live music will be provided by pianist Jim Brosseau and other area performers during the fundraiser.


Boston Gay Men’s Chorus 
8:30pm, Saturday

Town Hall

A great Holly Folly tradition, enjoy the perfect kick-off to the holiday season in Provincetown’s own Grande Dame, Town Hall.  One show only! Tickets are $27 each. Doors open at 7:30pm.


3rd Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Competition
2-5pm, Sunday
Holly Folly Headquarters
Bring your creative skills and holiday spirit to compete for the grand prize in gingerbread house decorating! Teams MUST register in advance to compete and arrive at Holly Folly Headquarters ready to decorate.  Each team gets a prebuilt gingerbread house, icing and piping bag.  Houses will be used as centerpieces at the David Asher Senior Dinner.

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Thanksgiving in Provincetown


Happy Thanksgiving! CP

Looking for something inspiring to do this Thanksgiving (or perhaps looking to avoid unpleasant political discussions)?  Why not come to Ptown?  While the rest of New England is well into drabby and dull season (it really gets brown once all the trees are done with their fall performance), Ptown keeps it festive, colorful, and fun.  With any luck, the weather will still be relatively mild (as it has in past years).


The best part is that you can join us, right here at the inn for Thanksgiving dinner.  The Pointe Restaurant is offering a delicious four-course Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, November 24th from 1-7pm.  Call 508-487-2365 for reservations.  Here are a few other highlights of the holiday weekend to round our your stay:


The Annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument

Wednesday, Nov 23, 5-7pm

Every year, the Pilgrim Monument is lit to commemorate the Pilgrims’ first Landing in America in November of 1620.  Thanksgiving weekend is a fun one in Ptown, with a 5k race and much more going on.  Visit pilgrim-monument.org for more info.


Pilgrim 5K Trot: PAAM Fundraiser

Thursday, Nov 24, 9am

Start your Thanksgiving Day with a 5K race! And best of all, you’ll help raise money for the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.  The route goes from the Sandcastle Resort Club to the PAAM and back to the SRC.  First male and female finishers receive a $100.00 cash prize.  Visit paam.org for more info.


Artisan Holiday Fair

Friday, Nov 25 & Saturday, Nov 26, 10 am–4 pm

Sponsored by the Provincetown Lion’s Club, the New Fine Arts and Craft Show at Provincetown Hall will feature footage of Provincetown from the film “Dad, I Wanna Go Fishing” by Peter Cook.   Visit the Lion’s Club Facebook page for more info.


Drag Bingo Benefit

Friday, Nov 25, 8-10pm

Dress in your best and play to win! Come to this annual Thanksgiving weekend event at the Paramount at the Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial St.  Hosted by Guthrie Brooks.  Paramount is the largest waterfront nightclub in town.  Proceeds benefit the Provincetown Business Guild, Provincetown’s LGBT business organization.  Visit ptown.org for more info.

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Escape to Provincetown this Fall!

By October 17, 2016 STAY IN PROVINCETOWN

Cape COLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAod does fall like nowhere else.  The air is brisk and crystal clear.  I love those cold nights (time to fire up the woodstove) and sunny days¾that fall sunshine warms things up just enough to be outside without a coat.  Ptown is still bustling.  Plenty of people around and things going on and the calendar is still packed with special events, festivals, and more (click here for what’s going on in Ptown this time of year).  But by far, the best thing about Ptown in the offseason (or perhaps ‘shoulder season’ is a more accurate label) are…the sales!!  After the high tourist season, the shopping gets really good as the stores on Commercial Street plan empty their inventory to prepare for next season.
We are running our own “sale” here at the Inn.  Our signature “Escape to the Cape” package starts the beginning of November and runs through May 2017.  This deal is only available in the offseason (not holidays or holiday weekends) and includes accommodations in the Inn, meals (breakfast in bed and dinner at The Pointe Restaurant), and one spa treatment per person at Shui Spa, located right here at the Inn.


You can choose ONE of these one-hour signature Kiehl’s treatments (Note these packages include a total of 2 treatments included per package):

  • a 60 minute Kiehl’s restorative massage (can be couples massage)
  • a 60 minute Kiehl’s facial
  • a 60 minute Kiehl’s manicure/pedicure finishing treatment.


There’s also complimentary wine and cheese every afternoon.  Plus, Shui Spa guests can use Mineral Soaking Tub, Steam Room & Sauna with all treatments.  It’s the perfect way to unwind.  Come and let us pamper your loved one (and you!) this season.  For more info including pricing and room availability, click here.  And we’ll see you this fall!

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5 Reasons To Visit Ptown This Fall



Ahh, September.  Isn’t it glorious?  As a kid, I dreaded Labor Day as it meant the End of Summer.  No more sun splashed adventures.  We had to start wearing shoes again, tucking in shirts, washing our hair and speaking in full sentences.  Oh, yeah, and school.  Ugh.  What a drag.


Cape Codders, however, are programmed in the opposite direction.  We all breathe a huge sigh of relief once Labor Day hits.  We’ve made it through another busy summer tourist season.  And…Jackpot!  The best part of the year is upon us:  September.  It is THE best month on Cape Cod.  By Far.  The weather is perfect.  The crowds are gone (or are much much smaller at any rate).  The place is not the deserted ghost town that it will be come February.  If this isn’t enough to motivate you to plan a fall weekend getaway.  Here are a few more reasons:



Ptown’s Commercial Street is always bustling and the beginning of fall and the approaching off season means one thing: SALES!   Right now is probably a little too early, but soon enough all the shops will be unloading their summer 2016 inventory to prepare for next year.  That means fun, fun, fun for you!



Maybe I’m just getting old or maybe it’s climate change, but man, that July sun is hot.  This time of year, the weather is um, yeah.  It’s perfect.  Sunny, 70s during the day.   Cool at night.   Low humidity.  Perfect beach days.  Oops, I used the word ‘perfect’ three times in this blog post already.  Well, there it is.  You can even venture to the beach without sunscreen and live to tell the tale.



It is no longer high season here in Ptown but that just means there are fewer tourists.  That does NOT mean there is less to do.  The September and October calendars are chock-a-block full with all kinds of festivals, special events, and more.  Check out the Ptown Chamber of Commerce’s Events Calendar or Ptown.org to see what’s happening.


A Lack of Traffic

It is so much easier to get here in the fall.  If you are coming by car, it means less traffic all up and down the Cape and an easier and more enjoyable drive for you.  It also means parking in Ptown is a bit easier.  You can also avoid the traffic issues entirely by taking the fast ferry from Boston, which continues running through October 10.



If there is a slightly less beachy day, head to the East End, check out the galleries and visit the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM).  There are some great things happening this fall including an exhibition of paintings by Edwin Dickinson, one of the founding members of the museum and one of the only artists to live in Ptown year-round in the early 20th century.  Also on view is the museum’s annual 12×12 members’ exhibit and auction¾a great way to acquire some art and support the museum.


So, when should we expect you?



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Dune Tours


“In some pictures of Provincetown the inhabitants are not drawn below the ankles, so much being supposed to be buried in the sand.”

– Henry David Thoreau


Arts 1

Sand.  There’s a lot of it here in Ptown.  If you arrive by car, you will notice it starting to surround you, sneaking in on both sides as you drive further down Route 6.  Roughly one third of the Cape Cod National Seashore is coastal dunes.  That’s about 8500 acres from Chatham to Ptown.


Locals know better than to fight the sand.  It’s inevitable.  It.  Gets.  Everywhere.

But the sand does have its perks.  Without it, what would our coastline be?  Rocky and impassable (I’m looking at you, Maine).  So, we say ‘yes!’ to the sand and you should too.  Simply driving by Ptown’s crazy sand dunes is not enough.  You have to really get out there.  Those silent windswept expanses also offer a welcome bit of peace and quiet¾and quite the contrast¾after the the buzz of Commercial Street.


Two of the best ways to explore the dunes are either by joining a Ranger-led tour through the National Park Service or by hopping aboard one of Art’s Dune Tours.


The NPS tour includes an option that will take you to visit the dune shacks, where artists and writers work in blissful (hopefully) solitude, having left their lives in some other zip code.   Best place to start is at the Province Lands Visitor Center (171 Race Point Road, Hours: daily, May 1 through October 31, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. 508-487-1256).


Having been around since 1946, Art’s Dune Tours are a Ptown institution.  After 70 years, they’ve got this gig down.  You get to pile into an SUV and explore the dunes up close in myriad ways.  Tours have titles like “Land ‘n Lake (includes lunch and kayaking), Land ‘n Sail (includes an afternoon sail), and “Land ‘n Sea” (includes fishing aboard a charter boat).  There is something for everyone¾adults, kids, families, singles (sorry, the pets have to stay behind though).  In September and through the fall, their Sunset Tours are available almost every day (starts at 4:30pm) and includes a traditional New England style Clambake, with alternative food offerings of course.  And I’m pretty sure they don’t mind if you get sand in the car.


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Sharktastic: Sharks on Cape Cod


Dawn at Long Point

Many of us who grew up on Cape Cod have a special place in our hearts for “Jaws,” Steven Spielberg’s late 70s classic thriller about a killer great white shark tormenting an east coast community.  The movie was shot on Martha’s Vineyard and “Amity,” the imagined seaside vacation town in the movie, was based on life here on the Cape and Islands.   The movie, in turn, spawned a new wave of tourism to the area.


Growing up, the great white shark was our monster.  Our shark-filled imaginations tormented us every time we stepped into a body of water, be it stream, marsh, or open sea.  I distinctly remember my best friend asking me—literally every time we set foot in the water—are there sharks here?  Technically, the answer has always been ‘yes.’  Basking sharks and dogfish are common around Cape Cod.  White sharks have always been part of the aquatic ecosystem here¾just not in the numbers we are seeing now.


Over the past decade, the arrival of more and more white sharks to Cape waters has stirred up a mix of excitement, curiosity, and fear.  It is quite the phenomenon.


For scientists, it is a rare opportunity for close observation.  Sharks have often been found in great numbers in other parts of the world.  But is only recently that they have been in the North Atlantic in such high numbers.  The fact that they are following a somewhat predictable pattern makes it enticing for scientists.  They can reliably study these animals for the foreseeable future.


For some, the sharks are a conversation point. For most of us, the main impact has been that occasionally, the beaches are closed.   Rangers patrol the ocean side beaches a little more closely and have been known to call everyone out of the water if a shark is nearby.  Not surprisingly, Cape Codders have jumped at the new eco-tourism boom.  You can find shark themed gifts and t-shirts in almost every shop.  But I do think it also reflects a genuine interest and innate curiosity that we have about these animals.


If you are looking to learn more about the growing White Shark population on Cape Cod, the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy is a great place to start.  The non-profit supports shark research and offers all kinds of educational programs from a “Shark Week” summer camp to boating expeditions.  You can also visit the Chatham Shark Center, the home of the AWSC where you can learn more through their exhibits and programs.  Chatham is the place to be when it comes to white sharks, thanks to the huge grey seal population on Monomoy and the surrounding areas.


The AWSC just launched Sharktivity, a smartphone app that tracks shark sightings and warnings and allows users to submit their own.  I checked it out the other day and I have to say, it’s pretty cool to see all of the recent sightings.  Now, the next time my friend (that same one from childhood) asks that burning question, I can simply take out my phone and check for her.


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Vegan’s Guide to Ptown

By July 29, 2016 FOOD & WINE

Veggie Diet

Eating vegan on Cape Cod can be a challenge.  One of my close friends (we’ll call her ‘S’) is vegan and every time she visits (her father lives in the mid-Cape area), I witness her struggle to find solid, vegan options for herself and her children.  She usually has to carefully plan her day to make sure she can hit up a vegan spot for lunch.  Luckily, S would feel downright pampered with the number of vegan choices in Ptown.  From breakfast to dinner to snacks, desserts, and basic grocery needs (for a longer stay)–you can find it all here.  While I am not vegan, I love variety and I try to eat healthy, so vegan dishes are a regular feature of home cooked meals at my house. I am always on the lookout for restaurants and cafes that go beyond typical Cape Cod fare of fish ‘n chips and clam chowder.  I have noticed that those establishments that cater to vegans often are also pretty innovative in the rest of their menu offerings (an added bonus!).  Below are some of my favs but it is by no means a complete list.


Grab n Go Health Bar
Ask around and you will quickly discover that this small juice bar is every vegan’s first stop.  It has a selection of juices, bottled beverages, smoothies, sandwiches, and snacks.  Staff is friendly and knowledgeable.  But by far, the highlight of this place is the vegan soft serve ice cream. 212 Commercial Street, 508-487-1827.


141 Market (Bradford Natural Market)

The folks behind 141 Market believe in the importance of supporting organic farming methods, sustainable agriculture and ecologically sound land management.  You’ll find a wide variety of wheat-free, gluten-free and other options for those with special dietary needs. The kitchen cooks up ready-to-eat veggie foods for their hot bar as well as sandwiches, soups and home-baked goods with an assortment of GF and vegan desserts.  141 Bradford Street, 508-487-9784.



Fresh off a makeover for 2016 season, Devon’s is a great spot, with vegan options on the dinner, lunch, and breakfast menus.  Highlight are the breakfasts–think vegan French toast, fresh fruit, and granola. 31 Bradford Street, 508-487-4773.


The Pointe

While specializing in local seafood, the Pointe’s focus on fresh ingredients and great taste extends to every offering on their menu.  Vegans in your party will enjoy their seared tofu dish with brown rice and fresh veggies. 82 Bradford Street, 508-487-2365


Big Daddy’s Burritos

Bring the vegans, the meat lovers, and even the dog to this place!  There’s plenty of herbivore-friendly fare and gluten-free choices.  Their signature vegan dish is a saucy tofu burrito; filled with greens, carrots, rice and pan seared marinated organic tofu, with a choice of 4 sumptuous sauces.  The carnitas are popular with the carnivores and for the canines, they have the PAWrito™ (a veterinarian-approved dish deemed safe for dogs accustomed to eating human food).  Aquarium Marketplace, 205-9 Commercial Street, 508-487-4432.



Headed down to the West End of Commercial Street? You can’t pass up Relish with their delicious offering of home baked goods and sandwiches. Oh and they just happen to offer a number of mouth watering vegan, gluten-free and organic options to quench your hunger. 93 Commercial Street, 508-487-8077

Provincetown’s Secret Gardens


Secret Garden Tour

July is a happening month here in Ptown.  The party pretty much doesn’t stop until, well, September?  We just finished up July 4th of course, another memorable parade down.  And the bears have arrived on their yearly migration to town.  Girl Splash is coming, along with Family Week and more.  But I have to be honest, the event I am anxiously awaiting?  Provincetown Art Association and Museum’s annual Secret Garden Tour.

What can I say?  I’m not the party animal I once was (if I ever was one).  And I was brought up by a gardener, who came from a long line of gardeners and farmers.  So I was doomed.

I am a geek when it comes to gardens.  I have rhubarb growing in my vegetable garden that has been in my family for probably about 100 years now and has traveled from house to house to house.  We don’t have heirloom jewelry.  We have heirloom plants.  Every girl’s got her thing, right?  My mom and I have a hard time—a really.  hard.  time—going to a nursery and NOT filling up the entire back of the car with plants.  My mom has started filling up my garden because she’s all out of room at her house.  It’s a problem.  Sort of.

Not Just Another Garden Tour

In the past ten years or so, garden tours suddenly became THE thing.  Like, every single town on Cape Cod had their garden tour.  It has died down a little but for a while, they were popping up like dandelions.  And my mom and I?  We’ve been to many of them.  I wish I could say they were all fabulous.  They weren’t.  Too often, it was a disappointing display of what I call landscaper insta-gardens: the same plants in a different order—hostas, daylilies, hydrangeas, knockout roses.  Yawn.   No offense to you workhorses of the perennial garden, I love you, truly!  But I don’t need to see boring old foundation plantings done by a guy who would rather be mowing.  And I certainly don’t need to PAY to see that.  There are plenty of similar plantings in my own neighborhood.

Thankfully, the PAAM Secret Garden Tour (now in its 19th year!!) is never that.  It is a chance to walk through and enjoy some of the most original, stunning, and immersive gardens on Cape Cod.  Basically like stepping into the pages of Fine Gardening magazine.  In my many visits, I have seen cottage style colors masses pouring over the picket fence of an antique Cape, Asian inspired meditations of green, formal, European style gardens, and a yard full of serious dahlia cultivation.  Often, the houses are open as well⎯double score!  My mark of a good tour?  When I get that feeling that I just want to run home and dig in the soil.

If You Go

  • A hat, sunglasses, and comfortable shoes are basic essentials. You can walk as much or as little as you want, as there are shuttles that take you from garden to garden but inevitably you will be standing and in the sun quite a bit.
  • Don’t miss PAAM’s current exhibit of William Evaul’s white line woodblock prints (your garden tour ticket gets you admission to the Museum).
  • Bring your design enthusiast parent/friend/significant other. They will love you forever.
  • Looking at gardens is like looking at art in a museum—a little goes a long way and it’s exhausting. Sustenance is definitely needed to carry the day, so be sure to stop for lunch (and perhaps bring water and snacks).

Some years are better than others but every year is an inspiration.  I can’t wait to see what this year holds.  Added bonus?  Money from ticket sales supports PAAM, an exciting, locally grounded cultural organization.  For more information visit paam.org.


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