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Provincetown

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Ages:Adults
In/Outdoor:Indoor, Outdoor
Cost:$$$
Category:Daytrips
Other Ideas: Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art; Mystic Seaport; Mystic Aquarium; Old Sturbridge Village; Children's Museum of New Hampshire

Beginning early each summer, excitement virtually lights up Provincetown, from the arts to the club scenes, and everything in between. In August, that excitement reaches critical mass. The tipping point is surely Carnival Week, Aug. 18-21, with its world-famous, outrageously wild parade on Aug. 21, but all month long Provincetown erupts into one hot festival of things to do.

Check out the Provincetown Event Finder for fun things to see & do all season.

Cultural Events:
Every Friday evening new art shows open in the galleries, mostly clustered in the townís East End. Check out the Gallery Guide in the Arts & Entertainment section of the 'Provincetown Banner' for whatís opening, whatís running and where itís all happening.

Also located in the A&E pages of 'the Banner' are listings for readings by major authors and poets and art talks by major visual artists. A few hot places for readings are the Fine Arts Work Center (24 Pearl St., 508-487-9969, fawc.org), Castle Hill Center for the Arts (www.castlehill.org, 508-349-7511) in the neighboring town of Truro and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (460 Commercial St., www.paam.org), but donít miss whatís going on at various galleries, bookstores and public libraries here in town as well as in nearby Truro and Wellfleet.

Provincetown Club Scene:
The clubs, too, are exploding with entertainment these days, featuring cabaret and jazz performers, drag shows and the latest deejayís spinning the cha-cha palaces. To name just a few venues, some hot sites to check out are the The Alibi (291 Commercial St., 508-487-2890) for its Size Queens drag show and great cocktails; The Atlantic House (6 Masonic Place, 508-498-3821) for dancing and its bevy of drag lovelies in the Legends Show; Estherís (186 Commercial St., 508-487-7555) for great meals, al fresco dining and fine vocalists; Vixen (336 Commercial St., 508-487-6424) for great dance music at a womenís gathering spot; and the Crown & Anchor (247 Commercial St. 508-487-1430) for a whole lot of everything.

Seaside Activities:
As one of the two largest natural harbors on the U.S. east coast, Provincetown Harbor is one of the true wonders of the world. Take a sunset cruise on a sailing schooner or set off on a whale watch from Macmillan Pier. Rent a kayak or sailboat, or sign on for a fishing excursion.

At times even the whales come to see what Provincetown Harbor looks like. All summer, the National Seashore offers to an amazing array of activities from hiking and canoeing trips to campfire singalongs and guided history and nature walks and bike trails. And, of course, miles of pristine beaches to be enjoyed just a short walk, bike or shuttle bus ride from the center of town.

Brief History of Provincetown:
The first landing site of the Pilgrims in 1620, Provincetown was a key fishing and whaling center in the 1800s, attracting a large Portuguese population. In the early 20th century, the town's popularity soared with artists, writers, and free thinkers; Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams, and Edward Hopper are only a few of those who lived and worked in this artist enclave.

In the 1960s and 70s, Provincetown's tradition of tolerance and open-mindedness began to attract the gay community, who now fill the town to its rim in summer.

Around the same time P-town began to become popular with the gay & lesbian community, the government created the National Seashore, which protects two-thirds of Provincetown from development, making for fabulous stretches of pristine beaches just steps from the town's trendy restaurants, shops, galleries, and clubs.

Dining options and summertime rates for accommodations are on the pricey side in the summertime, which make it a better daytrip option for the family.

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www.provincetown.com

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Cape Cod

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