Last week I had the chance to spend a few nights in Provincetown, MA and, despite some grey, wet weather, managed to walk miles and have a great time. I wrote about my public transportation journey to the Cape recently and invite you to read that post if only to learn about the $13 train ride to Boston I took. Yes, $13.
I stayed with friends on Commercial Street, in the East End, and the location was wonderful. The property faced the bay and both sunrise and sunset could be observed from our deck and I did catch one fantastic sunrise during my stay. The area was completely walkable for me and I was thrilled to not have to deal with my car. Parking is at a premium for sure.
Beyond some shopping (as always, at Utilities), lots of walking (30,000+ steps one particular day!), reading and eating, I didn’t do much. It was lovely.
A couple of the spots I hit while in Provincetown are offered below. In all honesty, I didn’t have a bad morsel of food during my stay. If you’re heading out that way, consider adding some of these to your itinerary.
Early in the day sort of places:
The Portuguese Bakery opens at 8:00. Roll in at 8:15 and the first malasada of the day will be coming out of their oil bath and being tossed in granular sugar before being placed in a paper bag which will become almost immediately translucent. I don’t really eat donuts, but damn it – when you’re in Provincetown, have one. Or two. No judgment here.
The East End Market is an upscale-ish market with prepared foods perfect for picnics, a selection of wines and small batch local liquors, along with a menu of items cooked to order. Stop in for snacks and grab a linguica sausage, egg and cheddar sandwich on a Portuguese roll for breakfast. That’s efficiency right there, folks.
Sidebar: I’ve heard the breakfast sandwich at Far Land Provisions is also pretty righteous. Let me know what you think.
It isn’t often that I order a tuna melt, but it was one of my finest getaway decisions while at Cafe Heaven, where I had lunch one early afternoon. Paired with a bracing and delicious Bloody Mary, it was the perfect Provincetown welcome. Don’t miss the pickles.
Later in the day spots:
We had a wonderful dinner at Stranger’s and Saints on Sunday evening and, unlike last year, I can actually remember some of what we ate. Our party of four had an array of plates, all served with impeccable pacing and family style in the center of our cozy table. Highlights included the Olive Oil Poached Shrimp which inspired us to request more bread for dunking in the luscious pool which surrounded the perfectly cooked shrimp and the Roasted Eggplant Pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, Moroccan parsley lemon pesto and annatto oil.
Incidentally, I didn’t know what annatto oil was, other than delicious, until just a moment ago. Read here if you happen to be similarly ignorant. Also, be smart and make a reservation for this restaurant, as well as the others I’ll mention. It’s a small town and, during season, it’s very busy. Like so many other places, Provincetown is experiencing staffing issues and many businesses, including restaurants, are working with significantly smaller staffs than usual.
If happy hour and shellfish happen to be your thing, no place will make you happier than Victor’s. From 3-5 pm, Wellfleet oysters, little neck clams and delightfully firm and chilled shrimp are all available at $1.25 an item. Go with friends, order a couple of dozen of each and a cocktail or two, and your evening (or pre-dinner siesta, as the case may be) will be off to a wonderful start. Consider some house-made potato chips if you’re feeling the need for some crunch.
I’ve been interested in trying Sal’s Place for at least three years and I finally bit the bullet and accepted the table for one they had available at 5:30. I’m happy to say that despite the early bird hour of my meal, I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience. For the second time in 2022, I had excellent clams and spaghetti, a feat I don’t take for granted in a world with a lot of mediocre pasta/shellfish combinations. The dining room and service were also both lovely.
Despite the limited time I had in Provincetown, I managed to have ice cream on four occasions – which translates to daily. Each and every scoop came from Lewis Brothers, conveniently located on Commercial Street in the center of town. Sometimes the line can be long, but it always moves quickly and you can use your time trying to decide which flavor you going to order. I particularly enjoyed the ginger, but each spoonful I consumed was delicious.
When I wasn’t eating, I was walking. This visit finally gave me the chance to explore Long Point, something I’ve been curious to do for some time. While I limited myself to the nearer of the two lighthouses, I still felt isolated enough for a quick dip in the ocean sans suit. It wasn’t a particularly sunny day, but after the long jetty walk, I needed a refresher. Now that I’ve been there once, next time I’ll pack some food and drinks and make a day of it. Perhaps, I’ll even take the boat from town one way to experience the view from the water.
Provincetown is a colorful, lively place with lots of nighttime excitement to be had. I know a lot of people who go there for tea dances and late night reveling, but my trip wasn’t about that. For me, it was a destination that promised good food, beautiful scenery and fun with friends. It did not disappoint.