A place where everyone is welcome
Folks in the New York/New Jersey metro area are what card players used to call “sitting in the cat bird seat.”
Simply translated, it means that you are in a position that can’t lose.
Jumping in a car, bus, or train opens up myriad destinations for vacations, weekend getaways and terrific down time. While most such destinations are acutely aware that their livelihood comes from making guests feel comfortable and at home, there are a few others that take that to a science.
Sitting on the northern tip of The Cape lies Provincetown, MA (P-Town to locals and frequent visitors), and it could be the poster child for a destination that is welcoming to all, where no matter who or what you are, you’ll feel relaxed and at home. P-Town has a reputation for being a major destination for the LGBT crowd and the rainbow flags that abound, hanging from virtually every inn, boutique, and eatery immediately declare its openness. That being said, a straight man or woman or a straight couple will never feel out of place. The flags are not a statement of militancy but rather simply say “All are welcome.”
The Crowne Pointe Inn
The Crowne Pointe Inn at the peak of a rise in town is one such place. The Stars and Stripes fly proudly on the pole near the entrance, just above a Rainbow flag. No one here asks what you are. Simply produce your ID and a credit card for your costs and you are in for an incomparable stay.
The inn is a historic building and was originally the home of a Massachusetts sea captain. The accommodations are first tier and in a town where parking is at a premium, Crowne Pointe offers free parking for guests. Its location also provides some quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of P-Town.
Every evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. guests enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese hour at the inn’s swimming pool. It’s a great opportunity for arrivals to relax after a drive, and for those who have been there for a while to meet and greet fellow guests. The conversation, in these days and times, manages to stay away from politics and religion while each has an opportunity to get to know the other. Two gentlemen there on an annual visit to celebrate their 11th anniversary, chatted with another couple about the town, where to eat and what activities were available. While Crowne Pointe has an exceptional restaurant, they recommended a nearby seafood eatery that offered fresh caught fish prepared by an amazing chef.
The inn-house amenities are impressive
The inn includes breakfast for guests, but not the usual bagel, muffin, and coffee. The chef takes orders, you are handed a plastic lobster, and when it begins flashing like a landing UFO, your meal is ready to be picked up. If breakfast is out of the ordinary, make sure you have a reservation for dinner. Although the menu is well short of that at a greek diner, there are ample choices of items that match the better urban restaurants.
While there, check out the spa for a relaxing massage. There’s also a hot tub for easing those tired and tight muscles.
One caveat at Crowne Pointe is that it is restricted to adults only. That truly mitigates problems other resorts face with kids running around and possibly ruining the ambiance for other guests.
Crowne Pointe is within easy walking distance of almost everything in the town, except perhaps attractions at the far end. That being said, be aware that parking regulations are strictly enforced and the local police have their pens at the ready to write $35 parking tickets for violators, especially on Commerce Street, the main drag. There are parking lots at either end of town, but that will still mean walking.
Shopping, Eating, and Sightseeing around Provincetown
Commerce Street has what seems to be an unending variety of boutiques offering everything from clothing to crafts. Prices are what you’d expect in a resort town. They aren’t inexpensive, but at the same time they are not beyond reason. It is a great walking street for window shopping, stopping in the boutiques, and snacking in the little eateries along the way.
There are pedicabs that travel throughout town and they have a unique pricing system. One pedicab peddler was asked what his fee was. His response: “Whatever you’d like to pay.” That puts a bit of pressure on a passenger.
Whale Watching is a must!
In P-Town don’t miss the whale watching cruises that sail from mid-town. They head far enough out into the water to a point where you can see the Boston skyline and enough whales for a memorable trip. The guides on the boat are exceptionally knowledgeable about the giant mammals and seem to have an almost symbiotic relationship with them. Each whale has a name and is easily identifiable to those who study such things by the shape and coloring of its fluke. The fluke is the tail and is the last thing to go underwater as the giant beast submerges.
On one such cruise both a mother and calf were frequently spotted sounding (surfacing and then diving as they spout), accompanied by four other identifiable whales. It was almost as though the boat had radioed ahead and cued the whales that sightseers were on the way.
The Cape is a bit too far for a day tripper, and even for a weekend. But, if you can spare an extra day or two, it is well worth the drive.