The P-Town Second Summer Is Calling


If you haven't heard, Provincetown, or P-Town as locals and returning visitors lovingly call it, may be the best summer vacation spot in the country. Almost an island to its own, the dreamy getaway town lives at the intersection of the tip of Cape Cod and the enchanting sea that drifts into the horizon – where summer chases golden light into waning autumn color.

Provincetown has everything for adventurous travelers: A bevy of beaches and parks, art galleries and boutique shops, fine dining and quick bites. In addition to being a premier LGBTQ+ destination, it's a veritable enclave of artists with a rich history of education and showcase for its renowned art. And the best part? The summer never ends in this coastal dreamscape with its rejoining Second Summer, a cavalcade of festivals that will keep you in a summer revelry long past Labor Day.

Tennessee Williams Theater Festival

With September around the corner, you'll want to settle into a cozy seat at the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience that celebrates all things Tennessee Williams. The prolific playwright, known for American theater staples such as "The Glass Menagerie" and "A Streetcar Named Desire," stayed in Provincetown for a number of summers in the 1940s, and this festival aims to celebrate his timeless contributions to not only theater but also the human condition.

This year's 17th season theme – Tutti Frutti Tennessee Williams, meaning all flavors of Williams – is the first since 2006 to explore only his work. A queer man himself, the themes in his plays expose Americana and what he called "the strange, the crazed, the queer" through an honest lens. You can't find a better theater education – both enlightening and wickedly entertaining – than the Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, which runs Sept. 22-25.

ArtProvincetown Festival

Ever since Charles Hawthorne opened the Cape Cod School of Painting in 1889, P-Town has seen a community of artists and painters, writers and craftspeople visit its shores for renewed inspiration. It is in this spirit of artistic community that ArtProvincetown, a three day extravaganza of exhibitions, receptions, parties, live music and open marketplace, finds its voice every October.

"When I highlight an artist, gallery or business, I take the time to personally visit them and listen to what drives them ... their history, their inspiration, their muse," writes Anne Attalla, who curates and heads up the ArtProvincetown event. "They often tell me stories about their work that they have never shared with anyone ... little heartwarming tidbits like artists using their father's pastels or another artist writing heartbreaking notes to his ex on the canvas before painting over it."

And it's not just the art and the artists behind the work that inspires Attalla and the community here in P-Town. There's magic in collaboration, she tells me. "So many artists and galleries encourage creative minds to join forces. When I visit The Commons, I see this first hand when I stroll through the shared studio space – artists encouraging each other." You'll feel that collaborative spirit when you meander through the town hall, the location for the marketplace, where artists and craftspeople display their wares. This art colony showcase is not to be missed!

Washashore Music Festival

In conjunction with ArtProvincetown, the Washashore Music Festival merges music with art in a singular celebration of Provincetown at its best. The Washashore Music Fest, dubbed by its website as "an unforgettable, 3-day, multi-venue, genre-bending, queer music festival," will have you grooving under the moonlight to the latest in queer musicmakers, including headliners Jordy and Christeene and Her Fukkn Band.

But it's not just the music that will inspire you to let loose, it's the festival's vibe and essence "that celebrates the freedom, breadth, and power of Queer expression in a village at the end of the world" that will keep you going all weekend long. And when you need a break from dancing, check in with Provincetown Brewing Co. and Crown & Anchor pubs, which host and sponsor the music festival, for drinks and refreshments. Be sure to visit the Washashore Festival website for updates, check out the full lineup, purchase wristbands and plan your festival experience.

Food & Wine Festival

All this art and music will leave you hankering for something delicious, which is why the Food & Wine Festival is here to sate your palate. This year's theme – Celebrate Portugal! – beckons to Provincetown's roots in Portuguese sailors who founded the town on fishing and its annual "Blessing of the Fleet," a religious nod to giving thanks for its nautical bounty.

"Provincetown has a rich history as being a Portuguese fishing village and it has continued its heritage each year with the Portuguese festival in June," writes Matthew King, event director for the Food and Wine Festival. So to continue that legacy, King wanted to celebrate Portuguese flavors, including dishes from the entire Iberian peninsula. "Specialty dishes of the town include Portuguese kale soup, Iberian inspired cod dishes, and anything with linguica [smoke-cured pork sausage seasoned with garlic and paprika]!"

The sumptuous festival, which begins mid-week at the beginning of November and stretches on into Sunday, Nov. 6th, has grown in popularity and now features many local restaurants, bakeries and shops. "We are happy to have 'The Portuguese Bakery' as one of the many participating stores contributing their food during the Grand Tasting in Town Hall on Saturday, November 5th, from 1-4 pm," King enthusiastically adds to his email that gushes with pride about the annual event. It is this kind of community-wide event that makes Provincetown one of the yummiest spots to visit each year.

Plan Your Second Summer Visit

I wrapped up my email correspondence with Anne Attalla with a final question about why anyone looking for a getaway weekend should plan their visit to P-Town. "What lights your fire about Provincetown and its art scene?" I asked. Her answer: "I would have to say all of it." And all of it is why we keep coming back for more.

by Roger Porter

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