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Provincetown unveiled: The quintessential LGBTQ+ summer destination

Provincetown Ptown Shoreline
Courtesy the Provincetown Office of Tourism

Explore the enchanting allure of Provincetown, MA, through the author's vivid narrative of transformative LGBTQ+ experiences, from lively ferry rides and vibrant nightlife to the welcoming community and diverse activities.

This story is brought to you by our partners at the Provincetown Office of Tourism.

In the summer of 2012, I made the move to NYC, and my inaugural exploration into the world of gay havens led me to Fire Island. Entranced by the tales preceding my arrival, I found myself returning to the sandy shores repeatedly.

However, in 2019, a desire for something new prompted my friends and me to venture to Provincetown, affectionately known as Ptown. The catalyst for this excursion was the discovery of FROLIC Weekend, an annual event dedicated to queer men of color, unfolding each Juneteenth Weekend in Provincetown, MA. Spanning five days, this gathering serves as a platform to connect and socialize with other queer men of color from across the nation.

Interestingly, I initially thought Ptown was situated in Rhode Island—a mistake, which I later found out, is not uncommon. Nevertheless, armed with the advice to brace ourselves for a life-altering experience, my friends and I embarked on this adventure.

Courtesy Jerry Bruno

The indescribable charm of Ptown, with its magical ambiance, has continuously captured my admiration. Each summer, the town's people, culinary delights, and cultural offerings extend a warm welcome to me and my friends. Four years on, Ptown has become an integral part of my summer gay experience.

Our journey from NYC to Boston merely sets the stage; the true commencement transpires as I step onto the Ferry at the Boston Seaport. The 90-minute ferry ride to Ptown is nothing short of exhilarating. Anticipation for the impending fun permeates the air. Onboard, I fire up Grindr and other dating apps, reconnect with familiar faces from past summers, and attempt last-minute dinner reservations (a Hail Mary effort that occasionally pays off).

Setting sail from the Seaport every Friday at 1 PM, I arrive in Ptown at 2:35 PM. While the trek from the Ferry to Commercial Street may be lengthy, it affords me the chance to appreciate the beauty around me, particularly the men. Jokes aside, the hospitality of the locals is remarkable—people greet you with a friendly hello at every eye contact. A pervasive positivity characterizes the environment, be it strolling on Commercial Street, navigating the path to Boy Beach during low tide, or biking to the East End.

Courtesy the Provincetown Office of Tourism

Accommodation options abound, and my preferred choice is the 8 Dyer Hotel, where Brandon and Steve's hospitality stands out. However, the Gifford House Inn, The Crown & Anchor, and the Boatslip Resort & Beach Club, all recommended by friends, have proven to be enjoyable stays.

Having settled in at the 8 Dyer Hotel, my focus turns to the Friday night festivities. The initiation invariably involves Tea Dance, a daily event from 4 PM to 7 PM, and my preferred arrival time is 5:30 PM. Tea Dance caters to all musical tastes and serves as a rite of passage for everyone. Ptown's allure lies in its diversity of parties and activities, ensuring there's something for every inclination and desire.

Among my preferred venues are A-House, which never fails to impress with its music, The Vault, and Purgatory Gifford House, where things get lively late at night.

After Tea Dance, dinners unfold in Ptown's plethora of outstanding restaurants. Reservation planning is essential, ideally two to three months in advance. My favorites include Sal's Place, offering a heart-winning culinary experience, Victor's, known for its splendid raw bar happy hour, and The Red Inn, renowned for its excellent food and martinis.

Courtesy Dick Mitchell

Ptown's reputation for being welcoming, inclusive, and sex-positive holds true. Whether identifying, looking, or enjoying a certain way, there's an avenue for everyone. Personally, the liberating and judgment-free atmosphere of the "Dick Dock" has been a highlight. This unapologetic self-expression, coupled with a sense of safety, defines my Ptown experience.

Beyond the social scene, Ptown offers a myriad of activities—shopping, musicals, art galleries, whale excursions, Dune Tours, and more. As I reflect on my initial misconception about its location, I can confidently say that Provincetown is truly a magical place—a beautiful, loving town that I hope everyone has the opportunity to experience.

Courtesy Jerry Bruno

Jerry Bruno is a New Yorker who loves visiting Provincetown a few times each year.

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Jerry Bruno