Views of Provincetown from the top of Pilgrim Monument as taken by my iPhone.
Cape Cod is the arm of Massachusetts that juts out into the ocean. With its beautiful beaches, 15 main towns, and fresh seafood over 65 miles as well as its proximity to Boston; it is a natural and popular vacation destination in New England. While you could easily spend a week to enjoy the Cape to fully enjoy everything it has to offer, it is also a fun day or weekend trip. My friend goes to Cape Cod for a week with his family once every year. My other friend and I decided to stop by on the last day. Accordingly, the following are recommendations for the purposes of a day or weekend trip. If you stay for a week, there is definitely much more to do.
Coast Guard Beach (2 Ocean View Dr, Eastham, MA 02642)
You cannot go to Cape Cod and not go to a beach. You have choices on the bay side, the west side of the Cape that faces the coast of the rest of Massachusetts, and the side that faces the Atlantic Ocean. My friend brought us to Coast Guard Beach. There is no parking right at the beach. It can be reached via shuttle at Salt Pond Visitor’s Center (50 Nauset Rd, Eastham, MA 02642). You can also take the Nauset bike trail that starts at the same Visitor’s Center. We rented bikes at Little Capistrano Bike Shop (30 Salt Pond Rd, Eastham, MA 02642). We rode bikes 2 miles on the bike trail to Coast Guard Beach and spent a few hours there. It is $16 to rent a bike for 4 hours and it is $3 per additional hour if you go over. Coast Guard Beach is a good beach but nothing spectacular. Perhaps, I have been spoiled by going to Hawaii and the West Coast the last three years. In general, the Pacific Ocean and western coastline is more beautiful. Coast Guard Beach is a solid Atlantic Ocean beach. I also like that there are not too many visitors. In addition, people were not going too deep in the water because 14-15 great white sharks had been spotted around the Cape recently. There are a lot of seals in the water and small patches of land off the beach too.
Provincetown (P-Town) is at the northern tip of the Cape. It is very beautiful. It is where the Pilgrims actually first landed in Massachusetts. Plymouth is where they eventually settled afterwards. In recent times, it has become known as a gay resort town. The LBGTQ element of the town will become obvious as you enter and are in the city. My friend told me about it beforehand. I responded that it would not bother me because I have been to other cities (e.g. San Francisco) that have significant LBGTQ’s population. Even so, I felt a bit of culture shock at first. Nothing prepared me for walking into a café for gelato and seeing chocolate, formed into the shape of male and female genitalia, on the side in the store. It was not completely out in the open but not tucked away in the back behind a curtain either. It definitely becomes much more “different” in P-Town after 6 PM. It is a unique experience. There is also a ferry, operated by the Bay State Cruise Company, that sails between Boston and P-Town in 90 minutes.
Pilgrim Monument (1 High Pole Hill Rd, Provincetown, MA 02657)
We paid $12 to go up the monument, which is the tall tower you will see when you are in town. The views at the top are obstructed because they put guard rails in. I guess they are afraid of people jumping. On a clear day, visitors supposedly can see the Boston skyline. When we visited, P-Town was clear but the Boston area had a lot of fog so we could not see anything. There are 60 ramps that ascend up to the top, which is 252 feet. It only takes 10 minutes. There is also a museum in the shop at the base of the monument. It pays homage to P-Town and its role in Pilgrim history.
Pepe’s Wharf Restaurant (371 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657)
It is a very good seafood restaurant with a great view of the beach. The seafood entrees were really good. I had a swordfish and my friends got a 2 pound stuffed lobster. I tried a little bit of the stuffing in the lobster and it was awesome. I also had clam chowder which was decent but nothing memorable. Not everything looked good. I thought about the fish and chips but the fried food, that I saw at other tables, did not look great. I also subsequently read the complaints on Yelp. First, a lot of reviewers have an issue with the service. In general, service needs to be atrocious for me to notice it. The waiter was not pro-active in making sure we were taken care of. As such, I could see how other reviewers would criticize the service. Nevertheless, nothing really bothered me about the service. The other issue is the price. I live in New York City so the prices are normal for me. I enjoyed my experience at Pepe’s.
Purple Feather Café & Treatery (334 Commercial St, Provincetown, MA 02657)
It is a very good café. The gelato is decent. The pastries looked good. Off to the side, they also sell chocolate molds in the shape of genitalia. It is the first time I saw something like that in a café so it was an interesting experience.
Bliss Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt (322 Commercial St Provincetown, MA 02657)
This shop is a hole in the wall. The soft serve ice cream is all natural and house-made. The texture of this soft serve ice cream is perfect. Personally, I felt the taste is a little flat. Others on Yelp disagree with me because they say it is the best soft serve anywhere. Like I said above, I agree with that assessment as it pertains to the texture.