On the eastern edge of America, the bohemian, quaint and sometimes bacchanalian seaside village of Provincetown has long been a perennial seaside escape for both New Englanders and those chasing that elusive Cape Cod light.
Home to more same-sex couples, on a per-capita basis, than anywhere in the United States, Provincetown has long been a destination, and home, for queer people, but remains open and inclusive of all. During “the season,” the town heaves with families, partygoers, fishermen, sun-seeking daytrippers and drag queens alike.
However, this season has been different. PRIOR spent June in the town famous for its tight-knit community, outsize cultural influence and the pride its residents take in their gardens. We watched as those famous front yards of the shingle-wrapped whaling cottages came to life, from the first lily of the valley to fragrant, wild seaside roses and now exuberant hydrangeas. Those signs of life are the most vivid so far this year, but 2020’s dearth of visitors allowed us to appreciate even more the natural beauty and patina in anticipation of next year, when those seeking freedom of expression under the Cape Cod sun will surely return—heels and all.
Captain Jack’s Wharf—Provincetown’s most ramshackle yet charming accommodation. A collection of individual, entirely unique cabins, cobbled together on a legendary pier where it is said that Tennessee Williams wrote The Glass Menagerie. We’re not sure about that claim, like we’re not sure about bars where “Hemmingway was here,” but the place certainly has storybook quality.
A sphere of rhododendrons
A wisteria lined beach path
A legacy of the whaling industry is the strong Portuguese influence that remains in the town particularly in its still vibrant fishing industry
Hope for good weather and warm water
The secret gardens which may obscure the home of a world famous writer, artist or wit
Lighthouse at the tip of the Cape
The jetty ladder to Jack’s Wharf, a wading in point when the tide is high
The perfumier that bottles the fragrance of wild roses and salt air will become rich
A dune with a view
There is a generosity of spirit in P’town that sees residents create everchanging vignettes for passersby
Hydrangeas in bloom
P’town’s postcard familiar house, a symbol of the Fourth of July
The PRIOR editorial team, overseen by David Prior, works together to write and produce stories that inspire curiosity about, and the desire to connect to, places and people across the world.