“A man may stand there and put all America behind him.”
Henry David Thoreau
Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, is a vibrant, welcoming community surrounded by the serenity of the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Provincetown is home to our country’s oldest, continually operating art colony, dating back to 1899 when Charles Webster Hawthorne arrived to paint and founded the Cape Cod School of Art. Attracted to the incredible Cape Cod light, natural beauty and accepting atmosphere, many artists and bohemians came to call Provincetown home. Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko, Blanche Lazzell, Milton Avery, Jack Tworkov, Norman Rockwell and Edward Hopper are only a few of the renowned artists inspired by Provincetown.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum was established in 1914 by prominent artists and community-minded businesspeople, including Charles Higgins who has built the Land’s End Inn as his summer home in 1904. . Two years later, the Boston Globe called Provincetown “The Biggest Art Colony in the World.” The new wing and the original building — which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places — show contemporary work, the Museum’s significant American art collection and other world-class exhibitions. The Museum is alive year round with openings, music, dance and workshops.
Provincetown is also known as the “Birthplace of American Theater.” Eugene O’Neill, considered our greatest dramatist, wrote in the dunes and mounted his first play on a Provincetown wharf. Countless other playwrights, screenwriters, actors, directors and musicians have spent time creating and performing here including Marlon Brando, Truman Capote, Michael Cunningham, John Dos Passos, Richard Gere, Billie Holiday, Eartha Kitt, Al Pacino, Norman Mailer, Julius Monk, Barbara Streisand and Tennessee Williams.
Today’s audiences enjoy performances at the Provincetown Theater, the Town Hall, nightclubs and other venues. David Schoolman, Land’s End Inn owner 1972-1995, endowed the Provincetown Theater with the bulk of the funds needed to build it.
The Fine Arts Work Center was founded in 1968. Believing that the freedom to pursue creative work within a community of peers is the best catalyst for artistic growth, the founders started an incubator that now offers fellowships, workshops, exhibitions and talks. Stop by and you just might meet a Poet Laureate or Pulitzer Prize winner.
The fertile fishing grounds brought Native Americans to settle here over 4,000 years ago. In 1620, the Pilgrims made their first landing in the New World in Provincetown Harbor and wrote the Mayflower Compact, the forerunner of the U.S. Constitution. They traveled on to Plymouth and then returned to Provincetown where they began our country’s commercial fishing industry by using their catch to repay debts from the voyage.
Yankee fishermen brought skilled sailors back from Portugal to working in the whaling and fishing fleets. The Portuguese came with a rich, colorful culture and were—and are— an integral part of the social and business community. Provincetown pays homage to the Portuguese every June during the Portuguese Festival and Blessing of the Fleet celebrations.
Once one of the most productive whaling and fishing ports on the East Coast, Provincetown is homeport to some of the world’s best whale watching. The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies is committed to “Science that Matters.” Staffed with renowned scientists and volunteers, the Center conducts research on marine mammals and promotes stewardship of coastal and marine ecosystems.
Provincetown Harbor and the Cape Cod National Seashore offer pristine bay and ocean beaches, marshes, ponds, and the stunning dunes of the Provincelands. Recreational opportunities abound. A stay in Provincetown can include biking, hiking, sailing, horseback riding, fishing, cross-country skiing, tennis and nearby golf.
The tallest granite structure in the United States, the Pilgrim Monument, commemorates the Pilgrim’s First Landing in the New World. A walk up the Monument steps affords visitors a bird’s eye view of the Cape and beyond. The adjacent museum pays homage to Provincetown’s fascinating history.
Individuals, couples and families find a plethora of unique experiences, friendly people and a deep connection to nature in Provincetown. Diverse and culturally sophisticated, Provincetown truly is wonderfully like nowhere else.