With the always-crazy pace of summer, we almost missed an opportunity to visit Cape Cod this year. In years past, our trips to Provincetown had always been tied to mid-summer weddings, so we’d grown accustomed to the busy beaches and crowded streets, but after making our trip this past month, we quickly found out that the end of September is an almost perfect time to visit the town.
The crowds are mostly gone, save for a few tours buses that park in the center of town, and the weather is still pleasantly warm during the day, yet refreshingly chilly at night. We were able to enjoy delicious meals without any waiting at both old favorites and new finds, our strolls around town were highlighted by the late summer and early fall details we’d never had the chance to experience before, and the empty-beach panoramic sunsets over the water will be memories we’re not likely to forget.
Almost by accident, a beautiful shoulder-season getaway to Provincetown turned out to be a perfect way to cater in the change of season and cooler weather. The following spots are places we’d advise anyone to seek out during future trips to Ptown!
After our stay at Eben House, we were once again reminded of how a truly well-thought out hotel can have an extraordinary impact on your journey as whole. When you start and end your days in a space that was designed with such care and attention, you’re bound to have an outstanding trip – something Eben House delivers with perfection. Read more about our stay at Eben House here.
The Canteen, a bright, lively restaurant in the center of town, won us over with its wonderful Banh Mi and Kale Salad during our last trip to Provincetown, so enjoying another tasty meal there was at the top of our must-do list. Thankfully, we were able to follow up our fantastic meal on their patio with a sweet treat from their sister business, the ice cream + donut shop next door, Happy Camper.
We love trading in the rocky coast of Maine for the wide open stretches of sandy beaches on Cape Cod for a few days. Both Herring Cove & Race Point beaches are the perfect places to soak up the midday sun, or better yet, watch it disappear over the ocean.
With great branding that will easily catch your eye as you’re walking down Commercial Street, Kohi Coffee is a must-visit. It doesn’t hurt that they also serve our favorite Tandem Coffee Roasters coffee!
Sadly, the doors to John Derian’s shop in town closed just days before our trip, however we still visited another old standby, SHOR, and then spent time daydreaming about which piece we’d select next from one of our favorite galleries in town, the Adam Peck Gallery.
Do you have any Provincetown favorites we missed? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
Since moving to New England, we’ve made three trips to Provincetown, with each one being better than the last. Our two most recent jaunts down the Cape have been some of our favorite New England getaways, thanks almost entirely to Kevin & David of Salt Hotels. In June of 2013, we fell in love with their first property, the Salt House Inn, when we planned an all too quick overnight in Provincetown the day before shooting a wedding. We’ve been following the growth of their brand ever since, and were delighted to see them open a second property in Provincetown last year, Eben House, followed by a hotel this year on Shelter Island, The Chequit.
Last month I made arrangements for Michael and I to stay at Eben House for a relaxing midweek getaway. We loved the Salt House so much that I was skeptical as to whether or not the Eben House would be able to live up to the high standards its sister hotel set for us in 2013. Fortunately, It took all of two minutes for my skepticism to completely vanish, as we again found ourselves enamored with every single detail of the hotel. We’ve found that these unique details – the ones that often go unlooked by other hotels and inns – have essentially become a trademark of Salt Hotels, helping make their properties stand out and garner so much well-deserved attention.
Photographing our suite made me absolutely giddy – there were so many perfectly styled vignettes just waiting to be captured. The light from the large windows filled the space, highlighting the clean colors and contrasting details. The clawfoot tub in the center of the room became my evening spot to unwind and relax, while the suite’s porch was the perfect place to plan our days each morning.
Outside of our room, the rest of the hotel proved to be just as enjoyable. Some of our favorite design elements were the commissioned pieces by Provincetown artist, Michael Gredler, where classic portraits of the property’s early family were filled with subtle quirky details. In true Map & Menu fashion, we also loved the custom map of Provincetown, drawn by Kevin, highlighting some of their favorite places in town. Kevin was the one who suggested we dine at The Canteen during our last visit, so having access to a map full of his and David’s favorite places was an invaluable resource for navigating the many shops and restaurants of the town.
One of the highlights of our visit to the Salt House Inn was its outstanding breakfast – a tradition which Eben House continues in a similarly delicious fashion in its charming conservatory, either to be enjoyed there or amidst the garden on the brick patio.
Our original stay at the Salt House Inn had a pretty significant impact on the way in which we see, or rather experience, the design of many of the hotels from our travels, and after our stay at Eben House, we were once again reminded of how a truly well-thought out hotel can have an extraordinary impact on your journey as whole. When you start and end your days in a space that was designed with such care and attention, you’re bound to have an outstanding trip – something Eben House delivered with perfection.
Photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.
A couple of weeks ago Michael & I enjoyed an all too quick getaway to one of our favorite New England towns, Provincetown. We discovered the charm of Provincetown last year and couldn’t wait to return, especially after booking a room at the newly restored Salt House Inn. Even though we only had one night in Provincetown, we enjoyed every single minute of our visit! Read about last year’s spring trip to Provincetown here.
A new favorite restaurant in Provincetown! When we told our innkeeper, Kevin, that we were hoping to swing by the newly opened restaurant, he confirmed that The Canteen was one of his favorites in town, and thankfully recommended the Cod Banh Mi. We highly recommend a meal at The Canteen, and especially loved the Banh Mi, the Kale + Quinoa Salad and the Grilled Corn.
After our scrumptious meal at The Canteen, I was in the mood for something sweet, so Ptown Scoop (also recommended to us by our innkeeper) was our next stop. One Bourbon Caramel Pistachio Brittle cup later and I was a very happy camper.
We popped into SHOR during our first visit last year and loved the shop’s chic wares, so a second visit was a must. I was happy to stumble across (and purchase!) a landscape painting by a local artist working under the nom de plume, Willie Saint James.
After walking by Adam Peck Gallery on Friday night, we decided to make the time to return the next morning as soon as they opened. As the owners of a tiny cape, we fell in love with the simple houses that make up one of the main sources of inspiration for Adam’s work. We ended up walking out with a 6×6 oil painting of a tangerine house, a lovely complement to our little mint green cape.
Our friends, Cory & Robyn, know the owners of this gallery & antique shop on Commercial Street, and insisted we stop in during our trip. I happened to know the manager, Sarah, from her days at Seawall in Portland, and enjoyed catching up with her while browsing the shop’s awesomely well put together collection.
Having just visited John Derian’s East Village shops the week before, I have to say that this one is my favorite – it has a similar aesthetic as the New York shop but with a bit of added New England charm.
I can easily say that without a doubt, the Salt House Inn in Provincetown, MA, has been one of our favorite finds since we started Map & Menu. Never before have we both been quite so taken with the detailed charm of a place, and just minutes after we arrived, we were already discussing extending our stay. Read more about our stay at the Salt House Inn here.
I can easily say that without a doubt, the Salt House Inn in Provincetown, MA, has been one of our favorite finds since we started Map & Menu. Never before have both Meredith and I been quite so taken with the detailed charm of a place, and just minutes after we arrived, we were already discussing extending our stay.
The recently opened, renovated inn is just far enough from Commercial Street to avoid the crowds, but close enough that a two block walk will put you right back into the thick of things. I simply can’t emphasize the personal impact the details of the inn had on the two of us. Besides the minimal cottage aesthetic that immediately won us over, details like the hand-lettered chalkboard information wall in the lobby (by the innkeeper, Kevin, no less!), the gallery wall and modern feeling windsor chairs in our room – even the privacy signs – seemed to fit the two of us to a finely-lettered T.
The care of the innkeepers, Kevin and David, could be felt throughout the inn and the rest of our visit. Kevin’s recommendations for The Canteen and Ptown Scoop were right up Map & Menu’s alley, and many – if not all – of the details that won us over were personally executed by him… even the outstanding breakfasts (I mean come on, a strawberry vanilla waffle trifle and bourbon, caramel, and pineapple upside-down cake?!).
It’s no understatement to say that our brief stay at the Salt House Inn was one of our absolute favorite in recent memory. The two of us will definitely be returning to the inn on our next visit to Provincetown, but it won’t surprise me if given the amazing nature of the property and the already growing word around it, that reservations in the near future might become very hard to come by.
When I found out that I’d be second shooting a wedding on the weekend of my birthday, I’ll have to admit that I was anything but thrilled. But when that weekend morphed into a a fantastic mini-vacation in a town (and on an island) I’d never visited before (with a little work mixed in), I quickly changed my tune.
Friends had been urging us to visit the wonderfully unique village of Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod, for awhile, and after spending 3 all-too-short days trying to visit as many shops, galleries, and restaurants, and trying to see as many sites and neighborhoods as possible, we’re anxiously awaiting our next visit to finish the task.
Before the Pilgrims settled in Plymouth, they first set foot in what is now Provincetown. Eventually they chose to leave for the mainland for a number of reasons, but I’d have to imagine the choice was not an easy one. Provincetown and the Cape Cod National Seashore are completely loaded with natural beauty in a wide variety of environments – protected harbors, sandy beaches, rolling dunes, coastal forests, and jagged dune cliffs. After the fishing and whaling industries died down in the area, the town developed into a thriving artist community, and to this day, local artists’ galleries line commercial street and their work can be found all over town. Meredith and I were delighted to see how dog-friendly the town was, with literally hundreds of happy dogs and their owners around almost every corner. There was so much to see and do, that even just exploring the various parts of town and taking in the quintessential Cape Cod architecture was a sizable part of our trip.
If you really want an escape where you’ll be able to unwind, but with immediate access to all of the great things Provincetown offers, look no further than this wonderful inn. View photos and read more about the Brass Key Guesthouse here.
Five hours in the car left us hungry and needing a great way to begin our vacation weekend – enter this not-so-traditional seafood shack on the beach. View photos and read more about Native Cape Cod Seafood here.
No Map & Menu trip post is complete without at least one great dining experience, and Ten Tables proved to be just that on this trip. View photos and read more about Ten Tables here.
We only ate 5 meals in Provincetown, and of those, 2 were at this fantastic sandwich shop and bakery. View photos and read more about Relish here.
A beautiful drive down Route 6 and a morning of beach-going showed us so much of the natural beauty that this area has to offer. View photos and read more about the Cape Cod National Seashore here.
When I came across the Brass Key Guesthouse while I was researching Provincetown inns, I was immediately drawn to the fact that the property is made up of several cottages and guesthouses, all of which surround the inn’s beautiful infinity pool. I was sold – how could I not fall in love with adorably sweet carriage houses and an infinity pool right in the heart of Provincetown?
The whole property, made up of nine buildings, the pool and a spa, is just steps away from Commercial street, home to most of Provincetown’s shops, restaurants, and galleries, yet it feels as though it’s much farther away. It was such a treat to be able to walk down to the end of the block to enjoy the lively weekend Ptown scene, but at the same time feel as though you’re staying at a peaceful, relaxing haven miles away.
The staff was fantastic and so helpful – every interaction with them was a delight. We loved our room, which was surprisingly spacious even though it was located in one of the property’s smaller cottages. All in all, it was a fantastic inn and we did make sure to note the dog-friendly cottages, in case we ever have the chance to come back with Orvis!
On our way to Cape Cod, the Sagamore Bridge (one of only two ways onto the island by car) was down to two lanes for maintenance, tacking on an extra hour to the drive in standstill traffic. So when we arrived in Provincetown, we had just two things on our mind – food and relaxation. Fortunately for us, our first stop, Native Cape Cod Seafood, delivered on both.
Serving up locally sourced, fresh seafood in more ways than just fried, with an open-air seating area overlooking the beach, Native Cape Cod Seafood isn’t your typical seafood shack. Meredith and I both ordered the steamed Mussels, in a garlic and herb broth, and split a large order of handcut fries, while the stress of the work week receded with the tide. The weather was brilliant, the sun was warm, and the food and service were spectacular (when asking if they recommended if we split a side of fries or not, they simply responded with “oh, we’ll take care of you”). When we visit Provincetown again, I know that Native Cape Cod Seafood will be one of our first stops to put us back in that vacation state of mind.
What would a Map & Menu trip post be without that one meal that just puts fine dining back into perspective? Our meal at Ten Tables, the evening we arrived in town, did just that.
One of three locations (the others are in Jamaica Plain and Cambridge), Ten Tables Restaurant & Bar in Provincetown had just the right atmosphere and menu to cap off a fantastic introduction to the town and area. From our drinks (a Sage Fall sidecar and the Ten Tables Ale) to our appetizers (a Ten Tables Salad with escarole, breakfast radish, thyme and a mascarpone Vinaigrette, and the Grilled Asparagus) to the very last scrumptious bites of our entrees (the Ricotta Cavatelli with peas, grana, and toasted breadcrumbs, and the oh-so-delicious Braised Pork Shank), Meredith and I found ourselves enjoying the quiet, albeit busy (as the name implies, only 10 tables), location and wanting the evening to continue on indefinitely.
Although our inn was only a block away, we decided to finish the evening by taking the long route home, so that we could reminisce about our afternoon and excitedly plan for the rest of the trip!
During my research for places to eat in Provincetown, I came across Relish and immediately added it to the custom Google Map I created for our trip. On our Saturday morning stroll we happened to walk by Relish, and although we had just eaten a quick breakfast at the Brass Key, peering through the front windows made me already crave lunch!
There are few meals that I consistently adore more than a really good sandwich at a shop filled with character & charm. If I was presented with the choice of a nice dinner out (apps & desserts, included!) or a delicious sandwich in a cute cafe, I would take the sandwich and the cafe anytime, no questions asked.
The moment we walked into the cheerful, light-filled restaurant in the quieter West End of Provincetown, I knew we’d be back at least one more time before we left the Cape. In fact, I’m pretty sure we had both rearranged our lunch plans for the following day so we could return, long before we even placed our order. Between the sandwich menu (pictured below) and the multitude of sweets to choose from, we were both in heaven.
On Saturday, Michael had the Roast Beef and in typical ‘Meredith’ fashion, I went with the T.B.M (Tomato, Basil, Mozzarella, Balsamic) on ciabatta. Amazing! We made sure to return the following day to pick up lunch on our way out of town for a picnic on Marconi Beach in Wellfleet. I loved my T.B.M so much that I ordered it again, while Michael went with the Chicken Salad. Amazing, again! On this second trip we decided to treat ourselves to some sweets – I chose a butter pecan cookie and Michael decided on a red velvet cupcake and a butterscotch haystack. They were the perfect snacks for the drive back up to Maine, and inspired us to plan our next trip to Provincetown… pretty much just so we can go back to Relish!
Right before our trip to Cape Cod, I came across this article on Travel + Leisure that listed Route 6 on Cape Cod as one of the most scenic roads in America. Of course, it made me even more excited for our visit, but honestly, nothing could have prepared me for the beauty that was Route 6 at the top of the Cape. As we drove through the protected lands of the Cape Cod National Seashore around Provincetown, I was reminded of the Travel + Leisure article and realized that this was indeed one of the most beautiful roads I’ve ever had the privilege of traveling.
On this sunny spring Sunday afternoon, we had the pleasure of stopping at Herring Cove and Race Point Beach, both in Provincetown, and Marconi Beach in Wellfleet. Of course, these beaches are nothing like what we’re used to in Maine, but they did remind us a bit of the wide sandy beaches and large dunes of the Outer Banks and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, where we grew up.
We walked the length of Race Point Beach for a couple of hours, saw all kinds of wildlife (including horseshoe crab scurrying across the ocean floor) at the jetty-protected Herring Cove, and enjoyed a wonderful lunch from Relish under the 100ft. cliffs of Marconi Beach. All in all, it wasn’t bad for a lazy Sunday before 2pm.