Boston, Massachusetts is on the East Coast of the United States.
It is one of the original colonies from the time the pilgrims, running away from religious persecution in England, landed on the shores of the Americas and tried to make a go of it.
They did, and a little over two hundred measly years later, Boston is an amazing, cultural mecca.
This is where the tv show Cheers was made, and you can sit and have a drink in the Cheers bar (constantly crowded, btw). You can stroll through the wonderful parks, take the tube through the city to nearly any place you want to see, and even take a tour of the utterly impressive Harvard University while enjoying the college atmosphere Back Bay has to offer.
It’s an incredibly easy city to get around, with the tube (or “T” as the locals call it), busses galore, city trolleys, and trains all within walking distance of pretty much anywhere you might have landed. When you get there, take the Duck Tour. It’s cheesy, yes, but it will show you the major historical/tourist sites, so you know which ones you want to go back to and which ones you got enough of on the tour.
Shopping and food in Boston are sublime. Gorgeous little cafe’s with sidewalk dining let you see the world as it floats past, with a vast array of foods from all over the world.
I will admit to not going to any gay/lesbian establishments while in Boston, as time seems to be rather limited every time we go, but here is a great page for listings of gay places in Boston, where anything goes and you never feel conspicuous on the street, no matter your gender display.
Now, on to Cape Cod.
The Cape is a peninsula south of Boston that drops off into the water and looks like MA is flexing it’s lightly muscled arm. This is your non-commercial, highly posh, beautifully tree’d landscape. The mid-cape highway (6) takes you on a beautiful drive through tiny cities with great sea food restaurants, kitschy travel stores, home-made jam shops, kyack rentals and little coffee houses. There are also lots of B&Bs should you feel the need to stop and take a deep breath somewhere.
The further up the Cape you go, the more you feel you are away from the real world. No Wal-Mart, no Targets, no Starbucks. Barely any chain grocery stores. Lots of privately owned stores and eateries where the people pay attention to you when you come in.
At the very tip of the Cape is Provincetown, MA. This is a gorgeous little fishing village, that, for some reason, became a haven for artists, gays/lesbians, photogs, etc. It’s artsy, it’s quiet, it’s as far from Hollywood as you can get. It’s also beautiful, accepting, open and charming.
Obviously there are LOTS of gay bars, etc there, as the predominant clientage is of the LGBT persuasion, so anywhere you go you will be welcome. (I highly recommend the Wired Puppy for its coffee and wi-fi. The staff aren’t overly friendly, but the coffee and baked goods are out of this world). Throughout the year there is Carnival, Gay week, Women’s week, and many other events.
If you’re after a quiet, gay friendly vacation in the US, Provincetown is perfect. BUT: it’s a seasonal city. Lots of the restaurants and such close down from November to March, so if you’re going, check to see what is still open or when it will be open. You can take the ferry over from Boston, so you don’t even have to rent a car.
You could easily spend a week in Boston and go out every day. In Provincetown, you’ll end up with days of quiet reading on a deck overlooking the water, getting coffee and desserts and making new friends. And you can always take a train from Boston to Salem, home of the terrible witch hunts in the US and where you can see each “witches” name inscribed in stone. (It’s now been taken over by the pagan movement, and you can do a witch tour, shop in new age witch shops, and even attend modern day witch ceremonies). It’s a gorgeous harbor town with some real history.
A few of my own pictures from our 2010 trip to Women’s Week:
- Vacationers flock to Provincetown (cnn.com)