We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

Which Provincetown hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Connecticut
Level Contributor
223 posts
125 reviews
Save Topic
P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

This past Carnival Week, my friends & I noticed that several places (some of them landmarks I equated with two decades of visits) are gone and in their stead lie new places. Several other places have moved locations. Notably:

- Now Voyager bookstore is gone. I suppose the age group that appreciates a quiet, non-chain shop named after a Bette Davis film is dwindling, and the shop did cater more specifically to an LGBT audience, but it had always been there, and I'd gone to book-signings there.

- Vixen. I've seen so many shows there and met up with lesbian friends there as well.

- Michael Shays. Now I never personally ate there, but that was my best friend's favorite breakfast spot as she began her day separate from my B&B breakfast. She found Cafe Heaven too rude, Cafe Edwige too expensive, but adored Michael Shays.

-Enzo. I don't consider this a loss. Both Esther's and Enzo failing in the same spot can be summed up in hubris, arrogance and pretension. The locale is great, but the pompous offerings each time have ruined each.

-Townsend Seafood (Shankpainter) never lived up to Clem & Ursie's simple beauty, but it's just boarded up & useless now.

(Now Voyager is now a cosmetics shop, Vixen is now a restaurant Sage Inn, Michael Shays is now Hot'l Bar & Grill, Enzo is now Local 186, an absurdly over-priced hamburger joint)

as for moved places, Muir Music, which was next door to Norma Glamps card store for years, has relocated to the alley-way storefront in the Vixen/Sage Inn complex. One of only two good music stores in town, it took some trouble to find. I'm certain this is not a complete list. These are just my own findings as I had a truly great Carnival Week.

Certainly as this season ends and thoughts go into next year, we will likely find that even more changes occur.

Kent, Connecticut
Destination Expert
for Provincetown, Wellfleet
Level Contributor
4,925 posts
218 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

It can sometimes be a bit shocking when a long-time business closes. Often it seems that what replaces them is not as good or fills the same niche. Michael Shay’s was popular with the locals and probably didn’t attract as many vacationers since it was so far out of the center of town.

It is always sad to see a bookstore close. I hope that Provincetown Bookshop does not close. It was disappointing a few years ago when the pharmacy changed from a full-service pharmacy with the soda fountain (again, popular with locals) and became a notions store.

Other changes that occur are with people. Over the years some long-time shop owners that I would see every year have died or retired. It was also very sad to see the passing of Ellie last year. Not only was she the best street performer that I can remember but she was an inspirational person who personified the idea of realizing your dreams. During her time in Provincetown we spoke many times and corresponded. A real loss.

Another person that was a big part of the Provincetown scene was Don Thomas (aka “the Dancing Cop”). Mr. Thomas not only kept traffic moving at the intersection of Commercial and Standish, but he entertained countless people with his movements and was part of what made Provincetown such an interesting and unique place.

Buffalo
Destination Expert
for Buffalo
Level Contributor
2,308 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

Wow -- the Dancing Cop! Thanks for reviving a fun memory!

Connecticut
Level Contributor
223 posts
125 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

People like Ellie, Officer Thomas, even the little girl who barks "lemonade for sale - FIFTY CENTS!", these people really do stay in our brains (even if we never speak to them. We see them, we hear them, they embody some part of our time on Commercial Street, whether as locals, wash-ashores, summer workers, or mere tourists). When you visit the same place frequently, you shed some of the tourist trappings that the masses are part of and the visits become more personal, and you begin to "know" the people and places in a more nuanced manner.

I suppose none of these changes should seem so heartfelt. Businesses close, people move on or die, it's natural, but some sort of nostalgia permeates every trip to P-town, whether because of the hauntings of past visits or because the town itself is so locked in my cells. I fell in love with the town back in '97, and despite a few moments of wanting a "divorce", it's been a lovely marriage. I know what I'm after and I'm rarely denied it, but sometimes it's sad to bid adieu to a place or a person you just assumed would always be there.

Long Island, NY
Level Contributor
180 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

Ellie was like those few times you see a rainbow in the sky after it rains. It just makes you feel happy and you enjoy seeing it each time.

One of my favorite activities to do in Ptown over the years was to sit in the town center on one of those benches and enjoy taking pictures and people watching. And then Ellie would stroll up with that little wagon and smile gently and sing her heart out. Such a simple thing but something that always brought happiness to me to see each time I was in town.

I go in a few weeks for this fist time this year. So I'll report back then.

But each year when I return and there were a few closings and new openings, it always seems that the newer shops/restaurants do not have the charm the older shops had. But charm is something usually acquired over time.

5. Re: P-town changes, both subtle & drastic

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 14 October 2013, 10:17
Get answers to your questions about Provincetown