Provincetown always feels like the end of the world by the time you drive to the tip of Cape Cod in Massachusetts — and that impression is multiplied in the winter. The two-lane highway is packed with traffic in the high season but is dramatically empty as you pass the Province Lands beaches at this time of year.
When I first began to visit Provincetown in 1967, lured by stories of the town’s charms and celebratory live-and-let-live vibe, the season was basically just July and August. Since then, it has expanded to encompass April through October, with the high season summer months hosting some 50,000 visitors. After autumn, the year-round population (less than 3,000) is joined by die-hard fans who appreciate the many pleasures of the off-season.