John Derian’s Provincetown
John Derian—beloved for his vintage-inspired, découpaged home decor—spends his summer in Provincetown, the idyllic town at the end of Cape Cod. He has a pretty stunning house there, but what’s even better is the small, perfectly stocked boutique out back. He kindly shared his favorite spots and worked them into a mini Provincetown itinerary, which absolutely justifies a weekend in the cape. (For more, see our Summer Packing & Travel Guide.)
Rent a Bike
Arnold’s Bikes is a must. Anyone, any age, must rent a bike for the day at least, spin through town, and visit the incredible bike trail and beaches. Herring Cove, Hatches Harbor, and Race Point are great ones.
Stroll the Breakwater
If that’s too much then just bike west to the end of town and walk the breakwater. Built around 1900, this beautiful stone jetty connects the town to the outer Cape strip. Swimming off the right side is a must. Calm, safe, not too deep, the warmest water in town, nothing bigger than a crab lives in it because it’s protected by the breakwater’s wall. The walk across is 45 minutes but 1/3 across is all you need to do to swim.
Starting from the West End you have Relish which has great sandwiches, but more amazing are their desserts especially their cupcakes. (I know cupcakes may be passé, but not here.)
Stop & Shop
Turn the bend back into town and you’ll find Perrys, a very good wine shop with delicious cheeses and appetizers as well as town-made peppermint patties. Closer to town center is Spiritus with its delicious thin pizza with a great white and whole wheat crust. Midtown has Map for clothes and cards. Across is Canteen which has a great Bon-Mi fish sandwich and delicious brussels sprouts as well as the best Arnold Palmer anywhere- using Belloq teas.
Past the center is the Squealing Pig for fish and chips. Across the street is the historic library with a mini ship built inside, then on Commercial Street is James Bakker art gallery with beautiful Cape and Massachusetts-themed paintings and antiques. Continue east and you’ll find my store, then past me are more art galleries.
Albert Merola is the best contemporary gallery; further up is Judy Heller, showing antique and vintage works. She has a beautiful beach shack filled with art in the town center. Next door is Angel Foods for more gourmet treats, across is PAAM, the town’s lovely modern art museum with a life drawing class three times per week.
See the Sand Dunes
The best natural site is another twenty minutes east by bike. It’s the sand dunes! Really breathtaking and an unimaginable landscape in such a busy town with so much. Continue on Commercial (it merges with Bradford) then take a left on Snail Road and cross Route 6. There’s unmarked parking where you can leave bikes (or cars) then cross the dunes to the only ocean beach in town with tons of seals. If too hot wait till after mid-day and don’t go barefoot! And always bring water.
Walk the Beech Forest
The other adventure is the Beech Forest. Take Conwel, cross Route 6, park in parking lot, and do a loop around the ponds—it takes about 15 minutes. It’s buggy in the summer so wear repellent. Photo by Russ / Flickr