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Provincetown :: Sunday, April 23rd 2017

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West End, East End, Center of Town?

The Different Attractions of Provincetown's Areas

April 12th, 2012

One might feel inclined to ask just how much difference there could really be between the east and west ends of a town that is only 3 miles from end to end. But, surprisingly enough, there are different benefits associated with a stay at a guesthouse in the west or east ends of town. While you'll be close to Provincetown's main attractions no matter where you stay, you might prefer one end to the other.

Often called the quiet end of town, a habit of characterization that hangs on from its earlier days as the more proper end of town, the east end has a hushed refinement.

Today there is little economic difference between Provincetown's west and east ends. Both are lined with charming Cape Cod homes and regal Greek Revival mansions, but at one time MacMillan Wharf, which marks Provincetown's center, drew a line between the town's different classes.

In the 1800's, prosperous shipbuilders, captains, and merchants built their homes in the east end of Provincetown, while those of more humble means, such as fishermen and sailors, lived to the west. Although today you are just as likely to find luxurious lodging in Provincetown's west end as its east, the history of the town's two ends lingers in subtle ways, giving each area its own set of attractions.

There is a cheerful and whimsical quality to the west end of town, which seems to have found its shape in a somewhat haphazard manner. The streets turn numerous as they fork to follow the rounding of the harbor and the homes march up and down along small hills that afford sparkling glimpses of the water.

Nestled into the final curve of the Cape Cod land spiral, the harbor beach in the west end is especially striking, with views of the lighthouses that lie across the water at land's end. When the tide goes out, a seemingly endless sand passage opens up, inviting west end walkers to cross over to the land's last meanderings.

Provincetown's main beaches, Herring Cove and Race Point, are only a short distance from the west end, while the breakwell, a rock pathway that crosses the harbor to the Wood End lighthouse, stands stolidly nearby.

Since Provincetown is only 3 miles from end to end, the east end is also quite close to Provincetown's beaches and the final curve of Cape Cod and its harbor beach offers a soothing panorama to the eye as well.

Kayakers, windsurfers, and sailboats can be seen from its shores gliding peacefully on the winds and waves in the distance, and a sweeping view of Cape Cod's arc towards Boston marks the horizon.

Often called the quiet end of town, a habit of characterization that hangs on from its earlier days as the more proper end of town, the east end has a hushed refinement about it.

After the time of the wealthy ship captains, the east end became home to many artists and writers, including Mary Heaton Vorse, Susan Glaspell, and Eugene O'Neill. Vestiges of their residence remain in the many galleries that line the east east today.

Between the polished east and the playful west, lies Provincetown center, and many guesthouses can be found in this area as well. Most of the town's bars, dance clubs, restaurants, stores, and performance venues are located in town center, making it the place to stay if entertainment and shopping are your main pursuits.

Although not as quiet as the east or west ends along Commercial Street, there are many guesthouses on side streets near the center of town that offer a peaceful reprieve just steps from the action.

To find guesthouses in Provincetown's center or west and east ends, browse the Accommodations Directory at the top right.

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