Provincetown’s Autumn Charm

The annual Women’s Week gathering combines arts, sports and politics on Cape Cod

Like a finger, Provincetown beckons year ‘round to the end of Cape Cod, where you can be surrounded on three sides by water and gay people.

Although P-town’s pace has slowed since Labor Day, there are a few thousand people who’ve been planning their October trip to Women’s Week since the last one ended. This year, Women’s Week celebrates its 20th year from October 8-17.

“We’re celebrating in a few ways,” said Women’s Week coordinator Lynn Mogell in a telephone interview last week. In addition to running Heritage House Bed & Breakfast with her partner, Sarah Peake, Mogell is a busy woman these days: she is also running her partner’s campaign for state representative. Peake won the Democratic primary last week and in November will face a Republican incumbent who favors amending the state’s constitution to ban gay marriage.

It is characteristic of Provincetown that a woman innkeeper, the group that founded Women’s Week, has joined the fight for marriage equality, largely explaining why women return annually for a week of consciousness raising and perhaps to help send Peake to the Legislature.

“This year is full of many celebratory anniversaries of women’s culture, and one of them is Women’s Week in Provincetown,” said Cris Williamson, the pioneer lesbian singer-songwriter, who returns to the Post Office Cabaret for her annual Women’s Week residency. “P-town is a special place with a special community — and people from all over the world — myself included — come to experience this unique place and resident culture — to see and hear women’s art up close and personal, and experience a deep sense of pride.”

GETTING THERE (from Manhattan):

The ferries from Boston aren’t running at this time of year, but you can still fly, drive, or bus it to P-Town.

By car: Drive north (I-95), then east (I-195, Rte. 25, U.S. 6). When you get to the end of the continent, stop!

By air: Cape Air (800/352-0714; flycapeair.com) flies out of Boston, but they are partnered with several major airlines, and you can book tickets from New York City on U.S. Airways, American Airlines, Continental, and Delta, among others.

By bus: Peter Pan/Bonanza Bus (888-751-8800; bonanzabus.com) will take you from the Port Authority in Manhattan to Hyannis, Massachusetts for $89-95 round-trip. From Hyannis, you can catch the Plymouth & Brockton Bus (508-746-0378; p-b.com) to Provincetown for $18 round- trip.

ACCOMMODATIONS:

You can book rooms through the Women Innkeepers of Provincetown’s Web site (womeninnkeepers.com), with links to all its members’ sites, or by calling the inns directly. If you’re having trouble finding a suitable place, Mogell suggests calling the Provincetown Business Guild at 800-637-8696, or go to their website at ptown.org, for a comprehensive listing of available places.

EVENTS:

You can book tickets to most of the events, performances, and concerts in advance. Tickets to the prom and community dinner are available on the Women Innkeepers Web site. Most other tickets can be purchased through ptowntix.com. The organization also has an office at The Aquarium Marketplace, 209 Commercial Street, 800-791-7487.

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