Jutting into the cold waters of the Atlantic, the little village of Provincetown is perched both literally and figuratively on the edge. Literally, because the tip of Long Point is the farthest fingertip of Cape Cod . Figuratively, because like many remote peninsulas, the colorful town has been a magnet over the years for visionaries, artists, and eccentrics. Provincetown is also well known for its active gay and lesbian community, and since Massachusetts  legalized gay marriage in 2004, its main drag has been alive with wedding processions.
The history of the town, however, is much more complex. A heavy Portuguese influence lingers from when it was predominantly a fishing village, and the “blessing of the fleet” is still an event. Apart from that, P-Town (as it’s known) is home to the oldest artists colony in the country. Painters like Charles Hawthorne and poets and playwrights like Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams once painted and wrote masterpieces in shacks among the dunes.
Since then, the community has resisted the “resort-ification” that has subsumed other artists colonies, giving the town a living air of creativity and anything-goes spontaneity. If Provincetown is a state of mind, it is one that is open to anything—exactly the attitude you should bring to a visit here.
The easiest way to P-Town is by ferry. Bay State Cruise Company (World Trade Center, 200 Seaport Blvd., Boston, 877/783-3779, www.baystatecruises.com , mid-May–mid-Oct) runs both a 90-minute fast ferry ($49 one-way/$79 round-trip adults, $44/$69 seniors, $32/$58 children) and a three-hour slow boat ($22/$44 adults, free children). Cape Air (800/352-0714, www.flycapeair.com ) runs daily flights from Boston . Buses by Plymouth & Brockton (508/746-0378, www.p-b.com ) stop at the Chamber of Commerce building.
The Cape Cod Transit Authority runs the Breeze shuttle (800/352-7155, www.thebreeze.info ), which provides transport to the airport, beaches, and town center. Travel in style with Mercedes Cab (508/487-3333), an actual vintage Mercedes.