I've been going Ptown the past 6 years. Me and my other half spend 2-3 weeks there a year vacationing - 4 nights in October and usually a week in July and August. So I don't have 20 years experience to say how it's changed.
I've read this in a review of the Waterford:
"To be fair Provincetown has become a shadow of it's former self with every industry exploiting every crass opportunity to make a dollar from the hordes of day-trippers and unsuspecting visitors. With few exceptions, most of the restaurants have become abominably over-priced and mediocre. Afternoon tea dances now charge an entrance fee and very high drink prices stifling the spontaneity that used to be enjoyed.
What once made P'Town a unique, romantic,charming and enjoyable retreat for me, has regrettably all but disappeared, leaving me with little to "
Do you think this is true?
My own personal observations:
Ptown is extremely expensive. To walk in any bar there is a cover. That adds up especially if you frequent 2-3 bars a nights beginning at Tea. I definitely am bothered by the covers (and to be fair always have been no matter where I am). I can't fathom charging people to walk through the door.
The restaurants are expensive as well but I find it along the lines of what you'd pay at any fine dining. As for mediocre food - in my years I have been able to weed out what places I like and do not like. I find Ptown unique in the sense that there are SO MANY excellent choices in this small 2-3 mile area. I can't help but get excited about the food when I visit.
In a way, I am appreciative of the high cost of vacationing there. Otherwise the town would be flooded with 18-20something crowd. I definitely enjoy the older mature crowd.
Ptown is definitely a weekend destination for Boston. It's never bothered me.
I can't really say it's over industrialized. The only "chain" I can see is Marc Jacobs and, to me, it awkwardly sticks out as such. There is no charm in Marc Jacobs.
There is a noticeable turn over of shops and restaurants. Charm and adoration usually comes with time which the newer shops do not have.
I haven't been going long enough to say if Ptown has lost its charm and become a touristy place. As a gay male, I still find it a premier gay destination on the East Coast. And I have the privilege living next to both NYC and Fire Island (Live on Long Island). I infinitely enjoy myself and feel more comfortable at Ptown.
I am seeing more and more families and straight couples in Ptown. This doesn't bother me at all. I think it's wonderful how everyone accepts each other without issue.
I can do without the (often drunk and woohoo-ing) Bachelorette parties though that are on the rise. Unless they are lesbians that love and are getting married :-) In all seriousness, I understand the importance of bars to the gay culture. There was a time not too long ago where gay bars were the only place where we could be with each other and be ourselves. So I feel a little insulted and exploited when they barge in the door like its the "in thing to do". But to each his own.
Any thoughts to share how things have changed over the years.Edited: 2:15 pm, August 29, 2011