There’s a particular beauty in the sunset when the seasons begin to change in Provincetown. Could be the way the sun shifts in the sky, or the surprising warmth that emanates from that great ball of fire above you. The light is especially bright against the deep blue sky and the cold but inviting body of water in front of you.

This time of year, there is the added lucky feeling that you’ve been invited to the quintessential after-party. You know, that sense you get after all the crowds have gone, and you get to sit back and relax with the insider group. The people that belonged at the gathering.

Beginning just after Labor Day and especially as the months pass into November and December, Provincetown feels like its true self. The place more queer people call home per capita than anywhere else on the planet. Where the post-gay phenomenon got started and there’s no one asking whether your opposite-sex friend is your spouse. It’s clear that he’s your friend, and she’s your wife, (partner or girlfriend.)  Not that anyone here would care either way. The people of Provincetown simply recognize your right to your own identity.

It’s in the fall and winter, that artists in Provincetown really get their juices flowing. More photography is taken and landscapes painted during these months than the ten arousing weeks of summer. The confluence of the open-minded atmosphere and a pristine natural world imbues artists with an unrivaled creativity. They strive not only to appreciate the unique world around them, but to contribute to it. The frigid air sharpens the details of their setting, freezing perfection in place.

Nature takes center stage once again and she dominates the conversation in all the watering holes throughout the town. It’s a bone-chilling cold that comes up on you like no one’s business and pulls you into the nearest bar, café, eatery to warm up with spirits or home-cooked goodness.

Visiting Provincetown from October-March, becomes an honor-badge worth excursion and one that offers something more than what you’ll find during the heart of summer. A sense of place. An understanding that this was what America felt like for the visitors of the Mayflower that sailed the icy blue ocean and landed here. Unlike other vacation spots that board themselves up for the winter, leaving visitors to fend for themselves, Provincetown calls out to visitors to become one of the locals. Cozy up with the people that make this place so unique and listen to the stories that beat off the well-trodden Commercial Street.

Listen for the voices and songs of the people that lived here before the crowds began to show up for summer frolicking. You can hear it all in the wind and surf. You can feel it as you take your loved one for a romantic stroll. The surprising beauty of this moment, with the sun’s warmth and the simple act of walking simultaneously through past and present.

It is clear that while summer in Provincetown reverberates with thumping life, winter exposes its heart.