Provincetown in winter
A “nonstop party” in the summer, Provincetown, Mass., is a “remarkably laid-back scene” the rest of the year, said Matt Gross in The New York Times. The Cape Cod town becomes a “land of quiet bargains,” and normally “out-of-reach luxuries,” such as the Admiral’s Landing bed-and-breakfast, suddenly become affordable: Rates are cut in half on weekends and even more during the week. The emptiness of Commercial Street and the calmness of MacMillan Pier provide a sense of peace that’s rare in the summer, and the thriving art scene, fortunately, “never fully shuts down.” The Provincetown Art Association and Museum recently relocated to a “ stunning new energy-efficient building” located along the harbor. Inside the Julie Heller Gallery, works by such legends as Milton Avery lie “helter-skelter on the wooden floor” for visitors to comb through like “ears of sweet corn at a farmers’ market.” And it turns out that the dunes of Cape Cod National Seashore remain “as stunning as ever”—even without the droves of vacationers.

Frozen Niagara
Niagara Falls has long been considered a “hopelessly romantic” getaway, said Ellen Creager in the Detroit Free Press. But when summer ends, most travelers leave. That makes the nearby town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, a perfect cold-weather getaway. “Winter here is starkly beautiful: a picture in sharp focus, a summer town gone quiet.” The streets leading from Lake Ontario are lined with historic bed-and-breakfasts, quaint shops, and galleries. An unforgettable drive to the falls “takes visitors past grand vistas of the Niagara River, its deep-canyoned walls dripping with icicles this time of year.” Even the falls themselves are transformed. Ice builds up in the river as it continues to rush over the cliff. By February, “months of mist have frozen onto the railings and roofs to create natural ice sculptures—tall spires, odd-shaped balls, towering squares, winding spirals.” The crystalline structures create glimmering rainbows. When you’re nearly as frozen as the river, head back to Niagara-on-the-Lake and tuck yourself into a cozy four-poster bed.