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Wellfleet

Fun facts about the town of Wellfleet…

Wellfleet
  • Wellfleet is located halfway between the Cape’s tip, Provincetown, and its elbow, Chatham.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Wellfleet is 2,750.
  • At approximately 35.4 square miles, the town is comparable in size to Clinton, Wisconsin and Warsaw, New York.
  • Exploring the area in 1606, Frenchman Samuel de Champlain dubbed Wellfleet, Port aux Huites, which means ‘oyster harbor.’
  • In 1645, settlers in Plymouth purchased from Native Americans the area we know today as Orleans, Eastham, and Wellfleet (known at the time as Billingsgate).
  • In 1763, the community of Billingsgate broke from the town of Eastham, and incorporated as its own town, taking on the name of Wellfleet.
  • Today, approximately 61 percent of Wellfleet’s land area is located within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park, which was established in 1961.
  • Lieutenant Island in Wellfleet Harbor is connected to the rest of the town via a causeway and an old wooden bridge.
  • From about 1690 to 1740, Smith’s Tavern on Great Island—Wellfleet’s westernmost barrier—was a popular watering hole for sailors. An excavation of the site in 1969-1970 uncovered many glasses and pipe stems.
  • Before modern refrigeration, barrels from Nova Scotia were important in Wellfleet as they were used to transport the town’s huge bounty of fish and shellfish. In the 1800s, many Nova Scotians moved to Wellfleet to assemble the barrels, founding a small French colony here; some current residents trace their lineage to these coopers.
  • Sarah Cleverly Atwood (1836-1920) of Wellfleet was the first woman to be appointed a lighthouse keeper by the U.S. Lighthouse Board, following in the footsteps of her late husband, William; Sarah would oversee Mayo’s Beach Lighthouse (I and II) from 1876 to 1891.
  • The Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street in Wellfleet was hit by lightning and burned in 1891; Wellfleet Town Hall burned in a blizzard in 1960. Both structures were rebuilt.
  • Marconi Beach is named for Italian inventor, Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), who completed the first trans-Atlantic wireless communication from the area in 1903; he sent a message of greeting to the King of England, Edward VII, and received a response.
  • A Native American burial site—including the remains of at least 56 men, women, and children—was discovered at Indian Neck in 1979. Slow Turtle (John Peters), a Wampanoag who was working on the property, discovered the site.
  • The Wellfleet Drive-In Theater on Route 6 opened in July of 1957. One of its first feature films was An Affair to Remember, starring Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. The theater opens for the season in May.
  • In business for more than 50 years, the Beachcomber is the only Atlantic oceanfront restaurant on Cape Cod; while other waterfront restaurants exist on the Cape, they all feature views of Nantucket Sound or Cape Cod Bay.
  • The 2013 Cape Cod Festival of Arab & Middle Eastern Cinema was hosted in September at Wellfleet Preservation Hall.
  • Founded in 1996, Beanstock Coffee began as a small coffee shop on Main Street, but it has grown into a coffee roaster and wholesaler, offering products such as Cape Beach Blend, Nauset Blend, Hoe, Hoe, Joe, and Nicaraguan Organic Segovia.
  • Wellfleet has its own “Atlantis,” Billingsgate Island, which is completely submerged at the mouth of Wellfleet Harbor. During the 1600s, Pilgrim William Bradford described Billingsgate as an isle of about 60 acres. At one time, the island featured more than 30 houses, a school, and a whale processing plant before being completely submerged in the late 1800s by rising seas.
  • Mayflower passenger Constance Hopkins, and her husband, Nicholas Snow, owned Billingsgate Island for a period during the 1600s.
  • In the 1800s, fish and shellfish abounded in Wellfleet waters; one report lists 10,000 mackerel caught in a day’s time. Lobster was so plentiful that lighthouse keepers on Billingsgate Island could just dip into well-known potholes on the shore for a daily meal.
  • Cape Cod’s third lighthouse was built on Billingsgate Island in 1822.
  • Born on Bound Brook Island in 1860, Nehemiah Hopkins was an eye doctor, surgeon, and a missionary to China. He built an eye hospital in Beijing and later established the Peking Union Medical College (in Beijing).
  • Bananas may not have been commercialized in the United States had it not been for Wellfleet resident Lorenzo Dow Baker. Returning from a trip to Jamaica in the late 1800s, the sailor brought with him a load of bananas, which were previously unknown in New England. The fruit caught on, and Dow Baker and a partner formed the Boston Fruit Company, which over the years led to Chiquita Brands International.
  • Luther Childs Crowell (1840-1903) of Wellfleet was a successful inventor, creating various products to improve the aviation and printing industries. He is best known, however, for dreaming up the paper bag.
  • Writers John Dos Passos (U.S.A. Trilogy), Howard Zinn (A People’s History of the United States) and Noam Chomsky (The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians) lived in Wellfleet at one time.
  • In 1984, Barry Clifford discovered the pirate ship, the Whydah, off the coast of Wellfleet. English pirate ‘Black Sam’ Bellamy had captured the ship in the Caribbean and it had sunk in waters off Wellfleet in 1717. The Whydah was the first pirate ship to be discovered in North America.
  • A resident of Wellfleet and graduate of Nauset High School, Michael DeVito plays defensive end for the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • The Wellfleet OysterFest has been held every fall since 2001; in the contest, participants shuck open 24 oysters as fast as possible, while also leaving the most aesthetically pleasing result.
  • In 2013, the winner of the competition—with a time of 3 minutes, 6 seconds—was Barbara Austin. With the win, Barbara qualifies to participate in the 2014 National U.S. Oyster Shucking Championship in Maryland. Austin is now a three-time winner, having claimed the shucking crown in 2006 and 2007 as well. She is also the only woman ever to win.
  • In addition to Austin, fellow multi-time shucking champs include William “Chopper” Young, Jr., who won in 2002, 2005, and 2009, and James Gray, who took first place in 2008—with a time of 1.47 minutes—and 2012.
  • In 2004, Wellfleet SPAT (Shellfish Promotion and Tasting) published a cookbook, The Joy of Shucking, featuring shellfish recipes from local chefs and residents.
  • According to wellfleetoysterfest.org, oysters are high in protein, low in fat, and contain beneficial minerals such as iron, zinc, and copper. The oyster’s reputation as an aphrodisiac has yet to be scientifically proven.
  • The railroad arrived in Wellfleet on December 28, 1870, via the newly expanded Old Colony Rail line.
Wellfleet

Eastham

Fun facts about the town of Eastham…

Eastham
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Eastham is 4,956.
  • As of 2010, the average age of Eastham residents is 56.6, a whopping 17.7 years older than the average age in the rest of the state: 38.9 years.
  • Eastham occupies 25.7 square miles of land, making it comparable in size to Swansea, Massachusetts and Booneville, Mississippi.
  • In December of 1620, a group of explorers from the Mayflower, including Myles Standish, had their first encounter—a skirmish—with some Nauset Indians. The site is known today as First Encounter Beach.
  • After purchasing Nauset—land that consisted of today’s Eastham, Orleans, and Wellfleet—from the Indians in 1645, settlers from Plymouth incorporated the region as a town in 1651, and renamed it Eastham.
  • In 1614, Englishman Thomas Hunt kidnapped several Nauset Indians, from the Eastham/Orleans area, and sold them into slavery in Spain. One of the Indians, Squanto, made his way to England and then back to Massachusetts; he would go on to help the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony.
  • The gravesites of three Mayflower passengers—Constance Snow, Giles Hopkins, and Lieutenant Joseph Rogers—can be found at Eastham’s Cove Burying Ground.
  • In 1763, residents of the Billingsgate community separated from Eastham, establishing their own town and calling it Wellfleet; residents of Orleans followed suit in 1797, incorporating as their own town.
  • During the War of 1812, the towns of Eastham and Brewster paid ransom to the British, who had blockaded Cape Cod and demanded payments from a number of towns; Eastham paid $1,200, while Brewster paid $4,000.
  • Fifty-two men from Eastham served in The Civil War (1861-1865).
  • On November 17, 1879, the United States and France exchanged Morse code messages via cable, following the completion of an underwater, trans-Atlantic line. The American side was connected at a terminal in Eastham.
  • In February of 1914, the Italian ship Castagna wrecked off Eastham’s shores; U.S. Coast Guard crews rescued all but four of the crew, who froze to death.
  • Quincy native Henry Beston (1888-1968) published The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod in 1928, following a 12-month stay at his remote cottage in Eastham.
  • Ed Horton, Jr. (1916-2008), a native of Eastham, was part of the famed Doolittle Raid of Tokyo, Japan on April 18, 1942.
  • The remains of the SS James Longstreet are located about three and one-half miles off the coast of Eastham. Built during World War II, the lengthy Liberty ship was used after the war for target practice by the U.S. Navy and Air Force. The ship, also known as the “Target Ship,” was named after a general in the Confederate Army.
  • The town celebrated its 300th birthday in December of 1951. That year, Eastham students sent a shipment of candy to the children of East Ham, England.
  • In 1958, a group of locals formed The Highlanders, a popular community theater group.
  • The February Blizzard of 1978 was tough on New England, and Eastham, causing considerable damage at Coast Guard Beach, including to the parking lot and bathhouse.
  • The ‘outermost house’ that served as Henry Beston’s writing headquarters—a National Literary Landmark—was swept away in the Blizzard of ‘78.
  • Eastham’s town seal features an image of a Native American and the words “Nauset 1620.”
  • Eastham is known as the gateway to the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was established as a National Park in 1961.
  • Originally constructed as one of two lights in Chatham in 1808, ‘Twin Light,’ or Nauset Light as it would become known, was moved to Eastham in 1923 to replace ‘The Beacon,’ the last of ‘the three sisters’ lights.
  • Erosion over the next seven decades ate away at the land next to Nauset Light, leaving the structure in a precarious situation in 1996 with just 36 feet between its base and a 70-foot cliff face. In the fall of that year, the lighthouse was moved 336 feet to the west—and to safety; a commemorative re-lighting ceremony was held May 1, 1997.
  • Located within the National Seashore, Nauset Regional High School educates students from Eastham, Orleans, Wellfleet, Brewster, and other Cape towns.
  • History students at Nauset High have created a Witness to War website, which features interviews and photos of Cape Cod men and women who have served during wars the U.S. has fought in.
  • In addition to the lighthouse and high school, Eastham also has Nauset Pet Services and The Nauset House Guesthouse—both on Nauset Road—as well as Nauset Baptist Church and Crossfit Nauset; in Orleans, one can get breakfast, lunch, and coffee at Nauset Farms, eyeglasses at Nauset Optical, and a wetsuit at Nauset Surf Shop.
  • Cape Cod Potato Chips employs an image of Nauset Light in its company logo.
  • First Encounter Coffeehouse at 220 Samoset Road has been hosting acoustic folk music concerts since opening in the 1970s. Past performers include Les Sampou of Norwell, Jon Brooks, and Sparky & Rhonda Rucker.
  • Golfer Bobby Jones, a four-time winner of the U.S. Open and a six-time winner of the U.S. Amateur, once played at Cedar Bank Links, in the early years of the 20th Century.
  • Margaret Phillips of Eastham was named regional winner in the Cultural Center of Cape Cod’s 2013 poetry contest for her entry “Hiking in Truro, Massachusetts.”
  • Arthur Nickerson of Eastham was well known in town for his turnip growing proficiency. In November of 2013, the town’s annual turnip festival, sponsored by the Eastham Public Library, celebrated its 10th anniversary.
  • In years past, Eastham was considered the asparagus capital of the Cape.
  • Today, the town honors its produce heritage with an Asparagus Lane, a Cranberry Lane, an Apple Way, a Grove Road, and a Turnipfield Road.
  • Eastham also features uniquely named roads like Nutmeg Lane, Gingerplum Lane, Pilgrim Lane, and—just south of Wellfleet Harbor—Memory Lane.
  • Lastly, if you’re headed east in Eastham, it shouldn’t take long.
Eastham

2014 Annual Guide

In the Cape Cod LIFE Annual Guide 2014, celebrate our 35th anniversary with 35 fun facts for each Cape Cod town & the Islands…

Orleans

Fun facts about the town of Orleans…

Orleans
  • Water, water, everywhere . . . Orleans abuts the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod Bay, and Pleasant Bay.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, approximately 5,890 people live in Orleans. Other interesting facts from the census: 38 percent of homes in Orleans are seasonally occupied and the median age of the town’s residents is 62.4 years.
  • Some sunset lovers swear the best sunsets on the Cape can be seen at Rock Harbor on Cape Cod Bay. At low tide, the beach can be a brilliant multi-colored mirror for the setting sun. Children chase Hermit crabs and adults can often be seen savoring cocktails on the beach as the sun makes its descent.
  • Another way to rock Rock Harbor is to enjoy a huge lobster roll from Young’s Fish Market, right on the dock.
  • Speaking of splendid seafood, don’t miss the jumbo stuffies (stuffed quahogs) at Land Ho!—they are big, bursting with chopped clams, and constitute a meal in a shell. Other Land Ho! favorites to clamor about include chowder, clam pie, and fried clams.
  • The Mayflower almost did not make it to America because the Pilgrim’s ship nearly foundered in the fall of 1620 in treacherous waters off the coast of present day Orleans. The exhausted captain and crew—giving up on the original dream of reaching the Hudson River—headed toward Provincetown where they eventually made their first foray ashore.
  • The area of present-day Orleans was first settled in 1693 by a group of Pilgrims who came to Cape Cod searching for fertile soil, displeased as they were, with the agricultural potential of their plots in Plymouth.
  • A lack of fast-running rivers or streams meant that early Cape Cod residents had to rely on windmills to generate power for the grinding of grain and rock salt from town salt works. The 1750 Jonathan Young Windmill, resurrected with painstaking care by volunteers in the early 1980s, is an iconic Cape Cod monument on Town Cove.
  • Orleans was named by eight of the town’s Revolutionary War soldiers after Louis Philippe II—also known as the Duke of Orléans—aided the colonies during the American Revolution.
  • During the Revolutionary War, France’s Marquis de Lafayette led colonial troops against the British as an American general. Lafayette’s descendants still visit American towns where the general saw action. A few years ago, the current Count Lafayette laid a wreath on the grave of Issac Snow, who escaped from a British prison ship with the help of the Marquis. Snow, who lived to be 98, walked 400 miles across France to board a ship carrying Lafayette’s troops to America.
  • In the War of 1812, Joshua Crosby of Orleans was a gun captain aboard the U.S.S. Constitution, when, on August 19 of 1812, the ship defeated the British frigate, HMS Guerriere, off Nova Scotia.
  • In the Battle of Rock Harbor on December 19, 1814, a local militia fought crew from Britain’s HMS Newcastle, who had come ashore for an attack near the end of the War of 1812. In the skirmish, the militia killed one British Marine, injured others, and the British crew departed. Five days later, the Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Eve, ending the war.
  • During World War I, in 1918, Nauset Beach in Orleans was the site of foreign fire on a Sunday morning when a German U-boat fired upon four coal barges and a tugboat. People on the barges and the tug scrambled for shore; the injuries to Americans were slight despite a fusillade of German fire. This attack earned Orleans the unique distinction of being the only town in America to have been attacked twice by a foreign power.
  • Orleans has more French connections than any other town on Cape Cod; in the early 1900s, these connections were solidified with the establishment of the French Cable Station on Route 28, which made possible the speediest transmission of messages across the ocean from Europe to America.
  • In 1849, Henry David Thoreau embarked with a friend on his famous tour of the Cape, first riding by stagecoach and then walking through coastal communities. Thoreau spent the night in Orleans at the Higgins Tavern seeking respite from a driving wind and rainstorm. In his famous book, Cape Cod, Thoreau said of the experience that he and his companion were, “feeling very much as if we were on a sand bar in the ocean.”
  • En route from Canada to Norfolk, Virginia, the Maltese freighter, Eldia, was blown ashore on Nauset Beach on March 29, 1984. The crew of the massive vessel was rescued and the ship was salvaged, towed to Rhode Island, and eventually scrapped for parts.
  • Students from Orleans—as well as Brewster, Wellfleet, and the host town—attend high school at Nauset Regional in Eastham.
  • Count Lafayette, descendent of Marquis de Lafayette, and his wife visited Nauset High in Eastham in 2010 and spoke with students in history, French language, and video classes. The Count also once walked in the town’s Memorial Day parade.
  • Orleans is home to the Church of Transfiguration, a magnificent structure that took 10 years to build and is replete with mosaics, frescoes, and bronze works built by an ecumenical Benedictine Monastic community of priests and nuns.
  • The stately Captain Linnell House—a favorite wedding choice for Cape brides—was built by a resourceful Orleans sea captain, Ebenezer Linnell, who was also hailed as the inventor of a topsail rig for clipper ships. With profits from trips to far-flung ports, Linnell built the elegant mansion for his bride, Rebecca Crosby.
  • The spirited ghosts of the Orleans Waterfront Inn reportedly include Hannah, a ‘woman of the night’ who was murdered in the 1920s when the facility fell on hard times and became a brothel. The legendary Hannah allegedly frolics naked through the inn, perhaps a less scary ghost than that of the bartender Fred, who supposedly hung himself in the inn’s cupola.
  • For several sizes of sweetly scented, long burning candles from pillars to tapers, in whimsical shapes like flowers, pine cones, and starfish—hand-dipped and created on Cape Cod with 100 percent beeswax or native bayberries—be sure to stop in to the Honey Candle Shop on Main Street in Orleans.
  • Hungry visitors to town often flock to the Lobster Claw Restaurant on Route 6A where owners Don and Marylou Berig have served award-winning seafood to happy families for decades. Every night, the Berigs insist the restaurant be steam-cleaned to remove any trace of the oft-aromatic crustacean.
  • Opening both its locations—in Orleans and Eastham—daily at 5 a.m., Hole in One donuts sells between 500 (off-season) and 3,000 (summer) donuts each day, in varieties including chocolate glazed, raspberry-filled, and Whoopee creme.
  • The Hot Chocolate Sparrow cafe on Old Colony Way, sells about 600 coffees per day, including lattes, cappuccinos, and the mocha sparrow, which contains chocolate sauce steamed into whole milk.
  • Henry Knowles “H.K.” Cummings was a well-known Orleans photographer who, from 1887 to 1905, captured arresting black and white images of everyday nineteenth-century life on the Cape. Today, The Snow Library in Orleans maintains a series of the photographer’s images in its Cummings Collection.
  • Orleans is also home to several excellent art galleries including Addison Art, the Collins Galleries, Rowley Gallery, Gallery 31, and Tree’s Place. Prices of paintings sold in these galleries range from a few hundred dollars to five figures or more for artwork by well-known regional artists.
  • Nauset Lantern on Main Street designs and handcrafts distinctive, onion globe and colonial style lamps sold both at the shop and online. Some of the distinctive indoor and outdoor lamps of copper and brass evoke lanterns originally designed for ships at sea.
  • In July of 2012, a shark was photographed ‘following’ a kayaker off the shore of Nauset Beach. Captured by photographer Shelly Negrotti, the image was featured on many national news outlets.
  • Snows Home and Garden has been a strong retail presence in the center of Orleans for more than 127 years. William H. Snow (descendent of Revolutionary War hero Issac Snow) opened the first store on Main Street. Today’s sprawling department store is still managed and staffed with several members of the Snow family.
  • Aaron Snow, the family’s first entrepreneur, built a huge Victorian house on Town Cove in 1875; during construction, Orleans townspeople nicknamed the huge house, “Aaron’s Folly,” because it took him so long to build. The mansion—now the centerpiece of the sprawling Orleans Inn—is a favorite with ghost hunters and has been featured on national TV.
  • For many years, an enormous Orleans structure called the Snow’s Block was the social center of the town, offering a shooting gallery, a gymnasium, a theater, a livery stable, and town meeting space. At one time the largest building on the Cape, the four-story structure was torn down in the 1930s.
  • Longtime Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra played for the Orleans Cardinals in 1993; he batted .321 that season and was named team MVP.
  • For several miles in Orleans, Route 28 North heads directly south; the opposite is also true.
  • Prior to becoming an independent town in 1797, Orleans was the south parish of the town of Eastham.
Orleans

Chatham

Fun facts about the town of Chatham…

Chatham
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Chatham is 6,125.
  • In 1658, William Nickerson purchased the land we call Chatham today from Native Americans in the area for a shallop, or boat. In 1664, Nickerson and his wife, Anne Busby, were the first European settlers in the area.
  • Originally known by different names including Manamoyik, Monomoit, Port Fortune, and Sutcliffe’s Inlets, Chatham was incorporated as a town in 1712; the town was named after a town in the southeast of England.
  • At Town Meeting in 1962, Chatham residents approved the expenditure of $1.3 million to construct a new middle school/high school on Crowell Road. In 2010, Chatham and Harwich residents together approved the creation of the Monomoy Regional School District, the centerpiece of which is a new $64.7 million high school to be built in Harwich.
  • Construction of the high school is slated for completion this year, and the first class of Monomoy High Sharks is scheduled to graduate in 2015.
  • Chatham’s town seal reads: “Incorporated June 11, 1712.” According to a study by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 2011, the seal population in and around Chatham and the Cape is 15,700.
  • Established in 1944, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge features 7,604 acres between its two islands—North Monomoy and South Monomoy. As of 2013, it is the only area designated as ‘wilderness’ in Southern New England.
  • Foxes are abundant in this region of the Cape. Visitors might spot one around town, perhaps at Fox Pond, or on Fox Hill Road.
  • Chatham Light was built in 1808 and featured two ‘twin’ lights, so sailors could easily distinguish it from Highland Light in Truro, which had one. In 1923, the north of the two towers—Twin Light’—was moved to Eastham.
  • In 1871, Congress established the U.S. Life Saving Service, and stations were built in Chatham and Monomoy the following year.
  • In November 1887, the Old Colony Railroad line extended to Chatham. Prior to that, visitors to town took the train to Harwich, disembarked there, and continued on by stagecoach.
  • In 1902, the barge, Wadena, beached itself and wrecked off Chatham; the owner, William Mack, and all crew members perished. Further, seven of the eight U.S. Lifesavers from Monomoy Station who attempted to rescue those on board drowned. Seth Ellis was the lone survivor. In 1903, Mack’s family built the Mack Monument next to Chatham Light to memorialize those lost in the tragedy.
  • In January of 1918, the Chatham Naval Air Station was commissioned. In July of that year, a German U-boat attacked a tugboat and four empty barges off the Orleans coast and planes were sent from the air station to fight off the sub. The planes’ bombs were unsuccessful and the sub departed the area.
  • In 1919, Chatham Town Hall burned down; The Orpheum Theatre was subsequently used to host town meetings and other community events.
  • During World War II, dirigibles and seaplanes stationed at Monomoy Island kept watch over the Cape’s waters for Nazi submarines.
  • In 1931, Chatham resident Alice Stallknecht painted a version of Christ Preaching to the Multitudes, featuring her fellow parishioners at the Congregational Church as models. The murals were hung originally at the church; today, the artwork can be viewed at Atwood House Museum on Stage Harbor Road.
  • Webster Whitney “Whit” Tileston led the Chatham band during summer concerts at Kate Gould Park for nearly 50 years, from 1946-1994.
  • To celebrate Chatham’s bicentennial in 1912, a town luncheon was held at The Rockwell Grounds above Mill Pond; the day’s menu featured cold roast turkey, cold boiled ham, and cold boiled tongue—as well as olives, frozen pudding, and coffee.
  • To commemorate Chatham’s 250th birthday in 1962, the mayor of Chatham, England, Mrs. Bertha Grieveson, came to town for a celebration hosted by the Chatham Women’s Club.
  • Chatham occupies about 24.4 square miles, making it comparable in size to Dearborn, Michigan.
  • In 2012, Chatham turned 300; Festivities that year included a tea at the Atwood House Museum, a dinner at the VFW featuring Native American foods, and the Tercentennial Ball at Chatham Bars Inn.
  • Coinciding with the tercentennial, The Chatham Historical Society published Three Centuries in A Cape Cod Village; The Story of Chatham.
  • When it opened in 1914, the Chatham Bars Inn offered both fresh and saltwater showers, in addition to other amenities. The inn celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014.
  • In 1935, the fee for a night’s stay at The Chatham Bars and Cottages was $7-12.
  • The Orpheum Theater opened on Main Street in 1916 with seating for 400. The theater underwent many changes over the years, including adapting for sound films in the late 1920s. In 1985, the building that housed the theater was sold, and in 1990, CVS leased the space, operating a pharmacy there until 2011.
  • Following a concerted effort from volunteers and supporters—and more than $1 million in fundraising—a new Orpheum Theater opened to the public on July 26, 2013.
  • The Chatham Drama Guild was founded in 1932. This year, the community theater, located on Crowell Road, will perform The Sound of Music and other shows.
  • Still Alice, a 2007 New York Times bestseller by Cape resident Lisa Genova, is set in Chatham.
  • In 2013, the Chatham Anglers finished with the Cape league’s best regular season record (26-17-1), John Schiffer was named manager of the year, and Lukas Schiraldi of Texas was named the league’s best pitcher. Unfortunately, the A’s lost in the championship to the Orleans Firebirds.
  • Starring Freddie Prince, Jr. and Jessica Biel, the 2001 film, Summer Catch, is set in Chatham; the movie centers on a baseball player on the Chatham A’s.
  • Thurmon Munson played for the Chatham A’s in 1967 and won the league’s MVP trophy. He later won Rookie of the Year, MVP, and two World Series with the New York Yankees. In 1979, Munson, 32, died tragically in an airplane crash in Ohio.
  • Great spots to chat in Chatham include the Chatham Coffee Company, Monomoy Coffee Company, The Corner Store, Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore, the Wild Goose, Chatham Village Cafe, and The Squire.
  • Chatham’s art galleries include the Bartholomew Gallery, Gallery Antonia, the Hearle Gallery, J. Todd Galleries, Nickerson Art Gallery, Odell’s Studio & Gallery, and the Struna Galleries. Photography galleries include Focus Gallery and Yankee Ingenuity.
  • The Cape Cod Daily Deal was founded by Stephen Williams (of Chatham) and Brett Tendler in 2011. The company’s first ‘deal’ featured $20 of food and drinks for $10 at The Red Nun in Chatham. The most popular deal in the company’s history featured Scargo Café in Dennis, when 588 customers bought $20 worth of food for just $6.
  • The Chatham Fiddle Company rents and sells various stringed instruments including banjos, guitars, and fiddles; prior to opening in 2011, shop owner Rose Clancy completed a three-year violin-making course at the North Bennett Street School in Boston.
Chatham

Harwich

Fun facts about the town of Harwich…

Harwich
  • At about 33.2 square miles, Harwich is slightly larger than St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Harwich’s population is 12,243; also per the Census, about 40% of the homes in town are seasonally occupied.
  • Harwich has several villages including Pleasant Lake, West Harwich, East Harwich, Harwichport, Harwich Center, North Harwich and South Harwich.
  • The town has three active harbors: Saquatucket, Wychmere, and Allen Harbor.
  • The Harwich and Chatham public school districts combined in recent years, creating the Monomoy Regional School District; construction of the towns’ new high school—Monomoy High in Harwich—is slated for completion this year.
  • Coinciding with the new Monomoy High, Harwich High, which was built in 1963, will close its doors at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. The girls basketball team won state titles in 2003 and 2004, the baseball team captured state crowns in 1996, 2006, and 2007, and the field hockey team has been a powerhouse for years.
  • Founded in 1995, the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich is an option for middle-school students; currently, 228 students in grades 6 through 8 attend the regional school, with 76 in each grade. Since 2011, the school has been located in the building on Route 137 that formerly housed the Harwich Cinema Movie Theater.
  • In 2014, the Harwich Cranberry Arts & Music Festival—the descendant of a Cranberry Festival held in town for decades—features a series of events from July 12, through the final Festival Weekend of September 13-14, including two craft shows, a flea market, a special Beach Day, and more.
  • Harwich Junior Theatre and Harwich Winter Theatre are part of a nationally recognized family theater company attracting actors of all ages. Created in 1951 by founder Betty Bobp, the organization stages 12 full-scale productions a year.
  • When Harwich was first settled in 1670, the region was known as Satucket and was part of the sprawling town of Yarmouth, which encompassed several present-day towns until the 1700s.
  • When the town incorporated in 1694, community leaders took the name, Harwich, after a well-known port in England. At that time, the town also included much of present-day Brewster.
  • Harwich was home to the nation’s first commercial cranberry bog, established by Alvin Cahoon in the mid-1800s. The cultivation of cranberries, which flourished in the town’s acidic bogs, boosted the local economy substantially. Entire families were employed in the cranberry industry—children were allowed to miss school to be part of the town-wide harvests each fall.
  • Harwich was a thriving seaport with more than 125 successful sea captains in the mid-1800s. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the town’s fishing industry had declined drastically. The cultivation of cranberries at the turn of the twentieth century helped save a nearly bankrupt community.
  • In the late 1800s, Ocean Grove in Harwichport was founded as a cottage community for religious revivalists; today, most of the cottages are summer residences.
  • Wychmere Harbor was originally a landlocked Salt Water Pond. Local fishermen tried to dig a pathway from the pond to nearby Nantucket Sound by hand, a frustrating effort that was abandoned, ultimately, in favor of a racetrack for horses around the pond. In 1889, the state dredged a 100-foot wide channel to the Sound.
  • After the destructive Great Atlantic Hurricane of 1944, which decimated much of Cape Cod, German prisoners of war were brought from Camp Edwards to help repair storm damage in Harwich.
  • An enterprising widow—Hannah C. Stokes—opened a successful factory in Harwich in 1865 to manufacture overalls. With a mostly female workforce of around 50, Hannah’s business was expanded to produce shirts.
  • A. Elmer Crowell (1862-1952), a master decoy carver known internationally for his decoys of shorebirds and waterfowl, was born and lived in East Harwich. Two of Crowell’s decoys—the Preening Pintail Duck and the Canada Goose—each sold for 1.13 million dollars in 2007.
  • Shared between Harwich and Brewster, Long Pond is the Cape’s longest pond and a favorite spot for seaplane landings.
  • Harwich native and entrepreneur Caleb Chase, founder of Boston’s famous Chase and Sanborn coffee in 1878, contributed to the town’s tourist trade by building roads that brought outsiders to savor Harwich’s many coastal attractions.
  • Jonathan Walker (1799-1878), a sea captain from Harwich, was the subject of the John Greenleaf Whittier poem, “The Man With the Branded Hand.” Walker was branded with the letters ‘SS’ for ‘slave stealer’ after trying to free seven slaves in 1844.
  • Tip O’Neill (1912-1994), famed politician and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, owned a house in Harwichport for generations. His family members continue to live in Harwichport today. Cape Cod LIFE interviewed the O’Neills in the early days of the magazine.
  • Cory Snyder of Harwich blasted 22 home runs to lead the Cape league in 1983; Snyder played professional ball in Cleveland and was known for his strong arm in right field. His single-season home run record has stood as a Cape League record for three decades.
  • Shawn Fanning, creator of the music-sharing website, Napster, graduated from Harwich High in 1998.
  • Land Ho! restaurant—long a mainstay in Orleans for home-cooked cuisine in a friendly atmosphere—opened a second location in Harwich in 2010. Land Ho! is a frequent winner of Cape Cod LIFE’s ‘Best Of’ Readers’ Poll, winning best ‘Lower Cape Lunch’ choice in 2013.
  • For decades, locals and visitors flocked to Wychmere Harbor’s Thompson’s Clam Bar to chow down on classic Cape Cod fare including fried clams and lobster rolls. A 1983 documentary on Thompson’s—now on DVD— can be purchased from the Harwich Historical Society for $20.
  • Wychmere Beach Club—now the site of high-end condominiums—is the former location of Wychmere Harbor’s Snow Inn, created for tourists in the late 1880s by an entrepreneurial resident, featuring a bowling alley and gorgeous Nantucket Sound views.
  • Open since 1941, Bonatt’s Bakery & Restaurant on Main Street in Harwichport has won Cape Cod LIFE’s annual ‘Best Of’ Readers’ Poll award several times for such bakery items as their famous Meltaway pastries.
  • The Indian name of the elegant Wequassett Resort & Golf Club, which offers 120 guest rooms, four restaurants, two pools, tennis courts and a golf course on 27 acres, means “crescent on the water.” Wequassett is one of Cape Cod’s most popular locations for weddings for couples from around the country.
  • Another famous Harwich hotel was the Belmont Hotel, which attracted wealthy industrialists from around the country. A ticker-tape machine was installed in the hotel’s lobby to keep track of stock market activity and guests enjoyed gambling at a hotel casino. The site on Belmont Road is now home to condominiums.
  • In 1935, guests could reserve a room at The Melrose Inn on Route 28 for $4 per night; the inn closed in the 1980s and today, the site is home to The Melrose Retirement Condominiums.
  • Sundae School Ice Cream in Harwichport, the 2013 winner of the Lower Cape’s “Best Ice Cream” in Cape Cod LIFE’s ‘Best Of’ Readers’ Poll, uses real chocolate chips, real pistachios, fresh fruit, and a high content of butterfat in its prize-winning flavors.
  • Overlooking Island Pond in Harwich, the Cape Cod Lavender Farm has more than 14,000 lavender (Lavandula) plants and sells unique lavender products, including candles, body butter, and Lavender Lemonade.
Harwich

Brewster

Fun facts about the town of Brewster…

Brewster
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Brewster is 9,820.
  • Among many water bodies of the same name in the state, Long Pond in Brewster and Harwich is the largest natural pond on Cape Cod at 716 acres.
  • According to a 1990s study, Long Pond contains yellow perch, small and large-mouth bass, American eel, and the tessellated darter.
  • In 1803, the North Parish of Harwich voted to break off from the town and incorporate as an independent community—Brewster.
  • The town gets its name from Elder William Brewster (1564-1644), a passenger on the Mayflower who served as the first religious leader of Plymouth Colony.
  • Originally built as a church in 1852, the Brewster General Store was made into a store a few years later and has remained one ever since. For a time in the early 1900s, the store also served as a post office, and today, it is a well-known tourist attraction.
  • In 1853, The Brewster Ladies’ Library was established with a collection of 200 volumes in a sea captain’s home. Today, the community lending library on Main Street features more than 50,000 books.
  • The railroad first arrived in Brewster in 1865 with the completion of the 19-mile Yarmouth to Orleans extension.
  • An 1888 Cornelius Chenery photo of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan in Brewster is believed to be the earliest photo of the pair together.
  • In the late 1880s, school in town was delayed until October so children could join their families to help in the annual cranberry harvest.
  • Founded in 1907, The Sea Pines School of Charm and Personality for Young Women began as a summer camp and was later expanded into a school. The facility, which operated until the 1970s, is now home to the Old Sea Pines Inn on Main Street.
  • Today, Brewster students who have completed elementary school attend the Nauset Middle School in Orleans or the Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich (grades 6-8), and Nauset Regional High School in Eastham.
  • Serving the Cape since 1921, The Animal Rescue League of Boston has a shelter in Brewster; in addition to veterinary care and aiding with pet adoptions, the staff are trained in disaster response as well as ice, swift water, and marine mammal rescue.
  • Founded in 1964, the Brewster Historical Society celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014; upcoming events include the annual Brewster in Bloom festivities on April 26 featuring windmill tours, blacksmith demonstrations, and more.
  • At 1,900 acres, Nickerson State Park in Brewster is the Cape’s largest campground featuring more than 400 campsites with cabins and yurts, hiking and biking trails, ponds, and beaches.
  • Cyclists can also travel through Brewster via the Cape Cod Rail Trail, which connects the town to Dennis, Harwich, and Orleans.
  • Cape Cod Sea Camps in Brewster offers summer camp activities for boys and girls, including archery, drama, woodworking, windsurfing, sailing, dance, snorkeling, and more.
  • The camp has a long history of providing recreational activities for young people. In 1922, Camp Monomoy for Boys was opened in West Harwich, and later moved to Brewster. Camp Wono for girls was founded in East Brewster in 1939.
  • In 1822, Warren Lincoln (1810-1900) of Brewster was 12 years old and working as a cabin boy aboard the Iris, when the ship was attacked by pirates in waters off Cuba, and he was captured. Lincoln later commanded the Draco and the Mary.
  • In 1859, Captain William Freeman of Brewster was badly injured during an attempted mutiny of his ship, the Undaunted, by crewmembers; Freeman survived and the mutineers were turned over to the U.S. Consul in Nova Scotia.
  • The original Stony Brook Grist Mill in Brewster was constructed in 1663 to attract homesteaders to the region. The present mill was built in 1873.
  • Including water, Brewster is approximately 25.4 square miles, making it comparable in size to the city of Pilot Point, Alaska.
  • Names of vessels captained by Brewster men include: the Kingfisher, Mogul, Malabar, Gold Hunter, and—Captain Bailey Foster’s—Santa Claus.
  • In 1906, Captain J. Henry Sears published Brewster Shipmasters, in which he told tales of the town’s seafaring adventurers.
  • Brewster celebrated its bicentennial in 2003 with a party at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on Main Street. Festivities included tours of the museum, readings, history lectures including a feature on the town’s salt works, a birthday cake, and a presentation of the Brewster Bicentennial Quilt.
  • In 2014, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History celebrates its 60th anniversary; current exhibits focus on honeybees, bird and owl woodcarvings, and more.
  • Since 2005, the museum has observed the daily activities—hatching, eating, flying, and leaving—of ospreys living in a marsh by the museum via a camera setup overlooking the nest.
  • From its observations, the museum has found that the osprey usually arrive in March, lay three eggs in April, and head south in September. Hatching around Memorial Day, two of the hatchlings generally survive, while the third is often weaker and struggles to get enough food. The young that survive grow steadily and are flying and fishing on their own by mid-August.
  • Born in Brewster, writer Joseph Crosby Lincoln (1870-1944) published magazine articles as well as 47 books and plays, many about Cape Cod. Some of his titles include: The Rise of Roscoe Paine, The Portygee, and Thankful’s Inheritance.
  • Best known for her song “Loving You,” singer-songwriter Minnie Riperton also wrote “Alone in Brewster Bay,” following a visit she made to the Cape with her husband, producer Dick Rudolph, in the early 1970s.
  • Cape Rep Theatre in Brewster hosts plays and musicals from May to December; popular 2013 shows included 9-Ball and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
  • The Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape league won their only championship in 2000 with a sweep of the Hyannis Mets.
  • Whitecaps alumni include Ryan Braun, Sean Casey, Chase Utley, Troy Tulowitzki, and hall of famer, Tony Gwynn.
  • Some Bruces of Brewster include: J. Bruce MacGregor, who owns Cartwheels II Go Karts in Bourne; Bruce Christopher, who won a prize in the Cape Cod Viewfinders Camera Club’s juried photo contest in 2014; and Bruce Abbott, who performed recently for the Brewster Ladies’ Library.
  • The 1985 Richard Pryor and John Candy film, Brewster’s Millions, does not have an apparent connection to the town of Brewster.
Brewster

Dennis

Fun facts about the town of Dennis…

Dennis
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the town’s population is 14,207; the figure represents an 11 percent decrease—1,766 less people—since the year 2000.
  • Including water, Dennis occupies about 22.3 square miles—comparable in size to Manhattan, New York.
  • When Dennis was incorporated in 1793, the town was named after Josiah Dennis, the community’s leading minister; prior to the incorporation, present-day Dennis was part of the town of Yarmouth.
  • The ties between Dennis and Yarmouth have remained strong since then, and today the communities combine to form the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District.
  • In 2011, the Dennis-Yarmouth Dolphins’ football team won its first Super Bowl title over Wakefield in the Division 2A final, 35-0; the win completed an undefeated, 13-0 season. In 2013, the D-Y Dolphins made the championship game again—in Division 4—but fell to Worcester’s Doherty High, 28-26.
  • In a relatively new rivalry among regional schools, Dennis-Yarmouth High School now squares off against Nauset Regional of Eastham on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Dennis-Yarmouth High graduate, Josh Taves, was named Most Valuable Defensive Player in NFL Europe while playing for the Barcelona Dragons in 1998.
  • Amy Jo Johnson, TVs original Pink Power Ranger, is originally from Dennis and graduated from Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School.
  • The Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod Baseball League play home games at Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth; the team captured the Cape league crown in 2004, 2006, and 2007.
  • Could this be Vinland? Researchers over the years have found some information—though not indisputable—that they believe shows Norse Vikings, including Leif Ericson, may have visited the Cape long before the Pilgrims. One neighborhood in South Dennis certainly has a very Viking ambiance; the area features Viking Drive, Vinland Drive, Leif Ericson Drive, Norseman Drive, Thorwald Drive, Freydis Drive, Fiord Drive, and Saga Road.
  • One account of a local legend says Scargo Lake in Dennis may be well stocked with fish because a Native American princess—Princess Scargo of the now-extinct Nobscusset Tribe—drowned in its waters.
  • To some, Scargo Lake—located just south of Route 6A—looks like a fish itself.
  • Members of the Nobscusset Tribe referred to Scargo Lake as Nobscusset Pond. The tribe’s burial ground is located next to the pond.
  • Commemorating the region’s Native American roots, Dennis has the following roadways: Wampanoag Trail, Santucket Road, Setucket Road, Shawnee Way, Indian Trail, Siasconset Avenue, and Nobscusset Road.
  • On August 17, 2014, the Dennis Chamber of Commerce hosts a sand castle contest at Mayflower Beach; multiple prizes will be awarded.
  • Another Dennis chamber event—The Taste of Dennis—is held October 16, 2014 at the SeaView Restaurant in Dennisport. Proceeds from an auction at the event will fund a scholarship given in honor of Holly Young, a 2004 DY High graduate and Dennis lifeguard who died following a lengthy battle with Ewing’s sarcoma.
  • Since 1968, Cape Abilities of Dennis has been providing work opportunities for Cape residents who have disabilities. In 2006, Cape Abilities Farm opened on Main Street with a farm stand and greenhouses, and several Cape restaurants feature the farm’s produce on their menus.
  • A plaque by Sesuit Harbor tells the story of a manatee that became stranded there in October of 2008. Though the animal—dubbed ‘Dennis’ by a local school—was rescued from the water off Cape Cod Bay, it eventually died following a lengthy drive to an animal rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Florida.
  • The Dennis Historical Society celebrated its 50th birthday in 2013. In 2014, the society hosts a number of events including lectures on old houses of Dennis (April 12) and Mark Twain (July 26), and an old-fashioned pie sale (July 7).
  • In addition to books, magazines, and DVDs, the Dennis Public Library on Hall Street in Dennisport currently has a Downton Abbey Fan Club, as well as book clubs for fans of mystery, history, and more.
  • Eden Hand Arts opened on Route 6A in Dennis in 1968. There, owner and artist John Carey, still designs the original Cape Cod bracelet.
  • Founded in 1927, The Cape Playhouse on Route 6A is the oldest professional summer theater in America; Hollywood actress Bette Davis (1908-1989), famous for her roles in Of Human Bondage, Dangerous, and All About Eve, once worked at the playhouse as an usher.
  • Cape Cinema on Hope Lane in East Dennis also features a storied history. Opened in 1930 by Raymond Moore—who also founded The Cape Playhouse—the cinema featured seating for 300 and a massive mural depicting a modernist and colorful view of the heavens; the mural, by Rockwell Kent, is still one of the largest in the country.
  • Today, Cape Cinema features independent films as well as simulcast versions of various Metropolitan Operas including Prince Igor by Borodin and La Boheme by Puccini.
  • Next to the cinema, Cape Cod Museum of Art on Hope Lane is open daily; in addition to regular exhibits, the museum offers classes in pottery, drawing, photography, and painting.
  • Together, the Cape Cod Museum of Art, Eventide Arts of Dennis, and Cape Cinema host a Red Carpet Gala on Sunday, March 2, 2014—the night of the Oscars. The event features a red carpet, hors d’oeuvres, musical performances, and, beginning at 8 p.m., a live telecast of the Academy Awards on the Cape Cinema screen.
  • During the first half of the 1800s, shipbuilding was a prominent industry in Dennis, with men like Asa Shiverick (1790-1861) and his sons, Asa Jr., David, and Paul, constructing schooners and—later—impressive clipper ships near Sesuit Creek.
  • Known today as West Dennis Light, the lighthouse on the Bass River in West Dennis has a storied history. In the mid 1850s, Warren Crowell of Wrinkle Point aided sailors by keeping a lantern lit in his attic window. In 1853, Congress approved the construction of an official lighthouse nearby, and when completed, Crowell served as Bass River Light’s first keeper.
  • Following the completion of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914, Bass River Light was decommissioned; ensuing years brought new owners, use of the property as a home, and—in 1938-39—the establishment of The Lighthouse Inn, which remains in business today at 1 Lighthouse Road.
  • The Lighthouse Inn celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2013, and during the year, the facility hosted corporate events, clambakes, and nearly 50 weddings.
  • Founded in 1952 by Harry Holl, Scargo pottery has been a family business in Dennis since 1952. The studio is run today by Harry’s daughters Sarah, Tina, Kim, and Mary as well as Meden Parker, and together the artists create unique pottery, sculpture, and ceramics. The studio is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Dentists in Dennis include Dr. Robert Creeden, Dr. Frank Dahlstrom, Dr. Michael Bittrich, Dr. Linda Fortenberry, and the professionals at Mid-Cape Dental Center.
  • Golfers enjoy great facilities in Dennis at The Highlands and The Pines golf courses. Unrelated to the town, Larry Dennis co-wrote, The Golf Ball Book, a history of the little white ball and its many variations over the years.
  • Hot tubs from Holiday Hot Tubs & Spas of South Dennis can be used year round.
  • The Cape Cod Rail Trail is the longest bike path on Cape Cod, stretching 22 miles from Dennis to Truro.
Dennis

Yarmouth

Fun facts about the town of Yarmouth…

Yarmouth
  • Yarmouth occupies about 28.2 square miles making it comparable in size to Hopkinton, Massachusetts.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of Yarmouth is 23,793 residents, making the town the third largest on the Cape, behind Barnstable and Falmouth.
  • The town was named after Great Yarmouth, a community located by the mouth of the River Yare on the east coast of England.
  • Prior to English colonization, the Wampanoag people inhabited Yarmouth and called it ‘Mattacheese,’ or ‘Mattakeese.’ The Indian derivation of this name has been translated in a variety of ways as “planted fields”, “fields on the harbor”, or “by the water.” Either way, legend has it that the Indians—led by the great Indian chief Iyanough—entertained the Pilgrims in these fields during the colonists’ first year.
  • A famous early settler of Yarmouth was Stephen Hopkins, an English adventurer who came to North America on the Mayflower. Hopkins had previously sailed to Bermuda, where he survived a shipwreck, a mutiny, and near death—the story of the ship’s travails inspired Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, and Hopkins is said to be the bard’s inspiration for the play’s drunken villain, Stephano.
  • In 1776, some women of Yarmouth melted down their pewter glassware, candles, and buttons to use the material to make bullets; soon after, a group of 80 Yarmouth men marched to a Revolutionary War battle in Dorchester Heights, armed with the uniquely made ammunition.
  • In January of 1854, ship captain Asa Eldridge of Yarmouth sailed the clipper, Red Jacket, from New York to Liverpool in a record 13 days and one hour.
  • Known as ‘Captains’ Mile,’ a one-mile stretch along Route 6A in Yarmouthport today was at one time home to more than 50 sea captains. Each of the homes has a black and gold schooner plaque on the door, and touring maps are available at the Captain Bangs Hallet House Museum, the Yarmouthport library, and some local businesses.
  • Opened in 1981, Captain Parker’s Pub is acclaimed throughout the region for its clam chowder. The restaurant overlooks Parker’s River in West Yarmouth.
  • Located on Main Street in South Yarmouth, Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf features two, 18-hole miniature golf courses, Blackbeard’s Course and—fitting for Yarmouth—a Captain’s Course. In addition to Yarmouth, Pirate’s Cove has more than 20 locations.
  • Yarmouth’s Parnassus Book Service, Inc., is a treasure chest of a store located in an early-1800s building on Route 6A that once housed a general store. For more than 50 years, book lovers have perused the shop’s new and old books and specialty catalogs, which are piled, stacked, and even shelved outside.
  • In 1979, American writer and artist, Edward Gorey—known for his darkly humorous pen and ink drawings—purchased a 200-year-old home on Strawberry Lane, which is now The Edward Gorey House Museum and open to visitors from April through December. As a child, Gorey’s favorite book was Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
  • Edward Gorey’s macabre world became widely known in 1980 when Boston’s PBS station, WGBH, chose some of the illustrator’s wonderfully weird ghouls as inspiration for the background of both the opening credits and the stage sets for the station’s famous series, MYSTERY!
  • Gorey’s legacy as the author of weird stories about creepy creatures such as The Ghashlycrumb Tinies has made the Yarmouth eccentric famous far from his quiet Cape Cod home. Since 1999, a Gorey-inspired event called The Edwardian Ball has been held annually in San Francisco, described as a mix of ‘Edwardian period dress, steam punk chic, and Edward Gorey-inspired madness.’
  • Throughout the summer, art lovers can find a wide array of artwork by both emerging and established artists in outdoor shows staged by the Yarmouth Artists’ Guild. In 2014, shows are held on Saturdays at the Town Hall in South Yarmouth on Route 28; on Sundays, the shows are held on Route 6A in Yarmouthport.
  • In October of 2013, the Yarmouth Seaside Festival celebrated its 35th anniversary; the event featured sand sculpting, races, fireworks, a fairly large craft fair, and a pie-eating contest.
  • New in 2013, the seaside festival featured a Bed Race; requirements for the one-quarter mile competition included a bed, four pushers, and one rider who must wear pajamas and remain lying down throughout.
  • The Yarmouth Meeting House on North Main Street in South Yarmouth continues the community’s long Quaker legacy in a plain, unadorned structure that was built in 1809. Surrounded by a quiet graveyard, the house still hosts meetings for Quakers from Cape Cod and the Boston area.
  • Now a national retail chain, the Christmas Tree Shops started in Yarmouthport in 1970. The original shop had three small stores—the Front shop, the Back shop, and the Barn shop—all located on historic Route 6A.
  • The 23-acre Taylor-Bray Farm in Yarmouthport, which includes an antique Cape farmhouse, a barn, a caretaker’s cottage, and farm animals, was saved from development in 1987 when the town purchased the farm for historic preservation and conservation purposes.
  • For 45 years, West Yarmouth’s ZooQuarium on Route 28 was a favorite with families who would flock to pet the animals and then watch as sea creatures frolicked in three pools, including a 100,000-gallon monster with seating for more than 300. In December of 2013, the ZooQuarium was closed and put up for sale. The animals were distributed to zoos and animal centers throughout the Cape and New England.
  • Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has its international headquarters in Yarmouthport; IFAW works to protect elephants, whales, tigers, cats, and dogs and has projects underway in more than 40 countries.
  • The Hallet name is one of Yarmouth’s oldest, with today’s descendants tracing their roots back to ancient times. One of Cape Cod’s most enduring legends is that of Maria Hallet and her lover, ‘Black Sam’ Bellamy, the notorious pirate whose ship is said to have wrecked—with nearly all aboard drowning—off the Cape coast when he was returning to his love. No one has been able to ascertain whether ‘Maria’ was one of the 10 children born to Andrew Hallet in Yarmouth in the late 1600s.
  • On Route 6A in Yarmouthport, Hallet’s Store has a venerable tradition serving ice cream and sodas at a soda fountain described as “America’s oldest old-fashioned soda fountain.” The shop was first opened in 1889 by Thatcher Taylor Hallet, who is described by a descendent as Yarmouth’s former ‘collector of customs, postmaster, justice of peace, provider of the poor . . .and a mason.’
  • The Optimist Cafe—just a cone’s throw away from Hallet’s on Route 6A—is a favorite for breakfast and lunch served in a whimsical, gingerbread-trimmed Victorian.
  • Originally founded in 1900 with nine holes, the Bass River Golf Course was redesigned and expanded by noted golf course architect Donald Ross in 1914; today, the course features 80 challenging holes with narrow fairways, small greens, and stunning views of Bass River.
  • The Bass River Rod & Gun Club in Yarmouthport offers courses in firearms instruction and safety as well as weekly archery lessons; in the archery classes, students can learn about terms such as ‘dry fire’, when a bow is released without an arrow attached, and ‘arrow smith’, one who makes arrows.
  • Opened in 2007 in the structure that formerly housed the Bass River Savings Bank, the Cultural Center of Cape Cod hosts concerts, art exhibits, and classes such as art journaling and oil and watercolor painting all year-round.
  • Yarmouthport’s Bass Hole Boardwalk—featured on the cover of this issue—offers beautiful views over marshes and wetlands from Gray’s Beach to Cape Cod Bay. Besides the boardwalk and the beach, there are tidal pools, picnic facilities, and a pavilion for clambakes. Other scenic Cape and Islands boardwalks can be found in Sandwich, Wellfleet, Eastham, Provincetown, and Martha’s Vineyard.
  • West Yarmouth’s Great Marsh Kayak Tours lead you through some of the Cape’s most scenic waterways with Great Marsh’s Bob Wilds as your guide. The tours offer kayakers an up-close look at Cape Cod’s stunning sea and marsh attractions.
  • Red Wilson Field in Yarmouth hosted the 2013 Cape Cod Baseball League All Star Game, won by the East All Stars; MVPs of the game were J.D. Davis of the Chatham A’s and Kevin Cron of the Falmouth Commodores.
  • At the Red Wilson Field concession stand, fans have some sweet options when it comes to hamburgers; they can order burgers served on a Boston Cream donut, or within two halves of a jelly donut.
  • The Massachusetts Coastal Railroad—a.k.a. the trash train—hauls the region’s waste through some of Cape Cod’s prettiest marshes, woodlands, and dune lands, from Yarmouth and Falmouth to SEMASS in Rochester.
  • Originally opened in 1696, the Old Yarmouth Inn on Route 6A is believed to be the oldest operating restaurant on Cape Cod.
Yarmouth Yarmouth

Barnstable

Fun facts about the town of Barnstable…

Barnstable
  • Barnstable is Cape Cod’s second-oldest town after Sandwich.
  • According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Barnstable is the largest town on Cape Cod in both population (45,193) and geographic area (76.3 square miles).
  • Constructed in 1644, Sturgis Library in Barnstable is the oldest building housing a public library in the United States.
  • Built in 1690, the jail in Barnstable Village—Barnstable’s Old Gaol—is the oldest wooden jail in America. Rescued pirates from the wreck of the Whydah in 1717 were held at the jail prior to their trial in Boston. The structure has not served as a jail since 1820.
  • The village of Marstons Mills was built up around Benjamin Marston and the wooden grist mill he operated in the area, beginning in 1738; the mill was productive until the late 1880s.
  • During the early 1900s, the village of Cotuit was known as “Little Harvard” because of the number of Harvard faculty members and intellectuals who summered there.
  • The Cape Cod Times newspaper first published in 1936, known then as the Cape Cod Standard Times; today, the paper’s office is on Main Street in Hyannis.
  • In 1960, the state created the Steamship Authority, to improve transportation to the islands.
  • Founded in 1961, Cape Cod Community College—known as 4C’s—offers many degree programs today as well as a wide range of courses including documentary filmmaking, American Sign Language, and fire science.
  • Each semester, more than 4,000 students are enrolled in classes at 4Cs.
  • The mission of The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum on Main Street is to preserve the legacy of the late president, who had his summer White House in Hyannisport. On November 22, 2013, the nation observed the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination.
  • Founded in 1921, the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in Hyannis has more than 1,400 members and annually sponsors Quahog Day and other events.
  • Established in 1934, Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville is well known for its great flavors including cantaloupe, frozen pudding, and—Jackie Kennedy’s favorite—fresh peach.
  • Founded in 1938 as a small hamburger eatery with a few counter stools, Wimpy’s Seafood Café in Osterville has 200 seats today and serves about 250,000 meals each year.
  • Sandy Terraces Nudist Campground was established in Marstons Mills during the 1940s.
  • The Cape Cod Melody Tent opened in Hyannis in 1950 as the Cape Cod Music Circus; today, regular acts include The Beach Boys, Bonnie Raitt, Chicago, and Martina McBride.
  • Brian Shortsleeve founded Cape Cod LIFE magazine in 1979; the company’s first office was in Osterville, while future headquarters were in Cotuit, Cataumet, Pocasset, Hyannis, and—in 2014—Mashpee.
  • Founded in Hyannis in 1980, Cape Cod Potato Chips offers a variety of flavors including original, sea salt and vinegar, and sweet & spicy jalapeno.
  • In 2014, Alberto’s Ristorante in Hyannis celebrates 30 years in the business of serving fine Northern Italian cuisine.
  • In 2013, The Cotuit Kettleers captured the Cape Cod Baseball League title, sweeping the Orleans Firebirds.
  • Centerville Pie Company was featured on Oprah’s annual ‘Favorite Things’ episode in 2010…
  • Well-known Cotuit alumni include Tim Salmon, Will Clark, Mark Belhorn, Joe Girardi, and former New Mexico Governor, Bill Richardson.
  • Catcher Jason Varitek played for the Hyannis Mets and in 1993 was voted league MVP; he later helped the Red Sox win World Series titles in 2004 and 2007.
  • Johnny Wright—manager of The New Kids on the Block, The Backstreet Boys, The Jonas Brothers, Britney Spears, and Menudo, among others—was born in Hyannis in 1960.
  • Barnstable High is the largest high school on the Cape and its Class of 2013 numbered 366 students.
  • From 1993 to 2013, the Barnstable High’s Girls volleyball team won 16 Division 1 state championships, including the 2013 crown.
  • In 2008, Warner Brothers filmed High Drama, Against All OZ, at Barnstable High School; the project followed the production of a high school musical—The Wizard of Oz—from start to finish and involved 360 hours of filming.
  • The sixth runner up in American Idol’s ninth season (2010), Siobhan Magnus, graduated from Barnstable High in 2008.
  • Actor Neal McDonough, who starred on ABC’s Desperate Housewives, graduated from Barnstable High School in 1984.
  • Barnstable High began to offer Mandarin as a foreign language in 2012-2013; this year, 61 students are studying the language, and the school also has a Chinese club.
  • Founded in 1976, Cape Cod Academy is a private, pre-K through grade 12 school in Osterville; the academy hosts many international students, including youngsters from China, Haiti, Lebanon, Russia, and Japan.
  • The Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis gets its name from William F. Sturgis (1782-1863), a Barnstable native who was a successful sea merchant, a longtime member of the Massachusetts House and Senate, and a father of six.
  • Formerly a summer vacation spot for the nation’s rich and famous, the East Bay Lodge of Osterville was torn down in 1998; the site is now home to condominiums.
  • Middle Pond in Barnstable is centrally located between Hamblin Pond and Mystic Lake.
  • According to legend, in the late 1600s Scottish sailor Captain William Kidd may have buried treasure on Grand Island in Oyster Harbors. Kidd, who was later executed for piracy and murder charges, had allegedly left the treasure to be guarded and haunted by the witch, Hannah Screecham.
Barnstable
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