2017 Life Annual Guide: Upper Cape
Bourne Village, Bournedale, Buzzards Bay, Cataumet, Gray Gables, Monument Beach, Pocasset, Sagamore, Sagamore Beach
The town of Bourne, with its famous “Cape Cod” shrubberies welcoming visitors to the peninsula and pleasant villages on either side of the Cape Cod Canal, is a top destination spot for visitors and locals. In and of itself, the canal is a must-explore attraction with 13-1/2 miles of paved trails that are great for cycling, walking, and rollerblading, while also providing access for sightseers and fishermen. One is likely to spy boats of all shapes and sizes traveling through the manmade waterway, and if the timing is right, maybe even the historic Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge in action.
More than just pretty scenery, Bourne also has a fascinating history and is home to the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, which shares the story of trade in the region between the Pilgrims, Native Americans, and the Dutch dating back to 1627. The replica trading post hosts a variety of exhibits and events, and at the same location one can see the Gray Gables railroad station, which was built for President Grover Cleveland who made his summer White House in Bourne during his second term in office—1893 to 1897. The station—and later the village—adopted the name of the President’s home: Gray Gables.
Bourne, which consists of nine villages including Bournedale and Buzzards Bay on the mainland side, and Pocasset and Cataumet on the Cape side offers many wonderful dining options. Flynn’s Irish Pub in Sagamore is known for its award-winning burgers, pints, and pub fare. Open year round, The Lobster Trap Fish Market and Restaurant in Bourne Village is a go-to for seafood; one can order fresh-caught haddock or cod in the market, and lobster rolls, seafood platters, and other specials in the restaurant. To the south, the Chart Room in Cataumet, open seasonally, delivers great food, tasty mudslides, and gorgeous water views.
Other attractions around the town include Butterflies of Cape Cod, a seasonal butterfly habitat and gift shop at 26 Herring Pond Road (just north of Scenic Highway Route 6), walking trails in several natural areas overseen by the Bourne Conservation Trust, and many great beaches including Monument, Sagamore, and Electric Avenue.
Looking for a place to stay?
Begin your day with pancakes—and panoramic
Situated in a quiet hilltop neighborhood, The Sandollar B&B overlooks Sagamore Beach and offers sweeping views of water and sand in each direction. “We have a 180-degree view,” says owner Greg Cummings. “People travel the world for this!”
Built in 1972, the Sandollar has four rooms, each with beach-themed names: Sandcastle, Sand Dune, Sandbar, and Sand Tower, the last of which comes with an adjoining suite—Sandpiper. Three of the rooms offer ocean views, while one looks out on the garden. All of the rooms have air conditioning. Cummings, who used to stay at the inn as a guest, and his partner, Jackie Schulte, purchased the inn and have operated the business since 2011.
Beach chairs and towels are provided, and in the morning guests can enjoy breakfast on the deck. “I’m becoming famous for my pancakes!” Cummings says. “At least that’s what my guests keep telling me.” His specialties include blueberry, sweet potato, mango, and more.
The Sandollar Bed & Breakfast
8 Indian Trail, Sagamore Beach
East Sandwich, Forestdale, Sandwich Village
Settled in 1637, Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod and, some might argue, the prettiest. As a result, the town is an attractive destination for those who enjoy history and charming small-town scenery.
In Sandwich Village there are several must-visit locations near to each other, making for a perfect walking tour. Built in 1675, the Hoxie House on Water Street is one of the oldest homes in all of New England, and tours are held from mid-June to mid-October. Nearby, Shawme Lake offers beautiful vistas throughout the year and its waters help power the Dexter Grist Mill, Cape Cod’s oldest mill. The machinery still functions, and visitors can purchase freshly ground cornmeal in summer.
Across the street, the Sandwich Glass Museum tells the story of the town’s famous glass industry, which began with Deming Jarves in the early 1800s. The museum displays colorful exhibits of glassware and art through the years and offers regular glassmaking demonstrations. Be sure to explore the shops and cafes on Main and Jarves, and if you’re staying locally, the Belfry Inn & Bistro and The Dan’l Webster Inn (see article opposite page) have time-tested reputations for hospitality and cuisine.
Care to stretch your legs? One can enjoy a lengthy bike ride or walk on either side of the Cape Cod Canal, and the visitors center in Sandwich Marina details the history of the manmade waterway. For waterfront dining, The Pilot House delivers a wide selection of local seafood and great live music. Across the marina, the relatively new Fishermen’s View has some pretty good food too!
For nature lovers, Heritage Museums & Gardens has 100 acres of lush gardens to explore as well as an antique car museum, a ropes course, and more. The Sandwich Boardwalk provides access to Town Neck Beach, and it’s a great place to observe nature—and people watch.
A drive along the Old King’s Highway (Route 6A) is always enjoyable as the road passes by miles of lovely homes, cranberry bogs, and marshes. Be on the lookout for charming cottage resorts, gift shops, bookstores, Sandwich Mini Golf, and Ice Cream Sandwich—a sweet spot for lobster rolls and dessert.
Looking for a place to stay?
Two hundred years of culture and taste
The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa boasts return guests year after year—and for good reason. “It’s really a special place,” says marketing director Joyce Groemmer, “and it has an elegance without being too formal.”
The inn has 48 guest rooms and suites decorated in colonial style, with amenities in some rooms including king beds and fireplaces. Dining options include the Music Room and Conservatory for traditional elegance, and the Tavern for sandwiches, beers, and the full menu in a cozy pub setting. The on-site Beach Plum Spa offers massages and other treatments, and guests can sunbathe by the pool or relax in the garden. “The garden is a lovely place for weddings,” says Deb Catania of the Catania Hospitality Group, which owns the inn. “Our team works year round taking care of it.”
Catania says another ingredient makes the Dan’l Webster stand out. “What’s really special is the quality of the people who work here,” she says. “Everyone involved goes out of their way to provide guests a wonderful, unforgettable experience.”
Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa
149 Main Street, Sandwich
508-888-3622 • danlwebsterinn.com
East Falmouth, Falmouth Village, North Falmouth, Teaticket, West Falmouth, Woods Hole
Those in search of a fun day at the beach, a relaxing vacation spot, or a scenic and culture-filled hometown will find all of these things in the town of Falmouth.
Located in the southwestern corner of the Cape, Falmouth boasts a stretch of beaches, including Chapoquoit and Wood Neck, which offer spectacular sunsets over the west-facing waters of Buzzards Bay—a rare scenario on the East Coast. The town’s beaches are beloved, and diverse: Old Silver Beach, with its immaculate white sands, is perfect for a day in the sun, while Falmouth Heights Beach offers warmer waters, gentle tides, and stunning views of Vineyard Sound. The route that travels along Falmouth’s southern coast is breathtaking and makes driving to the beach all the more fun.
Shopping on Main Street in Falmouth is always a rich experience as the downtown area offers more than a mile of elegant and funky clothing boutiques, souvenir shops, and specialty stores like Board Stiff for colorful surfboards and skateboards, Eight Cousins Books for children’s titles and new releases, and Maison Villatte for fresh bread and pastries.
Main Street also has more than its fair share of great restaurants, including Anejo Mexican Bistro, La Cucina Sul Mare, and The Quarterdeck. Another standout is Osteria La Civetta, a traditional Italian eatery featuring handmade pastas, fine wines, and a rustic décor. Just a short drive in either direction will bring diners to The Flying Bridge for fantastic seafood and harbor views, or to Grumpy’s Pub, for live music and a satisfying pint.
Another popular attraction is the Shining Sea Bikeway, which features 10.7 miles of easy walking and cycling trails through wooded areas, salt marshes, and winding coastline. Those in search of a spirited walk should also visit The Knob, which juts out from Quissett Harbor, providing remarkable 360-degree views. Continuing south, travelers will find themselves in the village of Woods Hole, a mecca for research scientists from around the world, commuters traveling to and from Martha’s Vineyard, and coffee lovers in search of Coffee Obsession.
Looking for a place to stay?
A wonderful place for weddings and celebrations
Since opening in 1953, the Coonamessett Inn has been a Falmouth landmark. Countless couples have held their weddings at the inn over the years—about 100 per year, according to owner Bill Zammer. “It’s an ideal spot to spend an evening,” Zammer says. “Our grounds are beautiful, and we have function managers on site to deal with every aspect of your wedding or event.”
The inn’s function rooms include the Cape Cod Room, with brass chandeliers, Colonial furniture, and room for up to 300 guests. The Cahoon Room, named for renowned local artist Ralph Cahoon, features many of the painter’s works depicting the inn—as well as high vaulted ceilings and scenic views of Jones Pond.
There are 28 rooms and mini-suites spread across five attractive buildings as well as one cottage, often reserved for newlyweds. The Coonamessett’s award-winning restaurant, which is open to the public, serves lunch and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays.
The Coonamessett Inn
311 Gifford Street, Falmouth
508-548-2300 • coonamessettinn.com
With a rich history, beautiful natural scenery, and a shopping mecca known Cape-wide, Mashpee truly offers something for everyone.
According to the Massachusetts Studies Project, Mashpee is one of just 15 towns in the Bay State with a Native American name. After King Phillips War, many Wampanoag Indians were resettled to a reservation in Sandwich, and in 1870 that area was incorporated as the town of Mashpee. Today, many Mashpee Wampanoag still call the area home, and the tribe maintains its headquarters on Great Neck Road. The Old Indian Meetinghouse is an architectural gem on Meetinghouse Lane, and the Mashpee Wampanoag Indian Museum on Route 130 offers exhibits on the tribe’s history and legacy, featuring tools, weapons, and a canoe.
Near to the museum, Mashpee Community Park is a nice spot for a picnic lunch, and free concerts are performed at the bandstand on Tuesday nights in summer. Nearby, the Lowell Holly Reservation is a picturesque peninsula that juts into and divides Wakeby and Mashpee Ponds. The area features 3-1/2 miles of walking trails as well as Attaquin Park Beach, a peaceful area for swimming, sunbathing, and shooting hoops. South Cape Beach is another popular draw with sandy shores, a boardwalk over the dunes, and captivating views of Nantucket Sound.
With neighborhoods on both sides of Route 151, Mashpee Commons is a collection of more than 100 businesses and it’s always buzzing. Between retail outlets, clothing and accessory boutiques, and home décor stores, one can spend an entire day exploring. The Black Dog, Vineyard Vines, and Maiden Voyage are just a few of the popular stores. Mashpee Commons also has a movie theater, multiple coffee shops, and The Lanes Bowl & Bistro.
Hungry? Try Trevi for flavorful tapas, or savor a glass of red or white from the robust wine selection. Two minutes away, Oak & Ember Whiskey Bar & Grill in South Cape Village has more than 100 varieties of whiskey, scotch, and bourbon, and is known for its steaks, burgers, and seasonal specialties.
Looking for a place to stay?
These stately suites are hard to beat
Situated alongside Ashumet Pond in Mashpee, with white picket fences and paths that meander through peaceful gardens, the Alexander Hamilton House makes for a quiet escape for couples and families.
Guests can choose between two distinctive suites. For a romantic getaway couples often opt for the Carriage Suite, which offers a king-size bed, double whirlpool tub, and wood-burning fireplace. The Family Suite has two large bedrooms, each with a queen-size bed and a single bed, and can accommodate two couples traveling together or a family of up to six. Robes and a continental breakfast are provided.
The B&B also welcomes properly behaved four-legged friends. “We back up to the water with a private beach on the pond, and it’s great for dogs,” says Steve Lefton, who opened the inn in 2006 with his wife, the late Barbara Notarius. For an all-around view, check out the snazzy, 360-degree videos of the guest suites on the B&B’s website.
The Alexander Hamilton House
9 Horseshoe Bend Way, Mashpee
914-434-3075 • alexanderhamiltonhousecapecod.com
~Marina Davalos, Ashley Owen
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