2018 Annual Guide: Eastham
Eastham • North Eastham
Fort Hill is a beautiful spot to shoot any time of day, but it’s especially lovely at sunrise. It’s also a good place to see a rainbow. Sunset at Thumpertown Beach is nothing short of stunning, and since locals know this, the top of the stairway to the beach is often a gathering place at day’s end. Over on the ocean side, early birds can catch a gorgeous sunrise at Coast Guard Beach.
Eastham’s Windmill Green is the locale for all sorts of happenings, from craft fairs and concerts to full-on festivals. But this pretty spot is also a great place to hang out in fine weather, and an ideal place to picnic. In addition to a number of benches, it has a gazebo and a historic pump in front of the even more historic windmill.
Mom & Pops:
The Hole in One has a location in Orleans as well, but it’s still very much a family affair, run by four sisters and their husbands and open all year for coffee and donuts, with breakfast and dinner served in the adjacent Fairway Restaurant. Up the road a bit is the Friendly Fisherman, a great little summertime venue.
Windmill Weekend makes the week after Labor Day something to look forward to, with art and craft fairs, the Great Tricycle Race, a sand-sculpting contest and parade. Summertime features Monday evening concerts on Windmill Green.
A day in the life of: Sarah Wilcox, co-owner of the Eastham Superette and president of the family firm
By Deb Boucher Stetson
When an iconic local business changes hands after being in the same family for six decades, it can shake up a community. But when Sarah Wilcox and her husband, Eddie, bought the Eastham Superette five years ago, the transition was seamless, because everyone already knew Sarah—she had worked at the store for years.
Ed and Bernice Brown launched the Superette in 1952, purchasing what had been called the Barton Store on the corner of Route 6 and Samoset Road. Located across from the Eastham Town Hall and police station complex, and adjacent to the Windmill Green, the store has been a hub for Eastham, a place where people run into one another and pass the time before going home with their groceries.
One of three sons, Dave Brown came home to run the store when his parents retired, and gave Sarah, then Sarah Brookshire, her first job, working in the recycling shed behind the store, back in 1988. She continued to work there through high school and college, eventually becoming a manager.
Sarah and Eddie met at Bridgewater State College, where they both studied physical education. “We met freshman year,” Sarah recalls, adding, “He had a Cape Cod sweatshirt on,” and upon introduction, she learned he was from West Barnstable. Now married 20 years, they are partners in the store, with Eddie overseeing the bustling package store portion of the business.
“We work well together, we always have,” Sarah says. “We couldn’t do it without each other, that’s for sure.”
Sarah and Eddie take turns opening the store, and balance the workload between themselves and their dedicated employees. “There isn’t a typical day because there are days I’m on the floor or in the deli,” says Wilcox, who enjoys the variety. For her, it’s a nice mix of administrating the business and seeing customers, many of whom are regulars.
“So many things happen here. Drama, fun stuff, seeing kids grow up,” she says. “Like this one police officer, I remember when he was a boy and would come to the deli—I used to give him a piece of cheese.”
The store has about 21 employees, and that rises to about 35 in summer, Wilcox says. She’s happy that many are longtime employees. “We’re fortunate to have the people we have working for us,” she says.
Also part of the team is Sarah’s brother, Scott Brookshire, who, like Sarah, had already worked at the store for years. Sarah and Eddie’s two teenagers, Owen and Hailee, also work part time at the store when their schedules allow.
Wilcox concedes it can be a challenge to work with family. “One thing that’s hard for me is working with Scott, because he’s my brother first,” she says with a laugh, then adds, “But the thing is we’re all like family here.”
Although she has made some changes, like adding a coffee bar, stocking gluten-free foods and putting up a new sign complete with a logo, Wilcox has tried to keep the business largely the same. The Wilcox family maintains a tradition beloved by many locals: opening for one hour on Thanksgiving and on Christmas. “People really come out for that,” she says.
A number of locals still refer to the Superette as “Brown’s,” and that doesn’t bother Wilcox, who likes the store’s small-town atmosphere.
Wilcox is currently president of the Orleans Rotary Club and also serves on the board of the Eastham Chamber of Commerce. “We try to make time to give back,” she says. “The community has been so good to us.”
Deb Boucher Stetson is the editor of Cape Cod LIFE.
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