Legendary Lineage

The Baxter name holds a storied, and lasting, legacy 

With thick fog lifting off a placid morning harbor over a pleasant Memorial Day weekend, Sam Baxter laughed as he recalled a vivid memory he would just as soon forget. 

Armed with a window squeegee on a pole, he was clearing off 18 moisture-laden picnic tables on the deck of Baxter’s Fish N’ Chips when, pausing for a moment, the thought struck him. “I used to do this on my great uncle’s boat,” he says, wincing. The vessel—a black and white photo confirms—was a ferry boat named Gov. Brann that used to make excursions between Hyannis and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. In the 1970s it was converted into a floating ramshackle seafood courtyard with tables and benches and docked against the restaurant. Grueling drudgery for a youngster, it was Sisyphean work. But now, smiling, with the Brann long gone, Baxter admits, “I like this better.”

Life has never been better at Baxter’s.

For 100 years there has a been a business bearing the Baxter name at the end of Pleasant Street, just off Main Street in Hyannis. Today’s iteration of commerce sits on pilings—Baxter’s Wharf—nestled within the innermost part of the harbor that feeds into Lewis Bay. The harbor is the largest recreational boating and second largest commercial fishing port on Cape Cod, behind only Provincetown.