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A look at the rich history of Baxter’s

Today the Baxter’s building, presented in the classic seaside gray shingles with white trim, discreetly houses the Boathouse—a 21-plus bar—and their popular seafood restaurant. The outside looks like the kind of place Guy Fieri might discover on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” But that wouldn’t do it justice. 

At Baxter’s, genetics carry more ballast than aesthetics. Once inside you will understand. Five generations of history sway fore and aft before your eyes. The ghosts in these walls call you back in time. They almost dare you to immerse yourself in a time that was impossibly simpler, but, for seafaring people like the Baxters, unbearably difficult. And dangerous. The long lineage of Baxters on Cape Cod began well before 1919. Really, these family ties can be traced back to the early nineteenth century.

It all began with Benjamin D. Baxter. 

Born on Camp Street in West Yarmouth in January 1833, he was one of a family of 15 children. Like many boys at the time he went to sea at 12 years old. His life is captured in an extraordinary 1939 compendium entitled “Hyannis Sea Captains,”  which author C.E. Harris said was written as the last of the “deep water men of Hyannis” were leaving the good earth. And with them, he warned, “was going the record of adventure and achievement of … sturdy characters who were pioneers in the world of commerce through the medium of transportation by sail.” Baxter fit that description and, by all accounts, was a remarkable mariner.

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