Life Annual Guide 2016

Did you know? – 17 fun trivia items about the Cape & Islands

Cape Cod Life  /  2016 Annual / , , ,

Writer: Matthew J. Gill / Photographer: Brigid O'Loughlin, Elizabeth Menser, and Matt Gill 

Did you know? – 17 fun trivia items about the Cape & Islands

Life Annual Guide 2016

Cape Cod Life  /  2016 Annual / , , ,

Writer: Matthew J. Gill / Photographer: Brigid O'Loughlin, Elizabeth Menser, and Matt Gill 

1. Bourne


Did you know? That the term Sagamore—as in Bourne’s Sagamore Village, the Sagamore Bridge and the Sagamore Inn Restaurant—is a Native American term that means chief or sachem. On the mainland side of the canal, consider visiting Sagamore Hill, which is located within the Scusset Beach State Park. The site is a peaceful walking area with gorgeous trees and beautiful views overlooking Cape Cod Bay. In World War II, an artillery position was established on the hill to defend the canal, and today you can see where the massive guns once stood.

2. Sandwich


Photo by Brigid O’Loghlin

Did you know? Thornton Burgess (1874-1965), the author of more than 170 children’s books including The Adventures of Peter Cottontail, Jerry Muskrat Wins Respect, and Cubby Bear Has a Mind of his Own is a Sandwich native who graduated from Sandwich High School in 1891. Learn more about the author and naturalist at the Thornton Burgess Society on Discovery Hill Road, or visit

3. Falmouth


Did you know? The Woods Hole Film Festival—an annual celebration of the silver screen—celebrates its own silver anniversary in 2016. This year’s eight-day event will be held at various venues in Woods Hole, July 30 to August 6. The festival also hosts a film series during the year, screening unique movies at Falmouth Academy; the movie on Saturday, March 26, is Women of ’69 Unboxed, a documentary featuring interviews with women who were college students back in 1969, reflecting on the era and how they influenced younger generations. Adding to the fun, the festival and Woods Hole Inn are co-hosting a television writer’s symposium in February.

4. Mashpee

Photo by Brigid O’Loghlin

Did you know? The 135-acre Lowell Holly Reservation features an old-growth forest that likely has not been altered by man for 200 years. Owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservation, the property is located between Mashpee and Sandwich and accessible from the latter’s South Sandwich Road. Donated to the Trustees in 1943 by Abbott Lowell, a former Harvard University president, the reservation is open to the public and a great spot to observe nature, enjoy two small ponds with beaches, and gaze upon 250 native American holly trees.

5. Barnstable


Did you know? Cape Cod Central Railroad operates a variety of unique rail excursions, most of which depart from the Hyannis depot at 252 Main Street. Aboard the “Cape Cod Dinner Train,” guests enjoy a gourmet meal by candlelight while traveling through scenic villages. The dinner train operates out of Hyannis on select days from May to October, with additional dining excursions embarking from Buzzards Bay and Falmouth in July and August. The railroad also operates a train trip along the shoreline as well as special brunch and lunch journeys. Learn more at

6. Yarmouth

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Did you know? The lively arts organization known as the Cultural Center of Cape Cod is located in a former bank. It’s true! Once home to Bass River Savings Bank, the cultural center features art exhibits, live music performances and many other unique events. Invest in yourself . . . by enrolling in one of the center’s drawing, painting, cooking or dancing classes today!

7. Dennis


Photo by Matt Gill

Did you know? Prior to its incorporation as an independent town in 1793, the area we know of as Dennis today was part of the town of Yarmouth, which was incorporated way back in 1639. Of course, the ties between the two towns are still pretty tight: students in both communities attend Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, and the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox are a unified team in the Cape Cod Baseball League. The Sox are currently the league champs, having captured back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015.

8. Brewster

Did you know? The owners of the Satucket Farm Stand in Brewster, Cy and Anita, are retired from previous professions, respectively, as a Rhode Island police detective and a real estate agent. Relocating to the Cape, the couple has been running the popular farm stand at 76 Harwich Road for 20 years, selling fresh local produce, seasonal berries, fruit pies, French bread, jams and cheese. They also grow and sell herbs and flowers. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Learn more at

9. Harwich

Photo by Elizabeth Menser

Did you know? Josh Donaldson, a third-baseman and the 2015 American League Most Valuable Player for the Toronto Blue Jays, played for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League in 2006. Then a student at Auburn University, Donaldson was named an all-star while playing for the Mariners.

10. Chatham


Did you know? Monomoy was once connected to Chatham? In 1958, a storm split Monomoy off from the mainland by creating a channel between it and Morris Island. Later, the famous Blizzard of 1978 further complicated matters by dividing the island in half, and now there are two: North and South Monomoy. Learn more about the area—and view the historic Monomoy Lighthouse—on a local fishing charter or boating tour.

11. Orleans

Did you know? The Nauset Model Railroad Club is an organization of model train fans and afic ionados that is based in Orleans. In July and August, the Cape Cod club hosts open houses on Wednesday nights, from 7 to 9 p.m., at 180 Route 6A; the club is located in the rear, lower level of the Hilltop Plaza. Visitors can pop in to see the 2,000 square feet of train layouts displayed in both rural and urban scenes. Need a further boost for your caboose? Admission is free!

12. Eastham

Did you know? In Eastham, folks like to do things in groups. For starters, the Eastham Hiking Club organizes weekly hikes around the Outer Cape—often including 50 or more people. Next, the Eastham Painters’ Guild is a group of 20-plus artists who can often be found painting together or exhibiting their work at the Schoolhouse Museum. Lastly, even the town’s lighthouse history involves a group effort. Long before today’s red and white Nauset Light, in 1837 three small wooden towers—a.ka. The Three Sisters—were built on the coast to differentiate the area from Truro, which had one light, and Chatham, which shone two.

13. Wellfleet


Did you know? There once was an attractive hotel—the Chequessett Inn—overlooking Wellfleet Harbor. Constructed in the 1890s, the Chequessett was built on Mercantile Wharf, which at the time extended off Kendrick Avenue near Mayo Beach. The inn was four stories tall, featured 62 guest rooms, and was a popular resort for nearly 40 years. A frigid winter in 1934, however, doomed the Chequessett as ice floes damaged the wharf and eventually caused it to collapse, bringing the inn down with it. Today, a plaque in the area commemorates the inn, and remaining stumps from the pier can still be seen at low tide.

14. Truro


 Did you know? The Wampanoag people who once lived in Truro referred to the area as Payomet or Pamet, a Wampanoag term that means “crossing over place,” as in a good spot to cross land to get from one water body to another. Get to know this “crossing over place” on a Pamet Tours’ kayak trip on the Pamet River, which flows west across town, emptying into Pamet Harbor. Celebrate this local history—and enjoy great music and theater—at the Payomet Performing Arts Center on Old Dewline Road. Bonus: There’s still time to reserve your tickets for Blue Oyster Cult, which plays the tent on August 13.  

15. Provincetown

Did you know? Just over a century ago, a theater group that would become the Provincetown Players formed in the summer of 1915, writing and and performing short plays in a fisherman’s shack off of Commercial Street in the east end. The following year, the group performed Eugene O’Neill’s Bound East for Cardiff, and as the actors delivered their lines on opening night of this tale of sailors at sea, nature reportedly played its part, delivering fog and mist from the surf to dramatically enhance a few scenes.

16. Martha’s Vineyard

Did you know? Chilmark native George Claghorn (1748-1824) was the master shipbuilder of the U.S.S. Constitution, a.k.a. “Old Ironsides.” After fighting and being wounded in the Revolutionary War, Colonel Claghorn, a shipwright of some renown, built the ship, a heavy frigate, for the first American Navy, launching it in Boston in 1797. During the War of 1812, the sturdy Constitution defeated HMS Guerriere, HMS Java, HMS Cyane and HMS Levant.

17. Nantucket


Did you know? Brant Point Lighthouse, which welcomes ships into Nantucket Harbor, is the second oldest lighthouse in North America. Following an affirmative vote at Town Meeting in 1746—that’s 30 years before the start of the Revolutionary War—Nantucketers built a wooden light on the north side of the island at Brant Point. Over the years, the light was destroyed by several fires and a few storms and was rebuilt many times. The current tower, which stands 26 feet tall and has a walkway leading to it, has stood since 1901.

Matthew J. Gill

Matthew Gill is the former editor of Cape Cod LIFE and Cape Cod ART magazines. A graduate of U-Mass Dartmouth, Matthew has worked as a journalist since 2003 and has written on topics ranging from the sinking of Nantucket’s whale ship Essex and the history of the Barnstable-Falmouth Thanksgiving football rivalry, to the Cotuit Rowing Club, Provincetown’s Art’s Dune Tours, and more! A relative newcomer when it comes to the Cape, Matt and his wife Melissa just celebrated a Cape Cod-themed wedding.