Village LIFE: Explore the village of Falmouth
Traditions of Old and New Await
The town of Falmouth was named in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold (after his homeport in England), who led the first exploration by Europeans of this region. Just down the ever-popular Surf Drive Beach on Vineyard Sound is a large rock, with a commemorative plaque announcing the site as the landing spot of the first settlers, who were Quakers, in the middle of the 17th century. Its historic heyday in the 1800s found it to be a bustling port of trade that serviced the packet and whaling ships of the region. Sea captains who sailed the globe made their homes on the iconic Village Green and on Shore Street—the old Counting House, where sailors who had signed on to the various ships would come to get their pay after their many months at sea, still stands so that visitors today can easily imagine centuries before.
Today, Falmouth is still appreciated for its historic past as well as all of the modern conveniences it offers both residents and visitors. A stroll through the village is almost guaranteed to provide an ample serving of both yesterday and today in a satisfying helping that is sure to feed your mind, body and soul.
While the village proper is mostly defined by Main Street and culminates in Queens Buyway at the western end of town, the upper portion of Main Street (officially Davis Straits) leads visitors to the downtown area. An important distinction since the street also provides access to the Falmouth inner harbor just one block south. Flanked on each side by two streets, Falmouth Heights Road and Scranton Avenue, the inner harbor is a hotbed of activity both on and off the water. The Island Queen ferry has their base of seasonal operations to Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard out of their port on Falmouth Heights Road. At the north end of the harbor, as well as the park and public landing just around the corner, there are plenty of park benches and even some picnic tables where you can sit and watch the boat traffic and take in the sights and sounds of a busy harbor. The park just above the public landing has a newly renovated band shell with weekly concerts in the summer season, and a robust Farmers’ Market stakes claim to Thursdays from spring through fall.
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