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Do you love Harwich?!

Photo by Josh Shortsleeve

Village Life: The Heart of Harwich

The Soul of the Seaside

Located on the Cape’s southern edge overlooking Nantucket Sound, the town of Harwich is a world to explore in itself. Officially incorporated in 1694, Harwich has an extensive history to tell, with unique flairs in each of its villages. Harwich Port sits by the waterfront, with stunning views from its beaches. In the town’s early settlement, Round Cove was Harwich’s only natural harbor. Wychmere, Allen, and Saquatucket harbors, today bursting with activity, were man-made to provide safe homes for local ships. With its four harbors, numerous ponds, and an array of beaches, the Harwich tourist industry began expanding in the 1800s. Today, the town remains a destination, with endless local shops and waterfront activity. 

Numerous routes along the Cape transport you to Harwich and its villages. Traveling from the peaceful surrounding towns of the Lower Cape brings you to the artistic wonders of Odile Fine Art and Cape Cod Tileworks, located in the heart of Harwich Center. Inside Odile, exquisite oil paintings and clothing racks are scattered throughout the space. Owner and artist Ruth Odile Davis opened her new location in Harwich last April. Aside from the paintings, her own hand-painted clothing line is remarkable. Stop by and check out one of her signature designs, a fish painted on women’s long-sleeved shirts. 

Across the street stands Cape Cod Tileworks. Owners Tom and Lane Meehan opened their business in 1992, with backgrounds in the world of tile and design. Enter for your tile design needs, but also to marvel at the space itself. Inside, a custom tile mosaic canopies every corner. Notice a serene beach tile scene at the entrance, as well as bathroom design inspiration throughout the store. Upstairs, explore more creative schemes and a space for owner Lane’s Tuesday evening ceramics classes. 

Coming from the Outer Cape? Head down to the Harwich East Plaza for a delicious meal and one-stop shopping for more of your home necessities. Stop by 400 East first, a popular hangout spot offering pub foods with a seafood emphasis. Open daily, guests can grab a seat at the beautiful bar and enjoy half-priced appetizers from 3 to 5pm. The daily specials are also worth exploring, so be sure to keep an eye out for that day’s selection. 

In the same intersection, RPM Carpets and Floor Coverings has been family owned by Russell and Donna Morris for over thirty years. The moment you open its doors, RPM’s friendly staff greets you into their 10,000-foot showroom, lined with endless hardwood, carpet, tile, and laminate options. Mohawk Floorscapes products are featured, along with many other manufacturers. Check out its extensive collection and discover the perfect fit for your own home flooring.

Across the street, Terry’s TV and Appliances is another long-standing, family-owned business. Selling name-brand home appliances and electronics at low prices, Terry’s is a local must to complete your home.

Next door, Harwich Paint and Decorating values their customers, demonstrating the true heart of a small business. The store searches for products that are highly purposeful, emphasizing style and function. Everything you need for the interior and exterior of your home can be found in this space, like Benjamin Moore paint, yard supplies, window treatments, and even Yeti products.

Before you finish shopping, check out a local treasure, the Masjah Center, in the same plaza. Inside, a set of stairs invites you upstairs to an expansive studio, with yoga, group exercise, and massage rooms. Its peaceful décor and open layout instantly relaxes newcomers, luring visitors to grab a class schedule and see what might call to you.

From the Mid-Cape, traveling along Route 28 will carry you into the quaint, and increasingly popular, downtown Harwich Port. Don’t forget to stop at the friendly shops along the way, like Whimsy. An old sea captain’s home welcomed this consignment boutique back in 2015. Whimsy has become a local favorite, with new and consigned clothing and accessories. Owner Beth Pedicini works with over a thousand consigners from as far away as London, Miami, or right from the Boston suburbs. Whimsy is open year-round, so check out its eclectic pieces any time of year. 

Farther along the road, stop by Susan Peavey Travel for assistance with any of your future travel needs. Harwich is the company’s second location, the first being in Marshfield. Dream up new plans with friendly service, leaving your logistical travel worries at the door.

Continuing on Main Street, the Cross Rip Gallery provides a peaceful place for multiple styles of art to coexist. Owner and artist Georgene Riedl derived the name from the idea of diverse artistic currents meeting in one place. Though set up like a gallery, the space also exemplifies a comfortable home. From oil paintings to sculptures, the gallery showcases various forms of art, appealing to multiple crowds. 

Farther down the street, the hustle and bustle of Harwich Port, or “The Port”, begins with Murphy’s General Store. Owners Jay and Heather Skowronek met in television production in Los Angeles. The couple recently decided to turn the wheel in a new direction by opening a general store on Cape Cod. Collecting items to showcase, they found pieces that spoke to their personalities. Opened in May, Murphy’s General Store adds a nostalgic charm to the area, with trinkets that leave you giggling or intrigued.

Across the street, pop in another brand-new shop to Harwich Port. Lexaco is a bright space with jewelry, home goods, and fine art. Lisa and Edward Guariglia opened their first store just five weeks ago. Check out their sterling silver jewelry collection, named Seed Stories. “Everything is based on botanicals from nature and some shells from the sea,” Eddy explains. Also featured are paintings by Lisa and Eddy’s daughter, Alexa Guariglia. “It’s a creative coalition amongst the three of us,” Lisa notes. The creativity and familial nature of Lexaco is admirable, and this is just the beginning.

Continue your stroll across the street into Cranberry Jewelers, owned by Carl Johnson for over thirty-years. Glass cases, shelves, and tables are scattered with beautiful pieces from assorted jewelers. Some of the jewelry is made by Carl himself, a patient and experienced hand. The space also exhibits Nicole Barr’s enameling jewelry, Cape Cod bracelets, and other coastal designs. Regardless of your taste, Cranberry Jewelers’ collection will have something for you.

Venture across the road to Hot Stove Saloon, a hot spot in Harwich Port since 2005. Entering inside, its relaxed atmosphere and historic baseball theme puts guests at ease. With two bar areas and plenty of TVs, Hot Stove is the perfect pub to enjoy some comfort food and your favorite sports game. Open year-round, you can scurry in to escape the summer heat, or warm up with friends come winter.

Next to Hot Stove, Cranberry Liquors has an extensive collection of beer, wine, and spirits. Whether stopping for a cold case of your favorite beer, or wondering which wines will best suit your event, the welcoming staff is ready to lend a hand. Special orders or deliveries may also be arranged. Venture in yourself to experience the store’s local vibe.

Across the street, The Nines Art Gallery is home to captivating paintings of glass bottles by the water. Two years ago, Lauren Diferdinando and Luther Bates renovated this space to the bright showroom it is today. Behind the scenes, Luther frames Lauren’s work and captures the images that inspire her ocean paintings. Their showroom displays her paintings and his photos, which are all truly breathtaking. 

Still ahead on the right, a short stone walkway leads to White Flowers, sitting back in a charming, white home. Amy White has owned this floral shop for thirty-two years, creating gorgeous arrangements for your home or events. Upon entering, Amy’s warm, energetic personality will undoubtedly bring a smile to your face. Aside from flowers, antique linens are featured in the store’s intimate space. While checking out local shops around Main Street, this spot should surely make the list.

For food and activities by the water, hop in the car and continue on Route 28 to Saquatucket Harbor. Brax Landing offers picturesque water view dining with a casual setting. Kick back in the Adirondack chairs by the fire pit and sip a refreshing drink, or relax on the spacious deck with your meal, all with a quaint harbor view. Brax Landing serves lunch and dinner daily, as well as brunch on Sundays.

Across the lot, the Dockside Seafood Shack is open for its first season. Right next to the Harbormaster, the Dockside has expansive views of Saquatucket Harbor and the marina. In a casual setting with picnic tables and umbrellas, order fresh seafood, salads, and burgers at the window and grab any seat for a perfect view. Also offering beer and wine, the Dockside is a new, picturesque spot for a sunset beverage.

Behind the Dockside, five huts sit on a grassy stretch of land by the ferry parking lot. These are the artist shanties, new this season. Available for rent by the week or for pop-up days, local artists can showcase their work to those enjoying the restaurant, heading to the ferry, or adventuring on a fishing charter. Check out the clothing and crafts in the shanties to witness local talent shine.

Right in the harbor, step aboard the 43-foot catamaran named Perseverance and venture to an island full of basking seals. Monomoy Island Excursions leaves the dock multiple times a day for hour and a half long tours. Regardless of the occasion, try it out to experience sea life from a whole new perspective.

For a further excursion at sea, the Freedom Cruise Line sails seasonally to downtown Nantucket directly from Saquatucket Harbor. The boat departs from Harwich Port three times daily in the summertime. Enjoy this stress-free voyage with free day parking, a private overnight lot, and a snack bar on board. In just 80 minutes, you will be perusing the island streets thanks to the ease of the Freedom Cruise Line.

Exiting the plethora of activities in the harbor brings us back on route 28. Up on the left, Casual Designs of Cape Cod is perched along the road with outdoor furniture right on the lawn. Their slogan, “for modern outdoor living,” definitely holds true to the selection. Inside a 19th century captain’s home, Casual Designs has a variety of high quality furniture with a modern, coastal feel. 

Wandering throughout Harwich’s villages and harbors, one can recognize the beauty and rich culture embedded here. This spacious, coastal town has stories to tell, waiting to be discovered in today’s landscape. From multiple waterfronts to the streets filled with innovative creators, Harwich is jam-packed with sights to see. It is the kindhearted business owners who invite us to appreciate the community in new ways, putting their own spin on Harwich culture.



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