CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Route 3
Plymouth 508-362-3225
www.capecodchamber.org

Cape Cod, often called the “Jewel of New England,” is a peninsula nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Cape Cod Bay. The locals divide the area into three sections: Upper Cape, Mid-Cape, and Lower Cape. Near the bridges, Upper Cape includes communities like Bourne, Sagamore, Sandwich, Falmouth, Mashpee, and Wareham. The central or Mid-Cape area includes Barnstable, Dennis, Yarmouth, Brewster, and Harwich.

Lower Cape or the Outer Cape consists of Chatham, Orleans, Eastham, Wellfleet. Truro and Provincetown. Hyannis is actually a village of Barnstable in the heart of Mid Cape. The pristine islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket lie to the south, served by a number of ferries on a year-round basis.

Services
Two bridges, the Sagamore and the Bourne, cross the Cape Cod Canal. Bus service, Amtrak trains, and flights into Hyannis or Provincetown are all available. Three major highways serve the peninsula: Route 6 traverses the middle of the Cape, paralleled by Route 28 on the south side and Route 6A on the north. Educational opportunities in public and private schools are outstanding, including two highly acclaimed private high schools, Cape Cod Academy and Falmouth Academy. Two technical schools combine with Cape Cod Community College in Barnstable and the four-year state institution of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay for a full range of higher education opportunities right on the Cape.

In addition to providing easy access to the world-renowned medical and research institutions located nearby in Greater Boston, Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard support their own quality hospitals. Responsive emergency service, maternity care, medical and surgical specialties, cutting-edge laboratories, and a complement of auxiliary services like skilled nursing, home care, and physical therapy are all available close to home.

Quality of Life
Although Cape Cod is not expansive in area, each town and community boasts a distinctive personality and look. From the wilderness of Wellfleet to the bustle of Barnstable or the serenity of Truro, the peninsula and nearby islands are rich in natural beauty and charm.

More than 300 miles of shoreline and uncrowded beaches make Cape Cod an appealing place to vacation and visit, although many have selected the Cape as an idyllic retirement home. The nearly perfect year-round climate is graced by off-shore breezes that cool summer days as well as the ocean influence that moderates winter’s chill.

Boating, golfing, swimming, water sports, biking, jogging, and riding horseback are just a few of the popular outdoor activities. In the winter months, golf courses transform into cross-country ski areas. Art, theatre, and symphony all flourish in quaint harbor villages, while museums and libraries add depth and diversity to the rich cultural life.

Barnstable
Town Hall
508-862-4000
www.townofbarnstable.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-775-2201
http://hyannis.com

The largest of the Cape Cod towns, Barnstable offers everything from pastoral beauty to the bustling streets of Hyannis. The village is the hub of commerce, filled with restaurants, night spots, and retail centers. Hyannis also serves as a favored departure point for Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Barnstable includes a number of quiet villages like Cotuit, Osterville, and Centerville. Along Route 6A are marshes and fields, great stone walls, stately old homes of former captains, and handsome official buildings.

As the sheltered entrance to the Cape Cod Bay, Barnstable Harbor is a launch for boating activity, fishing, and whale-watching cruises. Sandy Neck is one of the most famous beaches on the Cape. Biking is a popular pastime, with so many sights along the way that are unique to the fragile eco-system. The Barnstable area boasts the Cape’s only community college, the largest airport, Cape Cod Mall, and the Kennedy summer home.

Bourne
Town Hall
508-759-0600
www.townofbourne.com

Chamber of Commerce
508-759-6000
www.capecodcanalchamber.org

Known as the “bridge town,” Bourne is home to two spectacular steel spans that overlook Cape Cod Canal. The canal is well known for its superb sport fishing the colorful sight of ships that fly the flags of every nation. Bourne Scenic Park campground is just below the Bourne Bridge, offering a relaxing vantage point. Many tranquil harbors and quiet inlets invite boating and swimming, although shellfishing is one of the most popular activities near the water.

The community does not experience the summer crush of tourism that overtake most of the Cape towns. Nevertheless, this gateway to the peninsula with its breathtaking views welcomes millions of year-round visitors to the magic of the Cape. The antique railroad bridge, a replica of an early colonial trading post, bicycle paths, and cruises or tours are just a few of the attractions. Each September, crowds gather to enjoy the popular Scallop Festival. Many lovely waterfront homes and cozy cottages dot Bourne’s shoreline.

Brewster
Town Hall
508-896-3701
http://brewster-ma.gov/

Chamber of Commerce
508-896-3500
www.brewster-capecod.com

Meandering Route 6A winds through the heart of Brewster, forming the community’s central lifeline. Each spring the roadside is graced by brilliant lemon-colored daffodils, inspiring the annual Brewster in Bloom Festival. Magnificent trees provide the summertime shade, and the entire route becomes a blaze of autumn hues in the fall. This growing area is more family oriented than many of the Cape towns, evidenced by the expansion of the school and local library.

Brewster’s close ties to the sea are still evident in the elegant homes that once belonged to wealthy sea captains, many of them now converted to charming bed and breakfast inns or exclusive restaurants. Proud of the peninsula’s historic roots, Brewster is home to the Cape Museum of Natural History and the Fire & History Museum. Children will enjoy a visit to the Bassett Wild Animal Farm, while the entire family can relax at Nickerson State Park. This pine-scented expanse of natural beauty is ideal for outdoor fun and relaxation.

Chatham
Town Hall
508-945-5100
www.town.chatham.ma.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-945-5199
www.chathaminfo.com

The misty fog that frequently bathes the seaside town of Chatham is broken by the flashing beacon of Chatham Light. The town’s quaint Main Street district is actually an exclusive mile of upscale specialty shops, art galleries, and elegant inns graced by colorful flower boxes as well as historical buildings and fine restaurants. Blooms and greenery often decorate cozy waterfront cottages or line the spacious driveways of handsome, 20-room mansions.

Newcomers to Chatham will discover a small New England town that has managed to preserve its charm and appeal with the utmost style. Because of the community’s unique location near the sea, the frequent storms that pound the Cape constantly alter its shoreline. Chatham Break is a good example of the heavy hand that nature sometimes brings to her land carvings here. The Monomoy Wildlife Refuge Headquarters on Morris Island is fascinating in its own right and offers spectacular views of the town. Atwood House Museum Complex provides glimpse of the Cape in days gone by.

Dennis
Town Hall
508-394-8300
www.town.dennis.ma.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-398-3568
www.dennischamber.com

The community of Dennis forms a strip that stretches from Nantucket Sound on the south to Cape Cod Bay on the north. The terrain varies, allowing residents to enjoy a variety of ocean scenes and beach environments. To the south is a gently rolling surf with sundrenched vista points, while the northern bayside area offers sloped beaches that curve to provide exceptional sunset views. Dennis is a popular choice for artists, vacationers, and retirees looking for an idyllic home.

Once a major sea-faring town, Dennis still takes pride in the majestic colonial homes that were built for its affluent sea captains. Today’s Route 6A is especially graced by these vintage mansions, many of them converted into upscale restaurants, bed and breakfast inns, or unique museums filled with maritime lore and artifacts. The Swan and Bass Rivers provide recreational opportunities, while the Cape Playhouse and the Cape Museum of Fine Arts enrich the cultural community.

Eastham
Town Hall
508-240-5900
www.eastham-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-240-7211
www.easthamchamber.com

Miles of golden sand, frothy surf, and sheltering dunes create a backdrop for superb sunsets over the bay—just one of the many delights that newcomers discover when they settle in Eastham. The Cape’s beautiful coastline actually begins here and runs to Provincetown at the tip of the peninsula. The atmosphere in Eastham is more secluded, less crowded, and reminiscent of days past. Nauset Marsh is the place where Henry Thoreau wrote his book Cape Cod.

The Eastham Windmill, distinguished as the oldest on Cape Cod, is showcased in a park in the charming town center. Samoset Road is the byway that leads residents and visitors to the finest sunset vista spots along the bay. The historic Penniman House, built in the mid 1800s by a famous sea captain, offers an intriguing look at the lifestyle of yesterday’s wealthy. Residents of Eastham still reflect the reverence for that Native American’s once had for their homeland, much of it now preserved as the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Falmouth
Town Hall
508-548-7611
www.falmouthmass.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-548-8500
www.falmouthchamber.com

A community that enjoys breathtaking views, Falmouth is home to a knoll that is perched across from Nobska Light. Beyond this scene is the meeting of the sky and the islands, or the sandy expanse of Old Silver Beach and the scenic drive past Sippewisset Lake. Wonderful restaurants greet both visitors and residents with fresh seafood and a lively atmosphere. Water surrounds Falmouth on nearly three sides, carving a delightful number of inlets, bays, and beaches that attract summer vacationers.

Homes in this community range from small beach bungalows to magnificent contemporary mansions that incorporate glass walls for spectacular views. The elegance and fine details of vintage New England estates add charm to every scene. The village of Woods Hole is home to the world famous organizations of Marine Biological Laboratory and Oceanographic Institute. The Ashumet Holly Reservation is an Audubon Society wildlife sanctuary with extraordinary greenery and a colorful array of bird species.

Harwich
Town Hall
508-430-7514
www.harwich-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-430-1165
www.harwichcc.com

Preserving traditions from the past, Harwich claims to be the birthplace of the cranberry industry—celebrating with the Cranberry Harvest Festival each year. The Brooks Academy Museum provides a fascinating exhibit on the fruit’s history, tracing the heritage of those who immortalized it as a traditional part of our American holiday season.

Harwich residents enjoy the recreational activities available in three naturally sheltered harbors, making this community popular with boaters who like to explore the Sound as well competitors who are interested in a regatta. Each August the Harwich Port hosts an event called “Sails Around the Cape,” a 140 nautical mile boat race that circumnavigates Cape Cod to return once again to the starting point. Along the community’s south side is a beautiful stretch of beach that boasts some of the most exclusive properties found anywhere on Cape Cod. Freshwater ponds are excellent for canoeing, swimming, and bird-watching.

Mashpee
Town Hall
508-539-1400
www.mashpeema.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-477-0792
http://mashpeechamber.com

Few towns on Cape Cod can rival Mashpee for remaining true to the spirit of the past. The community has managed to blend the culture of the Wampanoag Native American tribe with the influx of new residents. The Wampanoag tribe has governed the town for over 100 years, holding fast to many of the ancient traditions. Festivities abound in this colorful community. Each year on Independence Day weekend, the Mashpee Powwow attracts tribal members from North and South America for a three-day festival with dancing, a road race, and a mouth-watering clam bake.

Newcomers to Mashpee have created a residential and resort community called New Seabury, complete with a village-style shopping mall called the Mashpee Commons that graces the town center. The golf course that graces New Seabury is considered to be one of the finest—and one of the most panoramic—in Massachusetts. Mashpee’s coastline on the Atlantic is small when compared to other towns, but beautiful ponds draw freshwater enthusiasts for swimming, boating and fishing.

Orleans
Town Hall
508-240-3700
www.town.orleans.ma.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-255-1386
http://orleanscapecod.org

Serving as the commercial hub for the Lower Cape, Orleans is the only Cape Cod town with a French name. The community is home to many fine specialty shops, lovely malls, charming cafes, and outstanding restaurants. The cultural community is strong, anchored by a resident company at the Academy of Performing Arts that produces an mix of dramas, musicals, ballets and intimate concerts. The historic jewel of the French Cable Museum displays transmission equipment used in the first trans-Atlantic messages to France.

Orleans offers two coastlines, one by the Atlantic Ocean and the other by the bay. Oceanside includes the glorious sweep of Nauset Beach and the wildlife haven of Nauset March where Henry Beston once lived. On the bayside is Skaket Beach. Picturesque Rock Harbor is the bustling center for the local fishing industry and charter boat rentals.

Osterville
Town Hall
508-862-4000
www.townofbarnstable.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-775-2201
www.hyannischamber.com/visitors

Osterville is one of seven charming villages that make up the town of Barnstable, joining Hyannis, Centerville, Cotuit, Marstons Mills, West Barnstable, and Barnstable Village. This area is well known for its historic homes, beautiful sandy beaches, golf courses, wonderful restaurants, and exceptional family recreation. Osterville is also the home of Cape Cod Academy, a highly respected private college preparatory school that attracts students from across southeastern Massachusetts. Situated on the south side of Barnstable, Osterville offers a primarily residential haven graced by picturesque inlets and harbors for fishing and boating. This unincorporated village also offers a small business district, adding convenience to a superb quality of life.

Provincetown
Town Hall
508-487-7000
www.provincetown-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-487-3424
http://ptownchamber.com

Diversity is the key word in Provincetown, a unique community that has attracted everything from descendants of Portuguese fishermen to artists, writers, architects, and construction workers. They all share a love for this town that perches at the very tip of Cape Cod, affectionately dubbed P’town. The colorful kaleidoscope of residents and visitors is certainly mesmerizing, but even that pales in comparison to the spectacular vistas. A climb to the Monument offers a full 360-degree view of the entire peninsula.

Highlights include Race Point with an old life-saving station worn by a century of sun and wind, and Herring Cove for its brilliantly hued wrap-around sunset views. Provincetown is home to quaint architecture, fine galleries, the Art Association’s Museum, and wonderful restaurants or eateries. The town trolley adds charm to an already captivating scene.

Sandwich
Town Hall
508-888-5144
www.sandwichmass.org

Chamber of Commerce
508-759-6000
www.capecodcanalchamber.org

Distinguished as the oldest of the Cape towns, Sandwich is proud of its founding by Plymouth Pilgrims in 1637. The town center showcases an abundance of historic treasures, including the old Grist Mill on the shore of Shawme Pond, the inspiring white spire of the First Church of Christ, and the handsome Dan’l Webster Inn. Hundreds of elegant old colonial homes shaded by ancient trees grace the lush landscape.

Along the Main Street, inviting small shops and galleries add to the New England charm of the cityscape. Historic jewels are tucked away in places like the Doll Museum, Heritage Plantation, the Hoxie House museum of colonial life, the Sandwich Glass Museum with world-famous pieces, and the Thornton Burgess Museum of Peter Rabbit and Briar Patch fame.

Truro
Town Hall
508-349-7004
www.truro-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-362-3225
www.capecodchamber.org

Considered among the more exclusive of Cape Cod addresses, the community of Truro is also the narrowest of the towns. From the vantage point of a dune, you can actually see the ocean on one side and the bay on the other. The verdant, gently rolling hillsides graced by shimmering streams and rivers add to the unique character of Truro. A number of affluent writers and artists are included in the population that mingles with the flood of visitors during the summer months.

Artists like the famous American Realist Edward Hopper have long been drawn to Truro for the exceptional quality of its light, but most newcomers are more impressed by the verdant landscapes. Whimsical, charming beach cottages nearly touch the water’s edge along the bay. The oceanside vistas encompass Highland Light, the Cape’s first lighthouse. The area also claims its share of wonderful beaches and scenic byways. Meandering along Route 6A is particularly picturesque, with the bay and the ocean less than a mile apart.

Wareham
Town Hall
508-291-3100
www.wareham.ma.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-759-6000
www.capecodcanalchamber.org

Straddling the mainland and the Cape, the community of Wareham offers a distinctive greeting to travelers in the form of a sparkling white tower inscribed with the words “Gateway to Cape Cod.” Located at the very edge of the first string of Cape towns, Wareham enjoys the unique and advantageous position of being a part of both worlds. Attached to the mainland, it manages to sidestep the crowds that rush over the bridge. However, the Cape Cod Canal runs right into its Onset Bay, creating numerous inlets and beaches for a true seaside ambiance.

A number of museums, historic sites, and a delightful water park highlight the area attractions. Outdoor enthusiasts will want to visit the Village of Onset with its lovely bay and small-town intimacy. Here, newcomers will discover an array of quaint specialty shops, eateries, and charming Victorian homes with remarkable detailing.

Wellfleet
Town Hall
508-349-0300
www.wellfleet-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-349-2510
www.wellfleetchamber.com

Self-proclaimed as the “Art Gallery Town,” Wellfleet lives up to its reputation by displaying and selling to both amateur and professional collectors some of the finest work available on the Cape. As you might expect, the community has evolved into a paradise for artists, drawn by the silky light but also attracted by the inspiration of its breathtaking landscapes.

Even today, Wellfleet offers a small window into the Cape Cod of the past, where a haunting sense of isolation contrasted with the closeness of the ocean. With the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the bay to the west, Wellfleet’s inner coast is known as “oyster country.” Great Island provides quiet bayside relaxation, the Chequesset Neck Road is ideal for scenic drives. Wellfleet Bay is home to the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, encompassing a large expanse of moors, marsh, and forested land that offers a protected habitat for native wildlife and birds.

Yarmouth
Town Hall
508-398-2231
www.yarmouth.ma.us

Chamber of Commerce
508-778-1008
www.yarmouthcapecod.com

A town with two distinctive personalities, Yarmouth harmonizes the lively strip along Route 28 to the south with the tranquil enclave of mansions along Route 6A to the north. Like many Cape Cod towns, these elegant homes stand as a reminder of the power and affluence wielded by former sea captains. The colorful commercial area with its delightful shops and amusements offers everything from fine artwork to miniature golf. Wonderful restaurants and cafes serve tempting dishes in a variety of cuisines.

With its kaleidoscope of activities and attractions, Yarmouth is popular with families. Beautiful beaches such as those in the Bass River area welcome the energetic outdoor enthusiasts as well as those who just want to soak up the sun and relax. Dance clubs and restaurants with live entertainment featured in their lounges keep the neon lights aglow. More unique shops and galleries are sprinkled among the grand old homes and inns of Yarmouth’s “quiet side.”

Martha’s Vineyard Island

Town Halls
Aquinnah
508-645-2300
www.aquinnah-ma.gov
Chilmark
508-645-2107
www.chilmarkma.gov
Edgartown
508-627-6100
www.edgartown-ma.us
Oak Bluffs
508-693-3554
www.oakbluffsma.gov
Town of Tisbury
508-696-4200
www.tisburyma.gov
Town of West Tisbury
508-696-0100
www.westtisbury-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-693-0085
www.mvy.com

The island communities of Martha’s Vineyard have attracted residents who place a high premium on environmental protection. Large tracts of undeveloped land harmonize with miles of coastline dotted only with an occasional cottage. Those who call the island home have agreed to support strict development codes, which has preserved the pristine landscape in many areas in spite of the busy summer season and throngs of tourists.

Martha’s Vineyard is a place of strong contrasts, from the cosmopolitan atmosphere of busy harbors and elegant resort hotels to the rural stretches dotted with quaint farms and nature preserves. The island attracts celebrities for its relative privacy and relaxed lifestyle; but it also draws crowds of vacationers who appreciate the sun, surf, and incomparable ambiance. The cultural community is exceptionally well developed, providing a mix of seasonal concerts, theatre, dance, and lectures. Other popular attractions include the agricultural fair, weekly farmer’s market, and frequent fireworks displays. Wonderful shops filled with unique treasures line the shopping districts, interspersed with quaint historical museums.

Each island town boasts a distinctive personality, from the outrageous hues of the 19th century dollhouse village of Oak Bluffs to the fishing villages of Vineyard Haven or Menemsha. Edgartown on the eastern coast showcases stately sea captains’ homes. One of the most remarkable examples of Victorian architecture in the late 1800s is the Harbor View Inn, perched at the edge of the cliffs to offer a spectacular view of the lighthouse and glistening sea. Every community features a bevy of shops, and seasonal shuttles move visitors from town to town. Whether you choose to settle on the island or join the throngs of frequent visitors, Martha’s Vineyard will forever charm and delight you.

Nantucket Island
Town Hall
508-228-7255
www.nantucket-ma.gov

Chamber of Commerce
508-228-1700
www.nantucketchamber.org

The magic of Nantucket has attracted visitors for the last 400 years, from the time it was first “discovered” by early colonists. Like the first settlers who were looking for a peaceful homeland, visitors and newcomers today are seeking out a haven of natural beauty and tranquility. Shimmering shores, quaint cobble stoned streets, and unpaved byways add to the undeniable charm of this island retreat. Nantucket is the only place in the U.S. that identifies a town, county, and an island. Other eccentricities include a full half of the land held in conservation and the absence of stoplights, shopping malls, or even fast-food restaurants. The village is a page from early America, where friends and neighbors stroll along the brick sidewalks and stop to chat.

Nantucket Island encompasses the main community of the same name, as well as several small villages with appealing and distinctive character. The abundance of stately mansions and elegant homes throughout the island reflect the economic success of the historic whaling industry. Intriguing museums chronicle the past, while an active cultural and artistic community fills the calendar with performances and special events. Convenient shuttle service includes routes to island towns and villages as well as Surfside and Jetties Beaches.

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