The Beach Times

Experience Cape Cod History at Edward Gorey House in Yarmouth Port
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, February 23, 2021

photo of Edward Gorey's characters

Your time on Cape Cod will surely be full of days at the beach, nights exploring the region's dining scene, and mornings relaxing in the comfort of your vacation rental.

However, there's always room for other activities, including learning a bit about the Cape's history.

While this part of the country was one of the first to experience European settlement, there's a fair amount of 20th-century history, too.

Edward Gorey House is a museum dedicated to the life and work of Gorey, a Gothic artist, author, playwright, and animal activist who called Cape Cod home in his later years.

Here's what you should know about visiting one of Yarmouth Port's most famous museums.

About the House

While the museum is known as Edward Gorey House today, it was initially the home of Captain Edmund Hawes, who built the structure at 8 Strawberry Lane in 1820.

The house sits in the East End of Captains' Mile, a stretch of the Old King's Highway that's full of historic homes built by wealthy sea captains in the 1800s.

Many of these buildings are now museums or businesses, although some remain family homes. You can pick up a walking tour map to explore the Captains' Mile before or after spending time at Edward Gorey House.

Gorey purchased the home in 1979 and lived there until he died in 2000. In 2002, the Highland Street Foundation bought the house to preserve the works of Gorey and establish the property as a museum.

Who was Edward Gorey?

Edward Gorey was born in Chicago in 1925 into a family of artists. He was an advanced student from an early age and graduated from Harvard University in 1950 after spending two years in the Army.

In the 1950s, Gorey lived in Manhattan, illustrating book covers, including reprints of classics like T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and H.G. Wells' The War the of the Worlds.

From there, Gorey moved into writing, authoring The Unstrung Harp and numerous other titles under assumed pen names before designing the costumes for the 1977 Broadway production of Dracula and winning a Tony Award.

After moving to the Cape in 1979, Gorey started writing plays, many of which would run at the Woods Hole Theatre Company. In fact, some of these shows still appear occasionally at the theater.

However, Gorey was most famous for his illustrations as he developed a cult following through his ominous, sometimes wordless, books of drawings. Followers would attempt to dissect and interpret his pictures, and many visitors to Edward Gorey House continue this tradition to this day.

In his personal life, Edward Gorey was an eccentric yet mysterious person who did things his own way. He was also a bit of a hoarder, as he would make weekly trips to Cape Cod's flea markets and buy anything he'd find interesting.

He would also pick items up from the side of the road and bring them onto his porch or into his house if he found them appealing.

Visiting this museum provides a look at Edward Gorey's life, and the exhibits offer new insights into the artist's career.

Present-Day Exhibits

Much of Edward Gorey House looks much like it did when he lived there. Permanent exhibits show his kitchen, writing area, and some of the eccentric clothing he would wear.

You'll also find original prints and some exhibits dedicated to Gorey's most famous works.

The museum features rotating exhibits that dig a little deeper into the man and his career, too.

Past exhibits include a look at the notes Gorey took, as he was known for writing absolutely everything down, a deep dive on the language of nonsense, a genre that Gorey loved, and Murder He Wrote, which looks at the red herrings Gorey would compose into his productions.

All of this comes together to create a facility that any Edward Gorey lover won't want to miss.

Getting There

Reaching Edward Gorey House is relatively straightforward, as it's just off the Old King's Highway in Yarmouth Port.

You can also take Exit 75 from the Mid-Cape Highway, heading north on Union Street before turning left onto White Rock Road. White Rock Road eventually becomes Strawberry Lane.

When arriving from West Yarmouth or Hyannis, you can head north on West Yarmouth Road from Route 28, which intersects with White Rock Road in Yarmouth Port.

Admission to Edward Gorey House is $8 for adults, $2 for kids between six and 12, and $5 for students and seniors. Children under six are free.

There's a small parking lot outside the museum, along with a yard with a picnic table if you decide to bring your lunch.

Keep in mind that the museum closes between January 1 and early April. It's also only open Thursday through Sunday in the spring, Wednesday through Sunday between July and October, and Friday through Sunday from mid-October until the end of December.

If you want to learn about the Cape's more recent history during your vacation, Edward Gorey House is a great place to do it.

Edward Gorey Yarmouth Port

Visiting Cape Cod's Chatham Marconi Maritime Center
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, February 17, 2021

One of the first things you'll notice on your Cape Cod vacation is that the region is full of history and, more specifically, has tons of museums to explore.

Some of the best-known museums on the Cape include the Atwood Museum, the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, the Whydah Pirate Museum, John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, Stony Brook Grist Mill, and the Cape Cod Museum of Art, but there's a facility in Chatham that is also worth exploring.

The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center sits in two buildings on an 11-acre campus in North Chatham. This museum features the one-time Marconi/RCA Wireless Receiving Station, which was the East Coast's busiest ship-to-shore station and a vital communications hub during World War II.

Here's what you should know about visiting the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center on your Cape Cod vacation.

The Venue's History

The campus where the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center sits today was established in 1921 as a radiotelegraph station that allowed passing ships to communicate with the mainland. However, wireless communication in the area predates this site by decades.

The story begins in 1874 with the birth of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi in Northern Italy. Marconi dedicated his life to developing wireless communication and founded The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in Great Britain in the late 1890s. 

In 1901, thanks to his new Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, he built a station near South Wellfleet that sent a radio message across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom.

Technology continued to evolve, and Marconi started building a station in Chatham in 1914. However, World War I had devastating consequences for the company, and the facility could not initiate operations.

By the end of World War I, the United States had entered a period of isolationism, so Marconi's UK-based company was no longer welcome. 

The Radio Corporation of America built its own facility in Chatham, which opened in 1921, but Marconi's name remains on the museum because of his immense contributions to the technology.

Activities at the Center

When visiting the museum, you'll notice a couple of large exhibits.

First, there's the Wireless History Gallery, which begins by looking at the life and accomplishments of Guglielmo Marconi. This section of the museum then explores Chatham Radio, including the Radio Corporation of America's innovations, that further moved the industry.

The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center's other section is called Wireless Today. Here, you can learn about the modern digital revolution and how it's shaping our daily lives. There is also information on how local scientists track Great White Sharks using wireless technology, along with showing how officials locate ships off the Cape's coast in real-time.

These exhibits are a great way to discover wireless technology's evolution and learn real-world examples of how vital these devices are for us.

Trails to Explore

Before or after your visit to the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, you're welcome to explore the trails that surround the buildings. 

The most prominent path is the Antenna Field Trail, which heads through trees and past flowers before reaching the radio antennas responsible for the site's wireless communication.

Each antenna features interpretative signs describing how they work, making it an educational place to take a walk through the woods.

Getting There

Reaching the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center is relatively easy, as it sits on Route 28 in North Chatham, adjacent to Ryder's Cove. From downtown Chatham, you can head north on Crowell Road and reach Route 28 in a matter of minutes.

When arriving from Orleans or locations on the Outer Cape, you can turn onto Route 28 from Route 6A in downtown Orleans.

Those staying in Harwich Port or Dennis Port can get right onto Route 28 and take it to the museum. However, keep in mind that this route takes you right through the heart of downtown Chatham, so you might want to take Church Street north before getting onto Old Queen Anne Road and then Old Comers Road, which arrives directly at the museum.

From all other Cape sections, you can get onto the Mid-Cape Highway before taking Exit 85 in East Harwich. From there, you'll follow Pleasant Bay Road until it meets Route 28 and head south.

Chatham Marconi Maritime Center admission is $10 for ages 22 to 65, $7.50 for 65+, $5 for 13-21, and free for children 12 and under. Group rates are also available.

Important American History in Chatham

With so many things to do in Chatham, you might find yourself short on time. However, if you're interested in learning about some of the innovations from this area in the 1900s, the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center is the place to do it.

This campus is an essential piece of American history, making it an excellent place to stop if you have some downtime on your Cape Cod vacation.

Chatham Chatham Marconi Maritime Center

The Top 5 Mom and Pop Shops in Barnstable
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Thursday, February 11, 2021

photo of a sandwichYou'll find mom and pop shops all over the Cape, as the abundance of local businesses is one of the things that makes this community special.

Each of Barnstable's seven villages features some of these small businesses, with a few of them standing out from the rest because of their quality.

Cape Cod residents and visitors alike love these retailers because of the high-quality products they provide, along with their outstanding service. This list includes both markets and restaurants, so whether you're cooking a meal at your vacation rental or want to eat out, there's an option for you.

Here's a look at the top five mom and pop shops in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

1) Lambert's Fruit Centerville

Centerville has a lot going for it thanks to its convenient location and scenic beaches. The village is mostly residential, so you'll find a fair number of vacation rentals from which to choose.

Lambert's Fruit Centerville is located where Route 28 and Main Street meet in Centerville, making it easy to find from anywhere on the Cape. Once inside, you'll notice that this mom and pop shop is a market, deli, and takeaway restaurant in one, giving you multiple choices when stopping in for a meal.

The prepared options are some of the most popular, as you can grab prime rib, seafood, pasta, and many cooked dinner items to enjoy later on. They also have fresh produce, a decent selection of wine, and homemade soups. You can eat in the outdoor dining area, too.

All of this comes together to make this locally owned business one of the best mom and pop shops in Barnstable.

2) Barnstable Market

Barnstable Market is a throwback to the general stores of the past, as this retailer has a little bit of everything. Here, you can grab some beer or wine, pick up your groceries for the week, buy some fresh donuts or pastries from the bakery, or seek out a prepared meal to enjoy on-site or at your vacation rental.

However, that's not all, as this Barnstable Village retailer also sells souvenirs, dinnerware, and paintings while focusing on using local suppliers for as many goods as possible.

Barnstable Market is conveniently located on Main Street, across the street from the Barnstable District Court. As a bonus, you can give them a call from the beach ahead of time, and your order will be ready to go when you arrive.

3) The Little Sandwich Shop

Hyannis' Main Street is a bustling area that's full of life in the summer. There are plenty of dining options in downtown Hyannis, with The Little Sandwich Shop being one of the top places to stop for lunch.

Much as its name suggests, The Little Sandwich Shop is a tiny restaurant specializing in sandwiches, including subs, Reubens, wraps, and vegetarian options. They have burgers, salads, and a kid's menu, too.

The same husband and wife team has owned The Little Sandwich Shop since it opened, and they're committed to making everything they serve from scratch using only the best ingredients they can find.

It can be easy to miss The Little Sandwich Shop because it's just a tiny hole in the wall, but it's highly recommended that you give them a try on your Cape Cod vacation.

4) Pain D'Avignon Restaurant Boulangerie

Located just off Iyannough Road and down the street from the Cape Cod Mall, Pain D'Avignon Restaurant Boulangerie is a bakery and restaurant in one.

This shop started as a bakery in 1992, as the owners wanted to bring Old World breadmaking techniques to the Cape. They don't use any preservatives in their bread, ensuring that you can enjoy their products in their most authentic form.

The restaurant is open for breakfast and also offers a fine dining experience later on in the day. They have a wine room with an extensive list, as well.

When searching for one of Cape Cod's most exclusive dining experiences, don't miss Pain D'Avignon Restaurant Boulangerie in Hyannis.

5) Spoon & Seed

There's an industrial park just north of Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, and truthfully, it's one of the last places you'd expect to find a great mom and pop restaurant on the Cape.

However, this is the location of the Spoon & Seed, a restaurant specializing in breakfast and lunch that also has take and bake meals for dinner.

As a result, you can head to the diner for bacon and eggs, pancakes, sandwiches, and other morning and afternoon favorites, or grab a pre-cooked pizza, pasta, or chicken dish to re-heat at your vacation rental.

If you don't want to cook but wish to enjoy a wonderful farm-to-table meal, the Spoon & Seed is an outstanding option.

Barnstable's Mom and Pop Shops

While mom and pop shops might be a dying breed in many parts of the country, they're thriving on Cape Cod. Special attention is paid to these local retailers on the Cape, helping ensure they survive for generations to come.

Make sure you support these small businesses on Cape Cod during your vacation. Not only is this support good for the community, but you're also sure to receive outstanding quality and service every time you stop by.

Barnstable Villlage Cape Cod Restaurants Cape Cod Shopping Centerville Hyannis

Things to Do Near the Sandwich Marina
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Wednesday, February 3, 2021

photo of the sandwich marina

One of the more visible facilities on the Cape Cod Canal is the Sandwich Marina, a former harbor of refuge that is now home to 140 seasonal slips, 42 commercial slips, and 24 transient slips.

Visitors bringing their boats to the Cape can reserve a transient slip ahead of time. From there, they can utilize the marina's fuel dock, pump-out, restrooms, and showers.

However, even if you don't have a boat on Cape Cod, you might check out the region encompassing the marina because there's plenty to see and do.

Here's a look at the activities you'll find at the Sandwich Marina and its surrounding area.

Charter Boats

We mentioned that the Sandwich Marina has 42 commercial boating slips, and sportfishing charters often use these spaces. If you want to catch some fish in Cape Cod Bay, you'll have some options available.

The Laura Jay is a 31-foot boat that Don Cianciolo captains. This charter can take six people at a time on four, six, or eight hours trips and provides all tackle and fish cleaning services.

Captain Joe Penta operates the 38-foot H&H Osmond, a custom vessel that can handle groups of up to six on half-day and full-day excursions. The captain specializes in helping anglers catch striped bass.

Jackie Lu Charters, featuring Captain Barry Bader, runs charters for two to four people onto Cape Cod Bay. They'll take you trawling for bluefish or striped bass and even operate sightseeing tours into Provincetown.

These charters operate from the Sandwich Marina, so reserve your spot before arriving on the Cape to avoid missing out.

Restaurants and Markets

The Sandwich Marina area is stacked with restaurants and has a couple of seafood markets, too.

Some of the most popular eateries are the Pilot House Restaurant and Seafood Sam's, both of which sit east of the marina off Ed Moffit Drive. You'll find further dining options south of the marina, including Captain Scott's Seafood, The Shipwreck Ice Cream, Cafe Chew, and Moto Pizza.

Suppose you'd rather buy some seafood to cook at your vacation rental. In that case, Fishermen's View is a restaurant and market sitting on the west side of the marina, while Superior Lobster & Seafood is beside the Pilot House. These markets have some of the Cape's freshest seafood offerings and are must-visits when staying in the Sandwich area.

The Sandwich Recreation Area

West of the marina, directly beside Fisherman's View, sit the Sandwich Recreation Area and Sandwich Marine Park. This area is bustling with activity, so you can easily plan an entire day around your visit.

For starters, there's a playground where you can take the kids for some playtime as you watch the yachts and ships float by on the Cape Cod Canal. There are picnic tables there, too, so you can grab some food from Fishermen's View and enjoy it outdoors.

You're also sure to see people fishing from the shore in this location, and they have some pretty good success. If you brought your tackle to the Cape and have the necessary license, feel free to put your line in the water to see what you can snag.

The Sandwich Recreation Area also has a bike trail that lines the Cape Cod Canal. You can take this path west to where the Canal empties into Buzzards Bay or east to Cape Cod Bay. The route is paved and easy to find, making it a popular track for visitors to the Cape.

Sandcatcher Recreation Area

If you take the bike trail east, you'll come to the Sandcatcher Recreation Area. This park is where the Cape Cod Canal enters Cape Cod Bay, making it a great place to watch the ships roll by.

There's also a beach here, and you can wander south a little bit to 1st Beach, which has a restaurant and a parking lot.

This beach is relatively secluded yet is within walking distance of the marina, making it a great place to check out during your vacation.

Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center

Finally, you can take a visit to the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center during your time near the Sandwich Marina. This museum offers some history on the Cape Cod Canal's planning and designing and even explains how the region looked before its creation.

Here, you'll learn about the wildlife that makes the Cape Cod Canal home, look at live radar shots to see all of the vessels currently in the Canal, and discover what's in most of the ships passing through the area.

A visit to the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center is entertaining and educational. If you're interested in this area's history, stopping at the museum first is a good move.

Your Sandwich Vacation

Booking a vacation rental in Sandwich puts you close to all kinds of history, as this was the Cape's first town and is full of Colonial-era houses and buildings.

However, places like the Sandwich Marina and its surrounding area offer modern amenities, albeit with a bit of history sprinkled in.

If you're planning to spend your vacation in Sandwich, make sure you stop by the marina because there's always something to do on this part of the Cape.

Cape Cod Canal Sandwich Sandwich Marina

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