The Beach Times

Places You Won't Want to Miss in Barnstable Village
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 13, 2020


Booking a vacation rental in Barnstable Village puts you in the center of Cape Cod's only city, and the midst of one of the country's oldest communities. 

Present-day Barnstable was first explored in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold. In 1638, the area was settled as part of the Plymouth Colony, before being incorporated in 1639.

Signs of that early history are present throughout Barnstable Village, which is where many of these early settlers established their homes and businesses.

In addition to the history, Barnstable Village has a contemporary side, as you can head for a bite to eat, watch a live performance, or check out some modern art.

Here are some venues that you won't want to miss during your Barnstable Village holiday, all of which are on the Old King's Highway, which runs through the heart of the community.

The Barnstable Comedy Club

When you think of a comedy club, you likely conjure up the image of a smoke-filled room with a stand-up performing on a stage. That isn't what the Barnstable Comedy Club is about, however, as it's a performing arts venue that puts on four shows between November and May each year. 

This amateur community theater is the oldest of its kind on Cape Cod, and one of the oldest in the United States, having first opened its doors in 1922. Over the years, the 200-seat venue has given formerly unknown actors and actresses like Frances McDormand, Kurt Vonnegut, and Geena Davis their starts, with many more surely to come.

If you're vacationing on Cape Cod in the fall, winter, or spring, have a look at the Barnstable Comedy Club's schedule of events and make sure you check out a show.

Some Local Art Galleries

Are you in the mood for some local art? Well, Barnstable Village has multiple art galleries covering a variety of genres.

The best-known gallery in Barnstable Village is the Cape Cod Art Center, which hosts numerous juried contests and art sales throughout the year. The venue usually displays local artists, although you'll find New-England-wide and national competitions, as well.

The Barnstable Pottery and Art Gallery is a small shop that is open year-round and provides an excellent place to pick up a souvenir on your Cape Cod vacation. Owner Kevin Nolan creates all of the pottery sold there, and he even teaches classes in his on-site studio.

Tao Water Art Gallery sells contemporary Chinese art and has been a local staple since 1999. The gallery has a 5,000-square-foot showroom and features multiple exhibitions all year round. You can check out the schedule on their website to see what will be going on while you're in town.

All of the Historic Venues

We mentioned earlier that evidence of Barnstable Village's long and storied history remains to this day, but just how old are these facilities?

Well, the Sturgis Library dates back to 1644 and is the oldest library building in the United States. The building was initially constructed for John Lothrop, the founder of Barnstable, as a residence, but he also used it as a church in the settlement's early days. As a result, the building is also the country's oldest church. 

A couple of doors down from the Sturgis Library is the Olde Colonial Courthouse, a building that has an important place in American history. You see, the Olde Colonial Courthouse, which was built sometime between 1763 and 1774, is the site of a rebellion led by Samuel Adams and James Otis in 1774. During this event, 1,500 protesters refused British judicial representatives access to the building, which furthered tension between colonists and the crown.

Today, the Olde Colonial Courthouse is a museum and home to Tales of Cape Cod, a non-profit that aims to preserve the Cape's oral history. 

Historic homes are everywhere in Barnstable Village, as well, so keep an eye out for plaques as you wander the Old King's Highway because you're sure to come across many of them.

Multiple Gourmet Restaurants

As you spend your time on the Old King's Highway in Barnstable Village, you'll likely get hungry. There's good news on that front, as the area has two outstanding restaurants to visit.

First, there's Dolphin Restaurant, a venue that's over 70 years old and an institution in Barnstable Village. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, has an old-school vibe to it, and is famous for its seafood dishes. There's also a full bar, which is open late and has an extensive wine list.

Nearby is Barnstable Tuscan Cuisine, an establishment serving Italian food for lunch and dinner. You'll find this restaurant more contemporary than Dolphin on the interior, but it's housed in a historic building, as well. 

Nirvana Coffee and Smitty's Homemade Ice Cream are also in the area if you're looking for a quick bite, a drink, or dessert, and you can pick up groceries for your vacation rental at Barnstable Market, too.

There's Always Activity in Barnstable Village

Despite being away from the beaches of Craigville and the bustle of Hyannis Harbor, there's plenty to do in Barnstable Village. Exploring the history alone will take days of your time, and when you factor in the impressive arts scene, you're sure to keep yourself occupied during your vacation.

Away from the Old King's Highway, you're also close to Barnstable Harbor, Sandy Neck Beach, golf courses, kettle ponds, conservation areas, and Cape Cod Mall, making Barnstable Village a central and convenient place to spend your Cape Cod vacation.



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