The Beach Times

Visiting Some of the Mid-Cape's Lesser-Known Museums
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 6, 2020

The Mid-Cape is home to many of Cape Cod's most famous museums. In Hyannis alone, you'll find the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, and the Toad Hall Classic Car Museum, while Yarmouth features the Whydah Pirate Museum and Cotuit has the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

When you spend time on the Mid-Cape, however, there are numerous other museums and historic venues that are worth checking out during your vacation. These venues might not draw the crowds of the area's more prominent institutions, but provide insight into Cape Cod's unique history in a very personal setting.

Here is what you should know about some of the less-known museums on the Mid-Cape.

Massachusetts Air and Space Museum

Located in Hyannis on Iyannough Road between the Cape Cod Mall and the Barnstable Municipal Airport is the Massachusetts Air and Space Museum. This new facility aims to highlight the state's contributions to the aerospace industry.

The museum has exhibits and offers presentations that educate visitors on aviation's past, present, and future in Massachusetts, in addition to a flight simulation experience.

Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children, and its hours vary based on the time of year.

Baxter Grist Mill

In Yarmouth, you'll come across the Baxter Grist Mill, which was initially constructed in 1710 and is still functioning to this day, albeit with numerous restorations. The original mill was powered by a waterwheel, while a turbine was added in 1860. That turbine is no longer in use, but it remains on the property.

You're free to wander around the Baxter Grist Mill property, and there is a picnic area if you want to bring lunch. The mill also sits right on Main Street and has Mill Pond right behind it, so you can spend a couple of hours in the area during your Cape Cod vacation.

Jericho Historical Center

West Dennis is home to the Jericho Historical Center, a museum that's housed in a Cape-style house constructed in 1801. The Baker family inhabited the home from the time it was built until 1955, and it contains paintings, textiles, and furniture from the 1800s.

There's also a barn on the property that has been converted into a museum. This barn has a variety of farm tools and equipment from the 19th century, in addition to carriages from elsewhere in Dennis.

The Jericho is only open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from late June until the middle of September, so you'll have to pick your spot if you want to visit.

Winslow Crocker House

The Winslow Crocker House was built sometime around 1780 by Winslow Crocker, a Revolutionary soldier who later became a merchant. Crocker built the home in West Barnstable, and it was incredibly elaborate for the time, possibly because Crocker had earned a lot of money by selling alcohol.

This home remained in the Crocker family until the 1930s when Mary Thacher took over. She moved the house six miles away to its current home in Yarmouth Port and filled it with her collection of antique furniture, a state in which it remains today.

The Winslow Crocker House offers guided tours between early June and Columbus Day Weekend. Admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students, and $5 for children.

Centerville Historical Museum

The Centerville Historical Museum features separate rooms for the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, with each room containing clothing, art, and costumes from those periods. You'll also find rotating exhibits at the museum, each of which highlights a specific aspect of Cape Cod's history.

This museum sits in a historic house on Centerville's Main Street and has an outdoor area featuring a playground, as well.

You're in luck if you visit the Mid-Cape during the off-season, as the Centerville Historical Museum is open from early February until about a week before Christmas every day except Sunday and Monday.

Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and kids under eight are free. You can also sign up for a membership when visiting with a group, as specific options provide you with free admission for multiple people.

Learning the Mid-Cape's History

The Mid-Cape is one of the most historically significant sections of Cape Cod because this is where large populations of people settled after departing from Plymouth and Sandwich in the early days of European expansion.

There are plenty of historic buildings that remain, and a lot of history to explore within the region.

If you're lucky enough to book a vacation rental on the Mid-Cape, make sure you spend a day away from the beaches and shops and learn a bit about how and why this part of the United States developed into what it is today.


What's the Story Behind the Blue Trees in Cotuit?
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, March 16, 2020

If you drive down Massachusetts Route 28 in Cotuit, you'll notice something very peculiar outside the Cahoon Museum of American Art.

That's because in the middle of this historic section of the village is a collection of blue trees. These trees aren't subtle at all, as their vibrant blue tone stands out against the museum's classic Cape Cod architecture, making passersby wonder what exactly is going on in Cotuit.

Well, it should without saying that the trees are not natural; they are covered with paint.

The paint is chalk-based, water-soluble, and environmentally safe, however, and is part of a project by internationally renowned artist Konstantin Dimopoulos.

The Cahoon Museum of American Art commissioned Dimopoulos to install this work of art as a commentary on the effects of deforestation on the planet. Similar pieces are present in Germany, England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, in addition to other American cities, making Cotuit part of a global movement. 

Make sure you stop by the museum when you travel to Cape Cod for a look at something you'll never witness in nature: blue trees.

Who is Konstantin Dimopoulos?

To understand The Blue Trees Project, it's best to get to know Konstantin Dimopoulos, a social artist, and sculptor who uses his artwork to engage in sociological, ecological, and humanist discussions, while encouraging socio-environmental change. Basically, he wants to save the planet and uses his art to get people talking about it.

So far, Dimopoulos' projects have been widely successful, notably The Blue Trees, where he creates a surreal environment in nature to draw attention to it. The trees typically blend into the rest of Cotuit's landscape, but when they're blue, people notice them.

Dimopoulos is also responsible for The Purple Rain, where he painted purple dots on buildings and sidewalks in Melbourne, Australia, as a commentary on homelessness. Each dot has the name of a homeless individual, in addition to a QR code that those passing through can scan to learn about that person's story. The idea is that homelessness, much like rain, arrives as a downpour. Dimopoulos hopes to humanize the homeless, raising awareness in the process.

Seeing the Blue Trees

There's good news and bad news when it comes to Cotuit's blue trees. The good news, as mentioned before, is that the paint used is water-soluble and, therefore, will wash away in the years to come. The speed by which the color deteriorates depends on local precipitation but, rest assured, the paint will wash away.

The bad news is that the washable paint means that the exhibit is only temporary, and there's no telling how long it'll be there for you to see.

Whether you're a fan of conceptual and social art, so you've simply never seen a blue tree before, it's best to get to Cotuit as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

Other Exhibits at the Gallery

Once you arrive at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you'll realize that The Blue Trees aren't the only exhibit sitting outside of its doors.

In fact, the museum has an entire Streetside Series that you can check out without having to pay admission to the venue.

There are two bronze sculptures outside the building called "Head of the Cod" and "Tail of the Fish" that symbolize the historical, economic, and ecological significance of Atlantic cod in New England. The sculptures are outside the west entrance of the museum and are worth a look if you're in the area.

Another addition to the Streetside Series is called "Garden Grove," and it features sculptures by local artist Alfred Glover. The sculptures are a cluster of trees with leaves featuring depictions of dogs, flowers, baby birds, and other animals. All of the sculptures are created using recycled fuel tanks and are visible from the street.

Heading Inside

While you're looking outside of the Cahoon Museum of American Art, you might be tempted to head inside. And who wouldn't want to visit the Crocker House, which was built in 1782 and was once a local tavern?

Once inside, you'll find both historical and modern exhibits from local and national artists, making it a must-see while in Cotuit.

Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and free for members and children under 12. Annual membership is $40 for an individual, $60 for a couple, and $100 for a family. There are also artists and student memberships available for $25.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM until 4:00 PM, and Sundays between 1:00 and 4:00 PM during the high season.

If you're spending your vacation in the Cotuit area, make the Cahoon Museum of American Art part of your travel itinerary because you'll see original works of art just minutes from your Cape Cod vacation rental.

Cotuit Museums Things To Do On Cape Cod

Cape Cod in the Off-season – Restaurants, Antiques, Art Galleries, and Museums
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Friday, February 8, 2019

Cape Cod’s population shrinks considerably after Labor Day, as seasonal residents return home until the next summer. With this reduced population, however, comes a significant opportunity for those with the flexibility to travel all year round. In part two, we’ll look at some of the Cape’s 12-month restaurants, the area’s museums and art galleries, and the antique shops that seem to be everywhere.

Take a low season vacation, and you’ll quickly learn that Cape Cod doesn’t stop just because its population decreases after the summer ends.

Water Street Kitchen

Get a Bite to Eat

We’ll start by stating the obvious: many restaurants will be closed when you visit Cape Cod in the off-season. It doesn’t make sense financially for many businesses to operate all year, and it can be difficult to find staff in the winter, too. Having said that, many high-end eateries, particularly those with a substantial local following, remain open in the fall, winter, and spring, so if you take an offseason Cape Cod vacation, make sure you visit a few.

Main Street in Dennis is home to Scargo Cafe, a unique restaurant with colonial decor and a policy where half of all tables are not available for reservation. So, even if you're unable to book a table in advance, you can show up and wait to be seated. The venue is open for lunch and dinner, with seasonal menus and an extensive wine list.

Over in Barnstable Village, The Dolphin has been a landmark for over 70 years. This fine-dining restaurant is where you can head for a nice meal, or just drinks after 9:00 PM. The white picket fence and the building's classic architecture give the eatery a distinctly Cape Cod feel. You can enjoy lunch or dinner here, and reservations are available.

Featuring outstanding views of Provincetown Harbor and located right on Commercial Street, it doesn't get much better than Fanizzi’s Restaurant. This venue serves American and Italian cuisine for lunch and dinner and even has an early bird menu if you want to eat between 4:30 and 6:00 PM. You'll likely want to call for reservations because Fanizzi's is one of Provincetown's most popular dining options.

You're going to want to try the Chapoquoit Grill in West Falmouth because of their great Italian-style dishes, including some unique pizza offerings that you won't find anywhere else. The restaurant first opened in 1993, and since that time, it has become a place where locals meet for dinner or drinks regularly. Take out is available, as well, and you can call after 4:30 PM for the seat for that night.

Other great dining options that are open all year round include Alberto’s in Hyannis, Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth, Water Street Kitchen in Woods Hole, and Del Mar Bar & Bistro in Chatham, so you’ll never have to worry about being low on dining options when on the Cape during the low season.


Experience the Museums and Art Galleries

The museums of Cape Cod stay open for most of the year, giving you the chance to check them out during the offseason. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History in Brewster has both indoor and outdoor areas to explore. Keep in mind that the museum does close to the public between December 31 and the middle of February, but has special events during that time that you can attend.

At the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, you’ll find permanent collections, special exhibitions, educational programs, and engaging events, depending on when you attend. The gallery and museum is located on Commercial Street, making it a great way to start your evening on the town.

The Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis is open throughout the offseason, Thursday through Sunday, and has a variety of concerts and other special events to attend during those months. The gallery offers free admission every Thursday, and there are specialty programs that you can try out for a small fee, as well.

If you're in the Orleans area, Addison Art Gallery has a wide selection of works by international and American artists, including some from right here on the Cape. This gallery is one of the top places on Cape Cod to buy a painting because you'll find an outstanding selection of pieces, some of which are inspired by the local scenery. Special exhibitions and events are also on the docket at Addison Art Gallery throughout the year.


Visit Some Antique Shops

Are you obsessed with antiques? Feed your obsession by visiting Cape Cod during the slower seasons, as you'll find countless places to shop. Route 6A in Dennis is where you'll find the Antique Center of Cape Cod, which is one of the Cape's largest antique showrooms and is full of furniture, art, books, jewelry, silver, glass, collectibles, and pottery. Have a look around, and you're sure to find a great antique to take home with you.

Just to the south in West Harwich, the Harwich Antique Center also has furniture, glass, collectibles, etc., but also items available for as little as $1. There are specials events throughout the week here, too, including swap days and free appraisals. If you have an old coin that you want looked at, bring it on your Cape Cod holiday and have it done in Harwich.

Sandwich has a bunch of antique shops, but the crown jewel is probably the Sandwich Antiques Center on the Old King's Highway. This shop is a destination all itself, with fine art collections, vintage finds, and collectibles of all types found there. The store has been voted "Best of the Cape" for the last four years, making it a must-see if you're in the mood for some antiquing.


A Quieter Time

As you can see, visiting during the offseason doesn't necessarily mean you'll miss out on all of Cape's popular summer attractions. Fall, winter, and spring give you the chance to head to Cape Cod's famous restaurants, museums, and shops without having to battle through masses of tourists who are all trying to see and do the same things as you.

We love Cape Cod in the summer, but there's something especially relaxing about visiting between Labor Day and Memorial Day. The offseason is when towns on the Cape become small again and when you, as a visitor, can get to know the real Cape Cod and see why permanent residents love it all year round.

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