The Beach Times

Cape Cod's Unique Architecture
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, July 1, 2019


Although you're probably visiting Cape Cod for its unparalleled beaches, outstanding dining scene, and laidback lifestyle, it would be a mistake to miss out on exploring its architecture.

As one of the first North American locations to be inhabited by European settlers, Cape Cod is home to some of the continent’s oldest structures, and there are very few places where you can experience such a wide range of architectural styles in a single day.

Keep some of these old homes and buildings in mind during your Cape Cod vacation because taking a self-guided tour of the Cape’s architecture is an excellent way to spend a day.

 

The First Houses on Cape Cod

There are six houses built in the 1600s that are still standing on Cape Cod. Perhaps the two most famous, the Hoxie House and the Wing Fort House, are located in Sandwich. The Hoxie House dates back to 1675, when it was built for Reverend John Smith, his wife, and their 13 children. It was later owned by Captain Abraham Hoxie, which is how it got its name. The Fort Wing House was constructed in 1641 and has been owned by the Wing family ever since. Both buildings are now museums that are open to the public.

Remember Monopoly houses? Well, they were based on Cape Cod style houses, which first rose to prominence in the early to mid-1700s. These houses were very modest, often with only one room, and had a central fireplace to keep them warm in the winter. A walk through some of Sandwich’s historic districts will give you first-hand views of some of these houses, many of which are marked with plaques.

 

Changes to the Cape Cod Economy

As the economy on Cape Cod matured, the architecture changed considerably. Smaller houses were still being built, but the whaling era brought riches to the area, and captains had the means to establish larger structures for their families.

One example is the Georgian-style Winslow Crocker House, a surprisingly elaborate structure built in 1780. There remains some debate as to how Winslow Crocker obtained his wealth, as he was a trader who might have also dabbled in the rum-running industry. While Crocker lived in Barnstable, local philanthropist Mary Thatcher eventually took ownership of the home and had it moved plank by plank to Yarmouth in 1936. It remains there to this day, and you can visit the house on Saturdays and Sundays been June 1 and October 15.

Although it was built quite a bit later, in 1868, a French Second Empire home called the Captain Penniman House is also the result of the whaling industry. Captain Penniman spent years at a time at sea, making his fortune in the process. Upon retirement, he constructed a unique house in Eastham, complete with 13-foot high whale jawbones in the entrance. The house has a tower overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, as Penniman liked to keep an eye out for ships, and was one of the first homes on Cape Cod to have amenities like running hot water, a furnace, and electricity. The house is open for tours on various dates throughout the year.

 

Vacation Homes on Cape Cod

By the 1880s, Cape Cod was no longer a secret and vacation homes were being constructed by wealthy families from Boston and New York. This commute was possible because of train travel, as visitors could reach the Cape in a matter of hours.

In Falmouth, you'll come across Highfield Hall, which sits atop the town's highest hill on nearly 400 acres of conservation land. The home was constructed in 1878 by James Beebe and used Victorian-style architecture with elements of Queen Anne. Overall, it has 22 rooms, 16 fireplaces, and tons of hand-carved woodwork. The home and its surrounding woods are open to the public every day between April 15 and October 31.

There is an interesting story behind the Crosby Mansion, or Tawasentha, in Brewster, as it was built in 1888 around a small Cape Cod style home where owner Albert Crosby lived as a child. Rather than tearing down the old homestead, he developed a 35 room Queen Anne style mansion around it, with the addition featuring an entrance replicating the one at Buckingham Palace and a parlor designed after the one at the Palace of Versailles. The estate is is now an art gallery open for tours on select days throughout the summer.

 

Post World War II

After the Second World War, soldiers returning from battle needed places to live, leading to many houses being built on Cape Cod. Since the Cape Cod style homes of the 1600 and 1700s could be constructed quickly, they became the design of choice. The only difference is that this next generation of Cape Cod houses would be built for modern living with multiple bedrooms and, in many cases, at least two floors. Most of the Cape Cod style houses on the Cape come from this time period.

This period was also an experimental phase when a group of architects led by Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer constructed small homes with lots of glass and large decks in wooded areas around the Cape, particularly on the cliffs near Truro and Wellfleet. These Bauhaus-style homes utilized various types of wood, concrete, and recycled materials to create something never before seen in this part of the world.

An example of this experimental architecture is found at the Ruth and Robert Hatch Jr. House in Wellfleet, which was built in 1961 on Bound Brook Island. The house was constructed to fit into the natural environment, rather than take away from it, but differs from others of this era because it doesn't have glass in the windows, just shutters. The home is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

Experience the Architecture

As you can see, you can quickly move through quite a few eras of American architecture within a small area if you take the time to do so on Cape Cod. Whether you’re interested in seeing how the country’s first settlers lived or wish to see the lavish homes built by some of the Gilded Age's wealthiest people, the Cape has it all.

The great news is that many of these buildings have been converted into museums, complete with period décor, allowing you to step back in time during your Cape Cod vacation.



Cape Cod Architecture Captain Penniman House Crosby Mansion Fort Wing House Highfield Hall Hoxie House Sandwich Wellfleet Winslow Crocker House

Find a Deal at Cape Cod’s Flea Markets
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Thursday, June 20, 2019


 

With popular flea markets like Dick & Ellie’s, the Cape Cod Bazaar, and the Hyannis Flea Market shutting down for good in recent years, finding a Cape Cod flea market is becoming increasingly difficult. Luckily, a couple of larger markets have picked up the slack a little bit and provide excellent bargains all year long, with additional days of operation in the summer.

Most of these flea markets offer free parking, complimentary admission, and a wide selection new and used goods for you to explore, so prepare yourself for a day of shopping at some point on your Cape Cod vacation, and you won’t be disappointed.

 

Wellfleet Flea Market

Two flea markets claim to be Cape Cod's biggest and best, starting with the Wellfleet Flea Market. This market is held at the Wellfleet Drive-In Theatre on Route 6 and is active all year round, weather permitting, so no matter when you visit the Cape, you can check out the available deals.

From October through May, the market runs on Saturdays and Sundays in the theatre's parking lot. The winter market is weather dependent, so if it's too cold or there's a lot of snow, it will be canceled. The winter flea market is also the smallest, as they cap it at about 30 vendors.

The spring market starts on Memorial Day Weekend and runs throughout June, also on Saturdays and Sundays, but it's a little larger and is inside the drive-in area. You’ll generally see a few more vendors at the spring flea market as the weather becomes more predictable.

The summer market is the largest at this venue, with over 200 vendors attending. You can head to the market on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout July and August. The summer flea market also features a beer garden, mini golf, and an ice cream shop, making it a place where you can hang out for a few hours.

Finally, the fall flea market is held on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays in September. The September markets tend to slow down a bit, and visitors return home after spending the summer on Cape Cod.

All of the markets start at 8:00 AM and run until about 3:00 PM. Keep in mind that most vendors do not accept credit cards, so you'll want to bring cash with you. There is an ATM available in the snack bar during the summer season. You should also be aware that admission is charged by the car, but it'll only be $2 or $3 per vehicle, depending on the day and season.

 

The Sandwich Bazaar

The other flea market on Cape Cod that lays claim to being the best is The Sandwich Bazaar, sometimes referred to as The Sandwich Flea Market. This market, which has run every year since 2009, has a full-time spot in a large field on Quaker Meeting House Road in Sandwich, right next to Oakcrest Cove Lodge. Parking and admission are free, and since there is so much space, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding somewhere to leave your vehicle.

The Sandwich Bazaar is held every Wednesday between mid-April and the middle of October starting at 6:00 AM and ending at noon and every Sunday from the beginning of June through the middle of September from 7:00 AM until 1:00 PM.

There is also a secondary flea market in Sandwich called The Winter Sandwich Flea Market. It's hosted by the same people who run The Sandwich Bazaar, but it has limited dates between November and April and takes place at the American Legion Hall on Sandwich's Main Street. The markets go from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM and will have tables set-up both inside and outside.

 

Brewster-By-the-Bay Flea Market

The Brewster-By-the-Bay Flea Market at Drummer Boy Park doesn't want or need to be the largest on Cape Cod, as it does just fine at its current size. The flea market is organized the Brewster PTO, with proceeds raised through the tables going to support programs and events at Brewster Elementary School.

If you want to check out the Brewster-By-the-Bay Flea Market, head to the park on any Tuesday between June 25 and August 27. The sales start at 8:00 AM and go until about 4:00 PM, and since the flea market is at a public park, you'll find it easy to keep the kids occupied while you shop.

 

Truro Treasures Festival

If you happen to be in Truro in mid-September, make sure you visit the Truro Treasures Festival Weekend. The festival has taken place every year since 1992 and is a non-profit event aimed at benefiting the community of Truro as a whole. Originally, the Truro Treasures Festival was started to raise money to save the town's Highland Lighthouse.

One of the most anticipated parts of the festival each year is its flea market, which takes place on the Saturday and Sunday of the weekend on Truro Central School's front lawn. The size of the market is dependent on the vendors that sign up each year, but since it takes place once the other flea markets are starting to wind down for the season, it usually gets a pretty good turnout.

 

Take Something Special Home With You

You never know what you’ll find at a flea market, and the sales on Cape Cod are often extraordinary because there are old homes and estates that often participate. These markets are also a great place to pick up some local arts and crafts to take home as souvenirs.

No matter your reason for visiting a flea market on the Cape, you’ll have some options throughout your vacation.



Brewster Cape Cod Shopping Flea Markets Sandwich Truro Wellfleet

Cape Cod’s 2019 Farmers’ Markets
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Friday, May 10, 2019


When visiting Cape Cod, one of your only jobs, before you relax, will be stocking your vacation rental with the necessary food for the week. There are many grocery stores here, but why not hit up one of the local farmers’ markets to grab some fruits, vegetables, cheese, meats, and other products from right here on the Cape?

As you’ll soon learn, there is a farmers’ market every day of the week, and in nearly every town on Cape Cod, so you’re never far from someone selling fresh, organic produce.

Here is information on some of the larger farmers’ markets taking place on the Cape in 2019.

 

Brewster Historical Society Farmers’ Market

The first market of the week takes place on Sundays at Windmill Village, which is beside Drummer Boy Park in Brewster. The Brewster Historical Society Farmers’ Market runs between 9:30 AM and 12:30 PM and features fresh produce, eggs, baked goods, grass-fed beef, flowers, and herbal and natural beauty products, in addition to arts, crafts, and live music. A collection of picnic tables, children's activities, and free parking make the market a great place to spend the morning. It all gets started on June 23, with the final market occurring on September 8.

 

Mashpee Commons Farmers’ Market

Organic Market is a permanent grocery store in Mashpee Commons shopping mall. On Sundays, between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM from June through October, its parking lot transforms into the Mashpee Commons Farmers’ Market, which attracts vendors from all over Cape Cod. In addition to local produce, there's always prepared meals and live music, plus a selection of artisans, giving the market a festive atmosphere.

 

Truro Educational Farmers’ Market

Mondays, rain or shine between June 3 and August 26, 2019, you can visit the Truro Educational Farmers’ Market from 8:00 AM until noon. The location is handy, as it sits in Veterans Memorial Park, right next to the Post Office and along the Pamet River, and this market puts a particular focus on educating the public on the importance of sustainable food, thanks to the Sustainable CAPE initiative.

 

Chatham Farmers’ Market

Local Color Art Gallery hosts the Chatham Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays between 3:00 and 6:30 PM. Opening day in 2019 is May 14, and the market will run into early October. In addition to local organic produce, you'll find soap, crafts, juice, coffee, meat, baked goods, and flowers at the market, giving you the opportunity to pick up whatever you need for your vacation rental.

 

Sandwich Farmers’ Market

Tuesdays between 9:00 AM and 1:00 PM is the time to head to The Village Green on Historic Route 6A for the Sandwich Farmers’ Market. The market generally runs between the middle of June and early October and gives you an excellent chance to support some Cape Cod farmers in a great location.

 

Wellfleet Farmers’ Market

If you're in the Wellfleet area on a Wednesday between 8:00 AM and noon, stop by The Grove at the Wellfleet Congressional Church for its weekly farmers’ market. The 2019 Wellfleet Farmers’ Market starts on May 15 and runs until October 9 and features a wide selection of local produce, cheese, meat, honey, spice rubs, jams, and eggs. You’ll also find fresh coffee, baked goods, and live music every week. In addition to the Wednesday market, there is a corn roast and party on July 28, a dinner on October 9, and the annual harvest market on November 24.

 

Bass River Farmers’ Market

The Bass River Farmers’ Market runs on both Thursday and Saturday starting on June 13 and ending on September 7 in 2019. This market operates between 9:00 AM and 1:30 PM on those days in a park on Old Main Street, just across from The Cultural Center of Cape Cod and the South Yarmouth Library. There is a small parking lot at the venue, and the market will take place rain or shine, so if you're in South Yarmouth during your vacation, take the opportunity to visit.

 

Falmouth Farmers’ Market

Over in Falmouth, there's a market every Thursday between noon and 6:00 PM, starting on May 23. The great thing about the Falmouth Farmers’ Market is its incredible Marine Park location, as it overlooks Falmouth Harbor so you can spend some time watching the boats go by after picking up some local produce and goods. There is a large parking lot here, as well.

 

Harwich Farmers’ Market

Stop by the Brooks Academy Museum Grounds in Harwich Center any Thursday between mid-June and mid-October for the Harwich Farmers’ Market. This rain or shine event runs from 3:00 to 6:00 PM and features all the locally-grown produce, meats, flowers, herbs, baked goods, and cheeses that you'd expect, in a convenient to access location.

 

Farmers’ Market Meets Happy Hour

For something a little different, check out Farmers’ Market Meets Happy Hour at Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis. Here, you can pick up some local produce and play a game of cornhole, all while enjoying a pint from the beer trailer. The action takes place every Friday between 3:00 and 6:00 PM starting on May 25 and ending September 14. Nothing says “I’m on vacation” like having a delicious beer while buying your produce for the week, and that’s precisely what you can do at Cape Cod Beer.

 

Osterville Farmers’ Market

Also on Fridays is the Osterville Farmers’ Market, which runs from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM at the Osterville Historical Museum on West Bay Road. In 2019, the season will be from June 21 through September 13, with each market bringing a selection of fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses, soaps, herbs, butter, sweets, eggs, and much more. Plus, there is free parking, so if you're not doing anything on a Friday morning, stop by to see what they have to offer.

 

Orleans Farmers’ Market

The Orleans Farmers’ Market operates year round, so no matter when you visit the Cape, be sure to give it a try. The winter market takes place on Saturdays in Nauset Middle School’s cafeteria from the beginning of December through the end of April between 9:00 AM and noon. Then, between early May and the end of November, the market heads outdoors to a field on Old Colony Way, right beside Orleans Marketplace. The outdoor market is also on Saturdays but start an hour earlier at 8:00 AM. Both markets emphasize local produce, and you'll frequently find guest performers at the open-air version.

 

Provincetown Farmers’ Market

One of the smaller markets on Cape Cod takes place in Provincetown, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with its scenic location. The Provincetown Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday between early May and the middle of September at the corner of Ryder Street and Commercial Street, just outside of Provincetown Town Hall, and is mere steps from both the Pilgrim Monument and Harbor Beach. As a result, it's an outstanding place to stop on your vacation or when touring Commercial Street and its seemingly endless supply of high-end restaurants. The market goes from 9:00 AM until 3:00 PM and includes well-known vendors like Pain D’Avignon, Lara Cuisine, and Allen Farms.

 

Markets Everywhere

As you can see, there are pop-up markets all over Cape Cod, making it easy to keep your vacation rental stocked with all the freshest produce throughout your time here.

Head over to the farmers’ market nearest you so that you can spend your time on the Cape not only living like a local but eating like one, too.



Bass River Brewster Cape Cod Beer Chatham Falmouth Farmers Market Harwich Hyannis Mashpee Commons Orleans Osterville Provincetown Sandwich Truro Wellfleet

Historic Places to Stop on the Old King’s Highway
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, June 25, 2018


A must-do while on Cape Cod is to drive down Route 6A, much of which is known as the Old King's Highway, as it is full of historic attractions that will give you greater insight into life on the Cape as a whole. Along the highway, you'll come across architecture that reflects the changes the area has undergone, as there are buildings from the 1600s all the way through the 1900s.

This portion of Route 6A starts in Sandwich and runs all the way to Orleans. As you drive the highway, you'll be following the same route used by Native Americans before settlers even arrived in the United States, as it was first a trail connecting local villages and camps. The path was also used by the first European settlers, as they came to Cape Cod from Plymouth, before settling in the region and creating the still-standing society we enjoy to this day.

Of course, a lot has changed over the years, but you'll have views of the same beaches and green spaces that pilgrims saw over 375 years ago, and can even enter some of the homes built by some of Cape Cod’s first inhabitants. The Old King’s Highway is a look at living American history that you’ll struggle to find anywhere else in the country.

Get Started in Sandwich

Soon after crossing the Sagamore Bridge onto Cape Cod, you’ll reach Sandwich. Here, you’ll want to make sure you get onto Route 6A, rather than Route 6, as 6A will take you through many of the Cape’s historic districts.

Sandwich is not only the oldest town on Cape Cod, having been incorporated in 1639, but is also one of the oldest centers in the entire country. To start your tour of Sandwich, you'll head south just off the Old King's Highway into the town's historic center. Here, you'll come across the Sandwich Glass Museum, known for its rare glass creations dating back to the 1880s.

The historic district also has Dexter Grist Mill, which was built in 1637 and in commercial operation until 1881. It remains one of the country's oldest water mill sites, and you can purchase cornmeal ground right there at the mill.

Just south of the mill is Hoxie House, one of the oldest houses on the Cape, having been raised in 1675. There are tours through the house’s interior, which still features period decor. If you head a little further south off 6A, you'll come to the Heritage Museums and Gardens, a structure that is home to pretty much everything you'd expect to find in an American museum, including classic cars.

As you move along the Old King's Highway, you'll quickly reach East Sandwich, an area home to the Wing Fort House, the oldest continuously-owned-by-the-same-family home in New England, having been built in 1641. You can do a tour of the house during the high season for a small fee. This area is also where the Nye Family of America Homestead stands. This homestead was constructed in 1678 and is now a museum, with each room being representative on a different era of the home's existence, right down to the period decor.

 

Continue Through Barnstable

The Old King's Highway Historic District in Barnstable runs the entire length of the city from east to west on Main Street. In that space, there are nearly 500 buildings, some of which were built as far back as the 1630s, with the newer buildings being constructed in the mid 1800s. The area as a whole was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Of particular interest in Allyn House, which dates back to the late 1600s, and Barnstable House, a structure that might be haunted. The district is also home to the Old Jail, built in 1690 and the country's oldest wooden jail. The jail now houses a museum, along with the Old Customshouse.

 

A Stop in Yarmouth Port

The great thing about Yarmouth Port is you won't have to venture off Route 6A to visit most of the town's historic sites. This part of Cape Cod was popular with sea captains, as many built large homes there and, as luck would have it, a number of these structures remain to this day.

Captain Bangs Hallet House is Cape Cod's only fully-furnished former captain's house that is open to daily visitors. The residence provides insight into how a sea captain would have lived in the 1800s, right down to furniture and decor.

Just across fro Hallet House is Winslow Crocker House, which was moved to Yarmouth from West Barnstable in 1936. The house was originally built sometime around 1780 and was a very high-end home for its time period. The building belonged to a merchant and trader, who might have been a rum runner, and today is a museum with public tours available daily.

Edward Gorey House offers a different kind of Cape Cod history because it is an art gallery and museum dedicated to the life and works of Edward Gorey. Gorey purchased the home, which was 200 years old at the time, in 1979 and it became a museum after his death in 2000.

Yarmouth New Church dates back to 1870 and is one of Cape Cod's choicest examples of Gothic architecture. The building is detailed and very similar in quality to what you'd expect to find in an old European neighborhood. It is no longer an active church but does host events throughout the year.

 

Some History in Dennis

After crossing through Yarmouth, Route 6A heads north into the heart of Dennis, where you'll find Josiah Dennis House and the West Schoolhouse occupying the same grounds. Josiah Dennis House dates back to 1736 when it was home to a local reverend. In fact, the town of Dennis is named after this man, who was a minister for 38 years in the area. Today, the home is a museum, as is the West Schoolhouse, which was moved to the land in 1973. The school was constructed between 1770 and 1775 and is the last remaining schoolhouse from that era.

The Scargo Tower isn't as old as many structures along the Old King's Highway, having been built in 1901 as a lookout, but it is free to visit and at 30 feet tall, provides panoramic views of the entire area. In fact, on a sunny day, you can see all the way to Provincetown in the north and the Sagamore Bridge to the west.

 

Drive Through Brewster

In Brewster, Route 6A runs along Main Street and is surrounded by historic sites. As you approach the town's center, you'll see Drummer Boy Park, which is home to a windmill from the 1700s, along with a blacksmith shop. Just down the road from the park is the Cape Cod Museum Of Natural History, an entity that takes a more ecological approach to the area's history.

Moving into central Brewster, you'll find Captain Elijah Cobb House. This building is the permanent home of the Brewster History Society and hosts a variety of museum artifacts while offering tours. The home was built in about 1799.

The Crosby Mansion, just north of Route 6A near Nickerson State Park, is a massive 35-room house built in 1888 by Albert Crosby, a wealthy alcohol distiller. The home, which was built around the homestead in which Crosby was raised, would become an art gallery after his death in 1906. Today, the mansion is a museum but is only accessible to the public a few times per year.

 

The End in Orleans

Finally, the Old King's Highway runs through the heart of Orleans. Here, the official name of the road changes to the Cranberry Highway, but it's still part of historic Route 6A. Just off the highway is the French Cable Station Museum, providing an in-depth look at the undersea telegraphic cables used by the United States and France during World War One.

Just north of the museum is the Jonathan Young Windmill, which is unique because all of its original parts and mechanisms remain intact, despite the fact it was moved to Hyannis in 1897 and then back to Orleans in 1983. The windmill was constructed sometime around 1720 and now sits in a small park just off Route 6A.

 

Make a Day of Route 6A

After heading through Orleans, the Old King's Highway joins with Route 6, or the Mid-Cape Highway, where it runs through Eastham, Wellfleet, and Truro. Route 6A reappears in North Truro and heads through the heart of Provincetown, before coming to an end at Herring Cove Beach.

There are other historic sites to explore along Route 6, but that’s a journey for another day because if you stop at even a fraction of the museums and homes along the Old King’s Highway, you’ll quickly find it’s time to return to your vacation rental for some much-deserved relaxation.

 

 



Barnstable Brewster Dennis Old Kings Highway Orleans Route 6a Sandwich Yarmouth Yarmouth Port

Browse by Category

Browse the Archive


Search This Site

Search this site

×

Introducing Kinlin Grover Vacation Planner

Presenting Kinlin Grover Vacation Planner, our new guest benefits and loyalty program. This will change your vacation experience!

×

Popup AJAX modal.

Load external content here.

We have the technology. We can reuse this.

×