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Guidebook Cape Cod ~ Barnstable



Cape Cod Central Railroad, 252 Main Street, Hyannis. This two-hour train trip will thrill visitors with views of some of Cape Cod’s most hidden and scenic areas. Also offered are dinner trains and family supper trains. Memorial Day Weekend thru October plus Christmas season excursions and also runs Mondays of holiday weekend.

Cahoon Museum of American Art, 4676 Falmouth Road (Route 28), Cotuit. This exceptional museum housed in a 1775 Colonial farmhouse features marine paintings and works by American impressionists and contemporary primitive artists Martha and Ralph Cahoon. Museum shop. The Museum is perhaps best-known for its collection of fanciful primitive paintings by the late Ralph and Martha Cahoon. The building—worth a visit in itself with its wide-planked floors, narrow doorways, and ship captain’s staircase—was actually the Cahoons’ home and studio for 37 years. In addition to the Cahoon’s paintings, the permanent collection features 19th and 20th-century American art. The museum also offers special exhibitions, gallery talks, classes and a gift shop. It is open Tuesday through Saturday year-round, except January, when it closes for a month. Admission is free. (508) 428-7581 www.cahoonmuseum.org

Cape Cod Melody Tent, West Main Street and West End Rotary, Hyannis. Yes it’s really a tent. This is real ‘theater-in-the-round’ (actually oval-shaped) where, since 1950, summer visitors could practically reach out and touch (only 20 rows deep) a diverse roster of big name stars, comedians and performing bands. Seasonal.

Cape Cod Potato Chips, Breeds Hills Road, Hyannis. In 1980, Cape Codder Steve Bernard invented a “kettle cooker” to give his thicker-than-usual potato chips better flavor and consistency. Visitors can watch the entire process through glass and afterwards taste for themselves. Cape Cod Potato Chip Company is a success story that has made Cape Cod a household word among people who appreciate a quality potato chip. The company provides visitors with a chance to view the production of the almighty chip. >From 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday year round, and from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturdays and Sundays in July and August, you can stop by for a free five-minute tour—and get a free crunchy sample in the process. And of course, you can purchase a supply to take home. (508) 775-7253 Open year round.

Great Marsh Kayak Tours, Barnstable & Yarmouth. Offering kayak fly fishing excursions, tidal, sunset, naturalist and magical mystery tours from Barnstable and South Yarmouth locations on a seasonal basis. Tours include instruction and all equipment plus expert guides. The salt marsh teems with wildlife and kayakers may see all manner of wildlife, especially birds such as Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, Mute Swans, Osprey, Hawks, Eider Ducks, Mergansers, Scoters, Terns, and Shore Birds such as Piping and Semi-palmated Plovers, Oyster Catchers, Greater and Lesser Yellow Legs, and many more. One may even see deer, coyote, fox, raccoon or possum. (508) 375-9000.

Donald Trayser Museum, Route 6A, Barnstable. A US Custom House from 1856, this impressive structure houses a collection of New England artifacts. The grounds include a wooden building reputed to be the oldest jail in the nation. Displays include ship models, farm and nautical equipment, Native American artifacts, Oriental objects from the China trade and building implements. Open Tuesday-Sunday afternoons, mid-June to Columbus Day.

The Olde Colonial Courthouse. Built in 1772, this is a building where the seeds of independence were planted. At this site on September 27, 1774, more than 1,500 people disrupted a court session to protest a British ruling determining how jurors were to be selected. The protest ended peacefully. The building also served as a Baptist church for over a hundred years. Today the building is the home of Tales of Cape Cod, an organization dedicated to the preservation of local history. There are no set hours; in fact the building is only open for special events, or by appointment, by calling the number listed above. Admission is free. Rendezvous Lane at Route 6A, Barnstable (508) 362-8927

Iyannough’s Grave. Monuments to the American Indian Sachem Iyannough appear all around Barnstable. The village of Hyannis and the section of the village of Osterville known as Wianno are both derivations of his name. The village green in Hyannis features a statue of the chief. Another monument to Iyannough is his gravesite, just north of Mass. 6A in the village of Cummaquid. In 1621, when he was in his mid-twenties, the chief died of exposure after being chased into a swamp by Pilgrim Myles Standish, who at the time believed Indians were endangering settlers; Iyannough, however, had displayed only good relations with settlers. In the mid-19th-century, a farmer plowing his field discovered Sachem's grave. A sign along Mass. Route 6A marks the spot. Off Mass. Rt. 6A, Cummaquid (part of Barnstable village).

Kennedy Memorial, Ocean Street, Hyannis. With a Lewis Bay vista, this small esplanade pays homage to the president of ‘Camelot.’ JFK once said: “I believe that it is important that this country sail and not lie still in the harbor.” His words were not lost on Hyannis’ citizenry, who installed the Memorial in 1966, mindful of these very words. This venue, replete with brass plaque and small garden, provides an idyllic spot for reflection. Open year round. This monument to our fallen president and fellow Cape resident was opened in 1966. Situated along a quiet section of Ocean Street in Hyannis, it looks out over Lewis Bay. This touching memorial is a stone monument adorned with Kennedy's image and a fountain where visitors can remember our 35th president. It is open year-round, and the fountain gladly accepts your pennies and your best wishes. (508) 790-6320

John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum, 397 Main Street, Hyannis. The Old Town Hall in Hyannis has become a mini-Camelot with the opening of this Museum in 1992. A video narrated by Walter Cronkite and a collection of more than 100 heartwarming photographs spanning the period from 1934-1963 capture the human side—and the mystique—of the Kennedy family. Open year round.

West Parish Meetinghouse, Route 149, Barnstable. This landmark structure was built 1717, its members being the oldest Congregational parish in America. The Congregation traces its origins back to London’s First Congregational Church. In 1634, founder John Lothrop led a band of 22 followers to Scituate in Massachusetts Bay Colony, from whence they then sailed on to Mattakeese (Native American for “plowed fields”). They named the area Barnstable, erecting their Meetinghouse in 1634. After the original structure was built, a bell tower with its gilded rooster weather vane from England was appended. In 1806, Patriot Paul Revere was commissioned to cast the half-ton bell. This oldest public building on Cape Cod is also one of two surviving “First Period” meetinghouses in New England.

Hyannis Harbor Cruises: Leisurely one-hour cruise on Lewis Bay and Hyannis Harbor. As you cruise along, the shoreline opens up to vistas of historic interest interspersed with scenic islands and beaches, even two presidential summer homes, while the old-time Maine coastal steamer replicas, Prudence and Patience, carry you over sparkling emerald waters, fresh salt air and soft southwest breezes. Accompanying commentary points out the highlights along the way and interesting anecdotes, too. Great rainy day activity!


Cape Cod Area Guides: Previous Page ] Climate ] Arts and Culture ] Geography ] Golfing ] History ] Trivia ] [ Barnstable ] Bourne ] Brewster ] Chatham ] Dennis ] Eastham ] Falmouth ] Harwich ] Mashpee ] Orleans ] Provincetown ] Sandwich ] Truro ] Wellfleet ] Yarmouth ]

Information and photos submitted by:

Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
Routes 6 & 132, PO Box 790
Hyannis, MA  02601
508-362-3225 | Website | Email


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