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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)
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
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!