Swift-Daley House and Tool Museum, Route 6. Nathaniel Swift (of Swift Meat Packing Company) lived in this circa 1741 residence. The bow-roofed building, furnished with antiques, is a restoration of a full Cape with a central chimney, pumpkin pine floors and borning and mourning rooms. Its second floor contains an exhibit of wedding gowns and trousseaus from the 1800s and 1900s. The parlor has a rosewood melodeon, a unique double oil lamp and old photographs of the Eastham of 100 years ago. Be certain not to miss the adjacent Tool Museum which exhibits tools and implements collected in the area including remnants of salt work and cranberry-growing operations. Built in 1741 by Joshua Knowles, this bow-roofed home has wide floorboards, a minister's cupboard, original wainscoting, and an eight-foot-wide fireplace. Its eight rooms are filled with period furnishings, including artifacts and clothing from the Colonial through the Victorian eras. It is open weekdays from 1 to 4 PM in July and August. The Tool Museum, behind the Swift-Daley House, has a display that includes numerous tools and implements collected in the area, including remnants of saltworks and cranberry-growing operations. The hours are the same as those of the Swift-Daley House. Admission to both is free. (508) 240-1247
Captain Edward Penniman House, Fort Hill Road. This whimsical yellow and red Victorian French Second Empire house, set on a knoll overlooking the Atlantic, was built circa 1868 by a rather eccentric whaling captain. Visitors enter through an enormous archway of whale jawbones at its gate. Located within the boundaries of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the Penniman House in the Fort Hill area of Eastham showcases the fortunes made by the Cape's whaling captains. Retiring from the sea in 1876, Captain Edward Penniman built this impressive Victorian mansion on a knoll with a cupola overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In front of the house there is a gateway made of two huge whale jawbones marking the entrance to the property. A few rods beyond this edifice one finds the Indian sharpening rock and a timeless ocean view and visitors can also see the spot where the Fo’c’sle once stood before it was swept out to sea in the hurricane blizzard of 1978. Henry Beston in The Outermost House made the Fo’c’sle famous. You can tour the house during the summer season; admission is free. The Penniman House is open from May through September, Monday through Friday from 1 PM to 4 PM. Guided tours are available in May and June on Monday and Saturday starting at 10 AM; in July and August guided tours are offered Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10 AM. Admission is free. Reservations are required if you plan to take a guided tour by calling the Cape Cod National Seashore at the number above. Fort Hill Road (508) 255-3421 www.nps.gov/caco
Eastham Grist Mill, Route 6 and Samoset Road. This smock mill, with its original hand-hewn machinery still operative, was built in the early 1680s and was moved to this site in 1808. It is the only Cape windmill on its original commercial site. Resting upon the town green in Eastham is the oldest and most widely known of all the Cape Cod windmills. The Eastham Grist Mill was built in Plymouth in the 1680s, which means that the corn it ground most likely found its way into the mouths of the sons and daughters of Pilgrims. It was later moved to Truro during the end of the 18th century by floating it across Cape Cod Bay. In 1798 it was moved to Eastham. The mill remained in operation until the turn of the 20th century. It was first open to the public in the 1930s and restored in the 1960s. Nowadays it is open weekends from 10 AM to 4 PM during the summer months when visitors can see its original wooden machinery that still operates today–what craftsmanship! Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Open summers.
Cape Cod National Seashore Salt Pond Visitor Center, Route 6. This interpretive center features a museum with displays of whaling and salt works industries, exhibits of early Cape artifacts (including scrimshaw). There is also a bookstore, an auditorium which shows films on geology, sea rescues, whaling, Thoreau and Marconi. A large showroom features exhibits on Cape Cod’s history, geography, natural history and architecture. During summer evenings, there is always something happening at the outdoor amphitheater, from slide-show talks to military band performances. Here you can learn about the geological and natural elements that make up the outer shores of Cape Cod. Part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the center has a fine exhibit room with displays on various Cape industries, lighthouses, and the lifesaving service. There is also an auditorium that shows short films about the National Seashore. The Salt Pond Visitor Center is generally open daily year-round from 9 AM to 4:30 PM. The summer has extended hours to 5 PM Route 6, Eastham• (508) 255-3421• www.nps.gov/caco
Eastham Schoolhouse Museum. This one-room schoolhouse was built in 1869 as an elementary school. Around the turn of the century, the town had three such one-room schoolhouses. These were later joined to form the Eastham Central School, which operated until 1936. After two of the original schoolhouse deteriorated in the mid-1900's, the old original schoolhouse was restored to its late-19th-century one-room status and serves as a museum of the Eastham Historical Society. It still has two doors marked as separate entrances for boys and girls. Exhibits include farming and household implements, Native American artifacts, shipwreck artifacts, and displays pertaining to area history, including a 13-foot jawbone from a 65-foot finback whale. The museum is open weekdays in July and August from 1 PM to 4 PM and weekends in September from 1 PM to 4 PM. Admission is free. Route 6 at Nauset and Schoolhouse Roads (508) 255-0788
Nature Trails: There are five nature trails within this portion of the Cape Cod National Seashore:
Fort Hill Trail (1½ miles), off Fort Hill Road. Following trail markers, visitors will pass Indian Rock, where telltale marks on the rock itself disclose that untold generations of Native Americans sharpened their tools here. Scenic vantage points disclose incredible vistas of marsh and ocean. Sharp-eyed hikers will thrill to egrets and blue heron that inhabit this area. The Trail links up with Red Cedar Swamp Trail (½ mile), which offers boardwalk views of an ecology otherwise unavailable for viewing.
From Salt Pond Visitor Center, three shorter trails fan out. Buttonbush Trail (¼ mile), specially adapted for the sight-impaired with a guide rope, features descriptive plaques in both oversized type and Braille. Doane Loop Trail (½ mile) is a half-mile wooded circuit about 1 mile east of the Visitor Center. The trail is graded to permit access by wheelchairs and baby strollers. The Nauset Marsh Trail (1 mile) skirts Salt Pond and crosses the marsh via a boardwalk and open fields before returning through a recovering forest.
Old Cove Cemetery, Route 6 (opposite Hay Road). This was the site of Eastham’s first meetinghouse shortly after 1644. Mayflower passengers are buried in its graveyard.
Eastham 1869 Schoolhouse Museum, Nauset Road. This one-room schoolhouse was used by the town until 1905 but also displays whale jaw bones, an old tool shed, U.S. Life Saving records and memorabilia from the school itself. Open summers.
The last of the Three Sisters lighthouses was retired in 1923, and it was replaced by the current Nauset Lighthouse which was originally one of two lighthouses located in Chatham. The wooden Three Sisters lighthouses were recently recovered from private parties by the Cape Cod National Seashore and placed in a small display area about 1/3 mile from the current lighthouse. Nauset Lighthouse is 48 feet tall and is located on a coastal bank, placing the light about 114 feet above the water; its beacon is visible for 17 miles at sea. The Nauset Light Preservation Society (NLPS) conducts public tours of Nauset Lighthouse and the oil house on Sundays May through late October and also on Wednesdays during July and August. Educational groups can arrange special tours of the lighthouse at any time of the year by e-mailing NLPS at www.nausetlight.org or calling our message service at 508-240-2612. Volunteers provide the historic background of the lighthouse station and conduct tours to the top of the tower. Tours are free and open to the public (donations accepted). Directions to Nauset Light: Route 6 to Bracket Road (third traffic signal from Orleans rotary); right onto Bracket Road, go to end and take left onto Nauset Road. Take first right onto Cable Road; at end of Cable Road, take left onto Ocean View Drive to parking lot and walk along path to Nauset Light.
Information and photos submitted by:
Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce
5 Patti Page Way
Centerville, MA 02632
508-362-3225 | Website