Area Facts, Shopping and Dining Districts, and Landmarks in Cape Cod
Cape Cod Info
- Landmass area: 399 square miles; coastline: 559.6
- Cape Cod is shaped roughly like the arm of someone flexing a bicep. It is divided into four regions from west to east or from the "shoulder" to the "hand": the Upper Cape, the Mid Cape, the Lower Cape and the
- Outer Cape. Each region is made up of towns and most towns include several villages.
To the north of the Cape, enclosed by the arm to the south and east and by the mainland to the west, is Cape Cod Bay. To the south, between the Cape and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, is Nantucket Sound. To the southwest is Buzzards Bay and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. Thanks to its low and sandy profile, the Cape has countless inland marshes, rivers and ponds, many of which are great for swimming, canoeing and fishing.
Cape Cod Weather and Climate
- Average daily high temperature — Jan: 28.4° F; July: 70.4° F
Average annual precipitation — 43.9 inches
Distances to other Metropolitan Areas from Cape Cod:
- Atlanta, GA — 1114 miles
- Annapolis, MD — 456 miles
- Bangor, ME — 291 miles
- Boston, MA — 57 miles
- Burlington, VT — 273 miles
- Charleston, SC — 1011 miles
- Charlotte, NC — 874 miles
- Chicago, IL — 1032 miles
- New York, NY — 241 miles
- Philadelphia, PA — 337 miles
Washington D.C. — 473 miles
Cape Cod Safety Phone # and Major Hospitals:
- Ambulance: 911
- Police: 911
- Fire: 911
- Cape Cod Hospital: 27 Park Street, Hyannis, MA 02601 (508)771-1800
- Falmouth Hospital: 100 Ter Heun Drive, Falmouth, MA 02540 877-227-3263
- Jordan Hospital: 275 Sandwich St., Plymouth, MA 02360 (508)746-2000
- Outer Cape Health Services, Rte. 6, Wellfleet, MA 02667 (508)-349-3131
- Outer Cape Health Services, Harry Kemp Way, Provincetown, MA 02657 (508)-487-9390
- Scargo Tower (Dennis)
Cape Cod Top Tourism Draws and Seasons:
- Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory Tour (Hyannis)
- Craigville Beach (Centerville)
- Cape Cod Children's Museum (Mashpee)
- Whale Watching (Provincetown, Hyannis)
- Dune trekking (Provincetown)
- Harwich Cranberry Festival — SEPT. (Harwich)
- Cape Cod Rail Trail
- Provincetown Trolley
- Race Point Beach (Provincetown)
- Cape Cod Baseball League
- SBLI Falmouth Road Race — AUG. (Falmouth)
- Bartstable County Fair — JULY (Barnstable)
- Corn Hill Beach (Outer Cape)
- Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Reserve (Upper Cape)
- Provincetown Bike Trails (Outer Cape)
- Orchid Fever Annual Show — JAN. (Falmouth)
- May: Golf Tournament
- Jun: Hyannis Harbor Festival
- Jul: Barnstable County Fair
- Aug: Cape Cod Chili Challenge
- Oct: Italian Festival on Main St
- Nov: Hyannis Harbor Lighting
Cape Cod Major Shopping Areas:
- Cape Cod Factory Outlet Mall: Factory Outlet Road, Sagamore, MA; 508-888-8417.
- Cape Cod Mall: Between Routes 132 and 28, Hyannis, MA; 508-771-0200.
- Lemon Tree Village: Main Street (Route 6A), Brewster, MA.
- Mashpee Commons: Junction Routes 28 & 151, Mashpee, MA; 508-477-5400.
- Popponesset Marketplace: Off Great Neck Rd. S., New Seabury, MA; 508-477-9111.
- Main Street Chatham Shops
Cape Cod Major Dining Areas:
- Provincetown — especially Commercial Street
- Barnstable — Main Street, Mill Way
- Chatham — Main Street, Route 28
- Dennis — Route 6A, Main Street
- Falmouth — Teaticket Highway, Waquoit Highway, Route 28
- Harwich — Main Street, route 28
- Orleans — Nauset Beach Road, Main Street
- Mashpee — Ryans Way, Mashpee Commons, Nathan Ellis Highway
- Sandwich — Main Street, Route 28
- Wellfleet — Town Pier, Main Street, Route 6
- Truro — Along Route 6A
- Yarmouth — Main Street, Routes 28 & 6A
Cape Cod Famous Landmarks & Historic Places:
- Pilgrim Monument (Provincetown)
- Cape Cod National Seashore (Wellfleet)
- Heritage Plantation (Sandwich)
- Mayflower II (Plymouth)
- Plymouth Plantation (Plymouth)
- John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum (Hyannis)
- Pilgrim Hall Museum (Plymouth)
- Provincetown Museum (Provincetown)
- Aptucxet Trading Post Museum (Upper Cape)
Cape Cod Famous Natives and Residents:
- Amy Jo Johnson, Actress (Birthplace)
Cape Cod Business & Economy:
- Although Cape Cod is inhabited all year round, it experiences a tourist explosion each summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as the New England cold gives way to a brief but comfortable summer. Many businesses are specifically targeted to the visitors, and close during the "off season" (roughly 8-9 months per year.) Some particularly well known Cape products and industries include cranberries, shellfish (particularly oysters and clams) and lobstering.
- The Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory is in Hyannis, MA.
Notable Moments in Cape Cod History:
- 1602 - Mariner Bartholomew Gosnold sailed the New England coast in 1602, naming things as he went. He gave the name 'Cape Cod' to the sandy, 105km/65mi-long peninsula that juts eastward from mainland Massachusetts into the Atlantic.
- 1620 - The Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, arriving on the coast of Cape Cod instead of Virginia. After exploring the coast, the ship finally anchored in Plymouth harbor, and the Pilgrims established a settlement.
- 1621 - The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in Plymouth. This feast, after the first Plymouth harvest, set the model for our current day feast.
- 1850s - In the mid-19th century, Henry David Thoreau made a walking tour of Cape Cod, reporting on the peninsula just before it became a popular summer vacation destination for wealthy families from Boston and Providence.
- 1879 - Cape Cod was connected to Europe by an undersea telephone cable, which ran from Orleans to Brest in France, a distance of 4000 miles. Early in the next century, Guglielmo Marconi set up a wireless telegraph station on the beach in South Wellfleet to communicate with Great Britain.
- 1914 - Canal links Cape Cod Bay with Buzzards Bay.
Interesting facts about Cape Cod:
- At the height of summer more than 80,000 cars cross the Cape Cod Canal every day.
- The creation of the Cape Cod National Seashore, which was formerly private town and state owned land, marked the first time the federal government purchased land for a park.
- Brewster has become the de facto "Wedding Capital of Cape Cod" because of its many small and larger inns that cater to weddings.
- CAPE COD TURKEY: Dried salt cod does not make a very exciting dish, so New Englanders took to calling it (facetiously) Cape Cod Turkey
- According to the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers' Association: Of the approximately 1,000 cranberry growers in North America, 500 are in Massachusetts. Approximately 70 percent of these growers are small family farms with less than 20 acres of bog.
- First landing of the Pilgrims in the New World on November 11, 1620 (the Pilgrims stayed five weeks in Provincetown before sailing across Cape Cod Bay to Plymouth).
- Cape Cod is known as the Land of Lighthouses—more lighthouses than any other area in America.
- Provincetown's Pilgrim Monument, at 252-feet, is the tallest all-granite structure in America.
- Coast Guard Beach in Eastham is regularly named to Conde Nast Traveler's Top Ten Beaches in the US.
- Cape Playhouse in Dennis is America's oldest professional theatre, having starred such luminaries as Jessica Tandy, Bette Davis (who was an usherette here), Gregory Peck and Basil Rathbone.
- Cape Cod Potato Chips—some say the world's BEST. Each chip is hand-cooked and -inspected before packaging and shipping to stores all over the globe.
- Wellfleet Oysters are prized by chefs the world over for their delicacy and sweetness.
- En route to the center of Wellfleet, the First Congregational Church, a handsome 1850 Greek Revival affair—replete with a stained glass window depicting a clipper ship—is the only town clock which rings ship's time (one, five and nine o'clock are two bells; two, six and ten o'clock are four bells; three, seven and eleven o'clock are six bells; and four, eight and twelve o'clock are eight bells. Half hours are struck by adding one stroke to the corresponding even hours). Ripley's Believe It or Not has listed Wellfleet's town clock's method of ringing time, as have many newspapers and magazines.
- Originally, Cape Cod was united with the mainland until the US Army Corps of Engineers—realizing a three-century-old dream—dug the 171/2-mile long, 480-foot wide Cape Cod Canal from 1909 to 1914 giving 'birth' to Cape Cod as an independent land mass and joining Buzzards and Cape Cod Bays. The Canal the world's widest sea-level canal.
- Route 6A, the Old King's Highway, at 39 miles long, is the longest contiguous historic district in America and contains four centuries of architecture. Along a two-mile stretch of Route 6A in Yarmouth Port, there exists an eclectic array of structures housing private residences, B&Bs, antiques shops, restaurants and galleries, not one of which was built in the 20th or 21st century.
- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Woods Hole (a village of Falmouth), a private, non-profit research and education organization established in 1930 is the largest independent oceanographic laboratory in the world.
- Heritage Museums & Gardens of Sandwich owns and exhibits the most important collection of American antique automobiles in the United States.
- To its credit, cultivation of cranberries in bogs originated in Dennis on Cape Cod. In 1815, retired Dennis sea captain Henry Hall observed that wild cranberries seemed to flourish in areas where the sand blew over them. He is widely considered to be the first individual replicating such conditions as a preferred way to cultivate the tart berries. Once a whaling port, Harwich went on to pioneer the cranberry industry in 1846 and it was in this small town that the first commercial cranberry bogs in the nation were established. Harwich is still a leading grower of cranberries because of its ideal soil conditions and extended growing season. The cranberry is now Massachusetts' leading agricultural product.
- Cape Cinema, the 92-seat theater on the grounds of the Cape Playhouse, with its 6,400 square-foot Art Deco ceiling mural of Prometheus opened July 1, 1930, world-premiering The Wizard of Oz. Its mural is the largest in North America!
- Most people are unaware that local Harwich boy Caleb Chase co-founded Chase & Sanborn coffee in 1878. This fact became more widely known in 1993 when local volunteer historian Patricia Ellis Buck realized—and widely publicized—the fact that the founders' likenesses (i.e., Messrs. Chase's and Sanborn's) had been switched on the coffee package labels. While no one is quite certain how long this slight had been endured, it was promptly corrected.
- Orleans has the distinction of being the only Cape town fired upon by enemy craft—first by the British during the War of 1812 and then by Germans during both World War I and II.
- Provincetown, the Cape's most colorful and fascinating town, is an artist colony (America's oldest continuous such colony), fishing town and resort—complete unto itself—self-contained and self-sufficient. Artists have been coming to P'town since 1899 when artist Charles W. Hawthorne founded the Cape Cod School of Art here, introducing the near-derelict fishing town to Greenwich Village intelligentsia. He was so besotted by its "jumble of color in the intense sunlight" that he ended up teaching here for 30 years. His famous painting Fish Cleaners graces town hall. He also helped found the Provincetown Art Association & Museum. Other artists drawn to town include such luminaries as Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell and Mark Rothko. Eugene O'Neill's first plays were written and produced here (his work, Bound for East Cardiff, was staged in the tumble-down Wharf Theater in 1916, and actually launched his career) and the Fine Arts Work Center continues to have among its ranks some of the most important contemporary literati. Even screen stars are no strangers here, and Marlon Brando, Richard Gere and Al Pacino, among others, have all performed here.
- The Mayflower Compact, the first written 'constitution' written and ratified in the New World, an agreement whereby a free people would self-govern, was drafted in Cape Cod Bay. It is from this historic document, signed during the Pilgrims five-week stay in Provincetown, that the fullness of America's liberties would eventually emerge.
- The paper bag was first created in Dennis, Cape Cod, by Luther Child Crowell and patented by him in 1867.
Cape Cod Population and Demographics:
- Population: 229,545 for all of the Cape.
- Barnstable 48,907
- Harwich 12,859
- Bourne 19,523
- Mashpee 14,200
- Brewster 10,401
- Orleans 6,491
- Chatham 6,849
- Provincetown 3,472