Tranquil Wychmere Harbor, family-friendly and an off-the-beaten path town center (Lower Cape)

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Harwich isn’t nearly as developed as its westerly neighbors, although its stretch of Route 28 does have its share of bumper boats, mini-golf courses, and go-carts. In fact, the town exudes a somewhat nonchalant air. It’s as if the 14,000 year-rounders are collectively saying, “This is what we have and you’re welcome to come and enjoy it with us if you wish” — which is not to say that Harwich doesn’t attract visitors. It boasts a wide range of places to stay and eat, from humble B&B’s to family-friendly cottages, from exceptional New American fare to roasted chicken-on-a-spit.

At the same time, while Harwich has more saltwater and freshwater beaches than any other town on the Cape, only a few have parking for day-use visitors.

Harwich, mostly blue collar and middle class, comprises seven distinct villages and is blessed with one of the most picturesque (albeit human-made) harbors on the Cape, Wychmere Harbor, where a fleet of sloops is often moored. In the late 1800s, Wychmere Harbor was simply a salt pond, around which a racetrack was laid. But locals, disapproving of horse racing, convinced the town to cut an opening from the pond into Nantucket Sound. A harbor was born.

Nearby, lovely Saquatucket Harbor is reserved for fishing charters and ferry service to Nantucket. It’s worth poking around the quiet center of Harwich, with its historic homes standing in marked contrast to the heavily developed areas just a mile or so away. Harwich, which bills its annual Cranberry Harvest Festival as “the biggest small-town celebration in the country,” lays claims to cultivating the first commercial cranberry bog.

Points of Interest in Town

Bonatt’s Restaurant
Brax Landing
Bud’s Go Cart
Cape Sea Grille
Grand Slam Family Entertainment
Harwich Junior Theater
Platinum Pebble Boutique Inn
Tern Inn
twenty-eight Atlantic
Wequassett Resort and Golf Club

If you’ve fallen in love with the Cape and want to take a deeper dive with exploring, my Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard & Nantucket: An Explorer’s Guide has been the region’s travel bible since it was first published in 1995.

Stop into your local indie bookstore, or order it on Amazon. Help keep the guide alive. Thanks!

Categories: Get Local |

At A Glance

Route 28

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