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Harwich Port Cape Cod

Harwich Port, Cape Cod - A secret not to be given away! - A quaint village where the only policeman or policewoman you might see is at the corner of Main and Bank St. directing traffic to the public beach; where the beautiful architecture of the white or Cape Cod gray houses are surrounded by blue, pink or red flowering bushes; where time seems to sit still even though there are so many things to do and see for as long as you want! 

We discovered this peaceful haven over 20 years ago and go back year after year, never growing tired of it!  However, until now, we had only shared this precious secret with close friends.  You are now among them!

For its warm waters

Harwich Port is a small, traditional seaside village, located in Nantucket Sound. Its number one attraction is its salt and fresh water beaches, especially its lovely 3 km public sandy beach with warm waters (average 23o C). We bet you will find it hard to haul yourself out of the water, let alone your kids! 

Kids will also have a ball searching for Hermit Crabs, sea shells and rocks or testing their bodysurfing ability on the white capped waves or watching the gulls soar over them. The near-constant salty tang of the ocean breeze invites you to fly a kite, sail or cool yourself under an umbrella while enjoying a good book or a nap.  To say nothing of the stunning and unforgettable sunsets and Cape Cod skies one can admire on an evening stroll along the beach.  

For its vast choice of activities

Your visit to Harwich can be whatever you want it to be: a romantic getaway, a peaceful retreat for a few days, a family vacation, a relaxing vacation or an active time filled with swimming, tennis, fishing, golf, trekking and cycling. 

The beautiful and very popular Cape Cod Rail Trail, which used to be a railroad line, meanders through forest, salt marshes, cranberry bogs, dunes, lakes and ponds, bird sanctuaries, beaches, scenic harbors and villages.  Even though it welcomes 400,000 users a year, cyclists, hikers or skaters, it rarely feels crowded and most of the time you feel as though you are the only one enjoying the paradise.  Free parking areas are offered at many trailheads and are well marked. 

The 9-hole Harwich Port Golf Course and the 18-hole Cranberry Valley Golf Course await golf enthusiasts.  For those who would rather practice a racket sport, a few free tennis courses are available at Brooks Park or at the Cape Cod Regional Technical High School (behind the building) on Route 124. 

Sailboats and charter yachts dot the harbors. At Wychmere, the most picturesque harbor, you can easily join the fishermen trying their luck on the jetty at the very end of the public beach.  For those looking for bigger catches or for sightseeing cruises or seal watching experiences, charter boats will be more than happy to welcome you on board at the nearby Saquatucket harbor, where local fishermen will happily share their catch of the day in case you come back empty handed from your own fishing expedition! 

On rainy days or at night, strolling along Route 28 (Main Street), the commercial hub of the town with its grey-shingled cottages and painted town houses that serve as shops and boutiques, is a popular alternative.  A few art galleries featuring the work of local artists are open throughout the summer.  

For its hospitality

Harwich Port’s range of lodging options is more limited than in other better-known tourist hubs on the Cape. Nonetheless, there is an attractive selection that suits every taste and budget: private homes, cottage rentals, charming bed-and-breakfasts, motels and elegant resorts. 

Directly on – or almost – the Bank St. public beach, you will find three types of lodging options: one luxury B&B, one motel type establishment and one charming family inn. 

-  The first establishment, the Winstead Inn and Beach Resort, was a small and friendly B&B directly on the beach some 20 years ago.  Over the years, it grew into a modern Inn offering 15 luxury rooms.  It is still a charming inn, however rather expensive! 

-  The second property, the Inn on the Beach, which also sprawls on the waterfront, is a motel type establishment.  Its rooms with a kitchenette corner provide a microwave and fridge.  It is a good choice for families looking for a low-key beach vacation.  Its high point: a small pavilion directly on the beach called the “Beach House,” divided into 2 rooms.  It is ideal for those who want to experience the feeling of sleeping on the beach without having to sacrifice comfort.  It is recommended to reserve those 2 rooms early, which are booked well in advance.  

-  The third, the Seadar Inn, has been owned and operated by the Collins family for nearly forty years. It’s large main house with weathered shingles is surrounded by small, charming pavilions scattered over the property.  It is truly a family inn where breakfast is served in the main house’s dining room. Tables and umbrellas can be found on the grounds for the benefit of those who would like to have an aperitif or even a meal: BBQs are at the guests’ disposal.  Rooms are simple, nice, impeccably clean and offered at rates that will please families.  With its gray shingles, roses trailing over split-rail fences, warm and welcoming hospitality and reasonable prices, it is our favorite! 

As we have already mentioned, Harwich Port is a village that you can stroll through almost entirely on foot, making it possible to park your car on arrival and to forget it for a few days, should you choose to stay at one of the three lodging options previously mentioned. 

Walking distance from the beach on Bank Street: 

George’s Pizza is a very popular spot and has been a mainstay for over 38 years.  The restaurant offers its tempting house style in a wide variety of combinations, limiting only your imagination. You can even take out your pizza and enjoy it on the beach. 

The Port has an interesting and varied menu. 

The Cape Sea Grille offers fine cuisine. 

The Sundae School Ice Cream features homemade ice cream in as many varieties as you can imagine and even more, all finger licking-good.  It is a place you will return to frequently to further your ice cream “education”. Even your kids will ask for more! 

A little further: 

Brax Landing Restaurant, a huge landmark on Cape Cod for decades, offers not only a breathtaking view over Saquatucket Harbor but also fresh local seafood and fish.  Their famous Sunday Brunch is a must!  

For its surroundings

Nantucket 

The ferry to Nantucket Island sails out of Saquatucket harbor three times a day in summertime.  Bring your bicycle and start exploring this island with its magnificent historic houses built when Nantucket was the world hub of whaling. 

Wander along its beaches, museums, art galleries and craft boutiques.  Take the time for a picnic or treat yourself to their famous scallops, lobster or even a “clambake,” a local specialty.

Chatham

This is a very charming village located less than 10 km from Harwich Port.  We go there to stroll its main street where fine clothing boutiques, antiques, crafts and gift shops compete with art galleries and candy shops. Why not give in to temptation and try their fudge or famous taffy or catch a play at the Playhouse! 

We also head there to be dazzled by the spectacular sunsets that can be seen from the Chatham Lighthouse Beach. Half a mile from downtown, this long stretch of fine sand surrounded by the sea provides hours worth of strolling. Its waters are less welcoming than those of Harwich Port, being more tumultuous and chilly. From there it is possible to reach Monomoy Island, a national migratory bird refuge. 

Provincetown

Always spectacular with its dunes and beaches, Provincetown, at the tip of the Cape, is widely recognized as a BGLT destination. Many events are featured for this clientele and we would recommend avoiding nighttime outings if you go there with young kids. Some street scenes might disturb them; we are not afraid to call a spade a spade! 

Boston 

Of course, there is Boston! A one-hour drive – 130 km – from Harwich, this vibrant University City proudly puts its history and its cultural institutions on display, such as museums and art galleries. Faneuil Hall market and some ethnic neighborhoods, such as the Chinese district, are also very popular attractions. 

 

You now know everything about this secret I have kept to myself for so many years! I hope that you will make the most of it and come back as delighted as I have always been.

 

Christiane Théberge

www.harwichcc.com 

www.seadarinn.com 


A Cape Cod house

Cape Cod Rail Trail

Harwich Port public beach

Saquatucket Harbor

Seadar Inn

Sunset at Harwich Port 

Chatham beach

 

 

 

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