Introduction to Barnstable, Massachusetts
Barnstable is situated on Cape Cod in Barnstable County and is bordered on the north by Cape Cod Bay. The town contains seven villages, each having their own unique and prominent cultural and historic attributes. Hyannis is the largest village and is the county's business district. Barnstable is a very popular tourist destination, especially during the summer. Visitors enjoy the beaches as well as the charming shops. The Sturgis Library is recognized as the oldest library in the United States.
The original explorer in the region was Bartholomew Gosnold who arrived in 1602. The town was established in 1636. The original settlers were primarily farmers, however fishing and salt production soon became important factors for the economy. Near the end of the 19th Century approximately 800 ships were harbored in the town. In 1854 the railroad reached Barnstable, which caused a large reduction in the number of ships utilizing the port.
Towards the end of the 19th Century Barnstable was beginning to become well known all over the world as a prominent tourist location. A large number of prosperous Bostonians vacationed in Cape Cod during the summer. The Kennedy family spent their summers in the town and some members still reside in their estate located in Hyannis Port. The compound was the summer home of President Kennedy while he was President.
Nightlife and Entertainment
- Cape Cod Melody Tent features world renowned acts.
- Barnstable Comedy Club offers noteworthy comedians.
- Baxter's Boat House is a popular nightlife venue.
- HMS Theatrical/Shaughnessy Theatre offers theatrical productions and musicals.
- Trayser Museum Complex includes a beautiful Italian Renaissance style building and a jail from the 17th Century. It showcases the architectural, the maritime and cultural history of Cape Cod.
- Cahoon Museum of American Art, situated in a Georgian Colonial home contains American Impressionist and marine artworks.
- Cape Cod Maritime Museum.
- Toad Hall Classic Sports Car Museum.
- Centerville Historical Museum features Civil War artifacts and historical costumes.
- Osterville Historical Society Museum.
Visitors enjoy having a leisurely time and enjoying the views in the beach areas. Kayak tours of the marsh region are available for fly fishing and for experiencing the environment. The noteworthy Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary provides nature trails. The Cape Cod Railroad offers scenic tours featuring cranberry bogs, marshes and woodlands.
Centerville is primarily a residential area and incudes beautiful beach areas. Osterville is a residential district featuring a quaint town center and provides opportunities for fishing and boating. Marston Mills is a residential village. Cotuit includes a few small beaches. West Barnstable is a residential community. Barnstable Village includes a harbor and a few small beaches.
The affluent village of Hyannis is the commercial and transportation center of Barnstable and includes several shopping malls. Its vast harbor is the largest recreational boating area and the second largest port for commercial fishing in Cape Cod. Several Kennedy family homes are located in the village. It features the historic downtown Main Street. Hyannis provides ferry transportation to Martha's Vineyard and the Nantucket Islands.
The Hyannis Whale Watching Cruises are quite popular. Enjoyable tours of the Cape Cod Potato Chip Company are available. The Hyannisport Club is one of the best golf courses situated on the Cape. The West Beach Club and the Hyannisport Yacht Club are included in the village. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is located in the old Town Hall. There is also a notable memorial for President Kennedy situated along Lewis Bay.