Town of Barnstable
The largest town on Cape Cod, Barnstable is made up of seven villages. One of the villages, Hyannis, could be called the commercial center of Cape Cod. Ferries to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, the Cape Cod Mall, numerous shops and restaurants, the Kennedy Memorial and fountain all can be found in Hyannis or Hyannis Port. The other villages; Barnstable, West Barnstable, Marstons Mills, Centerville and Osterville all offer their own great amenities as well.
Barnstable Hiistory and Information
Barnstable, incorporated in 1636, is the largest town on Cape Cod and is made up of seven villages. Each village has unique cultural and historical qualities. Centerville, located on the south side, is primarily residential, includes the Christian Camp Meeting Association and has the beautiful Craigville beach. Osterville is located on the south side, is primarily residential and includes inlets and harbors for fishing and boating. Hyannis is the town’s central business and commercial district, which includes town offices and several shopping malls. Hyannis is also a fishing village and its harbor provides steamship access to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Islands. Marstons Mills is primarily residential and is located on Route 28. Cotuit is a village located on a peninsula on the south side, is primarily residential and has several small beaches. West Barnstable is located on the north side, is primarily residential and sparsely populated. Barnstable is located on the north side, which houses the County Complex and has a working harbor and several small beaches.
Hyannis is the commercial center of both Barnstable and the entire Cape. Its major shopping areas include Route 132 and Main Street. Some of the Cape’s finest restaurants are also found here. To visitors, Hyannis is best known as the summer home of the Kennedys. The Kennedy Compound, just two miles from Main Street in scenic Hyannis Port, is still a major tourist attraction despite being closed to the public. The John F. Kennedy Memorial fountain is located on Ocean Street. Other famous sites include the John F. Kennedy Museum on Main Street and St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church on South Street, where a plaque marks the former president’s pew. Located on Hyannis Harbor near Main Street are the Ocean & Sea Street docks. Ferries embark daily from here on revolving schedules to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Within walking distance are several ocean side parks and beaches. These include Kalmus Park, Veteran’s Park, JFK Memorial Park and Aselton Park. For another ocean adventure, take one of the daily whale watching excursions departing from the Marina in Barnstable Harbor. Baleen, Humpback, Finback, Minke and Right whales all feed in the shallow waters of Cape Cod Bay. Along Route 6A in Barnstable Village one can find many unique shops and eateries, adding to the ambiance of the town’s gracious historical district. Spanning from Phinney’s Lane to the edge of Cummaquid, the district is lined with quaint bed & breakfasts, inns, antique shops and restaurants.
Points of Interest
1 Barnstable Comedy Club – Kurt Vonnegut is just one of this club’s famous alumni. Founded in 1922, the group produces three major productions a year and holds many workshops, improvisations and other programs. Located on Main Street (Route 6A).
2 Colonial Courthouse – This grand white structure was used as the local English Court before the Revolutionary War. Built in 1772, it is now a storehouse for bicentennial memorabilia. Visitors accepted by appointment. Located on Route 6A.
3 Lothrop Hill Cemetery – Dedicated to Barnstable’s founder, John Lothrop, this cemetery has been used since the 1700s. Among the famous graves here is that of the Commander of Old Ironsides from 1844-1846, Captain John “Mad Jack” Percival. The graveyard offers a true look into the town’s past. Located on Route 6A.
4 St. Mary’s Church Gardens – A rainbow of flowers blossoms across this grassy knoll dotted with a stream and small wooden bridge. In the spring daffodils, chrysanthemums, lilies, and tulips bloom throughout the grounds. A welcome escape from summer traffic and crowds. Located on Route 6A.
5 Sachem Iyanough’s Grave – A friend to the Pilgrims, Chief Sachem of the Cummaquid Indians helped with hunting and supplies. His grave was discovered here in 1860.
6 Tayser Memorial Museum – This red brick building houses Barnstable’s largest collection of historical relics and artifacts from ship parts to period town photos. Built in 1856 as a private residence, the home was converted into a post office and eventually donated to the town in 1960.
7 West Parish Meetinghouse – A half-ton bell sways inside the steeple of the oldest Congregational Church in America. This church has stood as an example of elegant Puritan architecture since 1634. The bell, constructed by Paul Revere in 1806, weighs 922 lbs. A five-foot golden rooster weathervane has tracked wind direction since 1723. Located on Route 149 in West Barnstable.
1 Craigville Beach – Craigville is one of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod, and attracts both families and singles. It has soft sand and terrific waters for beach sports and swimming. Beach shops and eateries line the sidewalk across the street. The perfect spot for a beach day. Located on Craigville Beach Rd. off Route 28.
2 Sunset Hill – The setting summer sun spills bright pastel colors across the horizon from this scenic vista, offering a great view of the Kennedy Compound. Located at the end of Irving Avenue in Hyannis Port.
1 John F. Kennedy Memorial – A heavily visited monument paying tribute to the 34th President of the United States. Many local friends and acquaintances fondly remember Kennedy, a longtime resident of Hyannis Port. This fountain pours into a pool honoring his memory, and thousands pay their respects to the fallen humanitarian every year. Located by Lewis Bay off Ocean Street.
2 Hyannis Harbor – This harbor holds numerous vessels of all types along its weathered docks. The Hy-Line ferry terminal also resides here. Across the street are some of the best taverns, restaurants and hotels in Hyannis. Located on Ocean Street.
3 Main Street – “Dancing in the streets of Hyannis,” the rock band Boston sang about one of the most socially active areas on the Cape. This street is lined with shops, restaurants and nightclubs. Something is always happening on Main Street.
1 Crosby Yacht Yard – a well-known shipyard for more than 175 years, the “Crosby Cat,” a type of slick wooden yacht invented by Horace Crosby in 1840, made this site famous. Modern pleasure vessels are still built here during the winter. It also offers ship moorings in the summertime. Located in Osterville at 72 Crosby Circle.
2 Osterville Historical Society Museum – Housing a large collection of antique colonial furniture, this 11-room museum is a major town attraction. Originally built as a home in 1795 by Captain Jonathan Parker, visitors are welcome here by appointment. Located on West Bay Road.
Beaches– For beach sticker information call Barnstable Town Hall, Ph# (508) 790-6345 or stickers are available at the Kennedy Rink in Hyannis.
- Covell Beach- A residents only beach located to the east of Craigville Beach. Warm water and a mild to moderate surf can be found on this beach.
- Sandy Neck Beach- Barnstable’s longest beach (6 mi.). High sand dunes and cool clear water make this one of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod.
- Craigville Beach- another very popular warm water beach on the Vineyard Sound. This beach has many amenities including showers.
- Kalmus Park Beach- On Hyannis Harbor this beach is a favorite among Cape Cod windsurfers. Has a nice picnic area.
- Millway Beach- Lies next to Barnstable Harbor and is a great place to watch the boats entering and leaving the harbor. Also has a great view of the lighthouse on Sandy Neck.( Note: residents-only beach)
- Orrin Keyes Beach
- Veterans Park Beach- A great place for a family cookout under the pine trees and is next to The Kennedy Memorial. Also has a nice playground for the kids.
- Keyes Memorial Beach
- Joshuas Pond- Nice, residents only freshwater pond in the middle of Osterville away from the ocean.
- Doswes Beach- A nice, residents only beach located on East Bay with
warm, quiet waters.
- Sea Street Beach- A public beach located on Hyannis Harbor and close to many Hyannis accommodations. Pack a lunch and eat in the picnic area. Also get great lunches at the general store up the road.
- Hathaway’s Pond Beach- A little fresh water pond in Barnstable that is open to the public. It has a nice playground area for the kids.
- Hamblin’s Pond Beach
Cotuit Highground Golf Course 508-428-9863
Cummaquid Golf Club 508-362-2022
Olde Barnstable fairgrounds Golf Course 508-420-1142
Hyannis Golf Club 508-362-2606
Hyannisport Club 508-775-0669
Oyster Harbors Club 508-428-8106
Tara Hyannis 508-775-7775
Wianno Yacht Club 508-428-2232