Town of Bourne
With the construction of the Cape Cod Canal, the town of Bourne was split in half connected by the Bourne and Sagamore Bridge. Bourne has numerous quiet harbors and inlets for boating and bathing, and the shell fishing in the area is particularly enticing. The annual Bourne Scallop Festival, which is held in early September each year, brings visitors from across the nation.
Bourne History and Information
The Town of Bourne is a medium-sized rural community at the gateway to Cape Cod. Formerly a part of Sandwich, Bourne was incorporated in 1884. With the construction of the Cape Cod Canal, Bourne was split in half connected to the mainland by the Sagamore and Bourne bridges. The Sagamore Bridge is 1,408 feet long and Bourne Bridge 2,384 feet long. Bourne remains the only town to occupy land on both sides of the canal. Aptucxet Trading Post, the first recorded commercial trading site in America, is on the Cape side and has been converted into a museum showcasing 17th Century firearms, furniture and cooking utensils. The Victorian train station built for President Grover Cleveland is also exhibited. The nearby Jonathan Bourne Historical Center overlooks the canal, as well. The Massachusetts Military Reservation, consisting of Otis Air National Guard Base, Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, and Camp Edwards Army National Guard and Reserve Training Site, occupies much of the Cape side of Bourne. Every first weekend of August, Otis air base puts on a two-day open house and air show. The Massachusetts Maritime Academy is located on the other side of the canal. The canal is well known for its superb shore fishing, and for carrying ships flying the flags of all nations. The Bourne Scenic Park campground is located beneath the Bourne Bridge and is a perfect vacation location for those seeking to enjoy the canal. Bourne has always been oriented to summer visitors, going back at least to the presidency of Grover Cleveland, who summered here at an estate he called Gray Gables. Bourne has numerous quiet harbors and inlets for boating and bathing, and the shell fishing in the area is particularly enticing. The annual Bourne Scallop Festival, which is held in early September each year, brings visitors from across the nation.
Points of Interest
1. Cape Cod Canal – The first major Cape Cod landmark tens of thousands of visitors lay eyes on annually. This Natural Historic Civil Engineering Landmark measures 480 feet across, is the widest sea-level canal in the world. Lined with scenic overlooks and multi-use trails on both sides, it is a popular tourist destination. The channel was opened in 1914 and stretches 17.4 miles up the coast. With a shifting tide every 6 hours, it is the only known waterway experiencing 4 daily high tides.
2. Indian Burial Hill – One of the oldest burial grounds in the region, this hill rises on the mainland side of Bourne. It was the final resting place for many Wampanoag Indians. The area was closed to burials in 1810 after King Saul was put to rest. Christian Missionaries also dedicated a bronze plaque here in the 1800s to the Cape’s Native American population. Located on Bournedale Road off Route 6.
3. Bourne Scenic Park – This is one of the largest camping areas in the region. Located on the Route 6 scenic drive, this park is nestled between the Cape Cod Canal and local forest lands. It consists of 422 campsites and picnic facilities. It hosts many seasonal activities, as well.
4. Aptucxet Trading Post and Village – Villagers traveled to this rustic homestead to trade goods and supplies as early as the 17th century. The building, completely reconstructed in the 1920s, still operates as it originally did some 250 years ago. It also features a relic salt operation, Indian artifacts and other exhibits.
5. Bourne Railroad Bridge – Before this bridge was built in 1934, goods traveling off-Cape were unloaded and stacked on small rafts to cross the canal. The bridge is a single train track and runs 545 feet across the waterway. When raised for boats traveling through the canal, it stands 135 feet high.
6. Herring Run – This brook fills every spring with alewives splashing their way upstream to spawn in inland fresh water. Years ago, town residents would catch their cache of fish here. The site is now a recreation area with picnic facilities. Located on the scenic drive off Route 6 on Bourne’s mainland side.
Stickers are available to residents and no-residents at the Natural Resources Office at Bourne Town Hall, Ph# (508)759-0623
• Monument Beach- From this beach you can see the Bourne entrance to the Cape Cod Canal and the Monument Beach Marina. Located on a small harbor.
• Barlows Landing-
• Scusset Beach- Located on the north side on Cape Cod Bay, a large state run beach with excellent facilities.
• Eutstis Beach
• Grey Gables Beach- Located at the southwest entrance to the Cape Cod Canal in the village of Gray Gables. It was a favorite of President Grover Cleveland during the late 1800s.
• Merriam Beach
• Picture Lake
• Pocasset Beach
• Queen Sewell Pond
• Sagamore Beach
• Southwest Beach
• Squeteague Harbor Beach
• Sunrise Beach
• Tahanto Beach
Pocasset Golf Course 508-563-7171