CLAIM TO FAME: The “capital” of the Cape
HISTORICAL BRAGGING RIGHTS: Home of the Kennedy compound where JFK and other politicos relax
BEACHES: Covell, Craigville, Hamblin Pond, Hathaway’s Pond, Joshua Pond, Sandy Neck Beach
DON’T MISS: Cahoon Museum of American Art, Main St. Hyannis, Hyannis Armory, Hyannis Harbor, Boating excursions and whale watch out of Barnstable Harbor, Barnstable Village
“The half-way town” of Barnstable takes its name from Barnstaple, Devon, England and was first explored by Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602. It was one of the first towns to be settled in Plymouth Colony, and was incorporated in 1639.
Today the town has a total area of 76 miles and contains seven villages: Barnstable village (including Cummaquid) Centerville (including Craigville), Cotuit, Hyannis (including Hyannisport), Marstons Mills, Osterville and West Barnstable.
The Village of Barnstable is located on the north side of the town and houses the County Complex of Barnstable County, a small business district, a working harbor, and several small beaches. The village is home to many small attractions, including Sturgis Library and the Olde Colonial Courthouse (now Tales of Cape Cod). The village is arguably the most historic village in Barnstable, featuring several homes dating from the mid-19th century. The area also holds the renowned Cummaquid Golf Club, the Barnstable Comedy Club and the Trayser Museum.
The mostly residential village of Centerville is located on the south side of Barnstable. It contains the beach neighborhood of Craigville, the award-winning Four Seas Ice Cream shop on South Main Street and the Oprah Winfrey-approved Centerville Pie Company. Pine Street has the St. Francis Xavier cemetery, which is the final resting place for Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her husband Sargent Shriver.
Cotuit is primarily residential with several small beaches including Ropes Beach, Riley’s Beach, Loop Beach and Oregon Beach. Cotuit Oysters are a different version of the eastern oyster species, unique to Cotuit Bay and renowned for their flavor. In the summer, The Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League play at Lowell Park located very close to the center of the village. The league is considered by many to be the premier amateur baseball league in the nation.
Hyannis is the largest of the seven villages in the town of Barnstable. It is the commercial heart and transportation hub of Cape Cod and many refer to Hyannis as the “Capital of the Cape”. It contains a majority of the Barnstable City offices and two important shopping districts, the historic downtown Main Street and the Route 132 Commercial District, including Cape Cod Mall and Independence Park, headquarters of Cape Cod Potato Chips. Hyannis is also the primary ferry boat and general aviation link for passengers and freight to Nantucket Island and also provides secondary passenger access to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. The JFK Hyannis Museum in the old Town Hall on Main St. focuses on the former President’s time spent on Cape Cod. President-elect John F. Kennedy gave his victory speech on November 9, 1960, at the former Hyannis Armory, which is in the National Register of Historic Places. Hyannis Port, a small residential village southwest of Hyannis, is the location of the Kennedy Compound and other Kennedy family residences.
Marstons Mills was founded by the Marston family in 1648. They built grist mills along the Marstons Mills River, hence the name of the village. Marstons Mills has many notable lakes, cranberry bogs and ponds.
The village of Osterville is located on the south side of Barnstable on Nantucket Sound and is a residential community that includes marshes, bays, ponds and a small business district. A drawbridge connects the village to Little Island and Grand Island, a gated community featuring many luxury homes.
West Barnstable is mostly residential and historic and is located in the northwest part of Barnstable. The village includes six miles of Sandy Neck Barrier Beach which protects the extensive Great Marshes and the West Barnstable Conservation Area. West Barnstable is also home to Cape Cod Community College and the Cape Cod Conservatory of Music, Art, Drama & Dance.
Barnstable has the largest public school enrollment of any city or town on Cape Cod with over 5,000 students. In 2010, the public school system underwent major changes due to budget issues and now includes an Early Learning Center for pre-kindergarten students and five elementary schools serving various grades, including: Centerville, Barnstable Community Horace Mann Charter School, West Village Elementary, Hyannis West, and Barnstable West Barnstable. Barnstable Middle School serves grades six and seven, and is located on Route 28 behind Barnstable High School, which serves grades eight through twelve. Barnstable has played Falmouth in football on Thanksgiving Day nearly every year since 1895, making the annual game one of the longest-standing high school football rivalries in history.
Town of Barnstable Information
Town of Barnstable
367 Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
1200 Phinneys Ln.
Hyannis, MA 02601
Hyannis Area Chamber of Commerce
397 Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Barnstable in the News