Harwich

HarwichCLAIM TO FAME: Harwich Cranberry Festival

HISTORICAL CLAIM TO FAME: Birthplace of commercial cranberry cultivation

BEACHES: Bank Street, Earle Road, Fernandes Bog at Long Pond, Grey Neck, Pleasant Road, Red River, Sand Pond, Wixon Memorial at Long Pond

DON’T MISS: Harwich Antique Center, Cranberry Valley Golf, Harwich Farm Fest, Harwich Mariners Baseball

Located just short of the elbow on the south side of the Cape peninsula, the Town of Harwich is a vibrant community with a stretching shoreline along Nantucket Sound.  Harwich was first settled around 1665 as part of Yarmouth and officially incorporated as a town in 1694.

While early industry consisted of agriculture and maritime prospects, neither could ultimately sustain themselves with the advent of the 19th century. Harwich’s whaling industry collapsed with the discovery of, as did its cod fishing industry because Harwich’s shallow ports could not house the new larger fishing ships.

As a result, Harwich turned its focus to the cultivation of what the Narragansett natives called the “bitter berry,” or cranberry. Harwich can claim itself the birthplace of commercial cranberry cultivation in 1846. The crop continues to be the leading agricultural product of Massachusetts.

Today, the town encompasses nearly 21 square miles of land, including approximately 11 miles of shoreline on the pleasant Nantucket Sound side of the Cape, and is bordered by Dennis to the west, Brewster and Orleans to the north, and Chatham to the east. The Harwich coastline is essentially one continuous beach broken up by three man-made harbors, Allens, Wychmere, and Saquatucket.  Once ponds and marshy areas, the three harbors were dredged out to Nantucket Sound to provide a safe haven for sea vessels.

Four beaches with parking and restrooms can be found on this extensive stretch of sand: Red River Beach, Bank Street Beach, Earle Road Beach and Pleasant Road Beach. Nantucket Sound’s water is warmer and generally calmer than the Atlantic Ocean or Cape Cod Bay sides of the Cape and is enjoyed by residents and visitors of all ages.  Harwich also has 22 freshwater ponds for recreational activities, including kayaking, fishing, and water sports.

A short walk from the Nantucket Sound coastline is Main Street and the village of Harwich Port.  The quintessential sleepy seaside village, Harwich Port is lined with local shops, bakeries, businesses and restaurants. Every other Wednesday during the summer months, Harwich Port is bustling with people as families, visitors and residents congregate to enjoy “Music in the Port.”

The Brooks Academy Museum, a historic schoolhouse in the village, is home to the Harwich Historical Society.  In addition to chronicling several hundred years of Harwich history, the Society features an extensive exhibit of artifacts, photographs and interactive exhibits related to the cranberry industry.

In early June through early October, the Harwich Farmers’ Market is held on the picturesque grounds of the Brooks Academy Museum, featuring locally grown fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, breads and baked goods, a wide variety of farm-related products, works by local artisans and live music.

Harwich Town Information

Fire Department
175 Sisson Road
Harwich, MA 02645
(508) 430-7546
www.harwichfire.com

Police Department
183 Sisson Road
Harwich, MA 02645
(508) 430-7541
www.harwichpolice.com

Town of Harwich
732 Main Street
Harwich, MA 02645
(508) 430-7514
harwichma.virtualtownhall.net

Chamber of Commerce
1 Schoolhouse Road
Harwich Port, MA 02646
(508) 430-1165