CLAIM TO FAME: The home of Highland Light
HISTORICAL BRAGGING RIGHTS: One of the first landing sites of the Pilgrims
BEACHES: Ballston, Coast Guard Beach, Corn Hill, Fisher, Great Hollow, Head of the Meadow, Long Nook, Pond Village, Ryder
DON’T MISS: Truro Vineyard and Distillery, Highland Lighthouse, Jobi Pottery, Atlantic Spice Company, Payomet Performing Arts Center, Highland House Museum
A few miles short of Provincetown and the point of Cape Cod, the Town of Truro is a small, rural Cape Cod community. The town sits just north of Wellfleet with the Cape Cod Bay to the West and the Atlantic Ocean to the East. Similar to Wellfleet, over half of the landed area falls under the realm of the Cape Cod National Seashore established in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy.
This tranquil town is little more than a handful of stores, public buildings, and residential houses hidden in the woods. Despite this, Truro is rich in history and home to plenty of gorgeous Atlantic and bay beaches for visitors and locals alike.
The Pilgrims of the Mayflower originally landed in Truro and Provincetown in 1620, before later deciding that the area was unsuitable for settlement. While in Truro, the common lore is that the English Pilgrims discovered fresh water and a cache of corn stored by the Wampanoag that helped them survive through the first year on the Cape, apparently leading to the name Corn Hill.
The Town of Truro was officially settled by English colonists in the 1690s as part of the town of Eastham. Truro separated itself and was incorporated in 1709. The early economy of Truro was driven by fishing, whaling, and shipbuilding; however these industries moved to other Cape locations as the harsh tides began decimating Truro’s main port during the mid-1800s.
Since then, Truro has become a popular location for tourists and even retirees, especially for artists because of the Cape Cod Light, also called the Highland Light. The first lighthouse on Cape Cod, it was originally built in 1797. The one that stands today was built in 1857 and was moved a tenth of a mile in 1996 as the site was only ten yards from the edge of the continually-eroded bluffs.
While in the area, check out the Highland House Museum. The Museum is very close to the Highland Light and provides fascinating insight into the lives of the people of Truro dating back to early European settlers and the Native Americans that preceded them.
Truro has attractive and fun beaches on both the Cape Cod Bay and Atlantic Ocean sides. Corn Hill Beach, just off its namesake road, is on the bay side and has facilities as well as an extensive parking lot. The beach is located near the hill where, according to the famous lore, the Pilgrims found the Indian corn that ensured their survival.
On the other side of town are Truro’s wonderful ocean side beaches including Head of the Meadow Beach, one of the more remote National Seashore Beaches. Known for its excellent surf and sand dunes reaching nearly 100 feet, this spot is equipped with full facilities including restrooms and boardwalks connecting the parking lot to the beach, making it one of the most easily accessible National Seashore Beaches.
The Cape Cod National Seashore also offers beautiful bike and nature trails through Truro. The Head of the Meadow Trail skirts the bluffs of the beach as bikers can enjoy the view on this stunning 2-mile bike path. The path is both flat and short offering a perfect activity for families or beginners. The Pamet, Pilgrim Spring, and Small Swamp trails, ranging from .5 to .75 miles, are three self-guided nature trails offered by the Cape Cod National Seashore. These trails pass through old cranberry bogs, marshes, bluffs, and farms, showing Truro’s beautiful landscape.
Another place to visit in town is the Truro Vineyards of Cape Cod. It is one of the last working farms on the Outer Cape and uncorked its first homegrown wines in the late 1990s. It is located just off of Route 6A and is open May through October, hosting free, summer wine tastings every half-hour on Monday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm, and on Sunday from noon to 5 pm.
Truro Town Information
Truro Fire Department
344 Route 6
Truro, MA 02666
344 Route 6
(P.O. Box 995)
Truro, MA 02666
Town of Truro
24 Town Hall Road
(P.O. Box 2030)
Truro, MA 02666
Chamber of Commerce
Route 6 & Head of the Meadow Road
(PO Box 26)
North Truro, MA 02652