Eastham

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View from Fort Hill

Eastham is in Massachusetts on Cape Cod. The scenic Fort Hill Area marks the beginning of the Cape Cod National Seashore and offers a panoramic view of Nauset Marsh with walking trails through a historic landscape of fields, forest and Red Maple Swamp. Further north, the Salt Pond Visitors Center makes a good starting point for orientation to the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches, activities, bike trails and walking trails. Eastham is home to some beautiful bay and ocean beaches, most notably Coast Guard Beach and Nauset Lighthouse Beach, as well as several fresh water kettle ponds. First Encounter Beach, one of Eastham's popular Bay beaches, is where Myles Standish and his Pilgrims first met up with Nauset Indians in 1620. Since Eastham is only 3 miles wide from the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Cod Bay, the town is a popular place to watch both sunrise and sunset over the water. The Cape Cod Rail Trail, a popular bike trail, runs the length of Eastham from Orleans to Wellfleet. There are 4 lighthouses along the coast in Eastham and one historic working windmill on the town green.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Eastham is 45 minutes on Route 6 from the Cape Cod Canal in Bourne and about two hours from Boston (100 miles). Travel time varies greatly from the off season to the on season, depending on traffic, weather conditions, road work, etc.

  • From Boston take I-93 south to Route 3 south to the Sagamore Bridge (Becomes Rt. 6).
  • From Providence or points south take I-95 north to I-195 to Route 25 south to the Bourne Bridge (I-495 also becomes Route 25). At the rotary (traffic circle) on the Cape side, go almost all the way around and travel along the Canal to Route 6 east.

By bus[edit]

  • Plymouth & Brockton Street Railway, 17 Elm Av., Hyannis, +1 508-771-6191, [1].
  • The Flex, Hyannis Transportation Center, Hyannis, Regional Transit Authority Customer Service: +1-800-352-7155; TTY for Deaf and Hearing Impaired: +1 508-385-4163, [2]. Service between Mid Cape and Outer Cape towns. All Flex buses have bike racks (2 bikes per bus).

By plane[edit]

  • Most travelers would fly into Boston's Logan International Airport (BOS), [3], or Warwick, Rhode Island's T.F. Greene Airport (PVD), [4] near Providence.

By sea[edit]

There are two ferry boat services from Boston to Provincetown at the tip of Cape Cod. Once in Provincetown you can take the Plymouth & Brockton or the Flex bus 25 miles south to Eastham.

  • Bay State Cruises, +1-877-783-3779, Leaves Boston from beside the Seaport World Trade Center, [6].
  • Boston Harbor Cruises, +1 617-227-4321, Leaves Boston from Long Wharf by the Aquarium, [7].

Get around[edit]

A car is the easiest way to get around, though regional bus routes provide easy, frequent and cheap access to other towns. Eastham is also good for biking as most of the traffic stays on Route 6, the single main highway through the town, the Cape Cod Rail Trail (which follows the old railway right of way) runs through the entire town, and there is a beautiful bike trail at the CCNS Visitor's Center to Coast Guard Beach.

See[edit]

  • Nauset Light. A historic lighthouse at Nauset Light Beach. Free public tours May-October. Hear the history of the light and climb the tower. Tour times on the website.
  • Three Sisters LighthousesCable Road. The three small lighthouses that were replaced by the current red and white Nauset Light can be seen in a grassy park 1/4 mile back from Nauset Light Beach. Tours are available through the Cape Cod National Seashore.
  • The views from Fort Hill, Fort Hill Road. Two parking lots are here. The one at the end has great views of the Eastham harbor, beautiful marshes and the barrier island. Trails are maintained down through the marsh. Caution: greenhead flies will bite in summer.
  • Captain Penniman House and Fort Hill Historic District, Fort Hill Rd., +1 508-349-3785. Here you will also find great hiking trails, including a red maple swamp.
  • Old Eastham Windmill, Route 6.
  • The 1869 Schoolhouse Museum, Nauset Rd. across from the Salt Pond Visitor Center, +1 508-255-0788. Jun-Oct. Free. Unusual whale jaw gate.

Do[edit]

  • Visit Salt Pond Visitor Center of the Cape Cod National Seashore, Salt Pond Rd. (east of Rte. 6), +1 508-255-3421, [8]. Late May - mid Oct daily 9AM-5PM; mid Oct to late May daily 9AM-4:30PM. The exhibits here are great, but even better is a 1/4 mile long walking path designed with the blind or sight impaired person in mind. The trail continues across a boardwalk over the Great Marsh to connect with the Cape Cod Rail Trail. Free.
  • Bike the Cape Cod Rail Trail, The CCRT is a 22 mile long bike path from Dennis to Wellfleet.. The trail follows the old railroad line and runs the complete length of Eastham. A wide paved path with scenic vistas, the trail runs through woods and meadows away from the highway and car traffic. Cape Cod Rail Trail Map. There is also a 1.6 mile bike path from the Salt Pond Visitor Center to Coast Guard beach. Nauset Trail Map
  • Rent a Bike, There are two bike shops on the Cape Cod Rail Trail providing rentals and service: (1.) Little Capistrano Bike Shop, Salt Pond Rd., across Route 6 from the CCNS Visitor Center +1 508-255-6515. (2.) Idle Times Bike Shops, 4550 Route 6, near Brackett Road +1 508-255-8281, [9].
  • Play Miniature Golf: (1.) Poit's Lighthouse Mini-Golf, 5270 Route 6, +1 508-255-6321, [10]. Themed. Snack bar with ice cream. (2.) Arnold's Mini-Golf, 3580 Route 6, +1 508-255-2575,[11] Themed. Seafood restaurant with ice cream window.
  • Surf the Atlantic Ocean, Good surfing at both Nauset Light Beach and Coast Guard Beach. Lessons and board rentals at Little Overhead Surf Shop, 4900 Route 6, +1 508-240-1455. [12]. Lots of bodyboarding too.

Beaches[edit]

Cape Cod National Seashore - Atlantic Ocean beaches.

  • Coast Guard Beach, Route 6, Right onto Nauset Road at Salt Pond Visitor Center, Right on Doane Road. Best handicapped access.
  • Nauset Light Beach, Route 6, Right onto Brackett Road, Left on Nauset Road, Right on Cable Road, no handicapped access.

Town of Eastham - Cape Cod Bay beaches (permit required to park cars).

  • First Encounter, Route 6 to Samoset Road, follow Samoset Road to the end. Best handicapped access.
  • Kingsbury, end of Kingsbury Beach Road, off Herring Brook Road, very small parking lot.
  • Thumpertown, small beach at end of Thumpertown Road, off Herring Brook Road.
  • Campground, Route 6 to Massasoit Road. Left onto Campground Road to end.
  • Cooks Brook, off Massasoit Road in North Eastham. Left onto Steele Road to end.
  • Sunken Meadow, small beach at end of South Sunken Meadow Road, off Massasoit Road, tiny parking lot.

Town of Eastham - fresh water pond beaches (permit required to park cars).

  • Wiley Park, off Herring Brook Road. Small beach on the west side of Great Pond. Sandy bottom, lifeguards, morning swimming lessons, playground and a conservation area with a few trails. Great for small kids.
  • Great Pond, Great Pond Road. Small beach on the east side of Great Pond with a very small parking lot. Sandy bottom, lifeguards. Great for small kids.
  • Herring Pond, off Herring Brook Road (left from Samoset). Beautiful clear kettle pond with sandy beach.

Nature Trails[edit]

There are several self-guided nature trails in both the National Seashore (info) and Town of Eastham conservation areas (info). You can also hike the shoreline along Cape Cod Bay at low to mid tide.

  • Fort Hill Trail, 1.5 miles, scenic vistas of Nauset Marsh and Nauset Spit. trail guide
  • Red Maple Swamp Trail, 1/2 mile, some elevated boardwalk sections through swamp.
  • Doane Trail, 1/2 mile, hike to Atlantic Ocean from picnic area.
  • Nauset Marsh Trail, 1 mile, loop trail along Salt Pond and through forest. trail guide
  • Butonbush Trail, 1/4 mile, with guide rope and braille signage.
  • Lamont Smith Conservation Area info
  • Cottontail Acres Conservation Area info

Events[edit]

  • Windmill Weekend, Windmill Green. A town wide celebration held the weekend after Labor Day. Parade, road races, sand art competition, arts & crafts, band concerts, square dancing and a tricycle race. [13]
  • Art Shows, The Eastham Painters Guild hosts many fine art shows at the Schoolhouse Museum during the summer months. schedule

Buy[edit]

Shopping in Eastham is spread out along the main highway (Route 6) and just off Route 6 at Main Street Mercantile, Seatoller Shops, and the area around Brackett Road. There are many gift shops and smaller markets for groceries and general supplies. For a large supermarket there is Stop & Shop just past the rotary in Orleans (Route 28), or Shaws Market on Route 6A in Orleans.

Eat[edit]

  • Ben & Jerry's North Eastham Scoop Shop +1 508 255-2817. Route 6 at Brackett Road. Ice Cream!
  • Arnold's Lobster & Clam Bar +1 508 255-2575. 3580 Route 6. Casual, delicious seafood restaurant with an ice cream window on the side and a newly installed mini-golf course. Expect a line at the restaurant (locals often order their food to go instead of waiting for a table inside). The ice cream here is not only the best around, but also the cheapest. Tip: Order the kiddie cone. It is more than enough and the price can't be beat!
  • Fairway Restaurant & Pizzeria +1 508 255-3893. 4295 Route 6. Year round, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Casual.
  • Hole in One Donut Shop +1 508 255-9446. 4295 Route 6. Fresh hand-cut donuts, coffee and breakfast. Where the locals go.
  • Capone's, 3800 U.S. 6, +1 508 240-7828. Homemade Italian.
  • Beach Break Grill and Lounge32 Main St +1 508 240-3100.
  • Eastham Landing491 Campground Rd +1 508 247-9800.
  • Eastham Lobster Pool, 4380 Route 6, +1 508 255-9706. Pick your lobster. Or get fish.
  • Jimmy D's Restaurant4940 State Highway +1 508 255-9913. Casual, decorated with sports memorbilia. Is more of a sports bar than a restaurant.
  • Lobster Shanty, 2905 Route 6, +1 508-255-9394.
  • Mary's At the Black Skillet Cafe5960 State Hwy +1 508 240-3525. Rte 6.
  • Mitchell's Bistro, Route 6, +1 508-255-4803. Year round, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Best bet for fine dining in the evening. Your source for cheesecake.
  • Riptide Tavern, 4100 Route 6, +1 508-255-1661. Family, affordable.
  • The Box Lunch +1 508 255-0799. Route 6. Sandwich wraps to go or eat in.
  • Sam's Deli100 Brackett Road +1 508 255-9340. Deli counter and prepared meals to go.

Drink[edit]

  • Arturo’s (Cestaro Brothers Restaurant and Bar).32 Main St +1 508 240-1955. Open daily, year round, until 1AM. Arturo’s has a completely separate bar / stage area upstairs with outdoor deck seating when the weather is suitable. Typically has live music on Fri and Sat nights in the summer (June – August) and hosts “game nights” and open mic “jam nights” throughout the year. August 2009-Closed indefinitely.
  • Rick's Outer Bar, Town Center Plaza on Route 6, North Eastham, +1 508-255-4959. DJs on summer weekends.
  • Beach Break Grill and Lounge32 Main St +1 508 240-3100.

Sleep[edit]

  • Nauset Haven Lakeside Cottages, 79 Route 6A, +1 508-255-0490.
  • Wheel In Cottages5490 Route 6 +1 508 255-2588. North Eastham.
  • Night Heron Cottage B&B35 Lucinda Court (cul de sac off of Hoffman),  +1 508 255 7063. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. NIght Heron provides a salon atmosphere for your Cape visit. An extended continental breakfast is provided. All rooms have private bath, ac/heat, wifi, TV/VCR/DVD, cable, and sitting area. Common room is living room,screened porch and deck. $130.

Go next[edit]

Provincetown, Wellfleet, Chatham and Orleans are great nearby destinations for shopping or galleries on those days not suitable for the beaches. Explore the Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary, Brewster Museum of Natural History or take a historic house tour offered by the Park Service at the Cape Cod National Seashore Visitor's Center. Take a ferry to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard Islands from Hyannis (30 minutes from Eastham) for a great day-trip. Kayak in Nauset Marsh or take a fishing charter out of Rock Harbor. Whale-watching in Provincetown is just 30 minutes from Eastham.

Routes through Eastham
ProvincetownWellfleet  N US 6.svg S  OrleansNew Bedford


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