Originally known as Setucket, Harwich was named after an English seaport that Queen Elizabeth dubbed “Happy-go-lucky Harwich” during the late 16th century. That distinction remains true to this day, with Harwich Port once ranking as America’s second happiest seaside town by Coastal Living magazine.
Harwich comprises seven villages: Harwich, East Harwich, Harwich Port, North Harwich, Pleasant Lake and South and West Harwich. The villages lie along the waters of Nantucket Sound and reach all the way east to beautiful Pleasant Bay.
Harwich Port is the town’s most charming spot, with artisan galleries, restaurants and boutique shops to explore. Harwich Center, which lies inland, is a quiet but quaint village. Only a few stores, including an oldfashioned hardware store and friendly coffee shop, are among the pristine structures of this historic district. Shopping and services can also be found along the town’s bustling thoroughfares on Routes 28 and 39.
The Harwich coast is essentially one long beach punctuated here and there by harbors. Harwich includes almost 11 miles of shoreline and five harbors, three of which are man-made. Its pictureperfect Wychmere is a favorite for photographers. There is a passenger ferry which sails from Harwich Port town dock to Nantucket several times daily in season.
Once a whaling port, Harwich went on to launch its cranberry industry in 1846 and is still a leading grower of cranberries, because of its ideal soil conditions and extended season. In autumn, Harwich’s cranberry bogs are truly a glorious sight to behold, their majestic red fruit juxtaposing beautifully against autumn’s clear blue skies. The annual autumn Cranberry Festival celebrates the prosperity the vibrant berry brought to Harwich.
Arts and culture are celebrated in Harwich. Cape Cod Theatre Company, home of the Harwich Junior Theatre, offers theatre productions, workshops and educational programs throughout the year. Exhibits chronicling Harwich’s colorful history – including bird decoy carving and the Cape’s largest exhibit on cranberry cultivation - can be found at Brooks Academy Museum in Harwich Center. Outdoor summer band concerts are held on the bandstand at Harwich’s Brooks Park.
Stroll the heavenly-scented fields and wooded trails of the Cape Cod Lavender Farm to discover a fairy garden—and the irresistible urge to peek in the tiny windows of the miniature stone tower. Other outdoor pursuits include two golf courses, biking the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and more than 615 acres of scenic trails. In season, seal cruises and fishing charters depart from Harwich Port
Find more information on Harwich through the Harwich Chamber of Commerce.
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