More than 70 percent of Wellfleet’s terrain is clothed in forests of oak and pine, and the drive along Route 6 into town offers fleeting clues of the natural splendor awaiting the visitor, due to the one- to two-mile girth of the Cape peninsula at this point.
Wellfleet is an old whaling port, a contemporary fishing village and a cultural haven. The town, centered around its picturesque harbor, has remained remarkably unsullied and essentially non-commercial.
Designated one of the state’s Cultural Districts in 2017, Wellfleet’s strollable downtown is lined with art galleries representing artists and crafters of both local and national acclaim. Bookstores and boutiques dwell within its historic residences and a community cultural center is housed in a restored historic church.
Wellfleet celebrates a proud history as a seafaring town; in fact, the clock on the town’s First Congregational Church still strikes ship’s time. The town has long been recognized for its plentiful supply of shellfish, including the famous “Wellfleet Oyster,” which is feted each fall during the annual Wellfleet Oyster Fest. This has also led to Wellfleet’s growing reputation as a sea-to-table destination for foodies.
Wellfleet is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts looking to connect with nature, and not just because it serves as the end point for the Cape Cod Rail Trail bike path. Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, which sits on over 1,000 acres of protected land, provides access to five miles of trails that pass through scenic salt marsh and offer stunning views of Cape Cod Bay. The sanctuary is home to a variety of wildlife, including shorebirds, horseshoe crabs, terrapins and sea turtles. Its beautiful backdrop is also the inspiration for many local artists.
The Cape Cod National Seashore’s Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail is a captivating boardwalk hike through a rare wooded wetland of Atlantic white cedars. A peninsula connected by a sand spit, Great Island offers more than seven miles of sandy trails along the inner marshes, water and windswept dunes. Uncle Tim’s Bridge, a much-photographed landmark in the town, provides a vista across marshland and a tidal creek leading to a small wooded island.
Perhaps Wellfleet’s most historic natural setting is Atlantic-facing Marconi Beach, named for Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi. It is here that he successfully completed the first transatlantic wireless communication between the United States and England.
The town features pristine beaches such as the popular Marconi Beach and White Crest Beach which has earned its reputation as a surfer’s paradise.
Wellfleet has long attracted artists, writers and contemplative types who seek more in its landscape than mere quaintness or rusticity. There are dozens art galleries in this small town, and Wellfleet Harbor Actors’ Theater (WHAT) presents some of the most provocative contemporary work on the Cape and world-class theater offerings.
The old-fashioned Wellfleet Drive-In is a summer favorite that was originally built in 1957 and continues to serve up movie entertainment. From May to October, the drive-in also plays host to the region’s biggest flea market.
Find more information on Wellfleet through the Wellfleet Chamber of Commerce.
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