Photo Credit: Greta Georgieva


The town of Bourne—gateway to the Cape—was once part of Sandwich, which was established in 1637, but later splintered off from the Cape’s oldest town in 1864, naming itself after a New Bedford whaling magnate and philanthropist. It was incorporated in 1884, the last Cape town to do so. With this action, the town has the distinction of being both oldest and newest Cape town.

In 1637, Plymouth settlers established Aptucxet Trading Post along the Manomet River to spur trade with the Dutch from New Amsterdam (now New York). The town was physically divided into Cape and mainland portions in 1914 when the Cape Cod Canal was completed. Both the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, the Cape’s only links to the mainland other than a railroad bridge, are situated in Bourne. Bourne is bordered by the 7.8-mile, 160-yard wide Cape Cod Canal and the warm waters of Buzzards Bay; Falmouth lies to the south, Sandwich to the east, Wareham to the west, and Plymouth and Cape Cod Bay to the north. 

Bourne contains the villages of Bournedale, Buzzards Bay, Cataumet, Monument Beach, Pocasset, Sagamore and Sagamore Beach. The town is more rural than commercial and its magnificent shoreline has long attracted fishermen and sportsmen. Several small ponds and rivers dot the landscape, along with inlets and sheltered harbors. Many summer homes have descended through multiple generations, their owners proud of the fact that some of these large treasures were not metamorphosed into guest lodging establishments. President Grover Cleveland purchased a summer home here called Gray Gables, where he came to relax and escape the pressures and turmoil of the nation’s capital.

Find more information on Bourne through the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce.