Sandwich is one of the first towns greeting visitors to Cape Cod, and one of the last they see when leaving.
While the rest of the world may know Sandwich for the distinctive glassware it produced in the 1800s, its most enduring legacy is as the oldest town on Cape Cod. Founded in 1637 and recognized as a town in 1639, the location was appealing for its broad marshes bordering the sea and its resemblance to its namesake - Sandwich, England.
History abounds in Sandwich, from Town Hall Square with its National Historic designation encompassing over 200 buildings to the soaring steeple of the nationally famous 1847 First Church and the 1654 mill that still grinds corn at the edge of tranquil Shawme Pond.
The town has been designated by the Massachusetts Cultural Council as the aptly named Glass Town Cultural District for its rich offering of cultural and historical assets, all within walking distance of Sandwich center. These include galleries, potters and glassblowers, along with such attractions as the Sandwich Glass Museum - which celebrates the vital role the town played in American glass production - and Heritage Museums & Gardens, whose expansive grounds feature wooded trails, exquisite gardens, innovative sculptures, a vintage automobile museum and a kid-friendly discovery area tucked away in a dry kettle hole.
Sandwich today comprises 42 square miles and the villages of Sandwich, East Sandwich and Forestdale. Contemporary Sandwich is punctuated by rows of prim weathered clapboard homes, Greek Revival houses and a town common encircled by ancient shade trees. Historic Route 6A winds its way through Sandwich, featuring great shops, restaurants, antiquing and galleries along its way.
The iconic Sandwich Boardwalk, originally built in 1875 and extending roughly 1,350 feet in length, crosses Mill Creek, low dunes and a marsh that is home to aquatic wildlife and a variety of shorebirds. In addition to these scenic views, people walking the boardwalk also find themselves riveted by the personalized engraved messages on almost every plank, the result of a fundraising effort to rebuild the boardwalk following Hurricane Bob in 1991.
A short drive away, the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center is a great way to explore Cape Cod Canal’s rich history through interactive exhibits and activities. Visitors can board a retired 40-foot patrol boat, scan live radar and camera monitors to locate vessels, and discover wildlife that live in or around the canal. The views are stunning, so bring your camera.
Anyone with a love for the great outdoors will delight in Sandwich's miles of hiking trails, which wind along marshes, ponds, cranberry bogs and creeks, and through woodlands with some of the state’s oldest pitch pines. Among them are Boyden Farm Conservation Lands, Maple Swamp Conservation Area, Ryder Conservation Land, Scorton Creek trails and the Shawme-Crowell State Forest.
Find more information on Sandwich through the Sandwich Chamber of Commerce.
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