Each month we’re going to shine a light on a different town here on Cape Cod by giving you a bit of background and highlights to note for your next visit to Brewster By the Sea Inn. This month, we’re sticking close to home to share what we love about Brewster. With our charming and comfortable inn as your launching pad, you can explore all that Brewster offers, from history and theater to beaches and shopping and so much more. After a fun-packed day of taking in the sights, come back to the Inn to relax and enjoy warm hospitality, comfortable and luxurious accommodations, and a delicious homemade breakfast. Enjoy the tour!
Brewster is named for the “pious Elder of Plymouth,” William Brewster, and was originally settled in 1659. It is known as a Sea Captain’s town because of the numerous (50+) sea captains who lived here during the 18th and 19th centuries. It became its own town on Cape Cod in 1803 when it split from the town of Harwich.
Our country’s first woolen mill was constructed in Brewster, and remnants of its historical booming business center, known as Factory Village, are visible at the Stony Brook Mill site. Today, you can visit the historic mill, which still mills corn in the summer, and take home a bag of meal to make your own corn muffins.
The other large industry here was harvesting salt from the sea. Over 60 salt works were located in Brewster along the edge of Cape Cod Bay. Simple evaporation chutes were used to dry the salt, which was then carted from the shore up to the Factory Village for sale.
Brewster has a lot of historical homes and buildings, including a fabulous museum and historical society located in the Cobb House on Lower Road. Located across the street from our inn, is the Drummer Boy Park, home of the historic 18th Century Higgins Farm Windmill, the Willis-Harris Blacksmith Shop and the primitive one-room Cape Cod House. The Brewster Historical Society offers Captain Home tours several times during the summer, as well as other informational tours based on novels written by local author Sally Gunning, which are based in Brewster in the 1700’s. Other noted historical buildings include the Ladies Library, the Crosby Mansion, the Brewster General Store and the First Parish Church – each with their own fascinating history!
Our beaches are beautiful and our sunsets are sublime. We have a fascinating phenomenon here, which only exists in a few places on earth. It is locally known as the Brewster Flats. Our daily tides in the bay recede over one mile, and you can walk out in the shallow water to see sand bars, clam beds and tidal pools! The closest beach to us is Paine’s Creek Beach, but Brewster has six other beaches that you can enjoy. We also have several freshwater ponds located in Nickerson State Park!
The Cape Cod Rail Trail meanders through Brewster and travels through the 1,900-acre Nickerson State Park, offering a few spots to stop and get an ice cream cone or clam roll. We are fortunate to have a wonderful conservation trust in Brewster, which has created lots of walking and biking trails. Our favorite trail is located within walking distance from the Inn – the John Wing Trail, which is also adjacent to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History – another wonderful place to visit! The John Wing Trail offers hiking through woodlands, marshes, and beach ecosystems. Nickerson State Park is a 1900-acre recreational treat with miles of paved biking and unpaved walking trails to explore, along with a couple of large freshwater ponds for swimming and kayaking.
Visit the Brewster Farmer’s Market, situated right across the street from the Inn, each Sunday from 9:00am – 1:00pm. Meet our local farmers and craftspeople, and take home some fresh farm stand products!
SHOPPING, GALLERIES, & ANTIQUE STORES
The shops, galleries, and antique stores strung along Route 6A are like jewels on a necklace. You can easily spend an entire day meandering from one end of town to the other, poking in and out of art galleries, bakeries, coffee shops, gift stores and more. The Lemon Tree Village Shops are a group of unique stores located less than half a mile from us, where you can easily find something for everyone, including yourself! Check out The Cook Shop, La Bodega Clothing Store, By The Bay Gift Shop (local artists, too), along with the toy store, woodworking store, chocolate shop and Café Alfresco – a lovely coffee and sandwich shop with outdoor seating!
MUSEUMS & THEATERS
The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, just a 10-minute walk from the Inn, is a great place to learn about the Cape’s natural surroundings, offering summer walking tours, lectures and other special events. The Cape Repertory Theater is renowned for its professional shows throughout the Summer!
Of course, there are many, many restaurants, from casual clam shacks to fine dining – Brewster has it all! Here are a few:
- Café Al Fresco (lunch)
- Brewster Market (great sandwiches for the beach)
- The Brewster Fishhouse
- Ocean Edge Resort (Ocean Terrace for cocktails overlooking the Bay)