In some aspects, Sandwich is a burgeoning year-round community with easy access to the Sagamore Bridge. In others, it is a town that relishes — and protects — its rich history.
This seaside community has one of the most beautiful and classic New England downtowns, partially situated on Shawme Pond, where a working grist mill still makes cornmeal. A stroll up the road puts you at the iconic Sandwich Glass Museum, the historic Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa, and a bevy of shops and restaurants, including the Belfry Inn and Bistro, which was carefully converted from a church to a fine-dining establishment. But Sandwich’s past is evident throughout town, especially along Route 6A, or the Old King’s Highway, whose historic district begins in Sandwich and goes all the way to Orleans. Antiques stores, art galleries, and one of the area’s most beloved independent bookstores — Titcomb’s — fit nicely amid the old trees lining this thoroughfare.
For all its development, both commercial and residential, Sandwich boasts a wealth of natural beauty as well, from its picturesque beaches to a number of preserved areas, among them Shawme-Crowell State Forest, and town conservation land, including Murkwood, Talbot’s Point, and Ryder (all with walking trails). The Heritage Museums & Gardens and the Green Briar Nature Center showcase educational outdoor exhibits.
Other surprising places of interest open to the public: a longstanding fish hatchery, where kids can feed the trout that replenish stocks throughout the Commonwealth; the Hoxie House, one of the oldest homes on the Cape; and the Army Corps of Engineers’ Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center.
Tax rate for every $1,000 in assessed property value. Sandwich is home to the highest rate on Cape Cod.
Age the town is turning in 2014. The oldest town on the Cape, it was incorporated in 1639, two years after a group from Saugus settled there with Plymouth Colony’s permission. It is named for the seaport of Sandwich in Kent, England.
Acres of the proposed “Golden Triangle’’ development between Cotuit and Quaker Meetinghouse roads and Route 130. Recently, the developer behind the mixed-use project withdrew his offer, to the disappointment of those hoping for a huge economic boost in town.
Total number of planks in the iconic Sandwich Boardwalk. The town sold boards to fund the project when it was rebuilt after Hurricane Bob destroyed it in 1991. While walking the boardwalk, you can read the names and messages of hundreds of funders.
Sandwich, for all intents and purposes, is a Boston suburb. A lot of people make the daily commute. After all, Sandwich is only 10 miles farther away from the Hub than Worcester.
If you like tea, coffee, or wine, Sandwich is the place for you. Try Beth’s Bakery & Café, Dunbar Tea Room, Café Chew, Cellar 55 Wine Merchants, The Brown Jug, Meetinghouse Package, and Barrett’s Spirits Shoppe.
The ocean water is cold. Because of its unique location, the water here does not get the warming currents other northside beaches enjoy.
It’s not as convenient for boaters as its neighbor, Barnstable. Sandwich has only one harbor, while Barnstable boasts a number of them, both on the north and south sides of the Cape.
Scott Lajoie is a freelance writer on the Cape. He can be reached at ScottLajoie@hotmail.com.