Harwich on Cape Cod is a great place to live – whether it is for a season or year round. Check out our local businesses for small town personal service and quality products.
Living Well in the Seven Villages of Harwich
Over the past few years, many of us have reevaluated our daily lives, focusing on what is truly important and where we are most happy. During that time, many have found their way to Harwich. Those of us who already call Harwich home know that there is no place we would rather be. Our feet are firmly placed here and we are living our best lives in the villages of Harwich!
The seven villages of Harwich offer 21 beaches and ponds, miles of walking trails, acres of cranberry bogs, an award-winning golf course, over 30 restaurants to savor, and a plethora of arts and culture, making it an ideal place to live, work, play, and enjoy.
Yes, there truly are seven villages within the 21 miles of Harwich. Each of these villages brings a unique character to Harwich, yet each is warm and welcoming. We would like to share a bit about what makes each of our seven villages so special — let’s travel through Harwich together!
EAST HARWICH – Strength and endurance
➢ Our first village is made up of charming neighborhoods, long-standing family owned and -operated businesses, and a local restaurant that has stood strong for over 30 years and keeps us coming back for more. A number of local family businesses are key to helping us build and beautify our homes. At Harwich Paint and Decorating, you will be greeted by the same smiling staff members that you have grown accustomed to, and to know exactly what you need for the inside and outside of your home. Hinckley’s Home Center has been in business since 1872 and serves all of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. They offer anything you need to decorate, restore, rebuild, or construct. You are certain to find what you need, competitively priced, with free advice and delivery.
With Terry’s TV & Appliances, setting up your home with all the latest appliances is a snap. Whether you need equipment for the chef in the family’s kitchen or a new family room and home theater, the team at Terry’s will help you choose what’s right for your needs and budget — and even deliver and assemble it. RPM Carpets & Floor Coverings, a family-owned company with a large inventory, offers one-stop shopping for every room in your home. Rick and Donna Morris started the business together over 30 years ago. They offer a wide selection of major manufacturers of all types of flooring, including carpet, hardwood, laminate, tile, stone, luxury vinyl, and area rugs in their 10,000-square-foot showroom. RPM Carpets & Floor Coverings is committed to their customers – it’s their number one priority. After all that shopping, it’s time to grab at seat at The 400 East Restaurant & Bar, where for over 30 years their team has welcomed you for lunch, dinner, and special events.
HARWICH CENTER- Spirit and perseverance
➢ To get to our next village, we’ll travel to Harwich Center along Route 39, passing by Thompson’s Field Conservation trails, where on any given day you will find many dogs and their families living in the good life out in nature. Thompson’s Field is one of the most popular spots in Harwich for dog walking.
This quaint village offers a wide variety of history, entertainment, and community fun. Activities include riding bicycles along Cape Cod Rail Trail, relaxing in Brooks Park for weekly summer band concerts, playing tennis and bocce with friends, learning from the Brooks Academy Museum and Harwich Historical Society, shopping at the Farmers Market on Thursdays during the summer, and grabbing a seat at Whitehouse Field for our hometown Harwich Mariners, part of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Another special place to visit and explore is the Cape Cod Lavender Farm, which celebrated 25 years last year. Brooks Free Library is a great place to find a good book and to join some of the many special programs available for every age group.
Harwich Center is also home to some longtime pieces of history so integral to our town. At A. Elmer Crowell Barn you’ll explore the story of the famed Harwich bird carver at his reconstructed barn on the grounds of Brooks Academy Museum. The museum recently announced a brand-new permanent exhibit about the life and work of A. Elmer Crowell, which includes actual video footage of Elmer in his workshop. Visitors can experience the actual workshop of the world-famous carver, furnished as it was during Crowell’s day, and watch carving demonstration and chat with knowledgeable decoy maker Paul Phillips. Pilgrim Masonic Lodge embodies the spirit of community, as this group of men is part of a worldwide organization devoted to service. The Pilgrim Lodge exemplifies that mission through its generosity, providing local schools with supplies, laptops, and coats, supporting the community through the Hometown Parade, and donating the tree for the annual Christmas tree lighting.
Have you ever driven by and admired the building on the corner of Bank Street and Parallel Street? That is the Winstead Inn, with 15 whimsically named and creatively decorated guest rooms. Many include fourposter beds, a private terrace or gas-operated fireplace, or both. This Harwich inn is just the perfect size: small enough to offer an intimate experience, and with spacious grounds, a magnificent saltwater pool, and a great room for socializing, it’s large enough to feel like a true resort. A wide veranda, lined with rocking chairs, overlooks the street and is a quaint place to start your day over coffee or end the day with a glass of wine. Come and stay in Harwich Center and experience the spirit of the village.
HARWICH PORT – Tenacity and enthusiasm
➢ Shana Grogan of Special Abilities Fitness has been teaching in the field of Intensive Special Needs for over 20+ years and she brings that passion and enthusiasm to students, through fitness programs, exercise techniques, and sensory sessions that are vital to teaching them physical safety and independence. The motto of Special Abilities Fitness is “what seems impossible today will soon become your warmup.” Shana and her husband, who both have special needs personal training and nutritional training certification, live in Harwich Port and are partnering with their community as they also work with their students on career planning, employment training, and hands-on work experience. Some of the their students are working at O’Leary Landscaping, Dockside Café, Brooks Free Library, The Family Pantry, Shaw’s, The Varney Group, and CapeAbilities — opportunities that make living the good life not just a “warmup” but a dream come true.
When you board the Monomoy Island Excursions in Harwich Port at Saquatucket Harbor and spend time with the Spalt Family and their team, you are in for a great time. For over 10 years they been taking people out to Monomoy, a barrier island and wildlife refuge off the coast of Chatham where thousands of seals make their home. The seal cruises go out several times a day, generally lasting 1 1/2 hours. While you see lots of harbor seals and gray seals, Monomoy is also home to hundreds of species of birds and other wildlife. There is a trained naturalist on board who narrates the tour and can answer questions about the wildlife, as well as the history of the island and Monomoy Lighthouse. Ed Lilley Photographer shares images of Harwich Port then and now, with his photography hanging in many homes and businesses — including the Harwich Chamber of Commerce Information Center. Ed and his wife Sue also run the Art Gallery at 820 Main, where you can find many works by resident artists. The images of life in our village past and present is a walk down memory lane. Maybe you remember Bonatt’s Bakery, home of the Meltaway – today you can enjoy Seagull’s Ice Cream & Soda Fountain in that location. Or maybe you recall dinners at the Sword and Shield Restaurant — now you can find two fabulous restaurants Mad Minnow Bar & Kitchen and 3 Monkeys.
NORTH HARWICH – Richness and stability
➢ In North Harwich, the cranberry industry plays a large role in the village’s history. Although cranberry cultivation began in Dennis in 1816, Henry Hall turned it into a large-scale commercial industry in Harwich, and with the Herring River and abundance of fresh water ponds and meadows, North Harwich was the ideal place to expand and cultivate.
Several local families ventured into the industry, with familiar names such as Hall, Robbins, Cahoon, Chase, Ryder, Kelly, Nickerson, Eldredge, Crowell, and Thacher. Each fall at that time, the local schools were delayed until after the harvest so that all of the family members could be present to help. As the industry began to grow, large investors came to the Cape and began to purchase the small family bogs and turn them into large commercial entities.
Although there has been a decline in the cranberry bogs in Harwich, the Halls will continue to keep them going. Many generations of the Hall family have joined the North Harwich cranberry bogs, continuing today with the 8th generation — Benjamin A. Hall and Nicholas J. Hall. The Halls have a tremendous amount of history in the Town of Harwich and the cranberry industry. There is more to come from the Halls Cape Cod Cranberries!
Even our four-legged friends enjoy the good life in Harwich. At Sandcastle Doggie Playcare, they offer fun, interactive playcare all year long. In 2014, veterinarian Dr. Bellingham and dog trainer and shelter manager Debbie Mag teamed up to create a program to improve the lives of dogs, addressing not only the physical need for exercise and socialization for your pet, but also mental stimulation and interaction. Using rewards and positive reinforcement, dogs interact with their team to play games, work on puzzles, and increase responsive behaviors.
PLEASANT LAKE – Balance and vitality
➢ Down the road is our only village without the word Harwich in its name, Pleasant Lake.
This special village is bordered by water and offers lots of natural beauty, as well as some excellent pizza!
The village of Pleasant Lake is situated in a scenic area bordered by Long Pond, Hinckley’s Pond (sometimes called Pleasant Lake), and Seymour Pond. A peaceful, area of cranberry bogs and homes, it has wonderful access to swimming, fishing, and kayaking on its lovely large ponds. Long Pond, the Cape’s largest lake and largest inland body of water, has even served as a landing area and base for seaplanes. Biking along through the scenic areas is a favorite pastime for all. Balancing life and enjoying the on the water and along the rail trail keep us grounded and grateful for the vitality of Pleasant Lake. Pizza Shark at the Pleasant Lake General Store is located on the Brewster-Harwich line, directly on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. This convenient spot offers pizza, salads, sandwiches, ice cream year-round, as well as grocery essentials, snacks, beverages, beer, and wine in the General Store.
SOUTH HARWICH – Passion and exuberance
➢ Located along Route 28 in South Harwich, New England Gardens was established in 1986 by Briana Potter’s father, Charles Schilling, as a Cape Cod nursery and garden center, and it has grown and changed with each year into the special experience that customers enjoy today. Briana worked with her dad when she was a teenager and later got a degree in ornamental horticulture. Once she graduated, they added the Christmas season and began staying open year round.
Briana and her husband Jay took over the business from her father in 2004. Also part of the team is head designer Enid Bailey, who joined their team in 1997. Together they have grown the business while keeping that old-fashioned country store feeling. Just down the street a bit is the offices of the Harwich Conservation Trust, which has been preserving local land since 1988. Started by concerned volunteers who wanted to make sure the fragile land was protected, the group protects hundreds of acres via land donations, conservation restrictions, and purchasing land. As the Harwich Conservation Trust continues to preserve land, they also strive to educate the community, and their preserved land reach is throughout the seven villages of Harwich.
WEST HARWICH – Spirit and drive
➢ Heading further towards the Mid-Cape region, we next visit West Harwich. The village of West Harwich is working to keep its charm alive, as both residents and businesses continue to highlight the area’s history. The 1870 Captain Doane home on Route 28 in West Harwich is being transformed into what will be The Rival Bed & Breakfast, opening next summer. Owners Chelsea Nicolas and Jason Stohmaier are combining their love for history with the drive to restore the building and bring it back to life. Get ready to make your reservation next summer at The Rival Bed & Breakfast.
Further up Route 28 is Fishaye Trading Company, a unique décor shop. Fishaye started when owner John Doherty, an angler and an artist, was removing the day’s catch from his boat. One of the fish left an imprint on the deck and caught his eye. From that moment, he began to experiment with paint, ink, and fish. Since then, his art is always evolving and he brings this talent to home décor.
When visiting Yankee Doodle in West Harwich, you are sure to discover something of interest. They offer all types of wonderful country accessories — unfinished, stained, or painted woodenware, glass, and metalware, all at prices that have kept customers coming back for 70 years. A visit to this quintessential Cape Cod shop is an experience like no other. Keeping our history and culture alive throughout our seven villages is what continues to make Harwich a unique and special place.