Barnstable, Massachusetts. It's a name that causes a bit of confusion every now and then. "Why?", you might ask.
Because Barnstable (pronounced: BARN-stuh-bul) is the name of a county, a town, and a village on Cape Cod.
Barnstable County Court House
Built in 1831
Confused, yet? Don't worry. It'll all become clear as you read on ...
Cape Cod has 15 towns, all within one county: Barnstable County.
The largest town in the county is the Town of Barnstable, which has 7 villages.
On the south (Rt. 28) side of town are the villages of:
On the north (Rt. 6A) side of town are:
Got it now? Yes? Good! Now let's move on to a little bit about each village.
Although Hyannis is generally thought of as the largest town on Cape Cod, in reality it's simply a village, as I explained above. (Albeit, Hyannis is a big village, but it's a village none the less.)
Because it's such a popular Cape Cod vacation spot, I've dedicated a whole section to Hyannis, beginning here.
During the summer months, the population of Centerville booms with vacationers coming to enjoy the village's most popular attraction - Craigville Beach. After a day of sun and swimming, a visit to 1856 Country Store and a stop at Four Seas Ice Cream never go amiss!
Craigville Beach in Centerville MA
For lodging in Cotuit, consider Skyfield By The Sea, a bed and breakfast inn on a miniature horse farm. (Never seen a miniature horse? They're totally adorable!)
You'll find a good selection of vacation rentals in Cotuit, too.
This quiet, primarily residential village is bordered on 3 sides by water. Not surprisingly, boating, kayaking, and fishing are top attractions to Cotuit. For art lovers, the Cahoon Museum of American Art is well worth a visit. And don't miss the hometown team, the Cape Cod Baseball League's Cotuit Kettleers, who play their home games at Lowell Park from mid-June to early August.
Where to stay in Marstons Mills? Check out these vacation rentals.
The small village of Marstons Mills holds the distinction of being the only village in the town of Barnstable that has no coastline.
Despite the village's lack of beaches, Marstons Mills does have one attraction that draws lots of adventurous visitors: Cape Cod Airfield. Take a scenic flight in the big red bi-plane, or just stop by to watch the RC airplane flyers in the field next door. Fun!
There are no hotels in the village. Instead, rental homes and cottages are the vacation lodging of choice.
One of the more affluent villages in all of Cape Cod, Osterville is picture-postcard pretty.
Visitors to Osterville are treated to a walkable Main Street, unique shops and boutiques, antiques and art galleries, a great selection of restaurants, and beautiful beaches.
On the Water in Osterville MA
Places to stay in West Barnstable include several lovely B&Bs and a variety of vacation rentals.
The small village of West Barnstable is home to Sandy Neck Beach - a huge expanse of wildlands, dunes, and beachfront shared by the Towns of Sandwich and Barnstable MA.
The village also has a number of historic sites, including the resting place of hometown son, Captain John "Mad Jack" Percival, who captained USS Constitution ("Old Ironsides") on her around-the-world voyage from 1844-46.
Sandy Neck Beach
Strolling along the village's Main Street, you're surrounded by vivid reminders of colonial days on Cape Cod. The Olde Colonial Courthouse where the King's Court held session in the 1600s. The Old Gaol, where law-breakers were jailed (some say a few former inmates still haunt the building today). Crocker Tavern, a favorite gathering spot for early American Patriots as they plotted their Revolutionary War strategies.
These historic sites and many others line Olde Kings Highway (Rt.6A/Main Street) in Barnstable Village ... along with boutique shops, art and antiques galleries, restaurants and taverns.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
The town of Barnstable is in the "Mid-Cape" region, about 1/3 of the way along the Cape Cod peninsula.
Driving distances from major northeast cities to Barnstable are approximately:
Once you're over the bridge and onto Cape Cod, you'll only have about 15 miles to go to reach Barnstable Village, or 20 miles if you're going to Hyannis.
In a town this size, you'll find plenty of activities and attractions to satisfy everyone's entertainment desires. Here's a small sampling of our family's favorite places to see and things to do in Barnstable MA:
Whale Watch Cruises
If you're staying anywhere in the Mid-Cape region, this is the nearest whale watching cruise. (You do want to see the whales - don't you?!)
Click here for details about the whale watch cruises, schedules, the sights you'll see, etc.
The Old Jailhouse
3353 Main Street
This is the "Old Gaol" that I mentioned above. It's the oldest wooden jailhouse in the US, built in the late 1600s.
Stop by for a daytime tour, or sign up for a haunted overnight stay ... if you dare!
Step aboard an historic 1911 coastal steamer, a classic Catboat, or a sailing catamaran for a sightseeing cruise to the Kennedy Compound, Point Gammon lighthouse, and beyond.
For a land and sea tour, try the Duckmobile!
West Barnstable Train Station Museum
2469 Meetinghouse Way
Movie buffs might recognize this train station from scenes in Golden Boys and The Lightkeepers.
Today, the station is a museum filled with fascinating railroad memorabilia.
Enjoy your visit to Barnstable, Massachusetts!
Important: Lodging owners/management may change their rates, discounts, special offers, promotions, services, amenities, dates of operation, availability, etc. at any time, without prior notice, and without my knowledge. Be sure to confirm all details directly with the lodging provider before you make any travel plans!