There are 15 towns in Barnstable County, which covers all of Cape Cod, from the Bourne Bridge, to the tip of Falmouth to the stone jetty in Provincetown, and there are 15 weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. What a coincidence!
With villages ranging from rustic West Barnstable to busy Hyannis, the Town of Barnstable has the proverbial something for everyone. A Perfect Day In Barnstable starts by picking up pastries at Pain D’Avignon (15 Hinckley Rd., Hyannis, 508-778-8588, paindavignon.com). Then drive to the Sandy Neck Beach Gatehouse (425 Sandy Neck Rd., W. Barnstable) for the Monday morning 9-11 a.m. Sandy Neck Wildlife Hike with an Audubon naturalist. (They run Mondays until Aug. 29.) You might spot rare shorebirds and terrapins. Call Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary 508-362-7475, ext. 9353, to reserve a spot. Next Saturday and Sunday, the Hyannis Summer Arts & Crafts Festival takes over the village green with vendors selling crafts and gourmet foodstuffs while live entertainment streams from the bandstand.
Events aside, one must-visit in downtown Hyannis is theJohn F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum(397 Main St., 508-790-3077), which preserves the legacy of the Kennedy clan, their public service, and their intimate connection to Cape Cod. Behind the museum, follow the Walkway to the Sea to the waterfront. Along the way, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum (135 South St., 508-775-1723) displays Cape Cod’s largest scrimshaw collection and has an exhibit on Cape Cod boat-building. Continue strolling the shore to the HyArts Artist Shanties (Hyannis Harbor, 508-862-4678.) Painters, sculptors, potters, glassblowers, and other artists demonstrate and sell their work in these seven waterfront shanties.
While you’re at the waterfront, sign up for a sunset and cocktail cruise aboard thecatboatEventide (146 Ocean St., Hyannis, 508-775-0222). This sightseeing trip through Lewis Bay to Pine Cove Wildlife Sanctuary is especially good for birders. Afterwards, follow the locals around the harbor to Baxter’s Boathouse(177 Pleasant St., Hyannis, 508-775-4490) for top-notch fish and chips.