When visiting Brewster, MA, you’ll likely want to enjoy some of the outdoor activities that are plentiful in this scenic area. Consider spending some time at the beach, camping in the state parks, hiking trails, and fishing. After a long, fun day of looking at museums, head to a local eatery where the seafood is freshly caught and well-prepared. With only around 10,000 people, Brewster keeps a quaint small-town feel on the coast. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Nickerson State Park

Nickerson State Park
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At 1,900 acres, Nickerson State Park is the place to camp in Brewster. With over 400 campsites available, you’ll be sure to find exactly what you’re looking for. There are open areas for both tents and RVs. If you want to camp, but are a little less adventurous, consider renting one of the onsite yurts. Of course, while camping (or just visiting the park), you’ll want to get involved with as many of the outdoor activities as you can find. In colder months, cross-country skiing is popular, but during the summer months, activities really shine with horseback riding, swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and boating.

3488 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-896-3491

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2.Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster, MA

Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Brewster, MA
© Cape Cod Museum of Natural History


Museums are great ways to learn about the area while relaxing and taking in some peace and quiet. At the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, you’ll have the great opportunity to enjoy both indoor and outdoor activities. Along with indoor exhibits, educational programs, and tons of artifacts, you’ll be able to join talks, walks, and more in the 400-acre outdoor conservation space. Some of the exhibits you can look at include human habitation nearly 9,000 years ago in the area, honey bee habitats, biomimicry, birds, and Cape Cod erosion. Swing by the gift shop after your day of fun to purchase toys, books, jewelry, art, and more.

869 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-896-3867

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3.Brewster Ladies’ Library, Brewster, Massachusetts

Brewster Ladies’ Library, Brewster, Massachusetts
© Brewster Ladies’ Library

With a fun history, Brewster Ladies’ Library is a one-of-a-kind gem to history buffs and locals alike. In 1853, twelve women founded the Ladies’ Library to fulfill the need for a town library. At the time, men could also take books out, but they had to pay a higher fee. However, over time, this library moved to a new building in 1868, added over time, and dropped the men’s fee requirement. In fact, the library still maintains the Ladies’ Library name but included the moniker “Your Community Library” to dispel any confusion. Today’s visitors will find books, DVDs, research resources, and e-books available to them.

1822 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-896-3913

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4.Cape Rep Theatre, Brewster, Massachusetts

Cape Rep Theatre, Brewster, Massachusetts
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With a popular place, like the Cape, it is no surprise that the arts play a big role, like with the Cape Rep Theatre. With roots back to 1986, the Cape Rep Theatre group invites local and worldwide artists to join their stage productions to offer authentic and diverse shows. There are typically four or five plays produced each theater season, and members also take part in the outreach program which includes classes for high school students and veterans, and reviews at nursing homes, senior centers, and libraries. Some previous shows include Mama Mia!, The Full Monty, and Shakespeare in Love.

3299 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-896-1888

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5.Crosby Mansion, Brewster, Massachusetts

Crosby Mansion, Brewster, Massachusetts
© Crosby Mansion


Built for the love of his life, Crosby Mansion was Albert Crosby’s testament to how much he loved his younger wife. The Crosby Mansion is a museum and gallery all in one. It can be rented for weddings and other events, but visiting it requires some planning since there are only a few open house dates throughout the summer. When visiting, you’ll be treated to seeing all three stories of the home, as well as the 15 fireplaces featuring imported tile. You’ll also get to see the Versailles-inspired parlor and Buckingham Palace entry. This home was the place of many parties, as Mrs. Crosby enjoyed entertaining, and you’ll see why on your visit.

163 Crosby Lane, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-896-1744

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6.The Flats Restaurant, Brewster, MA

The Flats Restaurant, Brewster, MA
© The Flats Restaurant

When you’re ready to fill that hunger you’ve been building all day, consider checking out The Flats Restaurant. This restaurant is the pinnacle of Cape Cod dining in a casual fine setting. Whether you choose to eat at the bar, in the main dining room, or out on the patio, you’ll find creative delights to engage your taste buds. Locally caught seafood is one option, though the wild game and wagyu beef are featured in several delicious plates. Order up small plates to try many things or get a large entrée that will fill you up, but be sure to visit on the weekends to enjoy live music.

2671 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-779-9413

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7.Sydenstricker Glass, Brewster, Massachusetts

Sydenstricker Glass, Brewster, Massachusetts
© Sydenstricker Glass

Bill Sydenstricker was an artist with a unique glass-art design. He hand-carved stencils to use on clear glass. Once colored powders were stenciled in place, another layer of glass was added and kilned at over 1500 degrees to fuse the glass and powders together. This beautiful technique is still used at the Sydenstricker studio in Brewster. While the art is still crafter downstairs in the workshop, visitors can check out the gallery upstairs and even purchase pieces to take home and admire. With several patterns and glassware styles, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from (including several Cape Cod-specific pieces).

490 Main Street, Brewster, MA 02631, Phone: 508-385-3272

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7 Best Things to Do in Brewster, Massachusetts



More Ideas in MA: The Hancock Shaker Village

Living museums are becoming more and more popular because they give people a unique experience and an insight into a life far removed from life today. The Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts is one living museum that has taken the idea of imparting a knowledge of history to a whole new level, inviting people to come and experience for themselves the life that our ancestors lived.

The Hancock Shaker Village gives patrons a unique insight into the world of the Shakers, a religious group who flourished when American societies were just developing. The Shakers are considered a community of people who believe in a peaceful and communal life while living and abiding by certain norms and rules laid down by the community. Hailing from England, the group decided to put down roots in Hancock in 1774 and subsequently grew into a vast religious movement that was particularly active through the 1960s. The Hancock Shaker Village stands as one of the most iconic structures paying homage to the Shakers and stands as a monument to their time spent in Hancock.

Programs

The Hancock Shaker Village offers visitors programs that allow them to experience the Shaker lifestyle. Patrons can spend a day at the village and witness what life was like during that era. The property consists of vast gardens and farms in which visitors can get a glimpse of Shaker farm life with a fully functional farm that grows numerous amounts of herbs and vegetables. The Shakers used to be a self-sufficient community and grew their own food and medicinal herbs. The gardeners at the property are happy to demonstrate to visitors the original farming methods techniques used by the Shakers.

The Hancock Shaker Village also has numerous art exhibits within their historical building to provide an even deeper insight into the lives of this community. The Shakers believed in making their homes a kind of heaven on earth, and the historical building within the premises offers patrons a distinct look at that kind of home. There are over fifty rooms showcasing exhibits from the Shaker era, all of which were in use by people of the community. Also, visitors can also experience some of more unique aspects of the Shaker’s work, such as the various small scale machinery that the community used to carry out their everyday activities. You can even have a go at some of these machines yourself!

The Hancock Shaker Village welcomes families with children and has numerous programs and activities specifically designed for kids and families, handy for keeping them occupied during their visit to the village. This is a certainly unique and distinct lesson into American History that won’t put them to sleep! When visiting the village, families have a chance to go all out and live the Shaker life, from the clothes they wore to the activities they carried out.

The Hancock Shaker Village also encourages visitors to go on a hike of the local surroundings and experience what the entire village has to offer while taking in the beauty and serenity of the surrounding areas. However, some of the hikes can be difficult as they climb quite steeply, so patrons are advised to be cautious.

The Hancock Shaker Village is set to open on April 15th and will be open every day from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Numerous walking tours are conducted in the village that give people a tour of the entire settlement. If you plan to partake in their day programs, it is advised to notify the Hancock Shaker Village at least a week in advance so that all the necessary arrangements can be made.

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1843 W Housatonic St, Pittsfield, MA 01201, Phone: 413-443-0188

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More Ideas in MA: Hammond Castle Museum

The idea of a medieval castle designed to be a wedding present for the groom’s bride, built in a pastiche of old European architectural styles over three years in the 1920s, sounds like one of the most indulgent fantasies you could possibly imagine. But it really does exist: the Hammond Castle in Massachusetts is one of the most extraordinary and expensive wedding gifts of all times. And today it’s converted into a museum, which is a fabulous tourist gem on the Atlantic coastline that certainly deserves a visit.

If you know of and love that fantastic 1972 classic movie called Sleuth, featuring Michael Caine and Sir Laurence Olivier, a tale of trickery, murder and mayhem, you will absolutely find a sense of haven and sheer fascination in Hammond Castle Museum. The estate is the brainchild of American inventor John Hays Hammond Jr, who is known most famously as the father of remote control. So, when you visit, expect to find all manner of tricks and jokes that may take you by surprise as you examine the artifacts on display. But it’s a lot more than a bit of indulgent architecture: it’s also the home of the Hammond Research Corporation where all of Hammond’s 800 ideas – 400 of which are patented – are stored.

While the history of the Hammond Castle Museum doesn’t stretch over eons of time and if there are ghosts here, they’re more than likely contemporary spooks, because the building was only built in the 1920s, there’s a special atmosphere in this place. Perhaps it has to do with the hand-picked quality of all the unique artifacts you will see displayed.

In 1929, in an unpublished letter, John Hammond wrote about “atmosphere” that is present in the stones and the bits and pieces of old relics of European heritage that he visited over the years in the European continent. It’s about the atmosphere of the lives of men and women who lived before us in those contexts.

“You can read history,” he wrote. “You can visit a hundred museums containing their handiwork, but nothing can reincarnate their spirit except to walk through rooms in which they have lived and through the scenes that were the background of their lives.” And that, effectively, is what he has recreated in Hammond Castle. Indeed, the real ancestors of these cultures didn’t live here, on the American coast, but there’s something so close to the values of these rooms, to what history tells us, that perhaps if those ghosts had the chance to pop in, they would recognize what Hammond has done and feel quite at home.

Hammond, who died in 1965, was the son of a prominent mining engineer, philanthropist and diplomat, who was widely acknowledged as the man with the Midas touch, because many of his ideas did, indeed turn into gold. He was a millionaire before he reached the age of 40 and was a strong advocate for the practice of deep mining, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Mexico and California.

John Hays Hammond the younger, was born into extreme wealth, but generated much of his own, too. He was born in 1888 and educated in South Africa as a child, but then went on to study at Yale University. Amongst other inventions, he registered the patent for modern missile guidance systems, unmanned aerial vehicles – thinking it is probably the granddaddy of the contemporary drone – and single dial radio tuning.

His gravitation toward the field of invention seemed obvious. Was it the exciting times where the possibility of new inventions was ripe? Or sheer talent? Either way, as a 12-year old, the young Hammond was taken by his father to meet with Thomas Alva Edison and he asked so many interesting questions, that the great inventor gave him a private tour of his life and works. As a young man, Hammond was taken under the wing of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone.

Effectively, meeting these great inventors cast the die for Hammond’s life, and when you visit the Hammond Castle Museum, you will see the touch and the quirks of a great inventive mind. Indeed, the Hammond Research Corporation was the seed for the museum itself: and Hammond had this site established as the repository of his inventions.

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Marketed as a completely unusual and beautiful wedding venue but also an extremely effective Hallowe’en party venue, it’s everything you could dream of in a medieval castle, and more, because it also contains a modern twist and the kind of mystique that comes of the understanding of the home of a professional inventor. If you’re renting the space for a private function, remember that the rental terms generally begin only after the museum has shut for the night, and there are rules with regard to professional photography which you need to understand before you commit to the place.

Rooms which you can host your guests in include the Great Hall, which contains an enormous (albeit not currently in working condition) organ; the Renaissance dining room; the courtyard and the ocean-side lawn with views that will take your breath away – to say nothing for that of your guests. Rentals begin at $950 per hour, and the private residence of the Hammond family next door to the castle museum will be glad to assist you with catering, should you so wish.

One of the delights of Hammond Castle Museum is John Hammonds’s quirky sense of humor. By all accounts, he was a bit of a prankster and there are some hilarious and some spooky surprises in many of the rooms. But by and large, this isn’t an entertainment venue and the pranks are sophisticated, brilliant and subtle.

Featuring everything from stained glass rose windows in the Gothic style, to archways that speak of Romanesque architectural largesse, the castle has all the turrets and gargoyles, a drawbridge and an inside pool as well as expansive quarried facades and delicate stonework that will make you believe you have stepped into a fantastic little slice of European history.

Located on a rocky cliff which offers a majestic view of the Atlantic coastline in the Magnolia area of Gloucester, Massachusetts, Hammond Castle Museum is like a tour through all the ages of western mankind, from the 12th or 13th century onward.<

Featuring tour guides for a nominal fee, as well as self-guided tours, it’s a good suggestion that you begin your exploration of this castle in the museum’s AV theater, and then allow yourself to peek into each room which is a rich repository of all manner of artifacts from ancient Rome to 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th century trinkets, stylistic quirks and architectural quotes. There is a lot to see and it’s a tour that can take you up to two hours and then some. But remember it is a museum, and the artifacts should be respected as such and not be touched.

During the year, a range of organized tours are hosted, from candle-lit tours in the evening, to historical ones during the day. Always remember to contact the museum beforehand to ensure that they are, indeed, open when you decide to visit. During different periods of the year, they are not open on a regular basis. If, however, you luck out and arrive by chance, unannounced on an occasion when the museum is closed, if the weather is beautiful, do not despair. You will be able to access the gardens if the main building is closed.

The best way to reach the Hammond Castle Museum is by road, and the museum’s management suggests you drive north on Route 128, and take exit 14. Then turn right onto Route 133 toward Gloucester. Once you can see the harbor before you, turn right onto Route 127 South, which is called Western Avenue, and then take the Hesperus Avenue turn-off. As you’re driving along this road, look out for the blue sign saying “Hammond Castle”. The rest is simple and the castle will loom ahead.

Be warned, however, there are no handicapped facilities in this castle, which involves a fair amount of walking and narrow staircases. Also, the castle is not on GPS frequency and you may find yourself lost if you’re relying too strongly on the technology.

The Hammond Castle Museum doesn’t offer accommodation, but the area nearby is rich with really good quality hotels, including Salem Waterfront Hotel and Suites in Salem a magnificent 27 mile drive from the castle; Cape Ann’s Marina Resort and Beauport Hotel in Gloucester itself which are under 5 miles from the castle, and the Eagle House Motel, in Rockport some 16 miles away, to name but a few.

If however, you’re staying in the region and have visited the castle and feel all out-museumed, there are many tourist attractions in all the hamlets and towns along this strip of Atlantic coastline, from seasonal whale watching, to kayaking, visiting light houses, bird watching and deep sea fishing.

80 Hesperus Ave, Gloucester, MA 01930, Phone: 978-283-2080

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