Fascinating History of Breakwater Beach

history of breakwater beach

Breakwater Beach in Brewster is one of the most popular beaches on Cape Cod. Known for its large waves, variety of sea life, and beautiful views. However, when visiting Breakwater Beach, people may not realize that it is home to a ton of history.

In this post, we look at some of the history of Breakwater Beach so you can impress your friends and family with your historical knowledge the next time you visit.

Historical Beauty of Breakwater Beach

The intimate beauty of Breakwater Beach leads into the wide open expanse of Brewster Flats when the tide goes outBe sure to check the tide charts before you go, as the tide must be in if you want to swim.  The shallow waters make it an exceptional beach for children and their playground only expands for further exploration as the tides recede for over a mile.

Breakwater Beach has been a favorite of many residents and visitors over the years.  There are several historical events and places that make Breakwater Beach more than just a place to enjoy a sunny afternoon.

Helen Keller’s First Beach Visit

history of breakwater beachHelen Keller has long been connected with Cape Cod. In fact, she loved Cape Cod so much that she bought a house in Wrentham, Massachusetts, only about an hour away from Brewster, so that she could frequent the Cape.

It is believed that Helen Keller’s first exposure to the sea was in July of 1788 when she was only 8. While staying at a boarding house in Brewster, she took the sandy paths from the house to get her first experience with the ocean.

In her biography, The Story of My Life, Helen mentions that her experience on this day was a mix of emotions. She enjoyed the breath of the ocean and the feel of the salty air. However, when she entered the water, she struck a rock and fell underwater. Although the experience was jarring, she was not in any danger. It is clear that she didn’t let this experience phase her as she mentions several times throughout her biography about her love of the ocean.

Landing Site for Packet Ships from Boston

Nowadays, travelers have many options when visiting Cape Cod from Boston. However, back in the 18th and early 19th centuries, one of the most common ways to get both people and goods from Boston to the Cape was via Packet Ship.

Packet ships were medium-sized boats designed to transfer freight and people fairly short distances. When traveling back and forth from Boston to Cape Cod, these packet ships landed on the shores of Breakwater Beach.

The Candleberry Inn

history of breakwater beach

Located just a few minutes’ walk from Breakwater, the Candleberry Inn dates back to the late 1700s. Throughout its history, the Inn has had several notable owners and guests, including:

  • George Copeland – the original owner of the home and a notable state senator.
  • Giggins H. Ballou – a contemporary of Copeland who painted the portraits of many notable pieces hanging in the Brewster Historical Society.
  • Horatio Alger – a famous author whose most notable work is Ragged Dick.

The Inn is now on the list of historical landmarks and is currently owned by Marco and Angelo.

Visiting Breakwater Beach

Brewster Beach is a beautiful place to visit to enjoy the ocean, wildlife, and its history. If you’re staying in one of Brewster’s many lodging locations, the beach is easy to walk to.

If you plan to visit the beach from June 15th through the end of Labor Day with your car, you must purchase a beach parking permit from the town of Brewster.




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