Day Trip to Mashpee Massachusetts:
Home of the Wampanoag Indians
No visit to Cape Cod is complete without taking the time to explore the town of Mashpee, Massachusetts and surrounding attractions. Through much of its history, Mashpee was disputed Indian territory. Its land was often locked in legal battles between the Wampanoag natives and European settlers, and a typical “downtown” never formed.
In 2006, Mashpee finally gained a town center in the form of Mashpee Commons, a modern open-air shopping center that emulates the style of a classic New England town center. The Commons has more than a hundred shops and restaurants, a cinema, a post office, a library, a church, and a senior center, as well as offices and residences. Visitors now spend hours in the town center shopping, savoring fantastic food, and enjoying the exciting events taking place in this vibrant community space.
While you are in the area, be sure to check out Mashpee’s other charms. The heart of Mashpee’s history is the Wampanoag Tribe. The annual Powwow, normally held in the first week of July, is a homecoming celebration for members of the tribe and serves to entertain and educate tourists and the community. The Mashpee Wampanoag Museum in Mashpee is also dedicated to celebrating the Wampanoag culture and educating the public. In the spring, you can also catch the annual Herring Run right next to the Wampanoag Museum as more than 300,000 herring swarm upriver to spawn in Mashpee Pond.
In addition to its celebrations of native culture, Mashpee is home to the Cape Cod Children’s Museum, miles of hiking and biking trails, hundreds of acres of conservation land, and the beautiful white sands of South Cape Beach. Take the kids to the Cape Cod Children’s Museum to explore interactive play and learning exhibits that encourage hands-on experiences to spark imagination and curiosity. Then head out for an afternoon on the trails through the Mashpee River Woodlands and Lowell Holly Reservation where you can bike, hike, or saunter to your heart’s content through enchanting forests and marshland, along the river, and around the ponds while listening to the birds sing and smelling the abundance of flowers growing in the area.
Finally, take a trip to South Cape Beach State Park, via one of many trails if you choose, and enjoy the mile-long stretch of sandy coast looking out over Nantucket Sound where you can see Martha’s Vineyard across the water. The park has boardwalks over the dunes and trails that wind through its forested areas, plus freshwater ponds as well as the beachfront and ocean waves. Located at the edge of the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, this beautiful park is perfect for hiking, swimming and relaxing.