On October 8th be sure to stop by the historic Taylor-Bray Farm in Yarmouth for lots of seasonal fun with their annual Fall Festival! The event will take place from 10 am to 4 pm and will feature all the best autumn has to offer. From tractor-drawn hay wagon rides on the Don McIntyre Trail, to a kids raffle for a giant pumpkin, there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the season. Also be sure to visit the old farmhouse on the premises.
The historic farm will also be celebrating all things pumpkin, with pumpkins for sale to paint, carve, and decorate with! Calendars, T-Shirts, hats, and activity books will also be sold. For those looking to taste the season, there will be apple cider, apple cider donut holes, and hot dogs! While you’re at the fall festival be sure to visit the mini donkeys, Nubian goats, highland cow, sheep, and chickens that call Taylor-Bray Farm home. The event has a suggested parking donation of $5, with the proceeds going to farm operations and educational programs. Festival organizers ask that you leave your dogs at home on the day of the festival. Call ahead if it’s raining, to see if it has been postponed.
When to Visit Taylor-Bray Farm
The 377-year-old historic Taylor-Bray Farm is open daily, dawn to dusk. There are no fees to visit the farm, though donations are accepted, as the farm is entirely volunteer run. During the fall festival the farmhouse will be open to visitors, presenting the archeological research and discoveries that have been made on the site of the historic farm.
Historic Farm on Cape Cod
The Taylor-Bray Farm has a long and varied history. Archaeological explorations have revealed that the land the farm sits on in the Mid-Cape was used seasonally by native people as far back as 10,000 years. Fieldwork on the farm has unearthed evidence of native use of the land, including stone tools and evidence of wetu shelters. Fire cracked rock was also identified, evidence of cooking and boiling water over open hearths.
Around 1640 European colonization entered the area. Among these settlers were the Taylors: Richard and Ruth. They settled down and began the farm. The farm continued to be run by generations of Taylors, who eventually farmed and worked on the sea. Samuel Taylor built the farmhouse that stands today after he returned from fighting in the Revolutionary War. The house was built in 1783, using repurposed materials from an older building.
After seven generations of Taylors ran the farm, Lucy Taylor, the widow of Luther Taylor, sold the farm in 1896 to the Bray brothers. George and William Bray grew up nearby in Weir Village and were known around town as eccentric characters. They raised cranberries and sold strawberries and other produce to those passing along the nearby highway. In addition to their farming pursuits, they also were avid collectors of exotic and Native American artifacts.
They operated the farm until George Bray’s death in 1941, at which point the collection of artifacts was donated to a historical organization. Unfortunately, over the years many of the artifacts have fallen prey to robberies. Parts of the remaining collection can be viewed when the farmhouse is open to visitors.
After the Bray brothers, the land was owned by the Williams family and then by the Karras family, who continued to farm the land. The town of Yarmouth purchased the property in 1987 when it was threatened by development. The nonprofit Taylor-Bray Farm Preservation Association was formed in 2001 to manage the property in partnership with the town of Yarmouth. Their goals are historic preservation and conservation.
Over the years the organization has done lots of work to improve the pastures, and to rebuild livestock barns. These pastures and barns are now home to the farm’s mini donkeys, Nubian goats, highland cow, sheep, and chickens.
The farm is also a great place to take a stroll, with the 180’ boardwalk into Black Flats Marsh, Community Garden with handicap accessible raised beds, and the Don McIntyre trail. The McIntyre trail pays tribute to the longtime farm caretaker who passed away in 2018 after decades of work on the farm. Don did much of the initial work realizing his vision for a trail that visitors could walk on and enjoy hay wagon rides along!
Spring at Taylor Bray Farm
In the spring visitors can enjoy the Spring Sheep Festival. During this fun event visitors celebrate and learn about all things wool. It’s a great spot to watch lambs, weaving and spinning demonstrations, and to shop for wool crafts and goods! The event’s silent auction fundraisers for farm maintenance and animal care.
Holiday Festival and Christmas Trees
In December the Holiday Festival on December 3 and 4, 2022 features homemade baked goods, beach plum jelly, wreaths, centerpieces, swags, crafts all of which are made by the Taylor-Bray farm’s dedicated volunteers. There are tractor-drawn hayrides, and it’s a great spot to pick up the perfect Cape Cod Christmas tree.