While all of our guest rooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day sampling Cape Cod’s cuisine, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.
Cape Cod has a large Portuguese population. Most of the Portuguese immigrants came to America in the early years of the twentieth century and brought this Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe with them. Because most of them were farmers or fishermen by trade, Cape Cod was the ideal location to settle. The fishing grounds off Cape Cod’s coast are among the richest in the world. The land was inexpensive and abundant. It’s needless to say that these hard working, rugged individualists thrived and continue to thrive in New England.
In the days before air travel produce was brought to the US from Central and South America twelve months a year. Falmouth became known as the Strawberry Capitol. The berries that these industrious folks grew in their fertile fields were abundant and sweet. The strawberry farmers prospered. Most of them were devout Roman Catholics. As they obtained some measure of wealth they wanted to thank God for their good fortune. The families pooled their resources and built the lovely Saint Anthony’s church in East Falmouth, close to their farms. It was during that time that Falmouth’s Strawberry Festival was started and continues to this day. Originally one of the local high school girls was elected to be the Strawberry Queen and she presided over parade down Main Street and a Strawberry Shortcake feast under tents on Saint Barnabas church’s lawn. The queen and the parade are gone but the feast lives on. It is scheduled each year on the 3rd Saturday in June. This year’s festival will be on Saturday June, 17 from 10am – 2pm.
For the above reasons Cape Cod has many wonderful Portuguese foods in our grocery stores, restaurants and bakeries. I have always enjoyed the sweet bread but the recipe below is by far, my favorite. This recipe came to me from a Portuguese friend who was kind enough to share her grandmother’s secrets.
Just as an aside. When you are planning your visit to the Cape and if you want to experience some authentic local flavor, let me suggest, a lobster sandwich at the Quarterdeck Restaurant on Main Street in Falmouth. The Quarterdeck is just a seven minute walk from the Palmer House Inn and is owned by two local brothers. Their lobster sandwich consists of the meat from one lobster, with just the right amount of mayonnaise. It’s served between two nice thick slices of toasted Portuguese bread. Now that is the taste of the true Cape Cod.
Portuguese Sweet Bread Recipe Ingredients:
6 large eggs
2 cups warm milk
1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons shortening
2 tablespoons of yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
10 cups all purpose flour
1 beaten egg
Blend together, using in a large electric mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment; eggs, sugar, melted butter, and shortening.
In a small bowel, mix the yeast into 1/2 cup of warm water plus the pinch of sugar. Add this mixture to the ingredients in the large bowl.
Add salt, all purpose flour and blend for 5 to 10 minutes. The dough will be gloppy and gooey.
Allow the dough to rise 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours until it has doubled in size.
Keeping the dough in the same bowel and stir the dough down and allow it to rise again for 45 minutes to 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Grease 3 loaf pans. Separate dough and place 1/3 into each pan.
Allow to rise, 1/3 this time.
Brush the tops with beaten egg.
Bake at 300 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
While all of our guest rooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring the workshops of our Cape Cod craftsmen, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.
The Sandwich Glass Museum, located in Cape Cod’s oldest town, showcases, Sandwich’s rich history. The museum focuses primarily on the glass industry and the major impact it had on Cape Cod and its residents. The museum is home to numerous period-piece glass exhibits and it is ever-changing. Special exhibits display glass work from both local and internationally-known glass artists. In addition, there is a working glass furnace where visitors can watch live glass blowing demonstrations every hour on the hour. From the Palmer House Inn, the Sandwich Glass Museum is about a thirty minute drive and is a perfect activity for a rainy day. Visiting the glass museum is a great way to explore what one of the other beautiful Cape Cod towns has to offer.
Sandwich Glass History
Settled by the English in 1637 and incorporated in 1639, Sandwich was the first town to be established on Cape Cod. At the time, of its settlement, Sandwich was mainly an agricultural area. Its primary export was timber. The timber was sent to England. In 1825, a wealthy Boston merchant, by the name of Deming Jarves chose to build a glass company in Sandwich. He decided to establish the company in Sandwich because there was talk about potentially building a canal, which would provide easy and safe transport of the glassware to southern ports. The passage around the eastern coast of the Cape was traitorous to ships. He also chose Sandwich because of the large volume of timber available that could be used to fuel the furnaces that are necessary to create the glass. Thus, the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company was established. Jarves attracted glassblowers from the New England Glass Company and he also recruited English and Irish workers who were known for their craftsmanship in the art of glassworks. During this time, a new glass pressing process became popular, and Jarves incorporated the pressing technique into his production pieces. He was innovative and would end up holding patents for improvements made on the process. With improvements came business, and the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. continued to expand. In time, the entire community revolved around the glass company. By the 1850’s, the pressing process had been perfected, leaving no imperfections in the glassware. Now that their glass was flawless, the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. began mass-producing colored tableware.
Jarves left the company in 1858 over a dispute with the board of directors. From his loyal craftsmen he received a fair well gift of one- of-a- kind glassware engraved with the letter “J.” Original pieces from the set are on display at the museum.
After the Civil War, Midwestern glass companies took top spot against New England due to a more cost friendly pressed glass made from soda-lime which was less expensive than the pure quartz silica used at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co. Also, the glass factories in the coal country of Pennsylvania used coal to fire their furnaces.
In 1888 the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company closed its doors and shut off the furnaces causing a great economic depression in the area. The economic decline subsequently forced many people to leave Sandwich in search of employment. By the 1920’s, the glass industry no longer existed in the town and all of the factory buildings were demolished.
In 1907, the Sandwich Historical Society was established. They began celebrating the great history of the glass industry in Sandwich. In 1925 when its first glass exhibit was held , it was celebrated as; “A century of Sandwich Glass.” Today, the Sandwich Glass Museum’s mission is “to promote a broad understanding and appreciation of the Sandwich town history. A particular emphasis has been placed on the unique contribution of the glass industry to the local community, the region, the nation, and the world.”
More information on the Sandwich Glass Museum:
Sandwich Glass Museum
129 Main Street
Sandwich, MA 02563 Website
While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring gardens on Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.
Mary Moran is a Falmouth native and knowledgable about Cape Cod. In addition to writing for the Palmer House Inn, she’s also frequently at the inn and available to answer quest’s questions. She enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time exploring Falmouth’s coastal waterways.