Daytrip to Sandwich

By Mary Moran

Photography by P. L. O’Connell

When visiting the Cape, no matter what season, the town of Sandwich has something to offer for a day of fun that will excite the entire family. From the beaches to the museums, there are plenty of activities and learning experiences to explore in Sandwich. However, if you want to avoid the crowds we recommend staying in Falmouth (just 30 minutes away), and take a daytrip to Sandwich.

Waterfall at the Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich.
Waterfall at the Heritage Museums & Gardens, Sandwich.

Heritage Museums and Gardens

Heritage Museums and Gardens is an excellent location to visit. There you will find numerous exhibitions ranging from meticulously maintained antique cars to a variety of artists’ collections, to aerial trails and zip-lines (new this year). In the gardens, there are one hundred acres of beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees that are unique to each season. Be sure to check out Heritage’s website to find lectures, workshops, and activities that are offered. There is something for everyone! Be sure to also check out the antique carousel that will have you reminiscing about a simpler and more carefree time. If you are bringing the kids, take them to Hidden Hollow. There they can explore the land and participate in exciting activities all while learning about nature and what it has to offer. Heritage Museums and Gardens is open year-round with ever changing offerings for learning science, enjoying beauty, and experiencing adventure.

Historic Sandwich Glass Museum on Your Daytrip to Sandwich

For a more historic view of Sandwich, take a trip to the Sandwich Glass Museum. In this museum you can learn about the unique history of the town and the important ways that the glass industry contributed to the local communities and nation. In addition to viewing beautiful, one of a kind 19th century glasswork, the museum offers a variety of exhibitions to view and even holds shows and events where one can watch the fine art of glass-blowing and sculpting created by local artisans. To remember this trip forever and the beautiful works of art you have admired in the museum, you can stop in at the gift shop and purchase some glass art for yourself or others (great gift idea)!

While in Sandwich, take a walk on the Boardwalk and enjoy the beauty and serenity that the ocean coast has to offer. Located at Town Beach, the Boardwalk is a 1,350 foot walkway right over and along the water’s edge. This walkway was destroyed in 1991 by Hurricane Bob, but the community rebuilt the beautiful boardwalk for people to enjoy for years to come. At the end of the walk, on a clear day, you can even see all the way to the tip of Provincetown, across Cape Cod Bay, Cape Cod’s most easterly town at the tip of the peninsula. When you aren’t soaking up this breath-taking  view, be sure to explore the beach and check out the wildlife, including several endangered species of birds that thrive on the coastal land. Parking is available at the beach year-round and non-residents permits are available.

Sandwich, Massachusettes

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Heritage Museums & Gardens: 41.749446, -70.507567
Sandwich Glass Museum: 41.758657, -70.500466
Palmer House Inn: 41.555639, -70.620020
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Heritage Museums & Gardens
67 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA, United States
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Sandwich Glass Museum
129 Main Street, Sandwich, MA 02563, United States
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Palmer House Inn
81 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth, MA, United States

Next time you are visiting us at at our Cape Cod bed and breakfast inn and are looking for something new or old to explore, be sure to take the pleasant day trip to historic Sandwich, Cape Cod’s oldest town. The staff, and Bill and Pat, at the Palmer House Inn are happy to answer any questions you may have about planning the day, just pop right in at the front desk!

Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures exploring Sandwich and 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.

Cape Cod: Spohr Gardens

Daffodils at Sphor Gardens

Sights of Cape Cod: Spohr Gardens

These privately owned gardens on Cape Cod’s Oyster Pond are a tranquil setting for an afternoon stroll or a lovely venue for an intimate wedding. Spring bursts in to bloom here with Daffodil Days and the gardens are in perpetual bloom for the rest of the year. Be sure to include this sight on your Cape Cod Vacation.

Daffodil Days

Daffodils at Sphor Gardens
Daffodils at Spohr Gardens

Each year, the gardens celebrate Daffodil Days with guided tours, activities for children and hundreds of thousands of daffodils.  You can take home a piece of the Gardens by purchasing plants from the shop.  Purchases help to support the upkeep and maintenance of the Gardens and the volunteer efforts of the Friends of Spohr Gardens.

How the Gardens Grow

Volunteers keep these gardens beautifully maintained. With six acres of gardens, this location can be viewed in a pleasant afternoon. It is filled with pathways and trails, each taking visitors to delightful and surprising spots. We encourage you to sit and enjoy all the sights and sounds.

Flowers that can be found in season include tulips, azaleas, magnolias, flowering crab apples, rhododendrons that are over 40 years old, lilies, and climbing hydrangeas. Cape Cod has milder weather than the surrounding area so the blooms last that much longer.

Spohr’s Nautical Collections

  • Old Mill Stones at Sphor Gardens
    Old Mill Stones

    old millstones line some of the paths,

  • find bronze church bells among the daffodils, and
  • ships’ anchors line the waterfront next to the dock.

Small Cape Cod Wedding Venue

Spohr Gardens is a lovely setting for an outdoor garden wedding. The docks overlooking Oyster Pond make for a unique ceremony to remember. After the ceremony, hold your reception in one of Falmouth’s fine restaurants… and spend your romantic honeymoon in a charming Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast.

History of Spohr Gardens

Lilly of the Valley at Sphor Gardens, Cape Cod
Lilly of the Valley

Margaret and Charles D. Spohr began creating the gardens setting their home in the 1950s and welcomed the ever-growing number of visitors who had heard of its beauty. In 2001 the property was passed to their Charitable Trust with the stipulation that the gardens would be open to the public every day of the year from 8am to 8pm. No admission may be charged but tax deductible donations are accepted.

This beautiful garden will refresh and revitalize you — not just with it’s beauty, but also with the spirit of  it’s donors.

Directions to the Gardens

From Falmouth, take either Woods Hole Road or Surf Drive to Oyster Pond Road to Fells Road. There is a small parking area near the property at 45 Fells Road.

Spohr Gardens
45 Fells Rd., off Oyster Pond Rd.
Falmouth, MA, 02540
Admission: Free
Hours: Daily 8-8


Birding the Cape

Red-Tailed Hawk in the front garden.

Fall is prime time for birdwatching in Falmouth. Salt marshes such as those in Sippewisset offer great viewing opportunities for birds such as egrets and great blue herons. The Cape is renowned for its open spaces and beautiful beaches and remains a prime destination for vacationers and weekend tourists. In addition the Cape is known for bird watching due to its coastal topography and proximity to the sea. On any given morning it’s not uncommon to find bird people on our beaches or walking through secluded trails with binoculars and spotting scopes scanning for birds. Coastlines are wonderful places for birds to gather. Experts believe that this fall in particular is going to be very interesting, with lots of diversity of species.

This time of year is the tail end of the snowbird migration season with some birds overstaying plus the arrivals of winter birds such as sea ducks and mergansers. Fall is also a great time to watch hawks and other raptors.

During this time one will also see shore birds, especially on mud flats.

Getting into birding is very straightforward. One needs minimal equipment such as binoculars and a field bird identification guide such as Pearson, Audubon or Sibley’s. A visit to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is a good way to learn about birds and identification. If you decide to go out on your own, beaches, open fields and salt marches are good places to observe birds. It is not always critical to identify birds, it is perfectly fine to just go outside and watch the birds.