Cape Cod Scallop Festival

Cape Cod Scallop Festival in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.

46th Annual Cape Cod Scallop Festival

By Mary Moran
Photography by P.L. O’Connell

Cape Cod Scallop Festival in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
Cape Cod Scallop Festival.

The year was 1969 and the local fisherman from the town of Bourne and surrounding areas came together and decided to hold a Scallop Festival in order to entice more tourists to the area and also hold a fun, celebration-like event, that was suitable for the entire family. The festival was such a success that it became an annual event, that has since been taken over and organized by the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce. Today, the Cape Cod Scallop Festival is attended by over 50,000 visitors annually.  The amount of deliciously fresh scallops that are deep-fried to mouth-watering perfection, weigh in at over 3 tons! That is a whole lot of seafood.

In order to hold the event during inclement weather, the festival was “tented” so that no one would miss out on all that fabulous Cape Cod seafood. The “rain or shine” affair was, for many years, located at the foot of the railroad bridge at Buzzard’s Bay Park. With an exponential increase in attendees, the event was moved to the Cape Cod Fairgrounds right here in our beautiful town of Falmouth. With acres and  acres of open land and with an ample amount of free parking available, the Fairgrounds were deemed the perfect location for the popular food event.

While the Cape Cod Scallop Festival’s main focus is on the scallops, there is something for everyone. The other main course offered at the festival is an oven-roasted chicken dinner (provided by J&J Concessions). All meals are served with French fries, coleslaw, a roll, and a soda.

If those two tempting entrees STILL don’t entice you, or if you are looking for something for the kids, there is a full food court with options such as lobster rolls, salads, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken fingers and more. You can even grab a beer or a glass of wine to wash down your hearty meal of choice.

Outside of the food court, possibilities for good ol’ family fun are endless. Local musicians and actors perform live from open to close each day, and classic carnival rides are around every corner. There is also face-painting, arts and crafts, and many other great activities too. *****New this year: an inflatable park, perfect for the kids.*****

Scallop glass ornaments on Waterford champagne glasses at the Palmer House Inn, in Falmouth, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA.
Scallop glass ornaments.

The Cape Cod Scallop Fest has turned into such a majorly successful and satisfying event that it has been named in the,” Top 100 Events in North America” for five years in a row!

The 46th Annual Cape Cod Scallop Festival will be held on September 18th-20th of this year, rain or shine. It’s located at the Cape Cod Fairgrounds, 1220 Nathan Ellis Highway (Rte. 151), East Falmouth, Massachusetts. Hours of operation are from 10 to 10 on Friday and Saturday, and from 10 to 6 on Sunday. For a list of this year’s entertainment line-up and for general admission and combo ticket prices, visit the event’s website at www.scallopfest.org. Children under six enter for free! Come support local Cape Cod businesses and spend a day at the Cape Cod Scallop Fest! Guaranteed fun for the whole family (and your stomach too)!


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 the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures sampling Cape Cod’s finest 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 for 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.

Cape Cod’s Race Point Lighthouse

By Mary Moram

Race Point Light

Jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, at the very tip of Cape Cod, lies the small but lively town of Provincetown. This town, located on famous Race Point Beach, is the home to the Race Point Lighthouse Station. Before the Cape Cod Canal was built, traveling vessels had to sail around the Cape to continue on their journey south. However, this excursion was a dangerous one, because of the strong cross current, or “race”. This current is unpredictable and often, devastating to ships. Race Point Light was named after these dangerous currents that rule the waters surrounding Cape Cod. With treacherous sand bars also adding to the threat of shipwreck, Provincetown mariners and merchants alike began inquiring about the need for a lighthouse as early as 1808.

In April of 1816, the local’s requests were granted and Congress appropriated $8,000. to build a lighthouse station in Provincetown. The light house went into service in November of that year, making it Cape Cod’s third light station. The original tower was twenty five feet tall and was built of rubble stone. The light itself was approximately thirty feet above the sea level and was one of the countries’ first revolving lights to be installed. Attached to the lighthouse by a covered walkway was a small stone home for the keeper of the light to reside.

The timing of the new tower’s existence proved to be extremely beneficial, for the fishing and salt works community that was growing rapidly in the area. This meant a steady increase in maritime traffic as well. However, the lighthouse was put to the test in 1842 when a great storm swept through the waters and in the neighboring town of Truro, 57 lives were lost to ghastly shipwrecks. After the devastating losses from the storm, it was more apparent than an even more effective and reliable lighthouse was needed to guide ships away from the dangers of the area. However, in order for Race Point Light to fit those criteria, some upgrades and changes needed to be made to the stone structure.

Between the years of 1852 and 1855, both a fog bell and a more advanced, fourth order Fresnel lens were added to the lighthouse. These additions stayed in place for nearly twenty years until in 1873  the fog bell was replaced with a more effective steam-driven fog horn, which was sheltered by a freshly built wooden building. Subsequently, another small home was built so that an assistant keeper could tend to the new equipment. Throughout the construction of a new home and new addition to the guiding aid of the light station, the light tower itself was beginning to crumble. Its shoddy material took on major water damage and the structure was rotting out. The lighthouse was on its last leg and needed to be replaced. In 1876, Congress appropriated another $2,800. to rebuild the structure from the ground up. The new tower, still standing today, was built forty five feet tall and consisted of cast-iron with an inner lining of brick. The Fresnel lens was transferred to the new building and the light was changed from a flashing light to a fixed white light. To keep with the theme of the renovations, the keeper’s house was ultimately replaced as well.

After being electrified in 1957, the light was automated in 1972 and the lens was replaced with a modern and efficient, solar powered, VRB-25 optic. At that time, the light also returned to a flashing frequency, giving off a strong white light every ten seconds.

In 1995, the Race Point Light Station property, including the keeper’s house and oil house, were leased to the American Lighthouse Foundation. Under the foundation’s ownership, the buildings were renovated to include plumbing, electricity, and heat. The keeper’s house and fog signal building are now rental properties available from the spring to fall. Race Point Light itself continues to shine as a U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid.

If you wish to visit this Cape Cod landmark, the grounds are open year-round. Park at Race Point Beach, and stroll through the soft sand for about 45 minutes to reach the tower. It is well worth the trip.

More in Provincetown


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 the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures sightseeing 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 for 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.

The Captain Edward Penniman House

Captain Penniman House
Captain Penniman House
Captain Penniman House

Edward Penniman was a native of Eastham, Massachusetts. He was born in 1831 and at the age of eleven he began his sailing career. His ship’s voyage sailed to the treacherous waters of the Grand Banks. To this day the Grand Banks area is known as a plentiful fishing grounds. It is located off the coast of Canada’s Newfoundland. For several years he sailed just the New England waters, however, at that time, the best chance to earn wealth was in the whaling industry and New Bedford, Massachusetts with its deep water port and railroad system was the center of New England’s largest whaling fleet. At the age of twenty-one in 1852, Edward Penniman went to New Bedford to sign on to his first whaling expedition. Several years later, after becoming a captain, he chose New Bedford as his home port.

Whale Bone Gate
Whale Bone Gate

By the late 1800’s the whale population in the Atlantic had been exhausted and whalers were forced to sail further from home in search of their quarry. Captain Penniman became one of the region’s most successful whaling masters. The voyages frequently took three to four years. It was not uncommon for the captains to take their wives and children along for the voyage. Captain Penniman wife and children accompanied him on several of these voyages. His wife was named Betsy Augusta but he affectionately called her “Gustie”. Gusty was not just a passenger, she assisted with navigation and other shipboard matters.  Eugene, their Penniman’s oldest son grew up to become the second generation whaling captain in the family.

Penniman House Door
Penniman House Door

After his fourth voyage in 1868, Captain Penniman went back to Eastham and built a second Empire style home that sits on Fort Hill. It is a two and a half story house with a central hallway. Perhaps its most striking feature is an octagonal cupola that has arched windows on all sides. The exterior is clapboards and is decorated with elegant millwork trim. It is interesting to imagine how spectacular this house must have been in rural Eastham, at the time of its construction. Most of the homes in the area were simple Cape Cod cottages with shingled siding and they were never painted. This house yellow clapboards, with white trim, black window sashes, green wooden blinds and it had brown and red roof shingles. The house had an elaborate white wooden fence and the entrance gate that is still standing is made from a whale’s jawbone.

Window Pediment
Window Pediment

The design and colors were grand but it also had “state of the art” technology within its wall. It was the first house in Eastham to have indoor plumbing. The roof had a water collection system that lead to a large tank in the attic. It used a gravity flow system that piped water from the tank to the bathroom and kitchen. There is also a large barn that echos the design of the house.

Captain Penniman House
Captain Penniman House

The charming Penniman House is located at the intersection of Fort Hill Road and Governor Prence Road in Eastham. It is within the “Cape Cod National Seashore”. It is about an hour and a half drive from the Palmer House Inn. It is open to the public during the summer season. For more information call 508-487-1256.


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 the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures exploring Cape Cod’s finest history, 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 for a relaxing stay before and after your day.