Cape Cod’s Hydrangea Festival 2016

Hydrangea in front of the Palmer House Inn.

From July 8th through 17th the upper Cape Cod towns will be celebrating hydrangeas.

All colors and shapes. A full schedule can be found here.

Cape Cod Hydrangea

Here is a sampling of the planned activities and events on the upper Cape:

On July 9th at 1:00 pm, author Joan Harrison will be talking about her  book , “Heavenly Hydrangeas”, at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich.  She will be talking about the tricks and giving tips about growing hydrangeas. Joan will take her guests on a one hour walk through the gardens. The event will include a book signing. For more information Call: 508-833-3300 ext. 130

Cape Cod Hydrangeas on the Porch for Breakfast
The porch before breakfast

On July 9th, 14th and 16th the hydrangea test garden at Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich will be open at 10:00 am. The goal of the garden is to create the most complete hydrangea collection in the United States. For more information call:  508-833-3300 ext. 130

On July 9th, 11th, and 15th Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich will be hosting, “Hydrangea Care Walks” from 10-10:45 am. The basics of caring for and maintaining hydrangeas will be discussed by the Museums horticultural staff. Care, growing situations, watering, fertilizing and mulching will be the subjects of discussion. For more information call: 508-833-3300

On July 10th from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm Highfield Hall in Falmouth will be celebrating the Hydrangea Festival. There will be three talks and garden walks.  Mal Condon, who is the collector, propagator, grower, and nurturer at Hydrangea Farms,  will speak at 11:00 am. At noon, Terry Soars who is Highfield’s landscape director, will tell visitors what is new about hydrangeas as she leads participants on a garden walk. At 12:30 Anna Holmes will give a demonstration of flower arrangements using hydrangeas. Admission for all three talks is $10.00 and it includes a free felt dirt bag. Highfield is just a 10 minute walk from the Palmer House Inn.

On July 10th, 13th and 16th Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, will host a demonstration on hydrangea pruning from 1:00 to 1:45 pm.

Hydrangea in front of the Palmer House Inn.
Hydrangea in front of the Palmer House Inn.

On July 12th and 13th Falmouth Garden Club will hold “Villages in Bloom” from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Four private Falmouth gardens will be open for touring rain or shine. The Palmer House Inn’s gardens will be one of the gardens on this tour. The price is $5.00 per garden. The proceeds will benefit Falmouth Museums on the Green. Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling: 508-333-4016.

Also, on July 12th from 2:30 to 5;00 the Falmouth Art Center will present ” What is New in the World of Hydrangeas”. This program will include a slide presentation and a talk about the new dwarf varieties of hydrangea as well as general care. At the conclusion of the presentation there will be an opportunity for questions and answers. Admission is $5.00.

On July 15th and 16th Aptucxet Museum in Bourn will have a paint along demonstration from 3;00 to 4:00 pm. ” The Paint Your Own Hydrangea Event”, will include all of your supplies as well as refreshments. The cost is $25.00. For a reservation, call 508-563-7938. The museum is at 24 Aptucxet Road in Bourn.

Cape Cod Wedding Cake with Hydrangea
A recent Cape Cod cake for a Palmer House wedding.

On July 16th Joan Harrison, the founder of Cape Cod Hydrangea Society and author of “Hydrangeas: Cape Cod & the Islands” and “Heavenly Hydrangeas: A Practical Guide for the Home Gardener” , will share her knowledge of manipulating color, hydrangea breeding and growing in containers. The lecture is free at 10:00 am at Soares Garden Nursery, 1021 Sandwich Road in East Falmouth.


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 exploring Cape Cod’s most beautiful gardens, 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.

Arts Alive Festival

Arts Alive Festival

Arts Alive Festival in Falmouth

Arts Alive is free 3-day celebration of the arts in Falmouth and the Upper Cape. Friday, June 17, 5 to 9pm; Saturday, June 18, 10am to 9pm; Sunday, June 19, 11am to 5pm

60 performances of Theater, Spoken Word, Dance and Music for all tastes – jazz, classical, folk and fiddle, show tunes.

There will be a Town Dance on Friday night, and a Rock Fest on Saturday Night.

More than 50 artisans and crafts people display and sell their wares.

Arts and crafts booths, Arts Alive Festival
Arts and crafts booths.

During this weekend local artists and photographers will have their works displayed in the windows along Main Street. There will be tents on the library lawn with musicians playing their instruments, vocalists singing, and dancers dancing.  There are chalk drawings on the sidewalk  in front of the library and there is a face painting artist and Disney characters in front of Kaleidoscope toys. Shore Street between K.L. Bates Road and Main Street is lined with tents and booths featuring artists and craftsmen.

Arts Falmouth is a non-profit alliance of artists, cultural organizations, businesses and individuals who believe in the importance of the arts for the vitality and future of our town.

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 Cape Cod adventures, 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.

‘Tis the Season for Cranberries

Cranberries. Photo Copyright (c) LVO'Connell 2008. All Rights Reserved.

Now that the long hot summer is over, the Cape is coming into what many consider its best time of year.

This year’s Cranberry Harvest Festival will be held in October at the Coonamessett River Bogs. Come to the Palmer House to enjoy our cranberry nut muffins and cranberry sorbet. Not to mention our oatmeal cranberry raisin cookies for an afternoon snack.

Early fall or the shoulder season, is known for sunny days and comfortably crisp nights. It’s also cranberry harvesting time.
Cranberries attain their peak flavor and color and are ripe for picking from mid-September through the first week of November. Picturesque bogs brimming with the deep ruby-red berries dot the landscape against a backdrop of blue skies and fall foliage.

The cranberry is one of only three native fruits including the blueberry and Concord grape, commercially grown in North America. Massachusetts ranks as the second biggest cranberry producer behind Wisconsin. Despite unusual flooding in early spring and drought conditions throughout much of the summer, experts predict a bumper crop in the state this year. The US Department of Agriculture has reported that a crop of 1.95 million barrels to be harvested this fall, but weather conditions including the recent rain and heat wave can affect the output. Growers say that they don’t know what the crop is going to be until it is delivered.

Native American tribes of the area were the first to use the wild berry as a food, medicine and fabric dye. They called it sassamanash and ibimi ( meaning bitter berry). They introduced the Pilgrims to the multiple benefits of the fruit. The Pilgrims also found it to be a valuable bartering tool. The European settlers named the fruit the cranberry after the sandhill cranes commonly spotted around bogs at the time. American whalers and mariners brought cranberries on their voyages to ward off scurvy.

Commercial cranberry harvesting began in Harwich in 1847.

The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ association was formed in 1888 and prides itself as being one of the oldest farming organizations in the US. The cranberry provided a needed source of income to many families during the economically depressed decades after the Civil War.

There are about 1,000 acres of bogs sprinkled throughout the Cape.

Cranberries grow on long-running vines in sandy bogs originally made by glacial deposits. A bog is a fragile ecosystem affected by climate and environmental conditions. Typically growers do not have to replant since an unmanaged cranberry vine can survive indefinitely. Some vines in Massachusetts are more than 150 years old.

In the beginning growers handpicked cranberries, then used wooden scoops to lift the berries off their vines. By the late 1800s machines were invented to make the job less labor intensive.

Two methods are used for gathering cranberries: wet and dry harvesting. Today, ninety-five percent of cranberries are wet-harvested in Massachusetts.