Heritage Museum & Gardens

Heritage Museum & Gardens a Wonderful Daytrip

By Mary Moran | Photos by Pat O’Connell

Founded in 1969 by J.K. Lilly III, Heritage Museum and Gardens is a place of exploration and discovery for all ages. Located in the historic Cape Cod town of Sandwich, Heritage offers a vast array of American culture-based exhibits, gardens, interactive learning activities and adventure. All of the exhibits are presented with beauty and intrigue.

The museum is open daily from mid-April to mid-October, and on weekends for “Gardens Aglow“, their holiday festival of lights, from late-November to just before Christmas. The Museums and Gardens attract over 132,000 visitors annually. Variety and originality are what make Heritage Museums and Gardens such a popular destination for visitors from far and wide.

Museums
Heritage offers three unique museum gallery experiences to its visitors. The Automobile Gallery, is a permanent exhibit. It displays an unbelievable collection of 39 antique and classic cars that date from 1899 to 1962. In the “Collector’s Corner,” there are other special cars on display that are on loan from private collections, and are rotated yearly.

Heritage Museum & Gardens main building in Sandwich, MA, USA.
Heritage Museum & Gardens carousel building.
Heritage Museum and Gardens path
Garden Path

In the American Art and Carousel Gallery, you will find a hand-carved, working carousel created in 1908 by Charles Looff. One of the most popular pieces at
Heritage, the carousel attracts many, and unlimited rides are included with admission to the Museums. Also, in this gallery, you will find Heritage’s permanent collection of historically significant items in regards to American culture. Some of the over 12,000 items include New England folk art, scrimshaw, paintings, shop signs, and Nantucket baskets.

Heritage Museums Hidden Hollow
This is “Hidden Hollow” . It is a creative playground with activity stations.

Last but not least, there is the Special Exhibitions Gallery. This gallery hosts Heritage’s annually rotating exhibits. For 2018, the Special Exhibitions Gallery will house “Wendell Minor’s America,” which will examine and celebrate his 40 year career, 25 of which were illustrating children’s books. Original artwork and artifacts from prominent and famous works will be on display.

“Start your Engines: Cars and Stars of the Indy 500” will also reside in the special gallery in the upcoming year. Two Indy 500 race cars will be on display as well as other memorabilia from the start of the Indy 500 in 1911 until present day.

Gardens

The gardens of Heritage are situated on 100 acres of Sandwich land, over 65 of which are the Gardens. Thousands of species of plants can be found throughout the gardens, including world renowned collections
of rhododendrons, day lilies, hostas, and hydrangeas. In addition to native flowers and trees, Heritage has a rare collection of trees from all over the world, making a unique and magical landscape even more intriguing.

Heritage Museum & Gardens path in Sandwich, MA, USA.
Heritage Museum & Gardens path in Sandwich, MA, USA.

Also located in Heritage Gardens is the Old East Mill. Built in 1800 and originally located in Orleans. This beautiful, old windmill adds a touch of history to the ever changing gardens. Follow the many walking trails, take a stroll through the maze garden and hydrangea garden, or get lost in a
labyrinth created by Marty Cain. Options seem to be endless at Heritage.

 

Heritage Museum & Gardens Treehouse
Treehouse.

The newest addition to Heritage Museums and Gardens is the Adventure Park. The park consists of 4 acres of Aerial Forest Trails made from zip lines, ropes, and bridges. Every one of the five aerial trails offers a different level of difficulty making it a fun and exciting challenge for everyone participating, no matter your age or ability. Since its recent opening, the Adventure Park has been a huge hit. Aside from the Museums and Gardens, Heritage also has a wide variety of educational programs, lectures, and workshops available for both children and adults. The “Hundred Acre School”, a private STEM-based preschool, is also located on the Heritage grounds. From the museum galleries to the endless gardens and aerial adventure park, Heritage Museums and Gardens is a wonderful location for an outing and will surely not disappoint. The Museum is located about a 45 minute drive from the Palmer House Inn.

Hertiage Museum & Gardens entrance
Heritage Museum & Gardens entrance.

For information on hours and admission, and calendar of events, visit Heritage’s website

Heritage Museum & Gardens
67 Grove Street
Sandwich, MA 02563


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring Cape Cod’s Heritage Museum & 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.


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 Heritage Museums & Gardens

The grounds of Heritage Museum & Gardens spring to life during its annual Rhododendron Festival.

Pink Rhododendron at the Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast.
Pink Rhododendron

Walking tours, cooking demonstrations and book signings by chefs, and en plein air painting workshops are just a few of the festivities. For a full schedule of events, log on to www.heritagemuseumsandgardens.org or call 508-888-3300.

The rhododendrons on the grounds of the Palmer House Inn are ready to bloom also. We have several colors. They are magnificent.

More Museums on Cape Cod


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Emily Dickinson Room Five
Cape Cod’s Emily Dickinson Room Five

While all of our guestrooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of visiting museums 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.

Daytrip to Sandwich, Cape Cod

During your stay at the Palmer House, consider a delightful daytrip to the charming town of Sandwich.

Sandwich is the oldest town on Cape Cod. For a daytrip it is a short drive from Falmouth. On April 1st the beautiful Heritage Museum & Gardens opens. It boasts 100 acres of rolling lawns and colorful gardens. The spring features Dexter Rhododendrons and flowering trees, while summer is resplendent with annuals and daylilies. Autumn is ablaze with foliage and the fall blooming Frankinia. Winter showcases heathers bright berries and noble evergreens.

The Shaker Barn Museum houses an impressive antique automobile collection and the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame exhibit. For lunch, the charming Dunbar Tea Room is a must.

You will also enjoy an afternoon visit to the Thornton Burgess Museum. Burgess was the creator of Peter Rabbit and the author of 170 books and more than 15,000 stories for newspapers.

Last but not least travel to the Sandwich Glass Museum where nearly 5,000 pieces of glass produced at the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company between 1825 and 1888 are on display. Visitors love the glass-blowing demonstrations.

With your daytrip complete, return to the Palmer House to prep for the evening meal at one of the fine restaurants on Falmouth’s Main Street.