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 Museum Trail – 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum

Front of the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum on Cape Cod, New England, USA.

Cape Cod Museum Trail: 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum

By Chelsea Corson

Front of the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum on Cape Cod, New England, USA.
1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum on Cape Cod

Reverend Josiah Dennis, was the first minister of the Congregational Church of the East Precinct in Yarmouth, Massachusetts. Dennis was hired in 1727 and served for 36 years while calling, the manse his home. The town of Dennis was named in the Reverend’s honor when a part of the town of Yarmouth was separated, 30 years after the reverend’s passing in 1763.

The saltbox style of house construction was very common in the eighteenth century in New England, at the Josiah Dennis Manse Museum on Cape Cod, New England, USA.
The saltbox style of house construction was very common in the eighteenth century in New England.

When visiting Josiah Dennis Manse Museum, visitors are greeted and guided by authentically garbed doyens through each room of the studiously renovated home. The house itself, is a lovely example of a classic saltbox structure. The saltbox is a traditional style of architecture that is classic New England construction.  A saltbox house has two stories on the front and a long sloping roof on the back that forms one story. Saltboxes are generally a wooden frame house with a central brick chimney. Walking through the house, I felt as if I had stepped back into the 1700’s. The volunteer guides do an excellent job of sharing the historical significance and interesting facts about the home as well as the family who once lived there.

The one room school house at the Josiah Dennis Manse Museum on Cape Cod, New England, USA.
The one room school house.

There is a single room Schoolhouse on the Manse grounds, which was built circa 1745. Half of the room is furnished with traditional 1700’s classroom furniture and the other half with 1800’s furniture. It’s interesting to see the differences. Children also enjoy seeing this room because it is one of the “hands on” rooms in the museum, that allows them to explore and imagine what it would be like if they had lived and gone to school in the 1700’s or 1800’s. Another interactive room is on the second floor of the Manse. There one finds the spinning and weaving room, where visitors are encouraged to explore and touch the exhibit pieces.

The well, where all of the water was drawn. Notice the leveraged pole with the stone as a counterweight. The Josiah Dennis Manse Museum on Cape Cod, New England, USA.
The well counterweight.

The addition at the back of the Manse is a Maritime Room. Paintings, models, and dioramas of Dennis’ maritime history are on displayed. Pictures of the eight Shiverick Clipper Ships, a lightship model, and various mementos that were brought back, from all over the world, to Dennis by local sea captains. This addition is a lovely treat for maritime enthusiasts. We at the Inn enjoy learning about the cape’s nautical history, especially with the Palmer House Inn’s history of being home to a whaling ship owning family in the early 1900s.

This museum is located just a few blocks off route 6A and is close to the heart of Dennis Village. The museum is only open Tuesdays and Thursdays during the summer, which is a beautiful time of year to visit this historical site.

From the Palmer House Inn, it is a 50 min. drive to the 1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum. Visiting during the summer, you could visit the museum in the morning, followed by a picnic lunch on nearby Corporate Beach, which is less than a 5 min. drive. If you’re looking for a full Cape Cod experience, DMP Surfside Grill is right on the beach and has a fantastic selection of beach side seafood favorites. Try their Fish & Chips or Lobster Roll to round out a day of Cape-style history, architecture, cuisine, and a beautiful beach view.

For more information on the Josaih Dennis Manse Museum:

1736 Josiah Dennis Manse Museum
61 Whig Street
Dennis, Massachusetts 02660
phone 508-385-2232
info@DennisHistoricalSociety.org
website

More museums on the Cape Cod Museum Trail


Chelsea is a Falmouth local, born and raised. She loves telling people all the great things to do and places to see in her hometown. She is also a professional artist who loves to travel. This past year she spent traveling and working along the east coast of Australia and visited New Zealand for a few weeks. “I have to say, there’s no other place in the world quite like 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 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.

Cape Cod Museum Trail – Highfield Hall and Gardens

Holidays at Highfield

By Chelsea Colson | Photos by Pat O’Connell

Holidays at Highfield a Cape Cod museum
Holidays at Highfield

One of Falmouth’s most treasured historical sites, Highfield Hall and Gardens is  one of Cape Cod’s most visited sites. The Hall and Gardens is a center of cultural and community life in Falmouth. Highfield has welcomed over 125,000 visitors since opening in 2006 after 5 years of renovation. One of the most interesting features of Highfield is it’s extravagant history.

Fairy Houses on a Rock Wall
Fairy Houses on a rock wall.

Highfield Hall and Gardens’ rich history begins with its construction. It was one of the earliest summer mansions on Cape Cod and was built by the Beebe family of Boston in 1878. It is one of the few remaining examples of Stick-style Queen Anne architecture in the Northeast. At the time of its construction, the mansion was one of the first expansive summer retreats on the Cape and was surrounded by park-like gardens, a stable, carriage trails, a caretakers cottage and almost 700 acres of woodlands.

James Beebes, one of Boston’s merchant princes, gifted the funds for his children to create and live in the home. While residing in Falmouth, Pierson, Franklin, and Emily Beebe lived lavishly. Servants quarters were located on the upper floor.  The servants assisted the siblings when they threw many extravagant parties on the property. In 1932, Franklin Beebe James’ only surviving child, passed away, leaving no heirs to the Beebe fortune and estate.

Beebe Woods Conservancy nature trails.
Beebe Woods Conservancy nature trails.

After being bought and sold several times, the estate had been transformed and re-purposed from a private home into a hotel. In 1972 Josephine and Josiah Lilly purchased the entire estate and generously donated the nearly 400 acres of Beebe Woods to the town for permanent conservation as green space. The local arts organization received the buildings and acreage around the mansion. Unfortunately for two decades, the property was vandalized and neglected until 1994. At that time, Highfield Hall Inc. saved the property from demolition. After several years of wrangling to keep the building standing, Town Meeting Members authorized Falmouth Selectmen to lease the property to Historic Highfield. In 2001, $8.5 million was raised through donations to renovate the hall and the 6 surrounding acres. Private individuals made a majority of the donations. The funds went towards replacing the roof, repairing the foundation, repairing, flooring, windows and doors. In September 2006, Highfield Hall had its grand reopening when the 1st floor was completed. By April 2007, the Hall’s 2nd and 3rd floors were completed and the building finally was fully renovated. The landscape restoration came after, lasting from 2010 – 2012.

Now that you’ve learned the summary of Highfield Hall & Gardens’ intricate history, it’s time to come back to the present. “Arts on the Hill”, a collective of non-profits that operate the estate, hosts a variety of classes, lectures, theatre presentations, concerts and gallery shows.  They also offer estate tours. Visitors can stop by to browse the current art shows or visit when there is a theatre show scheduled. When the weather is permitting one can take advantage of Beebe Woods and enjoy a calming nature walk. Two of the most recent additions are the restored “Sunken Garden”, a cutting garden and a labyrinth.

On your next visit to the Palmer House Inn, make sure you don’t miss this Falmouth treasure. It is a short 3 minute drive up the hill, or a 13 minute walk from the Inn.

www.highfieldhallandgardens.org


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 guest rooms have their own charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day exploring gardens and Cape Cod museums, 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.