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A well-preserved New England village, Sandwich wears its history proudly, despite having become increasingly suburban over the past few decades. The oldest town on Cape Cod, Sandwich was established in 1637 by some of the Plymouth Pilgrims and incorporated on March 6, 1638. Driving through town past the white-column town hall, the gristmill on Shawme Pond, and the 18th- and 19th-century homes that line the streets is like driving back in time—you may feel as if you should be holding a horse's reins rather than a car's steering wheel.
When you reach Main Street, park the car and get out for a stroll. Look at old houses on Main Street, stop at a museum or two, and work your way to the delightful Shawme Pond. Unlike other Cape towns, whose deepwater ports opened the doors to prosperity in the whaling days, Sandwich was an industrial town for much of the 19th century. It produced vividly colored glass, called Sandwich glass, which is now sought by collectors. The Boston and Sandwich Glass Company's factory here produced the glass from 1825 until 1888, when competition with glassmakers in the Midwest—and finally a union strike—closed it. While you walk, look for etched Sandwich glass from the old factory on the front doors. There probably aren't two identical glass panels in town.
Sandwich at a Glance
- Benjamin Nye Homestead and Museum
- Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center
- Dexter Gristmill
- East Sandwich Beach
- Green Briar Nature Center and Jam Kitchen
- Heritage Museums and Gardens
- Hoxie House
- Old Town Cemetery
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