The Southern Cape Cod Peninsula

Published: July 18th 2012
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Nice, Spacious SiteNice, Spacious SiteNice, Spacious Site

Peters Pond RV Resort - Sandwich MA
I knew my attractions list on Inner Cape Cod was short when I set out for the Peters Pond RV Resort in Sandwich MA on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. I couldn’t have planned a short week any better. The laundry was demanding attention, and the truck needed an oil change. By the time the week drew near, I learned the weatherman was not going to be a tourist’s best friend either. Perfect! The locals need some rain sometime, and it might as well be while I have non-tourist activities to attend to.

The first of my two tourism days was Friday. I set out for the Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center. The idea of constructing such a canal was first considered by Miles Standish of the Plymouth Colony in 1623. Between the first notion of a canal and its completion, numerous attempts were made but failed for a myriad of reasons. Even surveyor George Washington was involved in the concept at one point. The 17.4-mile waterway connects Cape Cod Bay in the north to Buzzards Bay in the south, eliminates the necessity of circumnavigating the Cape Cod peninsula during shipping between New England and points south along the Atlantic Coast
Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge Vertical Lift Railroad Bridge

Cape Cod Canal - Buzzards Bay MA
and reduces the voyage by as much as 166 miles.

The visitor center relates information about the construction and operations of the canal, offers three interesting videos, has a limited display of artifacts (including a 40-foot patrol boat) and offers a plethora of important information to users such a tide tables and hiking/walking/biking guides. Rangers are on hand to answer questions and, indeed in the (very short) summer, offer regularly scheduled tours. June is almost half over. Will summer EVER arrive? The visitor center has lots of interesting activities for children and is a phenomenal source of information. It is worth a stop if it is on the way but is not worthy of a special trip.

Next, I headed into Sandwich to visit two attractions. Dexter's Gristmill is located on a picturesque pond in the middle of town and is right across the street from the Sandwich Glass Museum. Although the tourism literature claims the mill still grinds corn which is “distributed nationally,” the water wheel was dry and appeared to have been so for some time. I took a few photos anyway before walking across the street. I’m told Sandwich Glass, not to be confused with
No Water Moving Here!No Water Moving Here!No Water Moving Here!

Dexter's Gristmill - Sandwich MA
a glass sandwich, is world renown. Deming Jarves began manufacturing blown and pressed glassware at the Sandwich Glass Manufactory in 1825. What became the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company continued operations until its closure on January 1, 1888. Several attempts (the last in 1907) were made to re-establish glassmaking in Sandwich, but all met with failure. The factory buildings were torn down in the first half of the 20th century, and all that remains is a bronze tablet identifying the factory’s location.

Right inside the door of the Sandwich Glass Museum, a glassblower is demonstrating the craft. After the demo, I hung out a while to let the multitudes get a head start - better known as get out of the way of my camera (yes, unlimited photography IS allowed) – and struck up a conversation with the artist. How did you get started? How do you get the raw materials into the furnace? If given an opportunity for a one-on-one, count me in! Figuring that I had given the bulk of the group a sufficient head start, I began my self-guided tour.

Right out of the starting gate, I am zapped by a, “Really?” - glass-blowing began
Exquisite CraftsmanshipExquisite CraftsmanshipExquisite Craftsmanship

Sandwich Glass Museum - Sandwich MA
about 100 BC. I would have guessed that the only glass from that long ago had been created when lightning struck a seashell on the beach or some such thing. The Venetian influence was acknowledged, but quickly the early history of glass made way to the beginning of glass-making in Sandwich. I knew absolutely nothing about glass-making before my visit and now know twice as much as I did then. I tried reading the exhibit documentation but found my mind wandering to associated topics like food or beer! I abandoned the learning mindset and, instead, focused on the beauty and variety of the artifacts and began to appreciate the skills of the craftsmen. The Sandwich Glass Museum is loaded with artifacts of varying degrees of interesting and intrigue and justifies a visit if in the area.

I must admit I wasn’t particularly excited about visiting the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich; but, man, did I have that one called wrong. For some reason, I had read nothing of the “museum” and was expecting a very nice garden. Almost upon entry, I found the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Museum, which is one of the finest collections of automobiles I
Norman Rockwell's "Test Drive"Norman Rockwell's "Test Drive"Norman Rockwell's "Test Drive"

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
have ever seen – not that I am well-versed on such museums. The museum founder was the great-grandson of the founder of the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company. Automobile makes such as Duesenburg, White, Stanley and Pierce-Arrow that I know and Pope-Hartford, Winton, Brewster, and Sears that I do not were on display. Yes, Sears as in Sears, Roebuck and Company. They marketed a car by catalogue from 1906-1911. The car was delivered to a railroad station near the customer, assembled by the new owner with "a few simple tools and some mechanical ability" and driven home. The 1910 Sears Surrey on display retailed for $445 in a day when the average annual income was $574.

Arguably, Norman Rockwell is the best known American artist of the twentieth century, and several of his works focused on America’s growing love affair with the automobile. Test Drive happened in a 1908 Waltham-Orient Buckboard, The Thrill of the Road might have been titled The Thrill From a Rumble Seat of a 1932 Packard 900M Coupe Roadster "Light Eight," the salesman parked his 1935 Ford V-8 Coupe next to the river in Refreshing Dip, and a father and his college-bound son had a 1931
1908 Waltham-Orient Buckboard1908 Waltham-Orient Buckboard1908 Waltham-Orient Buckboard

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Ford Model A pick-up providing the background in Breaking Away. All of these classic cars were on display along with placards summarizing Rockwell’s thought processes related to the scene he was trying to capture.

These exhibits in the Lilly Automobile Museum provided a perfect prologue to my next stop in the Special Exhibitions Gallery where “Norman Rockwell: Beyond the Easel” was featured. What extended “Beyond the Easel” was the medium of photography, and the presentation focused on how Rockwell used that tool in the composition of his images. Rockwell’s photographer (Rockwell himself was the director and staged poses, expressions and other composition details) literally took dozens of photos – the difference from one to the next oftentimes being a seemingly meaningless minute detail.

Rockwell then would take the expression of the eyes from one photo, the position of the mouth from another and the flow of the hair from yet a third to compose one face for the painting. Then, he assembled a composite of the hands, the arms, the legs, etc., etc., etc. Aha, the first person from a family of five or six was done. I would offer that Rockwell’s success was a product of his
Unique Carved Merry-Go-Round FiguresUnique Carved Merry-Go-Round FiguresUnique Carved Merry-Go-Round Figures

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
attention to detail. Very interesting, but this temporary exhibit ends September 3, 2012. By the way, my photography of his photography was not allowed.

The walkway through the gardens next led me to the vintage Looff carousel (c. 1912). The carousel is housed in a mostly glass-sided building for easy viewing from the inside or out. A number of children and young-at-heart adults were enjoying the ride. I joined in. Of course, the carved steed I selected had “one small step to mount, and one giant leap to dismount!” I sat a spell to ponder the moment and absorb the nostalgic organ music. It was fun to watch most of the children having a grand time and was interesting to watch the parents coaxing those youngsters who were somewhat skeptical.

My final stop in the museum portion of the attraction was the heritage museum itself. This collection of, in my opinion, premium artifacts is awesome. For me, the most unique and interesting collection was the trade signs that were fabricated from metal or carved from wood that identified the business for those who could not read English. The concept was intriguing, and the art was incredible. Also on
A Superior CollectionA Superior CollectionA Superior Collection

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
display were several portrait paintings, baskets, ship models, mastheads and, of course, scrimshaw. Passage from one area to another required passage through the sundry themed gardens that hosted windmills, ponds and sculptures. Even though the fee seems a little pricy on the outside, the inside is worth the cost.

Sandwich MA touts itself as “The Museum Town,” but I would beg to differ. Indeed, there are a few houses that are open to tour, but my experience tells me most of those types of attractions are focused on the family that built and occupied the dwelling for generations – of more interest to locals, descendants and those who know the descendants than the general public. The two museums I did visit were excellent. The Sandwich Glass Museum was unique and interesting, even to this casual observer, and the Heritage Museums & Gardens was very well done and had something for almost everyone. My walk through the downtown area revealed lots of antique and art shops and a plethora of overpriced, trendy eateries. Like back in New Mexico where “I got it in Santa Fe” doubles the price, it seems that Sandwich might have the same effect in New England.

Additional photos below
Photos: 28, Displayed: 28


40’ Patrol Boat Renier40’ Patrol Boat Renier
40’ Patrol Boat Renier

Cape Cod Canal Visitor Center - Sandwich MA
A Wide Variety Of ArtifactsA Wide Variety Of Artifacts
A Wide Variety Of Artifacts

Sandwich Glass Museum - Sandwich MA
1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster
1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
1915 Milburn Light Electric1915 Milburn Light Electric
1915 Milburn Light Electric

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster
1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
1837 Cord 812 Phaeton1837 Cord 812 Phaeton
1837 Cord 812 Phaeton

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Fun For All AgesFun For All Ages
Fun For All Ages

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Bicycle Shop Or Messenger Service?Bicycle Shop Or Messenger Service?
Bicycle Shop Or Messenger Service?

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Taylor Shop – Makes Sense!Taylor Shop – Makes Sense!
Taylor Shop – Makes Sense!

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Haircut, Shave or Tooth Extraction?Haircut, Shave or Tooth Extraction?
Haircut, Shave or Tooth Extraction?

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Smoke Shop Sailor – Cigar Anyone?Smoke Shop Sailor – Cigar Anyone?
Smoke Shop Sailor – Cigar Anyone?

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
A Wide Variety Of SignsA Wide Variety Of Signs
A Wide Variety Of Signs

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA
Model Of Whaleship "Arladne"Model Of Whaleship "Arladne"
Model Of Whaleship "Arladne"

Heritage Museums & Gardens - Sandwich MA

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