Monday, March 12, 2012

Bourne - The Gateway to Cape Cod

Part of our continuing series on Cape towns

As winter winds down and spring is staring to show some signs around us, many of you are starting to plan for spring and summer travel, or even "staycations".  As you travel on to and off of the Cape by car, you must pass through the town of Bourne regardless of which bridge you come over.  Its worth your time to take a look around this pretty town on the canal and enjoy its beauty and history.

Bourne was originally part of the town of Sandwich and it was initially a center of trade for the Pilgrims with a trade house being founded in 1627.  You can visit the site of that original trading post today.  The Aptucxet Trading Post is part of the Bourne Historical Society's many historical places.  The trading post structure is a replica built on the original foundation that was excavated in the 1920s.  The site today includes the salt works, the windmill gift shop, and the Gray Gables Railroad Station and sits on the side of the Cape Cod Canal.

The Cape Cod Canal, run by the Army Corps of Engineering, divides Bourne and separates most of Cape Cod from the rest of the state.  The only ways to cross the canal is over the two bridges, the Bourne and the Sagamore.  There is also the Buzzards Bay Railroad Bridge, used by commercial freight as well as special trips by the Cape Cod Central Railroad's scenic trains.  The canal has wonderful recreation opportunities including paved biking and walking trails on both sides of the canal.  The Herring Run Recreational area in the village of Bournedale is a wonderful spot to picnic and maybe catch site of large fuel tankers being shepherded through the canal by tugs.  Fishing is done along the banks of the canal, including at the Tidal Flats and Buzzards Bay recreation areas.

Buzzards Bay is home to the Mass. Maritime Academy where they train master mariners including Captain Richard Phillips who fought back when his ship was taken hostage by Somali Pirates.  The National Marine Life Center also calls Buzzards Bay home.  Here they offer rehabilitation and a release hospital for the treatment of stranded sea turtles and seals.  The National Marine Life Center’s Marine Animal Discovery Center and Gift Shop is open from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, 10-5 daily.  They also have an Open House scheduled for April 14 -22.

Bourne also is one of the towns where the Mass Military Reservation resides and within it is the Massachusetts National Cemetery.  Massachusetts National Cemetery has a memorial trail where, as of February 2005, 47 memorials and a carillon have been erected in memory of veterans from World War I to the modern era.  The local veterans groups offer a moving service on Memorial Day weekend.

The Bourne Historical Society has The Jonathan Bourne Historical Center which serves as the center of information on the history of Bourne including Historic Bourne VillageThe Alonzo Booth Blacksmith Shop (1888) was moved to the Preservation Center in partnership with the Bourne Historic Commission. It was restored in 1998 as a working forge, and remains one of the few on Cape Cod that represent the area's commercial and industrial history.

If you are planning ahead, Bourne holds its famous Scallop Festival every September.  This year it will be the 43 year and will be held Sept. 21 -23.  Gates open at Buzzards Bay Park at 10 am and the famous dinners are served  Friday and Saturday - 10 AM to 9PM; Sunday 10 AM to 6PM.  Besides food, there is a juried craft show, entertainment for all ages all day long and a midway with rides and games.

The next time you are passing on or off the Cape, stop and stay at this gate way to Cape Cod that sits on both sides of the Canal.  Looking for lodging, places to eat, other events going on?  Don't forget to check out, "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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