Located just above the tip of the elbow and spanning from side to side, Orleans is considered a coastal town in Barnstable County, Massachusetts. One of the smaller communities, Orleans is a common tourist attraction due to the fact tourists must pass through it to get to the tip of Cape Cod. The beaches that lie on the east side of the city are popular with both travelers and locals.
Established in 1693, the area was settled by individuals who had left the original Plymouth Colony. Orleans was eventually incorporated into a town in 1797. The settlers did not want to give the town an English name, so they settled on Orleans for the Duke of Orleans in France, Louis Philippe II. During the American Revolution, the small community was captured twice by the British, alienating many of the residents against them and causing them to side with the French.
Much like the rest of the Cape Cod municipalities, the fishing and whaling industries are prevalent. This, in turn, resulted in the establishment of salt works that were used to cure and preserve the daily catch. Agriculture and lumber also played a role in the economic growth of the area. In the mid-1800’s, the railroad eventually helped to revitalize the community by bringing in fresh lumber so new homes could be built.
Orleans status as a popular tourist destination was solidified when President John F. Kennedy established the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961. The community offers places like Nauset Farms where both locals and tourists can purchase freshly grown produce, Beanstock Coffee, and a variety of foods that are native to New England. Seafood restaurants are everywhere providing visitors with some of New England’s best lobster and crab dinner menus.
People who travel to the area for vacation have access to a variety of options including small bungalows along the cape or bed-and-breakfasts like the Nauset House Inn. The Inn is close to the beach and offers a chance at experiencing life similar to that of almost 200 years ago. You can literally step back in time and explore what the area was like in times long past. It’s just one of the few places in the area where you can return to a simpler life, even if it is only for a few short days.
From large stately homes to small bungalows, homes in the Orleans area are extremely diverse in terms of architecture and price. Because the area is such a popular tourist destination, many bungalow owners will rent out their homes during tourist season to families who are planning an extended stay. Those who live in the area can choose from large family homes, small waterfront cottages, or luxury, beachfront condos and apartments. Wherever you go in the area, you can find the type of home you’re looking for.