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Yarmouth lies directly to the east of Barnstable in Barnstable County. It includes three smaller villages that include Yarmouth Port, West Yarmouth, and South Yarmouth Part of the original Plymouth Colony that was established in 1639. Along with Sandwich, Yarmouth holds the distinction of being the oldest town on Cape Cod. Named after a town near Norfolk, England, most of its residents had traveled on the Mayflower seeking to find a better life in the New World.
Yarmouth is also well-known for its role in the American Revolution. It was home to an active group of the Sons of Liberty who, along with the local militia, supported the Minutemen who fought in many of the Revolution’s famous battles. Many of the local troops also served under George Washington. In retaliation of it choosing to cut ties with England in June of 1776, the town’s port was blockaded by the Royal Navy for most of the Revolutionary War.
Unlike many of the other towns on Cape Cod, Yarmouth was primarily an agricultural community. Residents raised different kinds of livestock including, cattle, pigs, and sheep. Much of the wooded land throughout the area was depleted due to creating pasture for the livestock, shipbuilding, firewood, and construction associated with the Old Colony railroad. It wasn’t until agriculture began to decline in the earliest 20th century, that reforestation projects were started to help bring trees back to the area.
Whaling and working as a merchantman on shipping vessels was also a primary industry for the men throughout the Cape Cod area, especially those who traveled away from Yarmouth. The Historical Society of Old Yarmouth offers tours of many of the larger homes owned by famous sea Captains who made Yarmouth their home. One of the most famous is the home of sea Captain Bangs Hallet. His home is now a museum and the headquarters for the Historical Society.
Near the end of the 1800’s, hotels and communities of cottages were developed that ensured Yarmouth’s standing as a popular vacation destination. Since World War II, roads that connect the various communities on Cape Cod are often full of travelers looking to spend their free time on any of the Cape’s beautiful beaches and shorelines.
Along Route 28, motels, cottages, and vacation homes are in abundance, providing visitors a chance to explore the area. The Liberty Hill Inn and the Kings Inne are just two of the most popular. In addition to Captain Bangs Hallet House Museum and the Edward Gorey House, there are several natural parks and recreational areas that can also be put on the list of things to do.
As the population of the area continued to grow, densely populated residential areas have also become more common. Most neighborhoods include single-family homes and apartment buildings. As you get closer and closer to the beaches and shorelines, you can find both stately homes and vacation cottages. Luxury condos dot the shoreline and are also found toward the center of town. Whether individuals are full-time residents, weekenders who travel to the Cape on their days off or travelers who have come from every corner of America, Yarmouth offers everyone a taste of New England and its history that is hard to forget.