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150 Years & Counting: The Sandwich Glasstown Cultural District

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Posted by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism

Don’t let the name fool you. There’s more to Sandwich than just food.

Certainly, the Cape Cod town of about 20,000, which is located towards the top of Upper Cape Cod, has plenty to offer in the way of eats. Glass was what made Sandwich famous, though.

It’s been nearly two centuries since the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company was the world’s leading glass manufacturer but that history is kept alive and well today inside the Glasstown Cultural District.

For those heading to the Cape who’d like to break up their beach time with a little history, Sandwich and its cultural district presents the perfect opportunity.

Here’s where to go and what to see.

Sandwich Massachusetts Directions

Old Kings Highway and Cape Cod Rail in Sandwich, MA

The centerpiece of Sandwich’s Glasstown Cultural District is the Sandwich Glass Museum, which chronicles the town’s rich history of production.

Upon entering, guests can browse more than 6,000 antique glass objects on display in 15 different galleries, along with a variety of exhibits.

In addition to the permanent and rotating installations, Sandwich’s glass museum also serves as the jumping off point for special events and tours. There are often special happenings for the holidays, and during the summer, guided walks leave from the museum, too.

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Glass on glass at the Sandwich Glass Museum. Photo by Brady Wahl via Flickr

Just a few steps down the road, travelers can take in another historic Sandwich site in the form of Dexter Grist Mill. The mill is one of oldest of its kind in the entire country, containing records that date back to 1640.

To this day, Dexter Mill Grist Mill and its grounds are well preserved, making this destination a very popular one for sightseeing and photography.

The Hoxie House, a saltbox rumored to be the oldest house on Cape Cod and one that dates back to circa 1675, is right in the area as well.

Dexter Grist Mill

Dexter Grist Mill in Sandwich

Naturally, given its history, Sandwich does not lack for contemporary art, glassblown or otherwise.

The Collections Gallery displays works from more than a dozen different local artists, which run the gamut from paintings to jewelry to porcelain to dolls. To learn about the artists before visiting, just click here.

There’s even more fine work at My Sisters Gallery and Sandwich Artisans. The latter group hosts shows throughout the summer and into fall, which present an excellent venue for souvenir or gift shopping.

Sandwich Glass

Glass crafted by International Glass Master Michael Maygar

If a guided tour of town leaves you itching for more time outdoors, there are a couple great places just outside the cultural district’s borders. The Sandwich Boardwalk, a breathtaking path that leads to the beach, is worth a trip in and of itself.

On the other side of Route 6A, closer to the cultural district, there’s Heritage Museums & Gardens. The grounds span more than 100 acres of gardens and natural trails, which are tailor-made for walking, exploring and learning.

Special exhibitions, folk art, antique cars and a vintage carousel are all also on site at Heritage Gardens, making it one of the best family destinations around.

Heritage Museums and Gardens

Rhododendrons putting the garden in Heritage Museums & Gardens

And, obviously, what would Sandwich be without a sandwich contest?

As summer swings into full force, Sandwichfest arrives in town, bringing all kinds of good fun with it. More than 75 artist booths accompany the “Best Sandwich in Sandwich” competition, with a beer and wine garden providing the beverages; the dog costume parade only makes it better.

During other hours of the day, Sandwich has a lively restaurant scene to cover hungry diners. Beth’s Bakery & Café is a good start to any morning, with tasty lunch options, too. The Belfry Inn & Bistro and Café Chew are two more tempting restaurants that offer tasty, substantial dishes.

Cafe Chew Sandwich MA

Café Chew may very well have the best sandwich in Sandwich!

Travelers to the area have a variety of choices for overnights as well, although those do tend to book up quite quickly during the spring and summer.

The aforementioned Belfry Inn & Bistro is a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellent recipient, something it shares with the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center. The Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa is also a fantastic lodging and you can find more here.

Daniel Webster Inn and Spa Sandwich

The most welcoming Dan’l Webster Inn & Spa

 There’s more to Sandwich’s Glasstown Cultural District, of course, but the above is a good heading. To learn about everything that there is to see and do thereabouts, click here. For a look at more of Massachusetts’ cultural districts, just click here.

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