Each village is rife with seaside charm and features its own personality, art, culture.
Welcome to Barnstable
A coastal town known for its seven distinct villages and seaside charms
Not only is Barnstable the name of a Massachusetts county, but it is also the name of a town and a village within that town. It can be a little confusing, so let’s break it down. Barnstable is a coastal town and the county seat of Barnstable County. The town is divided into seven distinct villages, Barnstable Village being one of them, and the rest are Centerville, Cotuit, Hyannis, Osterville, Marston Billes, and West Barnstable. Each village is rife with seaside charm and features its own personality, art, culture, and historical gems.
The northern part of Barnstable is home to West Barnstable and Barnstable Village, while the remaining villages are in the town’s southern region, with Hyannis being the largest of all seven villages. Barnstable is an important part of Cape Cod culture. Previously, it was a port for the molasses and rum trade in the 18th century, while today’s Barnstable economy is primarily supported by tourism, fishing, the oyster culture, and cranberry farming. Barnstable is home to many of Cape Cod’s famous cranberry bogs.
What to Love
- Seven distinctive villages, each with its own personality and charms
- Beautiful sandy beaches and water recreation like kayaking, boating, fishing, and swimming
- Many historical and cultural attractions alongside preserved buildings and sites
People & Lifestyle
Life in Barnstable is all about knowing which village is best-suited to your lifestyle. Barnstable Village is a very neighborhood-oriented community with many historical sites and plenty to see and do. Barnstable Village is one of the oldest places on Cape Cod, established in 1639, and many remnants from that time linger in the village’s historic district.
Centerville is best known for Craigville Beach, while Cotuit is a quiet, primarily residential village bordered by water on three sides. Marston Mills is unique because it is the only town with no coastline, but it is home to the Cape Cod Airfield. Then there is West Barnstable and Osterville. West Barnstable is defined by its wildlands, sandy beaches, dunes, and shared beachfront with Sandwich and Barnstable Village, while Osterville is an affluent and picturesque town with a walkable Main Street.
The last village, Hyannis, is the largest and the closest thing to a metropolitan area you’ll find on the Cape. It’s a busy commercial center that features the county airport and ferry docks.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Osterville’s Amie Bakery is a local favorite breakfast and lunch spot for old-time classics and desserts. You can also visit Amie’s to take a cooking class. Centerville ice cream shop Four Seas is the perfect place to stop for a sweet treat (it’s all homemade!) after spending an afternoon at Craigville Beach.
Located in the heart of Osterville is Five Bays Bistro, a refined dining establishment for modern cuisine and a lively bar where you can grab a cocktail and small plates. The picturesque village is also home to the seafood market, eatery and bar, Wimpy’s Seafood Café, which serves everything from fresh fish to classic American dishes.
Things to Do
The Cotuit Center of the Arts is a hub for Cape Cod creatives, performers, students, and audiences who want to learn more about the arts and enjoy regular performances or even take a class to improve their skills.
Sports fans come out in droves to support the Cape Cod Baseball League, a collegiate summer baseball team and one of the nation’s premier summer leagues. More than 1,000 former players have gone on to play in the major leagues.
Barnstable features the largest public school system on Cape Cod, serving more than 5,000 students. The public school system includes five elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. There are also several private schools in Barnstable, including the Cape Cod Academy. Barnstable is also home to the Cape Cod Community College, a two-year junior college that is affiliated with Boston’s Suffolk University.
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