By Kristi Palma
City and town clerks across Massachusetts are sharing their favorite places to go for culture, nature, and relaxation in the cities and towns they know so well. Do you want to see your favorite city or town featured? Let us know in the survey below or e-mail [email protected].
Emily Mitchell, a lifelong resident of Harwich and town clerk since May, says Harwich is a Cape Cod town that has it all.
“We have a little bit of everything,” Mitchell said. “We have the culture, we have the history, we have the beaches, we have the conservation areas, we have the plays and the community centers. It’s a good place for people of all ages with every type of interest.”
Harwich has seven villages for guests to explore: East Harwich, Harwich Center, Harwich Port, North Harwich, Pleasant Lake, South Harwich, and West Harwich.
The town is gearing up for its annual Harwich Cranberry Arts & Music Festival, taking place Sept. 17-18, which celebrates the town’s cranberry history.
“Harwich was the first town where there was any commercial sale of cranberries,” she said.
Ahead, Mitchell offers her picks for what to see and do in Harwich.
The Cape Cod Lavender Farm, which sits on 11 acres and is surrounded by more than 75 acres of conservation land, is a real gem, said Mitchell. The farm, which opened in 1995, has more than 7,000 plants.
“It’s this long-standing family farm that’s still free to visit,” she said. “I love going in the summer when the lavender is in bloom and they’re harvesting. I really enjoy their local products made from their lavender onsite.”
The store sells everything from candles to body wash to teddy bears.
The farm is open to the public between March and December.
Mitchell enjoys walking Harwich Conservation Trust trails on the weekend. The nonprofit, which has been preserving land in Harwich since 1988, offers more than 10 miles of trails on more than 600 acres.
She particularly enjoys the Pleasant Bay Woodlands and Isabel Smith Monomoy River Conservation Lands trails, which are near each other so she can experience them both in one trip.
The family-friendly trails are well marked, easily accessible, and offer parking, she said.
“It’s a great two-in-one walk that’s really enjoyable,” she said.
Mitchell’s favorite beach in town is Red River Beach.
“I always think of Red River as kind of the most quintessential beachy beach,” she said. “It’s a long stretch of beautiful sand with jetties going out into the water.”
The beach is handicap accessible, has restrooms, a bike rack, ample parking, and a food truck in the summer. Guests without a sticker can buy a day pass right at the beach, Mitchell said.
“It’s a great place to take a long walk, bring a bite to eat, or enjoy the sunset,” she said.
Brax Landing is the perfect restaurant for enjoying the local scenery along with the local food, Mitchell said.
The year-round restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and serves everything from lobster rolls to stuffed quahogs to burgers to salads.
“They have the most beautiful outdoor patio that’s right on Saquatucket Harbor, so you can see the boats coming in and the beautiful water,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to sit and enjoy food or a drink.”
Check out the menu.
Food and beverage:
3 Monkeys — @melissa.schirmer
Perks Coffee Shop & Beer Garden — @bostonbeantown
Brax Landing — @dariveter
Cape Roots Market & Cafe — @lizcon
Cape Sea Grille — @lizcon
Ember Pizza — @amacattack12
George’s Pizza House — @idemops
Schoolhouse Ice Cream — @lizcon
The Port Restaurant & Bar — @koleary10, @geoffevan
The Weatherdeck Restaurant — @emmymcsan
Bank Street Beach — @bostonbeantown
Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands — @jeanchunt, @lizcon
Below the Brine Bookshop — @lizziehag
Bud’s Go-Karts — @lizcon
Cape Cod Rail Trail — @jeanchunt, @suz_finsta
Pleasant Road Beach — @timg213
Port Summer Nights — @amacattack12
Red River Beach — @dariveter, @amacattack12
Sand Pond Woodlands — @lizcon
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