Welcome to Brewster
Known as Cape Cod’s “Sea Captains’ Town,” Brewster was originally settled in 1656 as part of Harwich, before separating in 1693 and officially incorporating in 1803. Named in honor of William Brewster, a Mayflower passenger who became the senior elder and religious leader at Plymouth Colony, this quaint and wooded town soon emerged as a hub of early industry when the land near Stony Brook, which had been purchased from the Wampanoag, became the site of a water-powered grist mill. Colonial-era commerce was driven by the mill, which was used to grind local corn, and also served as a fulling mill for homespun woolen cloth. This thriving district eventually became known as Factory Village, the center of the town’s economy, with a tannery, a cobbler’s shop, carding and cotton mills and a dry goods store.
Brewster’s rich maritime traditions included robust herring and shore-whaling fisheries in the 18th century and the village became popular with sea captains during the glorious clipper ship era of the mid-1800s. Many of these wealthy mariners’ stately homes are now bed and breakfasts, inns, or museums, and the circa 1799 Captain Elijah Cobb House on Lower Road serves as the home of the Brewster Historical Society.
Plentiful history, striking natural beauty, and a vibrant cultural community all combine to make Brewster a charming and engaging municipality. The town has a single post office, the 50,000+ volume Brewster Ladies’ Library, its own police and fire departments and many fine art galleries, historic churches, golf courses, and verdant parks, including the 1,900-acre Nickerson State Park. The Long Pond Medical Center, located just over the Harwich line at the intersection of Routes 6 and 137, serves the medical needs of the residents. Town beaches on Cape Cod Bay and freshwater ponds provide ample opportunity for relaxation and exploration.
Brewster is home to The Cape Cod Repertory Theatre, located on a historic property within Nickerson State Park. Founded in 1986, Cape Rep is an artist-driven company committed to providing creative opportunities for the community by producing professional plays and musicals and teaching classes in acting, directing, and playwriting. The town also boasts a wealth of art galleries, including Sydenstricker Glass, whose hand-carved masterpieces can be found in national museums and galleries.
Museums and cultural sites include the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, the opulent Crosby Mansion, and the historic Windmill Village in Drummer Boy Park which hosts a seasonal farmers’ market and annual antiques fair. The town has a wonderful collection of cafes, antique venues, and gift shops, such as the eclectic array of boutiques at Lemon Tree Village and the iconic Brewster Store standing guard in the heart of town. The Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League play at Stony Brook Field and the team often sports future MLB stars.
Brewster is part of the Nauset Regional School District, which also includes Eastham, Orleans and Wellfleet. Stony Brook Elementary School teaches students in kindergarten through second grade, while Eddy Elementary School covers grades three through five. Middle school-aged children from Brewster can attend the public Nauset Middle School in Orleans or enter an admissions lottery for The Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School, a Commonwealth Charter School in Harwich. Both Nauset Regional High School in Eastham and Cape Cod Regional Technical High School in Harwich are public school options for Brewster students. Two private institutions for early childhood and elementary education, The Family School and The Laurel School, are both located in Brewster.
Brewster has a total area of 25.4 square miles, of which 22.9 square miles is land and 2.5 square miles is water. Brewster is bordered on the north by Cape Cod Bay, on the west by Dennis, on the south by Harwich, and on the east by Orleans. The town features extensive tidal sand flats along the shores of Cape Cod Bay, and the largest pond on Cape Cod, Long Pond, which it shares with the neighboring town of Harwich. Brewster is home to Nickerson State Park, the site of many glacier-formed kettle ponds, and the Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 25-mile paved walking and biking path on the route of former train tracks.
Points of Interest
Brewster Historical Society, Museum at Cobb House Museum, Brewster Ladies’ Library, The Brewster Store, Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Cape Rep Theatre, Captain Freeman Inn, The Captains Golf Course, Chatham Bars Inn Farm, Crosby Landing Beach, The Crosby Mansion, Nickerson State Park, Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club, Old Higgins Farm Windmill at Drummer Boy Park, Paine’s Creek, Stony Brook Grist Mill Museum/Herring Run.