Heritage Museum and Gardens on Cape Cod

by Donna Cain

One of the best parts of inn keeping is talking to guests and sharing ideas of where to go and what to do during their stay with us at the Captain Freeman Inn. Our Cape Cod bed and breakfast is central to so many attractions, and the best part….. we are on the quiet side of Cape Cod, so guests can enjoy a wonderful day of exploring and come home to a quiet retreat at the inn.


In the spring, we love to recommend to our guests that they go to Heritage Museum and Gardens. This year there is a extra special reason to go as their new aerial park is opening on May 16th.


There has been much a buzz about the new aerial park which includes a zip line of sorts. Heritage Park continues it’s mission of providing an educational experience for all ages and this new,  all-natural interactive outdoor adventure park is a fun way to learn about the eco- system on Cape Cod. The new adventure park is  set within four acres of forest and contains both the Aerial Adventure and a Forest Walk. The aerial trails are elevated between platforms in the trees at different heights with zip lines and challenging bridges to cross. The Forest Walk is on the ground level with paths winding their way through the forest beneath the climbing activities and include interpretive signs for all to learn about their surrounding.

GardensMy favorite part of the museum are the beautiful gardens with thousands of world-famous rhododendrons and an explosion of color cover 100 acres with spectacular blooms. Depending on our spring weather they usually are in full bloom mid May when they have their Rhododendron Festival.  During the festival which this year fall on May 16-24. Enjoy a peaceful walk surrounded by walls of flowers, learn more about Heritage’s storied rhododendron legacy, participate in programs with horticulture experts, and purchase your own rhododendron at a special plant sale.

1955-Porsche-Spyder-resized-smaller-390x247Another interesting and unique exhibit at the park includes a wonderful collection of old cars that are displayed in a reproduction round barn, replicated  from the Hancock Shaker Village Barn in Stockbridge. The permanent exhibit is called “Driven to Collect”  and includes many classic cars that were collected by Heritage Gardens Founder, Josiah K. Lilly III.

Driven to Collect features the fine cars in the Heritage collection, including a 1931 Duesenberg Model J Derham Tourster owned by Gary Cooper, a 1935 Ford Phaeton, a rare 1927 LaSalle, and a 1909 White Steam Car Model M owned by President Taft. In addition, the Collector’s Corner features autos on loan from private collectors. This year, auto collector David Geisinger will display his 1966 Volvo P1800, 1983 Land Rover Series III Stage One, and a 1955 Porsche Spyder.

The museum also has many visiting art exhibits with this year’s being a touching tribute to American history. “The Wyeths: Amercian Reflected” exhibit runs from June 6- September 27,2015.

M/M disc
M/M disc

“I want to show Americans what America is like,” Andrew Wyeth once declared. Together with his father N.C. and his son Jamie, Andrew Wyeth has helped to shape how Americans view themselves, their history, and their aspirations. Consisting of works by all three artists, the exhibition The Wyeths: America Reflected will elucidate such quintessentially American themes as: patriotism and the meaning of America; family; the significance of place; and the role of storytelling.

Arranged by artist, the exhibition will offer insights into the work of these giants of American art. N. C. Wyeth’s sixteen oil paintings from Poems of American Patriotism, with their depictions of George Washington, Paul Revere, and Abraham Lincoln will serve as the departure point. Landscapes by Andrew Wyeth will speak to the importance of land and sea in defining American identity. Also to be included are evocative and provocative images by Jamie that deal with some of the figures of our times and our preoccupation with mystery and mortality.


Last but not least is the wonderful carousel that is operational at the museum. I remember clearly visiting the museum over 20 years ago with my mother and aunt when our children were young. While not having any pictures of this  day when all of us  rode the carousel, it is just as clear as it can be in my mind. It was a wonderful day when all of us smiled and laughed in the sunshine- a perfect way for all ages to enjoy the simplicity of youth. The carousel was made by Charles Looff in 1908, the antique hand-carved carousel has been thrilling riders for a hundred years. Enjoy unlimited rides with admission.

Here’s to enjoying all of the simple things in life which for me usually includes flowers.

Happy Spring!

The photos in this blog were courtesy of the Heritage Museum web site.



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