Everything you need to know about Brewster

When we arrived on Cape Cod 15 years ago to purchase our first inn, we were amazed driving in on 6A how many unique towns we passed through. We feel very lucky to have landed in Brewster as we feel this is just the best location on Cape Cod-we are quiet, have beautiful bay beaches, historical buildings and are central to everything Cape Cod offers.

Our little town was settled in 1659 and is named after a Mayflower passenger and settler, Elder William Brewster, although our town wasn’t incorporated until 1803, when it split from Harwich. At that time there were many prosperous sea captains who decided to build their beautiful homes here. Between 1780- 1870, 99 sea captains called Brewster their home- including our favorite, Captain William Freeman who built our lovely home and Cape Cod bed and breakfast in 1866. My theory is that Brewster was the perfect location to protect them from storms in that we are on the quieter bay side and also have quick access to their clipper ships in Boston- via Breakwater Beach where there were packet ships to take them across. The packet ships also transported salt and vegetables to Boston and New York markets. Salt making was a big business in the 1830’s when more then 60 saltworks dotted Brewster beaches. Salt was called White Gold back then as salt was a cherished commodity and essential to preserve fish and meat.  New England’s fishing industry depended on salt, for without it, cod was a perishable product rather than a lucrative commodity.

Above picture from NewEngland Historical Society.

History is always fun to read about and our little village has plenty of that! We also have many different areas for you to explore during your stay. Listed below are some of our favorites:

Crosby Mansion

Crosby Mansion– a romantic story of opulence! Check out a previous blog when we toured the mansion last year for the Christmas Garden Club Festival. While the mansion is usually closed and open for private functions we always encourage our guests to walk on Crosby beach and then peak in the windows and walk around the property at Crosby Mansion. The old cabin which is built into the estate can be clearly seen from the back of the property.

Captain Elijah Cobb House– the new home for our wonderful Brewster Historical society. The building was built in 1799 by a Sea Captain. The house stayed in the Cobb family until the death of Cobb’s great gran-daughter Caro Dugan in 1941. This historical home is just a short stroll from the inn.

Stony Brook Grist Mill


The Stony Brook Grist Mill- A popular spot year round, this mill has much historical significance in that it was a busy 17th century industrial area where corn was ground, wool was felted and shoe and furniture factories produced goods for the locals. The present Grist Mill was built in 1873 on the old foundation of the old fulling and woolen mill. During the summer you can stop in to the Grist Mill where you can see demonstrations of how the corn was ground between the giant millstones and powered by the water flowing over the water wheel.

We always love to purchase the ground corn to use in our corn meal muffins at the inn.

Just across the street is the Stony Brook Herring Run. Every spring the word that the “herring are running ” spreads through Brewster and we all “run” to witness this sight.

Byron has gotten many a shot of the seagulls feasting on the many herring that are making their way to Long Pond to lay their eggs. The Herring Run’s path and bridge is a perfect place to observe the “alewives” spring time journey up the fish ladders.

Drummer Boy Park – This park holds a special place in our heart as we use to live just across the street at Brewster by the Sea. We had beautiful views of this from our kitchen window-

in both spring …..

and winter….

In the park are 2- 18th century points of historical significance: the Harris Black House and the Old Higgins Farm Windmill. Also of interest is the working old Blacksmith’s Shop. Demonstrations and open houses are scheduled for holiday events and summertime weekend.

Brewster General Store

Not to be missed is our historical old fashion Brewster General Store, an icon in Brewster that our guests love to visit. 

In 1852, the Brewster Store building was built as a two story church by the Universalist Society at a cost of $5000 to hold services for its parishioners. In 1866, the same year as the Old Colony Railroad first came to Brewster, the church building and the property were purchased for “one dollar” by William W. Knowles. Knowles removed the church steeple and extended the front porch, adding wide store front windows. Knowles was the town Postmaster and the  Post Office was an integral part of the Brewster Store, providing a popular meeting place for residents and insuring a steady flow of customers into the store.  With a few owners since then, the Brewster General Store still remains a wonderful place for locals to gather.

Brewster Ladies Library– in 1852, two teenage Brewster girls established this library which began as a shelf of books lent from the girl’s house. After local sea captains donated funds in 1868, the expanding library moved into the handsome red Victorian building. The two original front parlor rooms are still filled with portraits of the sea captains and their ships. The library is a wonderful place to visit- they always have different exhibits, used book sales, periodicals, newspapers and computer.

First Parish Church– we are neighbors to this beautiful church and the above picture was taken from our Wellfleet room. the church has been recently renovated with it’s Gothic windows and 1834 clapboard exterior. Captain Freeman actually donated the organ in the church with all of the pews marked with prominent Sea Captain’s names who helped build the church.

At the Captain Freeman Inn, we are always here to make your holiday stay on Cape Cod extra special.  We feel we have the absolute best inn on Cape Cod. Our historic bed and breakfast is close to all of the historical sites mentioned in this blog. Choose from many of our comfortable accommodations, enjoy and in-room massage and our popular homemade breakfasts and afternoon tea.

From all of us at the Captain Freeman Inn- Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


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