Summer Guide Cape Cod

Summer Guide Cape Cod 2020

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Page 126 of 147 125 26 Americans. Each village also celebrated its sea captains and looked after the captains' wives, especially if their husbands did not return from a voyage. The birth of retail stores in Dennis. Dennis began buzzing with business in the nineteenth century, especially with the fishing trade and the "grocery and goods" stores built in Dennis Port. Townspeople could venture into general stores to purchase rum, molasses, tobacco, boots, shoes and groceries. One of those general stores even provided services to size and fit women into their bathing suits. This store is still in business today: LaBelle's General Store, on 662 Main Street in Dennis Port. While today's visitors might not be able to pick up rum or be fitted for a bikini, they can shop at LaBelle General Store for bake- ware, Cape Cod jewelry, nautical décor and gifts, pottery and toys. Another big seller among Dennis folks and visitors was cranberries. The fruit was first introduced to Dennis settlers by the Indians, who ate pemmican – cranber- ries mixed with deer meat and melted fat. In 1816, Dennis Village citizen Henry Hall discovered that cranberry plants grew better after the winter winds blew sand over them. He transplanted and fenced in his own cran- berry vines, and covered them with sand. Once others got wind of his secret, they copied his technique. Cranberry gatherers continued this practice for years, giving birth to the Cape Cod cranberry culture. Rail travel on Cape Cod, past and present. To buy cranberries and explore the beaches of Dennis, visitors took the train. The tracks were built by Old Colony Railroad Company in 1848, and connected from Sandwich to Boston. Rail- road workers eventually extended the tracks all the way out to Provincetown, which became a five hour-long train ride from Boston. Sum- mer tourists from New York and Connecticut poured on Cape in these trains until the auto- mobile was developed. As people purchased cars and the Bourne and Sagamore bridges were built, passenger service declined. The trains continued to pull freight cars through the 1960s, until the tracks were destroyed and the station houses were vandalized. While this train no longer runs, its old route has become today's Cape Cod Rail Trail, a 22 mile trail that runs from Dennis to Welfleet. Visitors can run, bike, walk, rollerblade and even find small pieces of the railroad's past on the paved paths. Parking at the Dennis trailhead of the Rail Trail can be found on Route 134. Inside Jericho house and barn

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