Mashpee

Points of Interest

Lowell Holly Reservation, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Museum, Old Indian Meeting House, New Seabury, South Cape Beach & State Park.

About Mashpee

Mashpee (pop. 14,006), unlike any other Cape Cod town, remains firmly rooted in its Native American heritage.  A large population of Wampanoag people still call Mashpee their home.  In addition to Wampanoag culture and history, Mashpee is probably best know for its shopping , restaurants, golfing and New Seabury Resort. Mashpee includes the villages of New Seabury and Popponesset.

The historic Old Indian Meeting House in Mashpee.
The historic Old Indian Meeting House in Mashpee. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

History

Thousands of years before English settlers arrived,  Nauset Indians, called Mashpee their home.  They were Wampanoag, which means "People of the First Light (or Dawn)".

In 1660, a seemingly civic-minded citizen, Richard Bourne, bought a tract of land and promptly set it aside for Native Americans. Known as the Mashpee Plantation, this was the first reservation in the United States.

It was Bourne's intent that this land be set aside for Native Americans to be their home "forever". What a short time forever is. The settlers decided that the Native Americans needed to learn about their god and become "civilized" and so on May 28, 1870, Mashpee was founded as a town.

Wampanoag history and culture continues to thrive in Mashpee today.

Beaches

South Cape Beach: end of Great Oak Rd., from great Neck Rd., off the rotary

Mashpee/Wakeby Pond: Lave Ave. (fresh water)

John's Pond: Hooppole Road (fresh water)

Hiking & Biking

If you enjoy the outdoors, you'll love Mashpee!  Mashpee is home to some wonderful hiking trails including the Mashpee River Woodlands, Lowell Holly Reservation and South Cape Beach State Park.

Golf

Get your clubs out, golfers! Mashpee is home to three impressive golf course: Quashnet Valley Country Club (18-hole, 72-par), Willowbend Country Club (27 holes) and New Seabury Country Club (36 holes, waterfront golf).

The annual Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow
The annual Mashpee Wampanoag Powwow. Photo courtesy of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe.

Culture

Wampanoag culture permeates the fabric of Mashpee.  While in town, don't miss several historic Native American sites including the Old Indian Meeting House and the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Museum

Each year, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe hosts an annual powwow featuring cultural activities, music, dance, food and more at the Barnstable County Fairgrounds in East Falmouth.

Aside from Native American culture, Mashpee is probably best known for its shopping and restaurants.  Mashpee Commons and South Cape Village are two of the largest shopping centers on Cape Cod.  Both, along with the Mashpee Chamber of Commerce, host several events throughout the year including a holiday celebration and Christmas parade and an Oktoberfest.

Parents won't want to miss the Cape Cod Children's Museum, also located in Mashpee.