If you’re heading to Cape Cod and you’re looking for a great way to spend the day, you should definitely consider visiting Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. I spent a good part of my childhood in Sandwich because my aunt and uncle used to rent a beach cottage on North Shore Blvd from a friend of theirs every summer. I fondly remember visiting the Heritage Plantation (what it was called back then) with my grandmother and aunt. These days it’s called the Heritage Museums & Gardens and it’s just as wonderful as I remember it being when I was younger.
More than 100,000 people visit the Heritage Museums & Gardens annually to spend time in the three gallery buildings that house special and permanent exhibitions, peruse the gardens, play in Hidden Hollow and more. There is so much to see and do at the Heritage Museums & Gardens and it is safe to say that is something for everyone there.
Let’s start by talking about the acres of beautiful gardens there. If you love flowers, Heritage Museums & Gardens is sure to make your heart happy. Their world class rhododendrons alone are something to see, but in addition, Heritage showcases more than 100 acres of display gardens that feature flowers, trees and shrubs native to Cape Cod.
But there is so much more….
Old East Windmill
The Old East Windmill, built in 1800 in Orleans, Massachusetts, served that community for 93 years grinding wheat, rye, barley and salt from the local salt works. Now it makes its home at the Heritage Museums & Gardens.
The Heritage Labyrinth was installed in 2002 and was designed by Marty Cain of Newport, NH. The labyrinth is made of crushed shells and pink granite and allows visitors to follow a single roundabout path to the center and use the same path to return, coming full circle and exiting where they entered.
The Hart Family Maze Garden
Opened in 2004, the maze is combination of evergreens, vines and hedges alternately create opaque walls. As the seasons progress, the maze will change and feature flowering vines such as wisteria, clematis, honeysuckle, silvervine fleeceflower, Japanese hydrangea vine and five-leaf akebia.
The Automobile Gallery
Heritage Museum & Gardens has a permanent collection of antique and classic automobiles and it’s a truly wonderful collection.
There is a whole building full of classic beauties in the Heritage collection, including a 1910 Sears Model P Surrey, a 1915 Stutz Bearcat, a 1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster, and a 1909 White Steam Car Model M owned by President Taft. Plus the Collector’s Corner features autos on loan from private collectors.
If you’re a fan of classic cars, you won’t want to miss this!
Kids can climb up and down the stepping stumps, navigate their way along log balance beams, construct forts, create nature-inspired art, build with blocks, dig in the sand, experiment with water, make music and engage in sensory investigation with plants.
Hidden Hollow is a wonderful place for families to play, explore their natural world and enjoy the outdoors together.
There is even a big tree house for families to climb up into and enjoy the view from above.
Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views Art Exhibit (there until 10/09/17)
This exhibit features American landscape paintings executed in a variety of media from 49 of the country’s best contemporary painters.
Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views offers a range of styles, subjects and approaches which come together to create a beautiful collection that addresses what landscape painting is today. The styles range from representational to abstract to non-objective and are all really interesting to look at.
American Art and Carousel Gallery
The Heritage Collection highlights art and artifacts from Heritage’s collection of 12,000+ items.
Exhibit highlights include: beautiful paintings, rare objects, carved birds by A. Elmer Crowell, and famed military miniatures.
The carousel is one of the most popular attractions at Heritage Museums & Gardens. Made by Charles Looff in 1908, the antique hand-carved carousel has been thrilling riders for a hundred years. As a guest, you can enjoy unlimited rides with admission.
Wear comfortable shoes and plan to do some walking while you are there as the attractions are a bit spread out. However there is a golf cart to help those that may need some assistance with walking. If you have little ones, consider bringing a stroller because little feet may get tired.
If you get hungry while you are there, the Magnolia Cafe is onsite for you to stop in to for lunch or just coffee. Outside food and drinks is permitted, so you can pack yourself a picnic and enjoy it on the beautiful grounds, perhaps next to the Flume fountain?
On Fridays in the summer there are concerts for children.
There are many programs and special events at Heritage Museums & Gardens going on throughout the year and my family is looking forward to going back later this year to see it all lit up for the holidays.
Heritage Museums & Gardens is located at 67 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA 02563. Be sure to check their website for hours and events before you head out for the day. There truly is something for everyone at Heritage Museum & Gardens and if you live in the area or are planning a trip to Cape Cod, make sure you set aside some time to visit.