Mashpee (which means “land of the great cove”) is one of two towns in Massachusetts administered by Native Americans (the other is Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard). Mashpee was home to the Wampanoag Indians long before the Pilgrims arrived. Later their population declined through disease and occupation by the the colonists. In 1665, Reverend Richard Bourne appealed for land to be put aside for the Native Americans. Mashpee Plantation was the first Native American Reservation in the United States. Wampanoag culture still defines much of the town’s essence through an active Tribal Council. There is an annual Pow-Wow each July.
Mashpee has thousands of acres of conservation land — the 432-acre South Cape Beach State Park boasts a magnificent long barrier beach abutting dunes, a boardwalk and nature trails. Four of the largest ponds on Cape Cod are found in Mashpee. These create the Cape’s largest freshwater body (729 acres), wonderful for swimming, fishing and boating.
The Cape’s upscale mall, Mashpee Commons, is ever popular with Cape locals and visitors alike and in late July is host to the annual “Mashpee Night at the Pops”. Thousands flock to enjoy an evening the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra and watch fireworks. The resort of New Seabury lines the southern coastline, along with the affluent Popponesset beach area.
TOP THINGS TO DO AND SEE IN MASHPEE
Cape Cod Children’s Museum
Old Indian Church
Mashpee Indian Meetinghouse
Mashpee Wamponoag Museum
South Cape Beach