Five Fun Facts You Might Not Know About Harwich

Found on the south side of Cape Cod, Harwich is a popular spot, especially during the summer season. While you may have heard the town’s name before, we found five fun facts you might not know about Harwich. 

Summer popularity

While only about 12,000 people live in Harwich year-round, like many of the other towns on the Cape, the population swells during the summer months. It’s not unusual to find more than three times that many people in Harwich during season.

Seven villages

The Town of Harwich is actually made up of seven distinct villages. They include Harwich Center, Harwich Port, North Harwich, South Harwich, West Harwich, East Harwich, and Pleasant Lake. Harwich Center is considered the hub of the community.

Royal naming

The name Harwich wasn’t the original name, but it did have a royal connection. At one time, Harwich was known as Setucket. It’s said it took on the name Harwich in reference to Harwich, England, and Queen Elizabeth herself dubbed it Happy-go-lucky-Harwich in the 16th century.

Major industries

Because of its location, it only makes sense that fishing has been a big part of the community, but it’s not the only industry with ties. At one time the whaling industry was strong, before changing over to cod fishing. Dozens of ships used to employ hundreds of workers and bring in thousands of tons of fish. 

When the shallow port could no longer accommodate larger ships, the area turned to cranberry bogs and summer resorts. To this day, both tourism and cranberries are a part of the town’s economy, so much so that a cranberry festival is held each year.

Outdoor recreation

Harwich offers nearly 11 miles of shoreline, but the coast is basically just one long beach. Of the five harbors, three of them are man-made. Harwich also offers two golf courses, fishing charters and seal cruises out of Harwich Port, plus access to the Cape Cod Rail Trail.

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