The Wampanoag name for Yarmouth was Mattacheese, “old lands by the border of water.”
Explore the character of Yarmouth’s three distinct villages — Yarmouth Port, South Yarmouth, and West Yarmouth – to see how the Town’s intimate relationship with the bay, river, and ocean was shaped through time and offers you a life in tune with the environment today.
Yarmouth Port – Settlement by the Bay– 1600s
Yarmouth was settled on the bayside in 1639 by farmers who followed the paths of the indigenous Wampanoag tribes that date back 10,000 years. The lands were rich in fish, game, and hay. Ships filled the harbor with goods and a thriving town arose.
Today, Yarmouth Port is one of the most beautifully preserved areas on the Cape. Residents enjoy living by the bay and the scenic Old King’s Highway (Rte. 6A). Here you’ll find charming shops, inns, restaurants, churches & restored homes of 1800s sea captains who sailed the famous Clipper Ships during The Golden Age of Sail.
South Yarmouth – Business Develops Along Bass River 1700s
Bass River was central to the indigenous tribes and to the Quakers who developed “Quaker Town” here. Businesses rose up and goods were shipped along the river to Nantucket Sound.
Today, in this residential village a memorial to the Indigenous Tribes and a preserved Windmill meet an active presence with the Cultural Center of Cape Cod which offers the arts and entertainment for everyone year-round, a family sports and recreation area at Flax Pond, four golf courses (link to golf blog), and the entrance to the Cape Cod Bike Trail on Station Avenue.
West Yarmouth – Vacationers Flock to Nantucket Sound 1900s
Most of the land south of the Rte. 28 was farmed by just a few families. When the maritime industry declined and the train and cars brought visitors, these lands were developed for summer homes and cottages and tourism grew.
Today, residents of newer home developments join those of the older homes for year-round enjoyment of its beaches (link to beaches page) and family attractions. Visitors will find relaxing resorts on the water, motels and cottages to rent, and fun for the whole family at the Inflatable Water Park, the Whydah Pirate Museum, and many mini-golf courses!