Eastham is a quintessential paradise, where the Outer Cape begins. Originally called Nauset until 350 years ago, on June 7, 1651, by the court in Plymouth, its name was forever changed to Eastham. It is a narrow strip of rural country with marshes, ponds, bogs, and forests that are unharmed by time. It is bordered on the east with miles of the majestic Atlantic Ocean, and on its west by Cape Cod Bay.
Eastham is one of the first pages in American history. First Encounter Beach is the site of the first meeting between the Pilgrims and the American Indians. In 1620, a small band of Pilgrims, from the Mayflower, was led by Miles Standish on a hunting expedition. The Indians, recalling kidnappings by early English slave traders, sent a warning of arrows, which was answered by musket fire before each party fled.
Eastham was settled in 1644 by Pilgrims that were dissatisfied with the poor quality of the lands granted to them in Plymouth. Descendants of the original settlers still live in the area; their names are evident on mailboxes and street signs. Three of the original passengers of the Mayflower are buried in the Old Cove Cemetery.
Once home to whaling, fishing, salt works, and asparagus farming, Eastham is now best known for its beaches and conservation areas. As Gateway to the National Seashore Park protecting over 27,000 acres of the Outer Cape, and one third of the town of Eastham, both residents and visitors can revere in a land little changed since Thoreau wrote his masterpiece, ‘Cape Cod’, over one hundred years ago.
Today Eastham proudly continues its heritage. You are invited to enjoy this conservancy with miles of walking and bike trails through woods, fields, marshes, and several designated historical sites and areas, many of which are in the National Historic Register of Places. Our hospitality is extended in our quaint inns, modern motels, B&Bs, cottages, and campsites all conveniently located near country shops, restaurants and the service trades.