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City Spotlight: Orleans, MA

The Cape Cod region of Massachusetts is one of the biggest tourist destinations in New England. This collection of small towns attracts visitors from all over the world to soak in the history of early America that resides in these towns, as well as explore the beautiful scenery during the pleasant summer season. One of the hidden gems of Cape Cod is the town of Orleans, MA, a small town with large charm that will delight any Cape Cod connoisseur. On your next trip to New England, be sure to make a stop at Orleans!

History of Orleans

Those looking for stories of history from the early days of America will be enchanted by the story of Orleans. The area was first settled in 1693 by Pilgrims from the Plymouth Colony who were unhappy with the land they were given in the settlement. Orleans officially became a township in 1797 and was named after the Duke of Orleans in recognition of France’s assistance during the Revolutionary War. The town grew through the industries of whaling, farming, and agriculture and continued to thrive once railroads were brought into town.

Nauset Beach and Inlet

Perhaps the biggest draw to the town of Orleans is the beautiful Nauset Beach and Inlet! Nauset Beach is one of the best beaches on all of Cape Cod, with its white sand, big waves, and vibrant wildlife. It is not uncommon to see groups of seals playing in the water or even see whales pass by. Nauset Inlet gives you a little more privacy from the sometimes-busy beach, and the water gets a little warmer, too! The Inlet is a great place to go clamming and kayaking, and even get a closer look at the wildlife. Both Nauset Beach and Inlet are great places to spend a sunny afternoon on Cape Cod!

Activities in Town

In addition to the gorgeous beachfront, Orleans also offers some great things to do in the town itself! Visit the Jonathon Young Windmill, a landmark visible from just about everywhere in town. A guide can give you a tour and overview of the history of the windmill, and best of all, it’s free! The Academy of Performing Arts is a great place to spend an evening in Orleans. Founded in 1950 as the Orleans Arena Theater, the Academy continues to offer small theater productions throughout the summer season. You can also explore the French Transatlantic Cable Station Museum and learn about how the railroad shaped Orleans History.

Explore the beach, the town, and spend part of your Cape Cod vacation in the cozy town of Orleans!

(Image by Ted Kerwin via Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/tedkerwin/2061583768)