Welcome to Walkabout International – Cape Cod!


Walkabout’s first spring walk in Cape Cod stepped out on Saturday, May 7 amidst the cold, dreary weather that is spring this year. The walk was a narrated historical tour along Main Street in Centerville, MA, known for its early 17th century cranberry and salt work pioneers. Summer local Dan Haslam DANIELBHASLAM111@yahoo.com led the walk in partnership with the Barnstable Land Trust, a conservation organization that purchases land to save it from development.

Although the weather never peaked above 50-degrees, the half-dozen walkers skirted rain and walked house-by-house learning about ship captains’ homes, most of whom shared a common last name of Crosby. The oldest house on the walking tour was built in the late 1600’s, when the town was still known by its Indian name of Checquaset. By the mid-1800’s a post office was established and the village was named Centreville, later anglicized to Centerville. Haslam told stories about townspeople gleaned from history books, like how Walt Disney visited town to stay with the Kalmus family who invented the Technicolor film process and made millions. Today their home is a bed and breakfast inn across the street from an ardent abolitionist who entertained Wm. Lloyd Garrison, and whose great grandfather held a party for Revolutionary soldiers who held a gun and blew away the dining area plaster walls in their excitement!

A highlight of the walk was finding the old town school open so the group could visit a classroom in which a famous muralist painted a fishermen mural on the wall, now a landmark. The Centerville walk is part of a series which will occur on Saturday mornings in several Barnstable villages during the course of the summer. Other Walkabout walks will be regularly done in Hyannis on Friday afternoons.

Cape Cod Chapter news

Cape Cod Chapter News 2016
Cape Cod Chapter News 2016

Walkabout International has great walks on Cape Cod, too! In early August a group from the partnership between WI and Barnstable Land Trust visited historic West Barnstable. The group started with a short lecture at the oldest Congregational church in America, built in 1717. The congregation celebrated 400 years last year! This ancient building is still under renovation and has a 5 foot rooster as a weathervane on the roof, and a Paul Revere bell in the bell tower. After the church tour, the group headed toward the village. The village was created as an adjunct of Barnstable, but the new church was the main cause for the split. James Otis, who shouted “Taxation without representation is tyranny!” lived in this village. We also toured a neighborhood garden, greenhouse and farm, and ended at the railroad station from the middle 1800’s. En route we learned about a poor farm, now a senior village, the original township town hall, the library and a lot of greenery too. There were about 15 on this walk, part of a series that Dan Haslam is doing for WI and BLT. Other Cape Cod walks occur on Friday afternoons, starting from the Hosteling International hostel on the Hyannis waterfront, called “Historic Highlights of Hyannis.”

Hyannis Federated Church and Walkabout Share Trip

On the hottest day of the summer, five church members from Hyannis Federated Church set off for a Walkabout Cape Cod tour of the whaling city of New Bedford, MA. Because of the 90-plus degree heat and humidity, serious walking wasn’t an option, but touring around in an air conditioned minivan proved the most comfortable option.

Our group left HFC first thing in the morning and drove along historic Route 6A, the “King’s Highway,” so named because it was the colonial road along Cape Cod’s northern shore long before this was the United States. Tour leader Dan Haslam pointed out some significant sites in Barnstable; for example the Olde Colonial Courthouse, where in 1773 1500 locals barred the crown-appointed judges from taking their judicial seats in the first-ever act of rebellion in the colonies. The site was later used as a town mustering point for colonial solders to march to join in the war for independence.

In West Barnstable, our group visited a community farm and the oldest Congregational church in the US, where the congregation started in 1616 in London, after the founder was released from the “clink,” then Clink Prison. We made a coffee stop outside Sandwich for a quick gander at the Riverside School thrift shop, and then another stop in historic Sandwich to visit St. John’s new thrift shop. We kept to the old roads after passing over the Sagamore Bridge, which connects the Cape to the mainland, and enjoyed the changes to Route 6— the road before the highways. We stopped for a satisfying lunch in Fair Haven before crossing the river into New Bedford, the whaling capital of the world.

In New Bedford, we visited the historic sites by car including the home in which Frederick Douglass, former slave and abolitionist, lived. Many of the large New Bedford mansions built from whaling profits are now offices, and our group drove through the city park and enjoyed its architecture. Tour day was selected because of a monthly evening festival called “Aha!” in which downtown streets turn into concert venues, farmers markets and dance scenes. Our day was the centennial celebration of the National Park Service, which operates a large visitor center and several blocks of cobbled street neighborhoods. We took an hour-long walking tour which included whaling history, abolitionist stories, and of course, the red light district (always a hit!). The NPS gave out bubble making equipment, cupcakes, drinks and had a great sea shanty chorus concert in the afternoon heat.

Our group visited an oyster museum and the famous Whaling Museum’s art galleries, and we had a picnic supper on the museum’s outdoor plaza before heading back to Hyannis and home. Those on the trip were Betsy Hendricks, Carol Beckloff, Georgie Childs, Pam Hammond and Dan Haslam. The trip was a joint venture between Hyannis Federated Church and Walkabout International Cape Cod.