From the Boston Globe
COMMUNITY SNAPSHOT
Eastham

Boston Globe, 6/20/2004

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The historic Penniman House on Fort Hill Road in Eastham, MA.


825 Samoset Road in Eastham, which recently sold for $232,500. (Globe photos)

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Miles from Boston: 92
Population: 5,453
Median house price: $467,500
Tax rate: $5.12 per thousand
Transportation: Route 6; Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, Plymouth and Brockton Street Railway Co., Cape Cod Rail Trail
Best things: Public beaches; Fort Hill Trail and Penniman House in Cape Cod National Seashore
Worst things: Housing costs
MCAS: In 2003 Nauset Regional High School's 10th-graders ranked 27th statewide in English and 44th in math. Nauset Regional Middle School's eighth-graders ranked 39th in math and 26th in science and technology. Eastham's fifth-graders were ranked 107 out of 300 school systems in science.
Census facts: More women (52 percent) then men (48 percent); median age of adults is 47.6 years; median income, $42,618
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EASTHAM -- Sandra C. Brierley doesn't live here but she knows how to pick out those who do. It's how they pronounce this historic town's name and whether they know they have to leave town if they want to "super size" their lunch. It's East-ham and there are no fast-food restaurants here. "You are not going to find a Burger King or a McDonald's in Eastham," said Brierley, owner of Hopper Real Estate. She noted that such restaurants are banned under town zoning rules. "For fast food, you go into Orleans."

Instead of fluorescent-drenched icons of America's fast-living lifestyle, folks who come to Eastham find beaches, museums, and pleasant walks along the shoreline, a large chunk of which is part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and includes Coast Guard and Nauset Light beaches.

Bisected by Route 6, Eastham is just north of Orleans, just south of Wellfleet, and is flanked on the east by the Atlantic on and the west by Cape Cod Bay. It was first incorporated as a town in 1651, but was one of the sites of the first contact between the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Native Americans, a fact that is twice remembered at First Encounter Beach.

A plaque installed in 1920 describes the Pilgrims meeting "hostile Indians" on Dec. 8, 1620, while a marker placed near the parking lot in 2001 describes the response by the Nauset branch of the Wampanoag tribe as acting to "protect themselves and their culture" against the uninvited visitors. Arrows and bullets were exchanged before both fled from each other.

Settlers eventually arrived, of course, harvested forested lands, and tried their hands at land- and sea-based farming before the town morphed into its current makeup of a largely residential, summer tourist destination.

According to statistics complied by the Warren Group, the median price for a single-family home in April was $467,500, a 26 percent increase over the prices for a single-family home in April 2003. Recent listings on Realtor.com include $99,500 for a tiny, one-bedroom three-season condominium -- a former rental cabin -- to $3.2 million for a three-bedroom, two-bath beachfront home.

Brierley said she can recall the day in the early 1990s when an Eastham property first crossed the $500,000 threshold. "We were all hysterical, laughing our heads off" at what seemed to be a foolish act, she said. "But now we are seeing $3 million [listings]. Things have changed so much."

JOHN ELLEMENT

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