From the Boston Globe

Boston Globe, 6/20/2004


42 Valley Road, West Yarmouth MA. At $5,995,000, this property is the most expensive offering in West Yarmouth MA.

Bass Hole boardwalk, Yarmouth MA. (Globe photos)

Miles from Boston: 75
Population: 24,807
Median house price: $350,000
Tax rate: $6.67 per thousand
Transportation: The H20 Line is run by the Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority and travels between Hyannis and Orleans on Route 28. There is a Yarmouth summer shuttle run by CCRTA that travels between the town's south side beaches and Route 28.
Best things: Beaches, recreation areas, senior citizens' programs
Worst things: Traffic on Route 28
MCAS: Yarmouth shares a regional school district with Dennis. The Dennis-Yarmouth district ranked 147 of 210 school districts in 2003, behind Falmouth (45), tied with Bourne, and ahead of Hull (179). Sixty-nine percent of 10th graders scored proficient or advanced in English, and 58 percent scored proficient or advanced in math.
Census facts: 30.1 percent of the population is 65 or older; median age is 49.
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It seems out of character that Gothic book writer and illustrator Edward Gorey spent his final years in a Victorian home on Yarmouth's Strawberry Lane, across from a peaceful green surrounded by white clapboard houses and a short drive from Bass Hole, with its small sand beach and long boardwalk that reaches across marsh and blue water into Cape Cod Bay.

But Yarmouth is a bit idiosyncratic. Parts of Route 28 are a harried, congested line of putt-putt golf courses, motels, and fried seafood restaurants. Off the main road, though, are quiet neighborhoods, a dozen beaches, 60 ponds, and three golf courses.

The town is comprised of five villages: Yarmouth, Yarmouth Port, West Yarmouth, South Yarmouth, and Bass River. The town extends from Cape Cod Bay on the north to Nantucket Sound on the south. As a destination that relies heavily on summer tourism, "The general rule of thumb is that the population doubles" during the tourist season, said Town Administrator Robert C. Lawton Jr.

One-third of Yarmouth is owned by the town, including beaches, conservation land, two 18-hole and one nine-hole golf courses, and the majority of the perimeter of 50-acre Dennis Pond. A new $600,000 bathhouse at Bass River Beach ($70,000 was contributed by the state) will be completed by the end of this month.

"A lot of stuff is waiting for final design and approval," said Lawton, including a new marina on Parkers River, a new fire station, and additions for the Department of Public Works.

In fiscal year 2004, a $900,000 override allowed the town to add 13 firefighters to the force, expanding the department from two to three fully staffed stations. Lawton and the fire chief hope that funds will be allocated to construct a firehouse within five or six years.

By 1639, when Yarmouth -- originally named Mattacheese -- was incorporated, the area had already been occupied by generations of native peoples, including the Wampanoags, Pawkunnawkuts, and Hokanums. The original English settlers were farmers, and with rich fishing grounds (including vast quantities of "Cape Cod turkey," i.e., lobster), woods full of game, and good soil for planting, the harvests were abundant and residents rarely went hungry. In 1763, a smallpox epidemic wiped out the small remaining native population and their lands were sold to Quakers.

Today, Yarmouth's wealth is in its location. Land and home values have soared. Single-family home prices have doubled in the past four years, rising from $148,950 in 2000 to $304,000 in April 2004.


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