Cape Cod Travel

5 things to do when visiting Harwich

From the beach to the trail to a lavender farm.

The view from the outdoor patio of Brax Landing on Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich. Kristi Palma / Boston.com

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Emily Mitchell, a lifelong resident of Harwich and town clerk since May, says Harwich is a Cape Cod town that has it all.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Mitchell said. “We have the culture, we have the history, we have the beaches, we have the conservation areas, we have the plays and the community centers. It’s a good place for people of all ages with every type of interest.”

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Harwich has seven villages for guests to explore: East Harwich, Harwich Center, Harwich Port, North Harwich, Pleasant Lake, South Harwich, and West Harwich.

The town is gearing up for its annual Harwich Cranberry Arts & Music Festival, taking place Sept. 17-18, which celebrates the town’s cranberry history.

“Harwich was the first town where there was any commercial sale of cranberries,” she said.

Ahead, Mitchell offers her picks for what to see and do in Harwich.

Lavender from the Cape Cod Lavender Farm. Kristi Palma/Boston.com

1. Explore a lavender farm

The Cape Cod Lavender Farm, which sits on 11 acres and is surrounded by more than 75 acres of conservation land, is a real gem, said Mitchell. The farm, which opened in 1995, has more than 7,000 plants.

“It’s this long-standing family farm that’s still free to visit,” she said. “I love going in the summer when the lavender is in bloom and they’re harvesting. I really enjoy their local products made from their lavender onsite.”

The store sells everything from candles to body wash to teddy bears.

The farm is open to the public between March and December.

2. Walk a trail

Mitchell enjoys walking Harwich Conservation Trust trails on the weekend. The nonprofit, which has been preserving land in Harwich since 1988, offers more than 10 miles of trails on more than 600 acres.

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She particularly enjoys the Pleasant Bay Woodlands and Isabel Smith Monomoy River Conservation Lands trails, which are near each other so she can experience them both in one trip.

The family-friendly trails are well marked, easily accessible, and offer parking, she said.

“It’s a great two-in-one walk that’s really enjoyable,” she said.

Red River Beach in Harwich. Emily Mitchell – Emily Mitchell

3. Hit the beach

Mitchell’s favorite beach in town is Red River Beach.

“I always think of Red River as kind of the most quintessential beachy beach,” she said. “It’s a long stretch of beautiful sand with jetties going out into the water.”

The beach is handicap accessible, has restrooms, a bike rack, ample parking, and a food truck in the summer. Guests without a sticker can buy a day pass right at the beach, Mitchell said.

“It’s a great place to take a long walk, bring a bite to eat, or enjoy the sunset,” she said.

4. Eat dinner with a view

Brax Landing is the perfect restaurant for enjoying the local scenery along with the local food, Mitchell said.

The year-round restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating and serves everything from lobster rolls to stuffed quahogs to burgers to salads.

“They have the most beautiful outdoor patio that’s right on Saquatucket Harbor, so you can see the boats coming in and the beautiful water,” she said. “You couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to sit and enjoy food or a drink.”

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Check out the menu.

Oysters served at The Port Restaurant & Bar in Harwich. Kristi Palma/Boston.com

5. Reader recommendations

Food and beverage:

3 Monkeys@melissa.schirmer

Perks Coffee Shop & Beer Garden@bostonbeantown

Brax Landing@dariveter

Cape Roots Market & Cafe — @lizcon

Cape Sea Grille@lizcon

Ember Pizza@amacattack12

George’s Pizza House @idemops

Schoolhouse Ice Cream@lizcon

The Port Restaurant & Bar@koleary10, @geoffevan

The Weatherdeck Restaurant @emmymcsan

Activities:

Bank Street Beach@bostonbeantown

Bell’s Neck Conservation Lands@jeanchunt, @lizcon

Below the Brine Bookshop@lizziehag

Bud’s Go-Karts @lizcon

Cape Cod Rail Trail@jeanchunt, @suz_finsta

Pleasant Road Beach@timg213

Port Summer Nights @amacattack12

Red River Beach@dariveter, @amacattack12

Sand Pond Woodlands @lizcon

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