Pleasant Lake

It is the only one of the seven Harwich villages that doesn't bear the name "Harwich" and because of this visitors might assume the area comprising Pleasant Lake is part of North Harwich to its west, East Harwich to its east, or even an extension of Harwich Center to its south. If they know the name at all, they might think it's a separate entity entirely. In any case, Pleasant Lake is perhaps the least known of the Harwich villages.

The village of Pleasant Lake is situated in a scenic area bordered by Long Pond, Hinckleys (sometimes called Pleasant Lake) and Seymour Ponds off Exit 10 of the Mid Cape Highway (Route 6) only .3 of a mile from Historic Harwich Center. A peaceful, rural community of cranberry bogs and homes, it has wonderful access to swimming, fishing and kayaking on its lovely large ponds. Long Pond, the Cape's largest lake and largest inland body of water, has even served as a landing area and base for seaplanes. A drive along Route 124 gives the visitor a very different feeling than he would have traveling through the more populous neighboring Harwich villages. For several years the famous Helen Keller summered here.

For decades cranberry growing was Pleasant Lake's primary industry and it still remains central to its economy. In days past cranberry growers would box their crop and take it to the nearby railroad depot for shipment. Today a bike path wends its way through scenic vistas where once the railroad tracks carried passengers, mail and cranberries on and off Cape. Bikers now stop for snacks at the historic Pleasant Lake General Store where the bike path intersects Route 124. The old-fashioned store which has been in operation for over 150 years was once a flag station stop on the Old Colony Railroad and housed both the railway station and a post office. On either side of the front door is a bench: one labeled "Republicans," the other "Democrats," which provide popular photo opportunities.

Pleasant Lake is home to the first-rate Cape Cod Technical High School which in addition to 18 technical programs, offers academic training and online courses as well as Continuing Education for adults in a lovely campus setting.

The Harwiches have been served by their own local newspaper for years: the Harwich Independent (1872-1949), succeeded by the Central Cape Press (1949-1958), and the Harwich Oracle since 1989 which has since ceased publication.

For more information contact the Brooks Museum (508) 432-8089 or Brooks Library (508) 430-7562, both located in Harwich Center.

For charming inns and lodging contact the Harwich Chamber of Commerce at (508) 432-1600.

V.E. Laporte