Originally settled as a northeastern parish of Harwich in 1656, Brewster separated in 1693 and was officially incorporated in 1803. The town was named after Elder William Brewster, and English official, Mayflower passenger and Separatist leader and preacher in Plymouth Colony. Early commerce was driven by the grist mill, originally located across the street from the current mill at Stony Brook. Brewster also has a rich seafaring history and is decorated with historic 19th-century homes built by wealthy sea captains.
Brewster is bordered on the north by Cape Cod Bay, on the west by Dennis, on the south by Harwich, and on the east by Orleans. The town shares the largest pond on Cape Cod, Long Pond, with Harwich and is home to the largest state forest on the Cape, Roland C. Nickerson State Forest Park. The Cape Cod Rail Trail, as well as several other bicycle trails, pass through the town. Brewster is also home to the Villages at Ocean Edge. Ocean Edge is located on a 429-acre estate, this upscale resort backs up to Cape Cod Bay.
Brewster is characterized by its history, culture and natural beauty. Old sea captains’ homes now serve as inns and restaurants. Galleries featuring fine art and antiques provide shopping, while museums, theaters, beaches and parks provide activities and sightseeing. Brewster has its own police and fire departments. There is a single post office near the geographic center of town, as well as the Brewster Ladies’ Library, a 50,000-volume library. The Long Pond Medical Center serves the medical needs of the town, as well as the southeastern corner of the Cape.
The Nauset Regional School District includes Brewster, along with Eastham, Orleans and Wellfleet. Stony Brook Elementary School teaches students in kindergarten through second grade. Eddy Elementary School serves grades three through five. Nauset Middle School in Orleans and Nauset Regional High School in North Eastham cover middle and high school for the system. The Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in East Harwich provides an alternative option for middle school students from Brewster, while private schools The Family School and The Laurel School serve elementary students. High school students may attend Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, free of charge.
Brewster is home to a wealth of art galleries featuring a wide range of art born on Cape Cod. Museums, including the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and Brewster Historical Museum, along with a litany of antique shops offer visitors and residents a line to Brewster’s past. The Cape Cod Repertory Theatre has been providing creative and professionally executed plays and musicals to theatergoers since 1986. The Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League has nurtured many current and former major league baseball stars.