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Hyannis was named for the Native American sachem Iyanno, who sold the area for 20 pounds and two pairs of pants. Perhaps he would have sold it for far more had there been any indication that Hyannis would become known as the "home port of Cape Cod" or that the Kennedys would pitch so many tents here. Hyannis is effectively the transportation center of the Cape: it's near the airport, and ferries depart here for Nantucket and (in season) Martha's Vineyard. The busy roads feeding into the town are lined with a few of the same big-box stores you'd find anywhere.
A bustling year-round hub of activity, Hyannis has the Cape's largest concentration of businesses, shops, malls, hotels and motels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Main Street is lined with used-book and gift shops, jewelers, clothing stores, summer-wear and T-shirt shops, and ice-cream and candy stores. The street can have a somewhat forlorn, down-at-the-heels feeling, as the malls outside downtown have taken their toll on business, but there are plenty of good-fun and fancy eateries here.
Perhaps best known for its association with the Kennedy clan, the Hyannis area was also a vacation site for President Ulysses S. Grant in 1874 and later for President Grover Cleveland. Today Hyannis is making an effort to preserve its historical connection with the sea. By 1840 more than 200 shipmasters had established homes in the Hyannis-Hyannis Port area. Aselton Park (at the intersection of South and Ocean streets) and the Village Green on Main Street are the sites of events celebrating this history, and Aselton Park marks the starting point of the scenic Walkway to the Sea, which extends to the dock area.
Hyannis at a Glance
- Cape Cod Potato Chips Factory
- John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum
- John F. Kennedy Memorial
- Kalmus Park Beach
- Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra
- The British Beer Company
- Bud's Country Lounge
- Cape Cod Melody Tent
- Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra
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