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25 miles E of Sandwich; 31 miles S of Provincetown

One of the "youngest" of the Cape towns, Brewster -- named for the Pilgrim leader William Brewster -- dissociated itself from Harwich in 1803, the better to enjoy its newfound riches as a hotbed of the shipping industry. All along the winding curves of the Old King's Highway (now Rte. 6A), successful captains erected scores of proud houses -- 99 in all, according to the local lore. When Henry David Thoreau passed through in the mid-1850s, he remarked: "This town has more mates and masters of vessels than any other town in the country."

Brewster still gives the impression of setting itself apart, mostly free of the commercial encroachments that have plagued the Cape's southern shore. The 380-acre condo-and-golf complex known as Ocean Edge, on what was once a huge private estate, is a premier resort destination. Brewster also welcomes the tens of thousands of transient campers and day-trippers who arrive each summer to enjoy the nearly 2,000 wooded acres of Nickerson State Park.