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Mattapoisett and Marion’s whale of a history

The view of Mattapoisett Harbor from Water Street in town. Across Buzzards Bay is Falmouth and Woods Hole. LAUREN DALEY FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE/Lauren Daley

MATTAPOISETT — Go East, young man. (And woman.)

And just before you reach Cape Cod, you’ll find, nestled together on the shores of Buzzards Bay, the quaint seaside villages of Mattapoisett and Marion.

Sister villages, you almost can’t mention one without the other, and combined, they make the perfect day trip — slices of Cape Cod without the traffic.

The area smacks of Old New England, Yankee fishing villages with narrow streets, tall proud homes, and gulls o’er the rooftops. They are exactly the type of places where the snow stays white, even on the main streets, and nobody needs a parking saver.


If you’re looking to flee the congestion of the city or the headaches of the MBTA, you may want to head to where you can see the open waters of Buzzards Bay.


Start out at Uncle Jon’s Coffee & Cafe, where the muffins are made daily from scratch and the micro-roasted coffee smells like heaven. There are two locations, in Marion and in Mattapoisett, but the Marion location is a bigger, comfier spot to linger over brunch with a newspaper. Grab a warm chocolate chip muffin or vegan breakfast sandwich with hummus, tomato, and sprouts on a croissant. 350 Front St., Marion. 508-748-0063, unclejonscoffees.com

For classic breakfast fare, head to Panino’s for apple-stuffed French toast, strawberry-banana or apple-walnut pancakes, waffles with berries and whipped cream, cheesy omelets with home fries and toast, or a country breakfast with ham, eggs, beans, home fries, and cornbread. 33 County Road, Mattapoisett 508-758-2700, paninosmattapoisett.com

Nick’s Homemade Pizza is beloved by locals and tourists alike. Pop in for a slice of Fenway or Tropical Chicken, or baked ziti, sirloin tips or hot eggplant Parmesan grinder among dozens of offerings, plus beer and wine. 27 County Road, Mattapoisett. 508-758-2277, nickshomemadepizza.com


Another spot loved by locals is Turk’s Seafood Restaurant and Sushi Bar. Depending on what you crave, enter on either side: the restaurant offers lobster quesadillas, Portuguese-style littlenecks with chourico, pan-roasted day-boat scallops, captain’s cut haddock, or swordfish pizzaiola with fresh tomatoes. The sushi bar’s extensive fare includes sweet potato maki, orange soy lobster summer rolls, Snow Over Tokyo, or the Alaskan roll. There’s also a sake menu. 83 Marion Road, Mattapoisett. 508-758-3117 (restaurant), 508-758-3113 (sushi bar), turksseafood.com

Named for the old Wampanoag name for the area that became Marion, The Sippican Cafe offers up the bounty of the area, from linguica-stuffed quahogs and chargrilled Atlantic salmon to the Sippican cheeseburger. 167 Spring St., Marion. 508-748-0176, sippicancafe.com

If you’re planning a trip in April, taste the nostalgia at Oxford Creamery, a lifted-from-a-postcard roadside creamery and restaurant. Fish and chips, lobster rolls, quahog chowder, and extra-thick coffee frappes are staples, besides, of course, the ice cream cones. (Opens in April; call ahead to check.) 98 County Road, Mattapoisett. 508-758-3847, oxfordcreamery.com


Inside Isabelle’s gift shop in Mattapoisett are whimsy, charm, and seafood cooking aids.

At The Ropewalk, the collective name for a cluster of wonder-filled shops. (33 County Road, Mattapoisett), you’ll find a toyshop from a storybook in No Kidding! No shoot-em-up video games or Bratz dolls here, but plenty of colorful blocks, jigsaw puzzles, train sets, Legos, model dinosaurs, stuffed animals, planetariums, glow-in-the-dark solar systems, learn-to-count toys, magnet sets, circuit board experiments, light-up globes, ant farms, art supplies, and books, books, books. 508-758-3323. nokiddingtoys.com


Next door is Isabelle’s, a whimsical gift shop that oozes coastal charm, from driftwood iPhone docking stations to Himalayan salt cooking blocks for grilling seafood. 508-758-7960. Check Panache for unique and indie brand women’s clothing, jewelry, and jaunty scarves. 508-758-9622.

Town Wharf General Store has that quaint old Yankee fishing port general store vibe, but is chock-full of modern made-in-New England goods: organic coffee beans, gourmet whole-leaf teas, fresh baguettes and chocolate croissants, plus raw blueberry-patch honey, candles, soaps, ceramics, totes, rope wreaths, and, it is said, the best sunset in town. 10 Water St., Mattapoisett. 508-758-4615, townwharfgeneralstore.com

For milk-glazed terra-cotta pasta bowls to nautical-themed jewelry like mermaid bangles or handmade silver anchor pendants, head to Serendipity by the Sea for a unique collection of beach-inspired gifts. 160 Front St., Marion. 508-748-1800, serendipitybythesea.net

And for beach-inspired home items, there’s Dean Ross Home, offering baby blankets to body milk, linen napkins to lemon bowls. 148 Front St, Marion. 508-748-0411, deanrosshome.com

Antiquers, see what’s in show down the road at Marion Antique Shop. Exactly what’s in show, of course, is ever-changing, but you may find books, glass, China, paintings, silver, and, often, nautical antiques such as compasses, harpoons, or whale’s teeth. 335 Wareham Road., Marion. 508-748-3606. marionantiques.com


The best part of this area is it’s natural beauty: the mouth of the harbor, the expanse of ocean, the wharf, the boats, the gulls. Explore the beaches. Smell the ocean. Look for sea glass. Skip rocks. Take photos. Bring your dog, your bike, your kids. Bring a football, a Frisbee, a kite. Or just bring a cup of coffee and a look out over the water.


Mattapoisett’s Water Street, in particular, is gorgeous, no matter the time of year, with ocean views along the entire length. Ned’s Point at Veterans Memorial Park is a stunning swath of shore and meadow to picnic or toss a football, fly a kite, windsurf, or watch the sun go down beyond majestic Ned’s Point Light. Built during the heyday of the whaling era, circa 1838, the stone tower at the entrance to Mattapoisett Harbor is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Grounds are open to the public daily until sunset. End of Ned’s Point Road, Mattapoisett.

Another Mattapoisett landmark is the near 40-foot seahorse at the intersection of Route 6 and North Street. Dubbed “Salty the Seahorse” by locals, the roadside icon stands near Dunseith Gardens — a playground, garden, and nature walk maintained by the Mattapoisett Land Trust. 38 North St., Mattapoisett. mattlandtrust.org


Make a weekend of it by booking a room on picturesque Water Street. The Mattapoisett Inn has a tremendous view of the town wharf and whaling-era homes. Amenities include breakfast, fresh flowers, chocolates, and Wi-Fi. 23 Water St., Mattapoisett. 508-758-9733, themattapoisettinn.com

The Inn on Shipyard Park is a hybrid of a pub and inn, harking back to the inns of those old whaling days. Feel free to pop in for live music and a few pints, dine on chicken pot pie, sauteed scallops, or fish tacos, swing by for lunch or Sunday brunch — or stay the night in a room with a view. Amenities include Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV, private baths. 13 Water St., Mattapoisett. 508-758-4922. theinnonthepark.com


Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com.

Correction: Because of a reporting error, the name of The Ropewalk shopping plaza was incorrect in an earlier version of this story.