When early European settlers of the Cape Cod area needed something at the store, the only game in town was the Aptucxet Trading Post. Now you can go there too. Built by the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony in order to trade with the Wampanoag Indians and the Dutch, this was definitely the place to go.
Known today as the Aptucxet Trading Post Museum, the structure existing today is a replica of the original foundation which was archaeologically excavated in the 1920’s. Surrounded by 12 acres of recreational land, the museum also features a replica of a 19th-century salt works, the relocated 19th-century Gray Gables Railroad Station, and a wooden smock windmill.
Slow to turn profit, the end of this house came in 1635 when a dramatic hurricane blew the roof of the structure off and left nothing but the posts of the house standing in the ground. Now the gateway to Cape Cod, this home of the nation’s oldest store welcomes travelers over the Bourne Bridge.
Now a small open-air historical museum, Aptucxet Trading Post may have the earliest remains of an original Pilgrim building. The known facts present a fascinating story, not only of an antique building but also of Bourne’s participation in 17th-century events. Historical place and reproduction is on the exact spot where the original trading post stood.
The Aptucxet Museum Complex is officially open for the season. This is for sure a lovely place to spend a few hours, and have your kids experience the six-horse bicycle-powered carousel. The guide in the trading post was an Indian Squaw who was incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the area up to present times.
There’s a great replica of the Trading Post, a salt works, a cool gift shop, a neat trail to the Cape Cod Canal, Gray Gables station built for President Grover cleveland and the Joseph Jefferson Windmill. There’s also nice picnic area where you can watch boat traffic on the canal and enjoy a wonderful day.