The Harbor Overlook is in the heart of the Hyannis HyArts Cultural District, located along the Walkway-to-the-Sea through the Hyannis Village Green, providing a picturesque setting for visitors to stroll to and from Main Street and the Harbor front.
The Harbor Overlook is a relaxing spot to catch your breath and take in the sights and sounds of the Hyannis Inner Harbor working waterfront. The Harbor Overlook includes five artist shanties and The Snack Shack, where visitors can experience a taste of Cape Cod and meet local entrepreneurs who are both visual and culinary artists, taking inspiration from Cape Cod’s natural resources.
These artist shanties were constructed in 2018 and are steps away from the flagship Hyannis HyArts artist shanty program at Bismore Park. The shanty program provides opportunities for local artists and artisans to work and sell in affordable ‘seaside studios’ and greet visitors from around the world. Artists rotate weekly throughout the season.
The program, which first started in 2005 with just 11 artists, has expanded to now include nearly 100 artists who rotate throughout the season, displaying their work at two locations along the Walkway-to-the-Sea: Bismore Park/180 Ocean Street and Harbor Overlook/51 Ocean Street.
Artist Shanties Continued
The Artist Shanties are a must stop on your way to or from Hyannis Main Street. Discover Cape Cod creatives working and selling their hand-made, crafted and designed wares in these colorful seaside studios. Artwork featured in these shanties involve a variety of different medias. This includes everything from ceramics, mosaics, and woodworking to fiber art, paintings, jewelry and more. Anyone is free to browse without charge and has the opportunity to purchase an artwork that captivates them and helps support the local creative economy.
Bismore Park shanties are named according to the town’s seven villages and each shanty's exterior at Bismore Park features past and present images of their respective villages while the Harbor Overlook shanties are named after town beaches.
The program, which first started in 2005 with just 11 artists, has now expanded include nearly 100 artists who rotate throughout the season, displaying their work at two locations along the Walkway-to-the-Sea: Bismore Park/180 Ocean Street and Harbor Overlook/51 Ocean Street.
The Snack Shack at the Harbor Overlook is a pop-up location that is available to rent by food service providers. Encouraging up and coming food vendors to test the waters in downtown Hyannis and providing each participant with direct grant funds, promotes local food-based entrepreneurship.
History of Harbor Overlook
Harbor Overlook once supported three houses including one owned by the Bismore Family. Ralph P. Bismore, a Barnstable High School graduate and World War II soldier in the Army Air Corps, rented rooms to locals along with renting one with his wife (1940 census).
The Old Colony railroad originally operated in southern New England in the 1800’s. In 1854 the tracks were extended to Hyannis Port to a stone wharf where a steamer would bring rail passengers to Nantucket. The station was located at the end of the Wharf near what is now Harbor Road. Remnants of the Old Colony Railroad wharf remain there today which can be viewed while walking along from Keyes Memorial Beach. Operation of the Old Colony Railroad on Cape Cod ended in 1972. With the invention of the automobile, Old Colony Road replaced the railroad tracks.
To the right of the Harbor Overlook, across from Town Hall, South Street entrance, is the Hyannis Armory (225 South St). Built in 1958, it is where President-elect John F. Kennedy gave his acceptance speech on November 9, 1960, on the morning after his election.
On the other side of Town Hall is the HyArts Campus and the Guyer Barn. This restored 1865 barn serves as a community art space with year-round exhibits, art classes/workshops and demonstrations. Exhibitions feature established and emerging artists. The Guyer Barn is an important part on the campus of town owned buildings-the HyArts Campus which includes artist housing and work studios/gallery on the corner of Pearl and South Streets. Artist studios/gallery are open to the public year-round. Hours vary according to the season.
HyArts Campus Continued
Welcoming visitors to the campus is TIDES, by ceramic artist Steven Kemp. “On Cape Cod Bay, with its 9-foot tidal surge, the rise and fall of the tides sculpt the sand into furrows that fork, split, reconnect and vary in width and depth, building endless variations on a theme. As an artist, I ask myself "How can I use this?" I plaster cast these tidal sand patterns and bring the castings back to my studio to freeze the ephemeral.”
Diagonally across from Harbor Overlook is Aselton Park. Visitors can follow the Walkway-to-the-Sea through Aselton to and from Hyannis Inner Harbor. The space itself provides a delightful view of the harbor and is frequently used for a variety of programs and events throughout the year. Along the walkway in the park is “Buoyed Coasts”, consisting of lobster buoys mounted on 12’-19’ poles in ornamental grass beds. The buoys frame the harbor and create a display of color, light and kinetic motion drawing activity and attention to Aselton Park.
Aselton Park Continued
They once served as an advocacy piece, creating awareness around the critical state of coastal water quality in the area. In 2006, the project focused on the nitrogen run-off problem threatening the Cape’s marine ecology. The color of the buoys represented the levels of water quality in the Northeast in 2006. The project highlights a pressing need for each visitor and resident to consider how their day-to-day actions affect water quality. The Town of Barnstable has been a leader in making changes to improve water quality by planning for future growth of the town. Through planning and expansion of the Town sewer system and concentrating new growth where sewers already exist, the town of Barnstable leads this effort Cape-wide.
Aselton Park Continued
On the performing arts stage, there are two sheds with four colorful images, “Local Snapshot”: This portrait series celebrates our Cape Cod culture: the unique, hard-working, creative and fun-loving nature of our locals including a portrait of Brandon & Justin Madison, twin brothers, both commercial lobster fishermen, whose shirts in the portrait display each of their captains: Bro Cote and Pete Brown. The captains were a source of inspiration teaching the Madison brothers’ the trade and cultivating their passion for work at sea.
At the base of Aselton park is the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, with a main gallery, boat shed and shop, a working exhibit space for traditional and contemporary boat building.
Barnstable Town Hall
Barnstable Town Hall has views of both thriving Hyannis Main Street and active Hyannis Harbor, connecting these two vital areas of the local economy and promoting development through policy, creativity and partnerships with local professionals, businesses and organizations.
Barnstable Town Hall is located at the base of the Hyannis Village Green. Formerly the State Normal School, Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Middle School Annex, Town Hall has functioned as municipal offices since 1979.
Harbor Overlook - Along the Walkway-to-the-Sea
It is easy to Park and Walk in downtown Hyannis. Plenty of metered and free public parking lots all steps away from Main Street and Hyannis Harbor. Right next to the Harbor Overlook is the Town Hall lot, free parking up to six hours. It is steps to Hyannis Main Street, HyArts Campus, Hyannis Village Green, Harbor Overlook and Hyannis Harbor and Bismore Park.
While You're Here
Spend art-FULL days in downtown Hyannis! ArtsBarnstable invites you to explore the Hyannis HyArts Cultural District. You can walk to Hyannis Harbor, area beaches and stroll the mile long Hyannis Main Street with over 40 restaurants and 150 local shops. Museums, memorials, library, walking trails, smile spots and more! Get a taste of local art with a stroll through the colorful artist shanties. Stop by the HyArts Campus at the corner of Pearl and South Street and visit the Cultural Center of Cape Cod Hyannis Annex at Guyer Barn.
Hyannis is one of seven villages in the town of Barnstable. While here, ArtsBarnstable invites you to explore arts and cultural gems in all of our charming villages each with their own flavor of shops, restaurants, cultural offerings, all with seaside charm! Discover the Town of Barnstable and all it has to offer! The seven villages include: Barnstable, Centerville, Cotuit, Hyannis, Marstons Mills, Osterville, and West Barnstable.
HyArts Cultural District
Located in the thriving Cape Cod seaside village of Hyannis, the HyArts Cultural District provides a wide array of arts and cultural experiences with outdoor activities, self-guided walking trails, museums, galleries, community art spaces, public art, shopping, dining, live music, festivals and so much more. Everything to have art-full days, year-round!