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History of Corn Hill Cottages in Truro

Jennie Sparrow | 10/23/2019 (updated 1/24/2020)

Summering on Cape Cod has been a family tradition for generations. And there’s some interesting history when it comes to vacationing in the magnificent Outer Cape town of Truro.

Almost 400 years ago, before settling in Plymouth, the Pilgrims arrived in Provincetown Harbor and stayed briefly before sailing south and sending a party out to explore an area now known as Corn Hill in Truro. The area earned its name because the Pilgrims found a winter store of corn that had been buried there by the natives. They helped themselves to the stash, which enabled them to survive their first winter. A plaque at the base of Corn Hill commemorates the event. The inscription reads, “Sixteen pilgrims led by Miles Standish, William Bradford, Stephen Hopkins and Edward Tilley found the precious indian corn on this spot which they called Corn Hill, November 16th 1620. And sure it was gods good providence that we found this corn for else we know not how we should have done.”

corn hill cottage truro cape cod waterfront

A group of Victorian-age Bostonians built the present day Corn Hill Cottages on the hill more than 100 years ago as a seaside resort. There is little wonder as to why the city folk chose this particular spot. Not only does it have an interesting history, but the location is heavenly. Perched on cliffs 75 feet above Cape Cod Bay, this colony of cottages offers breathtaking views. Almost every town from Provincetown to Plymouth can be seen from here. Something extra special about this spot, since the cottages face the west, are the magnificent sunsets over the water.

truro corn hill cottages vintage old

Stepping inside the cottages is like taking a step back in time. Exposed wood, uneven floorboards that creak underfoot, and windows outfitted with thin, cotton curtains blowing in the gentle sea breezes . . . all of it, sun, sand, sea, and the sensation of many years past . . . is quintessential, olde Cape Cod.