Wareham

Welcome to Wareham

THE WAREHAM RIVER, WHICH FLOWS INTO THE EXTREME NORTHWESTERN CORNER OF UPPER BUZZARDS BAY, HAS A RICH MARITIME HISTORY DATING BACK TO PRE-COLONIAL TIMES, WHEN THE WAMPANOAGS USED THE FERTILE WATERWAY AS AN IMPORTANT SUMMER CAMP. THEN, AS NOW, THE ESTUARY TEEMED WITH FISH AND SHELLFISH, AS WELL AS MANY SPECIES OF WATERFOWL.

After sailing up Buzzards Bay on June 14, the gunship anchored near Bird Island, whereupon barges carrying 200 troops were sent up the Wareham River to Long Wharf, where the Narrows Bridge is located today. The soldiers set fire to a cotton factory upriver (now the Tremont Nail Factory site on Elm Street) before proceeding to the house of one Captain Bumpus, where they seized stores of arms and powder. Before departing, the British burned and sank 4 schooners, 5 sloops, a ship at the wharf and a new brig being built at the Fearing Shipyard.

Shortly after European settlement, the Wareham River became a shipbuilding and industrial center that drew the attention of the British during the War of 1812. In 1814, the feared sloop RMS Nimrod was sent to destroy American privateers supposedly berthed in Wareham, then a hotbed of anti-British activity.

These days, the river is a much quieter place, although the town’s boatbuilding legacy continues at Cape Cod Shipbuilding, which builds fiberglass sailboats from 9’ to 44’ in a shop that’s operated since 1885 on the banks of the river. Today the company builds the Rhodes 18, the Bull’s Eye 15 and the Shields 30, among other models. A few miles inland, the Beetle Cat Company continues to service and built these classic wooden catboats.

Modern boaters, whether sailors or powerboaters, will find that Wareham makes a convenient place to launch, moor or dock for the season, as it offers ready access to the Cape Cod Canal, other Buzzards Bay harbors, and the islands. Well-protected Zecco Marina is the only full-service marina and boatyard on the river, and offers floating slips with electric and water, moorings, a fuel dock, ships store, haul-out, pump-out, service and repair, as well as storage. Transient boaters are always welcome.

On the east side of the river is a convenient boat launch at Tempest Knob. The ramp here can accommodate large boats and is accessible on all tides. It also features a tie-up float and ample parking for a daily fee of $5.

The waters near the river mouth offer open stretches for tubing and waterskiing, or simply dropping the hook and hanging out. Many small-boaters and paddlers beach their craft on Long Beach Point, a sandbar that’s exposed at low tide. On fine summer days, the point is crowded with families enjoying the sun and water.

Boaters wishing to take a break from the water can visit Wareham Center. The town has installed a long tie-up float for visitors at the base of the Narrows Bridge, within easy walking distance of the downtown shops and eateries, including the casual Narrows Crossing Restaurant & Lounge, which offers excellent views of the river. On Main Street you’ll find the highly rated Café Soleil, as well as the festive El Mariachi, which specializes in—you guessed it—Mexican cuisine. The nearby Riverside Café is a popular breakfast and lunch nook that serves hearty portions at a good price. And if you’re in the mood for pizza, subs or pasta, head for Minerva Pizzeria, a Wareham Center institution, also on Main.

A good chunk of Wareham boaters are fishermen, which should come as no surprise given its proximity to some excellent fishing waters. Stripers, bluefish, tautog and scup can be taken inside the river itself, as well as throughout Buzzards Bay. Best fishing occurs in the spring and fall—or at night, if you’re so inclined.

Kayakers and paddle boarders will find that Wareham offers some of the best coastal paddling in New England. A convenient launch area with lots of free parking can be found behind the former Tremont Nail Factory buildings, at the head of tide on the Wareham River. From here, paddlers can explore the Wareham River and the adjoining Agawam River, both of which boast herring runs and hold schoolie stripers in the early season.

The nearby Weweantic River is another fantastic spot for paddling, and also serves up good fishing. Paddlers can launch at the free ramp off Rte. 195 and make their way downriver to Cromeset Point, casting to the rocks and marsh banks the entire way.

Getting There

From southern parts of Buzzards Bay or the Cape Cod Canal, head for Great Hill Point, being sure to keep south of RN “2” marking Dry Ledge. Pick up RN “4” and RN “6”. Note that you will have a tight squeeze between RN “6” and GC “7”, the latter marking some nasty rocks off Cromeset Point. Follow the channel markers closely as you head north, and take care to stay west of RN “12”; it marks the tip of Long Beach Point, which is submerged at high tide. A no-wake zone begins at GC “17”. Just north of this buoy, the channel turns to skirt a large, shallow mud flat as you approach Zecco Marina and the bridges.

Harbormaster
(508) 291-3100

Dockage, Moorings & Service

  • Zecco Marina
    (508) 295-0022
    Full-service marina offering laundry, showers, haul-out, repair, WiFi and fuel dock. Transient moorings and slips available. Within easy walking distance of the Main Street shops and restaurants.

Anchorage

  • Boaters can anchor in the shelter of Long Beach Point and outside the channel in 4’ to 5’ of water. This area has good holding ground.

Launch Ramps

  • An all-tide ramp is the Tempest Knob ramp on Oak Street, on the Wareham River. Fee is $5 to launch and park. This 2-lane ramp can accommodate large boats.
  • Paddlers will find a launch area with lots of free parking behind the former Tremont Nail Factory, at the head of tide on the Wareham River.

Where to Eat

  • Café Soleil
    (508) 364-0488
    Intimate and highly rated restaurant on Main Street.
  • Narrows Crossing
    (508) 295-9345
    Casual restaurant and bar overlooking the Wareham River. Specializes in seafood, burgers and sandwiches.
  • Minerva Pizzeria
    (508) 295-3909
    Local institution for pizza, subs, salads and pasta dishes.
  • El Mariachi
    (774) 678-4550
    Lively Mexican restaurant and bar on Main Street.
  • Riverside Café
    (508) 295-2050
    Casual breakfast and lunch spot.

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