Wychmere enjoys a long and storied 117-year history on Cape Cod. From 1892 to 1993, the property housed the historic Snow Inn. The newer building, now the Harbor House, was previously home to legendary Thompson Clam Bar for decades. In 2010 new owners purchased and renovated the entire property to its current splendor, while retaining the elegance and class of this grand dame.
Our multi-use compound spans nearly 20 pristine acres along Wychmere Harbor Channel and Nantucket Sound.
Originally, there was no direct access from Wychmere Harbor to the sea, and the area was known as Salt Water Pond. The fisherman of Harwich attempted to create a passage by hand-digging a channel from the pond to the open water. Unfortunately, the result was little more than a trickle of water, hardly enough to carry a boat. Recognizing the futility, they opted to fill the channel and build a 3/4 mile race track around the pond that was used for horse racing.
In 1889 the state dredged a proper channel, measuring 100 feed wide with jetties on each side. Upon its completion, the fisherman finally had the safe anchorage they were looking for.
Two years later, Levi Edric Snow paid about $250 for a parcel of land at the end on the west side of Salt Water Pond. He built an eight room seaside cottage for his family that was so popular that by the second summer, he had built a 20 room addition and began charging rent.
In 1913 the hotel became a year round business, when Levi’s grandson Biddie was married there and began running it with this wife. The couple had had three sons who would become–The Clam Bar’s “Thompson Brothers.” The boys, all over six feet tall, grew up at the Inn, living in a residence that had been built for them near the dock. They called it Hangover Inn or Spit ‘n Whittle.
After World War II, the family began another business. Line net trawlers began tying up at the dock to have their catch unloaded. The fish, along with clams and lobsters were packed in ice and shipped to Boston and New York. The innkeepers had expanded into wholesale seafood business.
The endless activity on the waterfront attracted onlookers, who began asking about buying the seafood right from the dock. Once again, another business was born, with freshly opened clams being served from the tops of fishing boxes or barrel heads. When retail sales grew to include lobsters, people began asking for them to be cooked and opened. The family again responded to the demand, and transformed their beloved Spit ’n Whittle into the restaurant that became the much beloved Clam Bar.