Onset is an historic Victorian waterfront community in the Town of Wareham Massachusetts on the shores of Buzzards Bay. Built in the 1800s as a self-sufficient resort community most of the original storefronts and cottages remain, allowing it to retain the Victorian charm of the era.
Its location on Buzzards Bay offers pristine beaches, excellent kayaking, biking, fishing and boating opportunities and beautiful vistas every where you look. The water is within a short walk from everywhere in the Village.
Only 45 miles from Boston and Providence, it's an easy drive that bypasses the heavy traffic associated with crossing the Sagamore and Bourne bridges. But for visitors who also want to visit the sites on the Main Cape, it's only 2 miles from the Cape Cod Canal and its lovely bike trails.
Onset is a thriving summer resort with a downtown village shopping area, restaurants, inns, cafes, icecream shops, antiques, and summer rental cottages.
The beach draws thousands of visitors every day during the summer who enjoy the Victorian charm and low key atmosphere of the area. There is something for everyone here -whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, an old-fashioned family vacation, or you enjoy fishing, boating, taking a canal cruise or bike/hike the many trails.
Onset Village hosts so many events throughout the year - the New Year's dip in January, the annual Easter Egg Hunt, the Escape the Cape Triathlon and Kayak Poker Run in June, Summer of Love Music Series, Fireworks, Onset Bay Movie Company Thursday night movies, Illumination Night, Onset Blues and Cape Verdean festivals are just some of the events that make the Village great for visitors and residents year round.
From it's early days Onset has attracted summer inhabitants. First as a summer fishing ground for Native Americans, then as a summer respite for religious spiritualists.
In 1848 it started to flourish as a summer resort when trains arrived from Boston to carry industrial goods to market, thus introducing Bostonians and other urban dwellers to Onset.
Cottage and hotels were built and as more transportation options grew, so did the population. Tourists arrived daily by train, sailboat, and steamers.
Onset was once a major terminus for the old side wheeler steamboat ferries. The route included New Bedford, Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Hotels in operation at that time were the Oak Crest and Anchor Inn on Onset Ave (featured in the movie "Kennedy's of Massachusetts" and still around today), restaurants, theaters, and the Casino where the likes of Tommy Dorsey, Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington played. The bathing pavilion had the capacity to rent 1,000 woolen suits to bathers, comfortable dressing rooms and large Turkish towels
259 Onset Avenue, 508.295.2343
Grand Opening! This private, volunteer-operated library formerly location of the local Girl Scouts, is now accepting donations of books, sponsors and in-kind donations. Free computers and wifi. Plus a children's area, reading room, and meeting space. Plus fishing gear for lend! Landscaped outdoor space and convenient location make this a must-visit location. Call for hours of operation.
A short walk from the library on Crescent is the On-I-Set Wigwam. With the inscription "Dedicated to the Redmen" above the entrance, this is the site of many spiritual meetings, drum sessions, classes and a Summer Festival. Check them out online at www.onisetwigwam.com
Onset Bay Association has complimentary Historic Tour Map. It's a self-guided walking tour that stops at several points of interest throughout the Village.
Pictured here is the Union Villa - as it was at the turn of the century and as it stands today. The former inn is now condos and the location of the OBA office.
Visit the Onser Harbor Master on the Pier for tide charts, and regulations for boating and shell fishing in the area.