Each month we’re going to shine a little light on a different town here on Cape Cod to give you some background and highlights you may want to note for your next visit to Brewster By the Sea Inn. Located in charming Brewster, MA, our idyllic and comfy B&B is surrounded by historical and scenic seaside towns. Last month we highlighted Brewster. This month, our focus is Chatham!
Everyone who visits Cape Cod should definitely carve out some time to visit Chatham, a quaint New England seaside village with lots of history, walkable streets lined with shops and restaurants to explore, a famous fishing pier, and the Chatham Lighthouse. More broadly, the town of Chatham is surrounded by water on three sides, so there are many beaches to visit. For all you swimmers, the water is warmer in Chatham than the beaches on the National Seashore.
Chatham is one of the Cape’s oldest towns. The original settlers, William and Anne Busby Nickerson, decided to make this part of the Cape their home in 1656. Many of the Nickerson’s’ descendants are still here today, so it’s a name you will most likely see or hear during your visit. The town was incorporated in 1712 with both agriculture and fishing as its early industries.
Chatham residents love their history! There is a wonderful cooperative effort, Historic Chatham, among the museums and historical organizations, whose tag line is, “Every historic site is scenic! And Every scenic spot has some fascinating history!” A few of the notable spots are the Atwood House & Museum, Marconi-Wireless Museum, Chatham Railroad Museum, Chatham Lighthouse, Chatham Windmill, Caleb Nickerson House, Eldredge Public Library, and Mayo House. Historic Chatham has also developed a smartphone tour, eTourChatham, to be your own personal virtual tour guide!
There are a lot of nooks and crannies to explore on the Chatham’s beaches! Lighthouse Beach is located in town and is easily accessible after a few hours of downtown shopping. However, please be careful as there are a few places off limits to swimming due to strong currents and seal populations. As romantic as it may seem, never swim with the seals! Seals attract sharks, so there are often several shark sightings during the season.
The other in-town beach is Oyster Pond, a very swimmable spot to relax after seeing Chatham’s interesting sites. Two other favorite beaches, which are located in west and south Chatham, are Ridgevale Beach and Harding Beach, where you can take a break from your beach reading and walk along the shore to a picturesque privately-owned Lighthouse, Stage Harbor Light.
In addition to lovely beach walks, The Cape Cod Rail Trail extends down to Chatham and meanders past our local airport, where you can grab a bite of lunch while watching small planes take off and land! Chatham is also a mecca for Harbor and gray seals, which can regularly be seen resting on exposed jetties during low tide. There are several companies which offer Seal Tours – Beachcomber and Monomoy Island Ferry – which offers a great way to spend a few hours and see Chatham from the water.
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge is a 3,000 acre refuge which encompasses North and South Monomoy Islands. The Refuge Headquarters is located within a mile or so of the Chatham Lighthouse.
The Chatham Fish Pier and the Fisherman’s Monument
The Chatham Fish Pier is a working commercial pier where the fishing fleet bring in their daily catch starting around noon each day. The fish are quickly placed on ice and transported to New York, Boston, and New Bedford, arriving less than 24 hours from the time they’re fished from the ocean. There is a fabulous visitors’ balcony, where you can watch the fisherman unload their catch and give a few morsels to the seals circling around the boats hoping for scraps.
Kate Gould Park and the Chatham Bandstand
In the center of town is a special spot, the Kate Gould Park and the Chatham Bandstand. For the past 50 years, the Chatham Band has been entertaining generations of summer vacationers. Be sure to check them out on Friday nights in July and August for a fun, old-fashioned, nostalgic night of music and dancing – something not to be missed! If music is your thing, you’ll also enjoy the Summer Concert Series on Wednesday evenings at 6:00pm in July.
Shopping, Galleries and Antique stores
Chatham is very well known for its shops, galleries, and antique stores. You can easily spend an entire day meandering from one end of town to the other, poking in and out of art galleries, bakeries, coffee shops, gift stores and more. There are plenty of unique souvenirs and gifts to find.
The Monomoy Theater has a full season planned for this Summer, including Guys & Dolls, Little Shop of Horrors, As You Like It, Lost in Yonkers, and You Can’t’ Take It with You. For the latest Blockbusters, visit the Chatham Orpheum, a wonderful movie theater with a full bar and dinner menu!
One thing is certain, you will not go hungry in Chatham! From casual fare to fine dining and everything in between, you will find it all here! Here are a few to try:
- Del Mar Bar & Bistro (Progressive food combinations in keeping with Cape Cod’s location)
- Blue Fin Sushi & Sake Bar (modern, energetic atmosphere)
- Chatham Bars Inn, The Beach House (one of the few places to dine on the beach on Cape Cod)
- Chatham Bars Inn, Stars Restaurant (fine dining)
- The Chatham Squire (great local spot)
- The Impudent Oyster
- The Wild Goose Tavern
- Mom & Pops Burgers (Great local spot for “fast food”)
- Kreme & Kone (Clam shack – fried food and ice cream)
As you can see, Chatham is a town worth visiting, and conveniently located just 20 minutes from Brewster By the Sea Inn. Book your stay with us today for a summer getaway complete with comfort, relaxation, scenic surroundings, and a piece of New England’s rich maritime history!