The Star of India glides through Stage Harbor in Chatham. Photo by John Fitts.
What You Should Know
Known as "the first stop of the East Wind," Chatham's past and present are intertwined with the sea.
Chatham (pop. 6,125) was settled in 1656 when William Nickerson from Yarmouth "purchased" a large parcel of land from the Sachem Mattaquason for the price of a boat. However, it wouldn't be until 1712, after years of legal maneuvering, that the land was incorporated as a town separate from Eastham.
Chatham is a base of the US Weather Service and Chatham Lighthouse is operated by US Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1.
Why You Should Go
Chatham is a very popular town and if you aren't staying there, you will want to plan a day trip. The town is a great combination of history and fun.
Bordering both the Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic, Chatham has first class beaches, especially the Outer Beach, accessible only by boat or oversand vehicle. Seafaring sights include the Fish Pier where you can watch the day's catch come in, Stage Harbor, and the romantic Chatham fog, which rolls in nightly in the summer. With the appearance of great white sharks off Chatham, seal tours have grown in popularity. Many believe the large seal population is attracting the hungry sharks.
Diggin' for dinner on Morris Island with the Chatham Lighthouse in the background. Photo by John Fitts.
Chatham has some wonderful places to walk and bike ride including the Old Colony Rail Trail, a side trip off the Cape Cod Rail Trail. The Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and Morris Island have some wonderful trails through coastal habitats.
If you are interested in maritime history, you are in luck. The Chatham Historical Society operates the Atwood House Museum and offers several exhibits, workshops and lectures all year. The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center houses some fascinating artifacts and exhibits relating to Guglielmo Marconi, wireless communication and the Titanic. Be sure to take a tour of the Chatham Lighthouse and get a fantastic view from the top.
If you are more of a shopper, Chatham's Main Street is home to an impressive assortment of retail stores, and there are plenty of restaurants and watering holes to help keep your strength up.
If the arts are your thing, why not take in a show at the Chatham Drama Guild (year-round) or the Monomoy Theatre (summer). The Creative Arts Center offers workshops and classes and hosts several sales, exhibits and shows throughout the year. Like several of the Cape's other towns, Chatham is home to a Cape Cod Baseball League team—the Chatham Anglers.
Most importantly, the people of Chatham like to have fun and host several festivals and events throughout the year including their giant 4th of July parade, holiday celebration in December and of course, First Night Chatham. Where else could you see cod drop at the stroke of midnight?
The Chatham Cheese Company is a gourmet food shop featuring artisanal cheeses from around the world. Pair with some great wines and treat your partner to an array of cheeses, cured meats, crackers, honeycomb, chocolate, and more.
For a special date night, make a reservation at Del Mar Bar & Bistro. A popular Chatham nightspot for eating, drinking and socializing, it features a warm, contemporary atmosphere with a large bar. Discover creative bistro entrees, wood fired thin crust pizzas, specialty drinks, an extensive wine list, and a great selection of draft beer.
Beaches: Ridgevale, Cockle Cove, Oyster Pond, Forest Beach Road, Hardings Beach, Schoolhouse Pond, Pleasant Bay (Jackknife Cove), South Beach and Chatham Light Beach