Chatham, MA- The town of Chatham is
the southeast tip of Massachusetts and halfway down the
75 mile-long Cape Cod peninsula. If the Cape is viewed
as a bent arm, Chatham is at the elbow. We're surrounded
on three sides by ocean so it's natural then, that activities here tend to center around the water. To the east is
the open Atlantic Ocean, to the south is the calmer and
warmer Nantucket Sound, and to the north is the protected
embayment of Pleasant
Bay. Cool summer sea breezes,
warm Indian summers, and mild winters combine to make Chatham
a comfortable place to vacation and to live year-round.
are surpised to find that every town on the Cape has it's own distinct
personality and Chatham's certainly no exception. In addition to
its beach culture our town defines itself as a true 'walking
town.' The downtown is cohesively laid out
so that once your car is parked everthing is
available within easy strolling distance. (See the online interactive map here.) Yet, despite
its relative smallness, there is no want for variety. There
are enough intriguing shops and eateries to suit the whole
family for an entire day off the beach. The Chatham
Lighthouse and nearby Lighthouse Beach, the fish pier, Chatham
Seaside Links and Kate Gould Park's Friday night band concerts
are all not to be missed. Festivities
abound year-round too, including the Chatham Maritime Festival, Spring Fling, our famous Fourth of
July Parade, the Festival of the Arts, Christmas by the Sea,
and the annual Chatham
First Night Celebration. Chatham's First Night
draws crowds from all over New England and is topped off
with a fireworks display over Oyster Pond. In
fact Chatham First Night has become so popular that many
visitors prefer this time of year for their Chatham sojourn,
forgoing the big-city celebrations in Boston and New York
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Railroad Museum- 153
Depot Rd, 1 block north of rotary
if you're not a railroad fanatic, it's worth
visiting this beautiful 1887 depot to imagine the sights that would greet
a Victorian visitor. To begin, the building
itself is a "Railroad Gothic" work
of wooden art, topped by a tapering turret.
Inside you'll find volunteers dispensing lore and explaining the many displays.
The museum's major holding is lined up in back:
a "walk-through" 1918
New York caboose. The
museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from
10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is
free. Click here for directions
and a map.
Fish Pier Observation Deck
down the road from the Chatham Light is the Chatham
fish pier, where there’s
always a small crowd gathered on the visitors deck (best viewing
is between 12 noon and 3pm, when the fishing fleet is returning).
Not only does the pier offer a great view of Chatham's harbor
and outer beach with the Atlantic beyond, but when the fishing
boats unload their catch, both children and adults get a fascinating
glimpse of the Cape's best-known but now disappearing industry.
It is truly a working pier and the observation deck provides great top-down
views of the fishermen and their boats in action.
Thursday Night Chatham Photo Excursions
Christopher Seufert Photo Gallery, 483 Main Street, Chatham, MA 02633 (downtown between the Squire and the Mayflower Shop.)
Photographer Christopher Seufert leads his Chatham photo tours every Thursday night through October 1 from 6:15pm to 8:00pm. Seufert is the author of "Cape Cod & Islands Reflections" (Schiffer LTD, 2010). He also shot the 2011 Chatham Chamber of Commerce poster and runs a professional studio in downtown Chatham. Photographers of all levels will enjoy being guided by a Chatham native to some of the best shots the area has to offer. Please bring your favorite camera, point and shoot or SLR. All levels welcomed. This is not a technical experience unless you want it to be. Happens no matter what the weather, but itinerary is subject to change.
Meet at his gallery downtown at 483 Main Street. Fee is $50 per head and reservations are required at www.NarrowlandGallery.com.
Windmill- Chase Park
Godfrey Windmill, Off Shattuck Place (in Chase
built in 1797 by Colonel Benjamin Godfrey, to
grind corn. Before that, Chatham would haul
its unground corn to Plymouth on wagons like
the other Cape towns so these local structures
were hardly the picturesque tourist sites that
they are today. This wind-powered grist mill was originally built along
Stage Harbor Road in and was in active commercial operation
until 1898. Over the course of the 20th century it was
twice damaged by storms and was closed until 1956 when it was
given to the town. The mill was then moved to its current location
at Chase Park. It is open every day except Tuesday throughout
July and August and no admission is charged. Chase
park is also a great place to enjoy the periodic
arts and crafts fairs held here or on off-days
there are grills and picnic sites for a great
family break from shopping nearby downtown.
House Museum/ Chatham Historical Society- 347
Stage Harbor Road
1752 building, one of Chatham’s
oldest, was home to five generations of Atwoods,
and has been the headquarters of the Chatham
Historical Society since the
1920s'. Within the Museum are many historic
collections and furnishings, including the
Joseph C. Lincoln Room, a repository of the
prolific author’s books and
memorabilia including murals of artist Alice
Stallknecht, an old reflector from Chatham
Light, antiques and glass.
Lighthouse- Shore Rd.
of the lighthouse happen on the
first and third Wednesday every week from May through October,1:00pm-3:30pm.
Climb the tower's 44 steps to one of the best views
on the Cape, while members of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
detail the history of this Chatham landmark. Admission is
free. Call 508-430-0628 for more information.
1808 two wooden lighthouses were built on a cliff in Chatham east of the location
of the current Chatham
lighthouse--a cliff that no longer
exists. These first two Chatham lights
were range lights, meaning they were
movable and could be aligned in such
a way that mariners approaching Chatham
by sea could find the channel to the
harbor by lining up the two lights. By
1841, the cliff had eroded so much that
both lighthouses tumbled to the beach
below. Another pair of lighthouses--these
made with brick and mortar--were constructed
to replace the old ones, but the cliff
continued to erode at a rate of 20 feet
per year until these were also destroyed
in 1879 and 1881. To replace this second
set, two iron lighthouses were built.
One is the current Chatham Light, the
other was moved to Eastham in 1923 to
become the current Nauset Light. Chatham
Light overlooks the Chatham Break, a
mile-wide hole in the barrier beach that
stretches back to the mainland at Nauset
Beach in Orleans. The break occurred
in early 1987 during a fierce nor’easter.
out from the three coin-operated telescopes or with your own
binoculars or camera, exceptional
views can be found here and the famous Chatham fogs make it
a wonderful area for photographers. But the beauty is deceiving-
beneath these waves are some of the most dangerous waters along
the Cape Cod coast.
is a true Atlantic
Ocean beach with cooler waters and sometimes
tricky currents , located off Shore Road, a half mile from
the largest beach in Chatham and is also
arguably one of the best on the Cape, second only to Wellfleet's Coast
Guard Beach. This amazingly expansive stretch of sandy
beach is a place where you can enjoy a warm summer's
day watching the seals pass by during their
daily migration or stroll down to South Beach towards Monomoy
on an afternoon nature hike. Walking from town, hopping on
a shuttle bus there, or taking your bikes is the only way
to spend the day there however, as there is a 30-minute restriction
for the parking lot on the beach bluff. Though this is a an inconvenience
for one of the best beaches on the Cape, it's understandable
given that the lighthouse above draws a constant crowd of international
admirerers. There are also no bathrooms, lifeguards or
food service, so it's not a family oriented beach in the traditional
sense. Still, every family should
spend at least one day of their trip here.
The views are like none other on the Cape.
front of the beach is the ‘Chatham
Break.’ In January 1987, a powerful nor’easter
unexpectedly broke through the lower end of Nauset Beach, allowing
the Atlantic Ocean to surge into Chatham Harbor. This ‘Chatham
a growing ocean channel between the north part of Nauset Beach
and what is now South Beach. Prior
to 1987 Chatham Harbor had been shielded from surges of the
open Atlantic Ocean by the lower end of Nauset Beach. Although
a barrier beach protects one body of water
from another, it is essentially a frail
piece of land subject to erosion by fierce
winds and powerful tides. A section of
Nauset Beach at Chatham Harbor had been
undergoing this weakening process for some
years. When the Janaury 1987 storm hit,
the raging ocean, pushed by an unrelenting
wind, tore open the land at this vulnerable
point and the Atlantic flowed into Chatham
channel between North and South Beaches is responsible
for strong and dangerous currents and considerable wave action,
all of which can make both boating and swimming somewhat
hazardous. Notwithstanding the ‘Chatham
Break,’ as it has
been christened, it has brought many visitors into town to
observe the phenomenon. In the years since, South Beach, has
curved into and finally connected onto the Chatham mainland, giving visitors
foot access to what is truly a wild stretch of outer beach. But
this is one landscape that rarely stays put for long.
Chatham Band Concerts
Chatham band strikes up every Friday evening at 8:00
pm in July and August downtown in Kate Gould Park on Chatham's
Main Street. There are musical
numbers by the band, folk dances for the children,
dance numbers for grownups and community singing for everyone.
Parking can be had conveniently in the Town Hall parking
lot, only a short block from the park.
Chatham Haunted Inns Tour
An annual frightful event. Reserve early for haunted inn
packages at participating lodgings in town and prepare
for a scary experience. The official tour includes the Moses
Nickerson House, the Old Harbor Inn, the Carriage House Inn,
the Captain's House Inn, and the Nantucket House of Chatham.
by the Sea
Begins Thanksgiving weekend and continues through December.
Celebrate the holiday season with events and activities
for all ages. Christmas Stroll weekend (generally around
December 10 and 11th) tops all, beginning with the tree
trimming and lighting ceremony in Sears Park at 4:30
First Night- 2012
Boston- Come to Chatham to celebrate the New Year! A
non-alcoholic, family oriented celebration of the arts. There
is something for everyone. Activities usually begin at 1pm
and at midnight, there is a grand fireworks display at Oyster