• Day & Night in Chatham

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    gray_seals_chatham_harbor. Photographs taken by PCCS under LOC No. 14903
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    Join us everyday as our concierges share their favorite activities, special places and opportunities to enjoy the Cape - from Provincetown to Falmouth, indoors and outdoors, for every kind of occasion.

    There are few towns on the Cape that have their own brand beyond Cape Cod. Chatham is one of them, with its maritime history, beautiful views and charming downtown.

    Breakfast options

    The Chatham Village Café on Main Street offers freshly baked muffins, breakfast sandwiches, and New York-style bagels that come in flavors like Honey Wheat and Cinnamon Glaze, as well as more fruity ones like cranberry and blueberry. Their muffin selection ranges from traditional chocolate chip to the “Morning Glory” made with carrots and nuts.

    Sit down at Larry’s PX on Route 28 (1591 Main Street). It’s in the Shop Ahoy Plaza.  This is a local favorite, with tables placed around the periphery of this busy convenience store. It features a full breakfast menu, or grab take out.

    Hanger B is very popular, and in the summer, be prepared for a long wait. As its name suggests, it is located at Chatham Municipal Airport at 240 George Ryder Road.  With fall arriving, it will be closed on Mondays and Tuesday.  Its chef, who formerly worked at the Chatham Bars Inn, will surprise with many specialties including red flannel hash, lemon ricotta pancakes and brioche bread pudding French toast.  You can also eat lunch here until 2 pm.

    Marion’s Pie Shop has been around since 1947 and may be most popular for its homemade chicken pot pies that were originally baked by Marion in her own home kitchen next door to where today’s shop is located. Breakfast treats include cinnamon nut rolls, orange citrus rools, scones, and fruit breads ranging from zucchini pineapple to pumpkin.

    A morning for history

    Chatham is replete with museums along the Luxx Museum Trail. You can spend the entire day exploring the town’s past.  We recommend five locations to build your intinerary:

    The Atwood House Museum dates back to 1752 and features eight galleries full of art and artifacts that convey what life was like on Cape Cod since the 17th century. You’ll encounter portraits of famous sea captains of the 19th century, a maritime gallery of Chatham ships and nautical equipment. A standout is the mural barn displaying paintings of roughly 130 townspeople, with a guide explaining these personalities and their stories.

    One of the museum’s newest galleries has paintings, photographs, and other objects that trace the town’s history in the fishing industry, a significant part of Chatham’s roots.

    For more history, visit Chatham’s Old Grist Mill, built in 1797.  Restored in 2012, it continues to grist cornmeal that you can sample. This is one of the few remaining windmills that actually still operate on the Cape.

    If you have children, make sure to visit the Chatham Railroad Museum, another stop along the Luxx Museum Trail.  This building dates back more than 100 years. Exhibits display very early relics of the first commercials railroad in the country that go back to 1826.  You find a 100-year-old caboose that is fully restored and gifted by the New York Central System, along with a diorama of the Chatham Yards from around the year 1915.

    The Chatham Marconi Maritime Center features a museum highlighting the life and work of Guglielmo Marconi, who built the trans-Atlantic radio campus overlooking Ryder’s Cove in Chatham. It features numerous interactive exhibits, one in particular that teaches visitors basic Morse code. There is also an original shipboard radio from the SS Hope ship, as well as other significant items from the maritime radio history, including a video theatre.

    Time for lunch

    The options are many. If you can, combine lunch with the action around Chatham’s Fish Pier.  Each day, fleets head to fishing grounds three to 100 miles off the coast of Chatham.

    Just before lunch, you can often see boats arriving with their supply of local fish like haddock, cod, flounder, halibut, and, of course, lobster. There is a visitor’s balcony that makes for the ideal spot to watch the fleets unload their catch – and make sure to bring your camera to capture a piece of the town’s history live, up close and personal.

    Downtown, there’s the Chatham Squire. This popular establishment includes a traditional family-style dining room on one side and a bar with pool table on the other side, where you’ll eat with the local crowd.  You can find a variety of soups, salads, and sandwiches from French onion to clam chowder, Caesar salad to baked brie, and traditionalsandwiches served with a side of classic Cape Cod Potato Chips. They also have seafood options like fish and chips, calamari, and Monomoy oysters, as well as a Raw Bar featuring native clams and oysters.

    A newer option in town is Vers. It means fresh in Dutch, the heritage of executive chef owner Jonathan Haffmans. Located in lower level of the the recently renovated Orpheum Theater on Main Street, the restaurant is open all day, and features a vibrant patisserie where pastry chef and co-founder Stephen Jones bakes during the day.

    Vers specializes in fresh, local and organic ingredients from local farmers and fishermen. If you don’t get there for lunch, plan on dinner. You can even take your meal into the theater for the movie.

    Off the beaten path is the Corner Store near the border with Harwich on Queen Anne Road, but it’s worth it for take-out on your way to exploring parts of Chatham. Its motto: ‘Fast, Fresh and Fun.’  It specializes in burritos and pannini’s, elegant food that is easy to travel with.

    Shopper’s delight

    Chatham is spelled shopping, especially along Main Street. Make it an afternoon delight.

    Midsummer Nights features women’s clothing and accessories, as well as home décor. While “summer” is in the title, the store also carries throws and cashmere sweaters, along with nightwear. The elegant clothes you’ll find in the store are designed by Tory Burch, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Ecru, just to name a few. You can also find decorative items for your home that range from wallpaper to picture frames.

    Tale of the Cod has been in Chatham for more than five decades, providing residents and visitors with beach-themed jewelry like bracelets and necklaces, as well as Dune Designs Jewelry, and scarves. There also is a furniture gallery with bedroom accessories, window treatments, and Vanguard furniture. Shop also for an assortment of scents and lotions from brands like Naked Bee and Manicotti. 

    If you are a fan of consignment shops, one of the most elegant on the Cape is At Home Again. Begun by several women who themselves loved to shop consignment, it is located on Rt. 28 toward Harwich. You will find furniture ranging from shabby chic to shaker, from mission to antiques. The shop has attracted very high quality from clients who are downsizing their homes or selling their off-Cape residence to move permanently to the Cape. Because it turns over its inventory quickly, you are virtually guaranteed to find new items every day.

    Pottery shops abound in Chatham. One of our favorites is in the Shops Ahoy Plaza on Route 28 where Larry’s PX also is located. Barn Hill Pottery is owned by Susan William, whose studio is around the corner.  Susan applies a 9-step process to her pottery. You can this at http://www.barnhillpottery.com/our-process/.


    For a unique shopping experience, visit Maps of Antiquity, also on Rt. 28 heading toward Harwich.  This is a labor of love for its two owners, Danielle Jeanloz, who was formerly executive director of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce and her husband, Bob, a PhD in Botany.  As its name suggests, this is a place where you can get lost sifting through odl maps produced in a variety of technologies.

    Stay outdoors

    If shopping isn’t your thing, then stay outdoors and experience the best of Cape Cod.

    There are many ways to see Monomoy National Betsy Wildlife Refuge. By motorboat, kayak and foot.  It’s one of the best places on the Cape to watch birds, especially during the migratory seasons and to experience seals.  It stretches eight miles off the elbow of Cape Cod, forming the barrier islands of North and South Monomoy.

    In addition to the two islands, a 40-acre unit on Morris Island is also part of the refuge. This is where the headquarters and visitor center are located. The total size of the refuge is 7,604 acres with varied habitats of oceans, salt and freshwater marshes, dunes, and freshwater ponds of which 3,244 acres are designated Betsy Wilderness.

    To get there from Chatham’s Rotary, follow Main Street up the hill to Shore Road. Turn right and proceed past Chatham Lighthouse. Bear left after lighthouse onto Morris Island Road. Follow Morris Island Road to signs for the refuge on the left, Wikis Way. Limited parking is available at the visitor center.

    A fun way to experience the seals is with a water cruise. Blue Claw Tours takes off from Nauset Marina in Orleans. Its boats carry only about 18 people for an intimate 90 minute experience in and around Chatham and Orleans. For reservations, call 508-240-5783.  The seal cruise is $40 per adult and $30 per child.

    Before sunset

    Before the sun sets, head to a historic landmark that is also home to one of the best views in town: Chatham Lighthouse. Located across from Chatham Light Beach, one of the Cape’s most famous lighthouses makes for a stunning spot to see the sunset. If you choose to go during the day, tours are offered, but run on a very limited schedule.


    Dinner cuisine ranges from the most casual to the most elegant at Chatham Bars Inn and Twenty-eight Atlantic at Wequassett Resort & Golf Club.

    If steak is your pleasure, consider STARS at the Chatham Bars Inn. Favorite appetizers include lobster mascarpone ravioli, poached lobster mousse and foie gras torchon.  Then, review the steak cart at your table with choices from porterhouse to strip, along with veal chop, lamb chop and chateaubriand.

    Twenty-eight Atlantic is seasonal, but remains open until .  Appetizers include paella risotto and parsnip almond cream chowder. Entrees feature a wide choice of native seafood prepared with an artistic flair.  Get there before the sun sets for a 180-degree view of Pleasant Bay.

    Del Mar, slightly beyond downtown on Rt. 28 heading toward Harwich, features gourmet pizzas and blackboard seafood specials.

    Blue Fins Sushi and Sake Bar provides a fun experience, especially if you can get seated near the chefs as they prepare your meal. There is a very extensive menu to choose from. This can be a pricy evening out.

    Late night

    Back to the Chatham Squire which stays open until 1 am with music during the week, often starting at 10 pm. Like karaoke? This is the place.

    September 08, 2014