Featured Stories & Articles from Cape Cod Travel Magazine: Weekend Getaways - Chatham
Immediately upon pulling into downtown Chatham, my first thought was of a charming village from some bygone era. Shops, galleries and restaurants, most housed in antique buildings, and historic inns and steeple-topped churches, line Main Street. Already aware of this tiny town’s big reputation as both a working fishing village and a first-class vacation destination, this first impression could not have been more impressive.
At the end of the main drag, a right-hand turn brought me to the parking area overlooking Lighthouse Beach, so named for the working lighthouse, Chatham Light, just across the street. This first view of the water, with the white-capped waves and endless beach, was also, well, pretty darn impressive.
Could this town get any better?Just as the sun was setting, I checked into the Captain’s House Inn and the answer was a definite ‘yes’.
Jill and James Meyer’s AAA four-diamond rated inn is a compound with the Main House (an 1839 sea captain’s home), the Carriage House, the luxurious Stables and the Captain’s Cottage, and a heated outdoor pool, surrounded by two acres of lush landscaping. My suite, “Clarissa”, was in the Main House. It was pure romance; a four-poster, king-sized bed, fireplace, multiple sets of French doors and a flat-screened TV. In the bathroom was a massive jetted tub.
After working a half-day and traveling, I decided on a quick dinner at the Chatham Squire, the legendary restaurant where the eclectic mix of people is almost as alluring as the food. One side of the Squire is a big bar surrounded by a handful of tables and the other is a big dining room with a small bar, where I pulled up a stool. The varied menu offers some barroom basics along with more gourmet-style choices. I chose a seaside classic, a platter of fried clams, with fries and slaw, and tucked in while nursing a mug of icy beer.
It was still pretty early, the stores in town still open and lots of people still buzzing about, but I was beat and it was bedtime.
After a sumptuous breakfast in the inn’s light-filled dining room the next morning, it was back to Lighthouse Beach, for a relaxing Chatham Beach Yoga class; an hour of a favorite pastime in a supremely gorgeous setting. After class, I crossed the street for a quick tour of Chatham Light; fun, educational and more fantastic views.
Next up was a leisurely stroll down Main Street. First, a little shopping at Puritan Clothing, purveyor of all things preppy, where I grabbed a Vineyard Vines tie for a special someone back home. Then, a little shopping for myself at The Shoe Salon, purveyor of to-die-for shoes and accessories.
There are galleries all over town so I poked around for awhile and was amazed at the variety of paintings depicting Chatham, views of antique houses and old fishing shacks, and marsh views and ocean views. I popped into the Wynn/Falconer Gallery, the Creative Arts Center, Isaac Bea Young 1840 House Gallery and the Munson Gallery.
After my busy morning, it was most definitely lunchtime. Right across from the Squire is the Chatham Wayside Inn. Part historic inn and part newly renovated restaurant, the Wayside is a Chatham institution. I grabbed a deck table in the restaurant, the Wild Goose Tavern. Tough to say which was better: the lobster salad roll or the people watching.
Post-lunch, I power walked back down Main Street to Stage Harbor Road and onto the Honeysuckle Land Trail, with great views of a cedar swamp and the Old Ice Pond. After morning yoga and afternoon hiking, it was time for some relaxation of the best kind: a massage.
I drove down to Shore Road to the renowned Chatham Bars Inn, for my appointment at their new state-of-the-art spa. At the heart of the resort is a Victorian style hotel, all weathered shingles and wide porches, with modern guest villas clustered around the 25-acre waterfront property. The Spa is as incredible as the rest of the resort; everything was just top-of-line, from the Zen gardens, to the tiered soaking pool surrounded with private cabanas, to the private steam showers. Fifty minutes of rubbing left me feeling like a wet noodle, so it was back to the inn for a dip in the pool and naptime.
Dinner reservations that night were at the fabulous twenty-eight Atlantic, one of the restaurants in yet another renowned Chatham resort, the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. The posh dining room overlooks Pleasant Bay with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows. The view is awe-inspiring, and as dinner progressed, I watched the moon rise in the distance. The service by Curtis was flawless, as was my appetizer of cannelloni with artichokes, mushrooms, cream and shaved truffles. The halibut was perfectly cooked, and the whimsical dessert – four different homemade ice creams in teeny-tiny cones – was the perfect amount of sweetness. I would return to twenty-eight Atlantic in a heartbeat.
Next? A night on the town. Since it was Friday, I considered heading to the Kate Gould Park gazebo for a free Chatham Band concert at 8 p.m., but this seemed like a good time to check out the club scene. At the Red Nun Bar & Grill, the crowd was fun and chatty. After a couple of glasses of wine, it was time to call it a night.
The next morning, I had another great breakfast. In no hurry to leave town, I took Stage Harbor Road off the rotary and drove around ‘The Loop’, winding lanes that circle around the south side of town past one perfect home after another. Back out on Main Street, I headed west toward Route 6, stopping at Hardings Beach. I kicked off my flip flops and strolled out to Stage Harbor Lighthouse, a small, abandoned light, off in the distance, hoping a long walk would help burn off the rich dinner and red wine from last night.
It was finally time to hit the road. With windows down and CD player cranked, images of the tiny seaside town ran through my mind. Chatham is just so gorgeous, such an amazingly perfect representation of the vision a Cape Cod village. I only wish I’d taken more pictures of what I’ll surely remember as one of my favorite towns.
Jennifer Kain DeFoe contributed to this story.Back to Cape Cod Travel Guide Stories