Town of Chatham
Originally called Monomoyick, Chatham is located at the “elbow” of Cape Cod. Steeped in the fishing industry history, Chatham is the place to go for a taste of fresh seafood. Visit the Chatham Fish Pier to see what the catch of the day is. Kids will love the band concerts with great old tunes and dancing, held at the bandstand every Thursday at Kate Gould Park. A stop at the Squire, a local restaurant on Main Street, for lunch or dinner is a must!
Chatham History and Information
Chatham, originally named Monomoyick, was incorporated in 1712 and named after the Earl of Chatham. Located at the “elbow” of the Cape, Chatham borders both the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound. Pleasant Bay and Stage Harbor are two well-known havens for boaters, beach goers and fishermen. Chatham is well known for its quaint Main Street area, where visitors can browse the shops and enjoy fine cuisine at the numerous restaurants along this stretch. Every Friday evening in July and August, the town holds band concerts at Kate Gould Park on Main Street. This is a great family event and hundreds attend regularly to hear this famous band play. A scenic spot for local color is the Chatham Fish Pier. This pier is town-operated for small craft fishermen. Most of the catch is shipped directly to local restaurants, but fish can still be purchased right from the docks. Commercial fishing and shell fishing are important industries to Chatham and bring in million of dollars to the local economy. Chatham Light offers the town’s best ocean views. Built originally in 1808 and then rebuilt in 1878, it stands next to the Coast Guard Station at North Beach. From here you can survey the break along the barrier beach just offshore that occurred in 1987. Monomoy Island is a famous wildlife sanctuary and offers some of the best bird watching on the east coast. Seal and bird watching tours are available out of Stage Harbor, Outermost Marina, the National Wildlife Refuge on Morris Island and from the Chatham Fish Pier.
Chatham Points of Interest
1 Monomoy Wilderness Area – Fragile and breathtaking, this 9-mile strip of land is slowly shrinking from coastal erosion and is protected as a National Wildlife Refuge. Accessible only by boat, it teems with wildlife including dozens of endangered birds. The area is designated primarily for observation and research. However, the Massachusetts Audubon Society does give limited tours. Located offshore at Shore Road.
2 Chatham Light – This lighthouse guides vessels through the notorious “Chatham fog” that rolls onto the town’s shoreline some mornings. Built in 1808, it originally had a full-time keeper. Now the light operates automatically, flashing eight times per minute. Located off Shore Road.
3 Chatham Break – Created by pounding storm swells and hurricanes over the past decade, the Chatham Break is a growing ocean channel between Nauset Beach and Monomoy Island. Onlookers can see the channel from telescopes mounted at the foot of Chatham Light.
4 Atwood House Museum and Murals Barn – The Atwood House is one of the oldest homes in Chatham. It holds more than 2,000 artifacts, including colonial antiques and a seacoast shell collection from around the world. A section is also dedicated to local author Joseph C. Lincoln. Located on Stage Harbor Road.
5 Godfrey Grist Mill – This structure in Chase Park off Grist Mill Dr. still grinds maize into cornmeal on summer days. Built in 1797, the mill is fragile and can only grind corn at certain wind velocities. Wind speed must be at least 20 mph in order to create proper kinetic energy. However, damage can occur if gusts exceed 25 mph.
6 Monomoy Theatre – This building was leased to Ohio University in 1958 as an educational training site for the Ohio University Players, a college theater troupe who have performed eight shows during the summer annually for 41 years. Located on Main Street.
7 Railroad Museum – Built in 1887 as the town’s rail depot, this well preserved building still houses its original ticket and dispatching offices. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the museum holds outstanding memorabilia of the first commercial U.S. railroad (est. 1826) plus models, photos and engineer equipment. Located on Depot Road off Route 28.
8 Forest Beach – Gentle waters break ashore as a pine and oak-filled tree line shades beachgoers on top of a wide cliff. A great spot for a family beach day. Limited parking. Located at the end of Forest Beach Road off Route 28.
- Cockle Cove- The calm surf and soft sand makes this a favorite of families with small children. Can also launch a kayak in Taylor’s Pond up the street.
- Forest Beach Road- Another great Nantucket Sound beach, but very little parking
- Pleasant Street
- Hardings Beach- The beach with the most parking. There are 2 sections, so try parking in the second section and walk down to the lighthouse.
- Ridgevale Beach- Kids love to play in the creek. Overall a great family beach.
- Schoolhouse Pond- Freshwater beach. Family friendly
- Pleasant Bay (Jacknife)
- Oyster Pond Beach- Also called Children’s Beach and rightfully so. You can stroll up to the village and get a bite to eat or shop.
- South Beach- A long walk or short boat taxi ride. A huge beach that allows you to get away from the crowds.
- North Beach- Access by way of Orleans is available by water taxi or 4-wheel drive vehicles.
- Lighthouse Beach- A beautiful beach and very popular. Be very careful of the strong currents.
Chatham Golf Courses
Chatham Seaside Links 508-945-4774
Eastward Ho Country Club 508-945-0003