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Chatham, MA, A Quintessential Cape Cod Town
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Downtown Chatham, MA, Cape Cod photo
Downtown Chatham, MA

Article and photo by Eric H.

If there ever was a town born to be an authentic, classic, charming and, ultimately, fun Cape Cod travel destination, it would be Chatham, MA. Virtually no Cape Cod vacation destination can match the wide, welcoming appeal of Chatham, a small town surrounded by the sea (and public ocean beaches!) and featuring a pleasantly walkable downtown filled with interesting little shops (don't leave with out trying the yummy Chatham Candy Manor, downtown!), numerous art galleries, restaurants (the casual Captains' Table, downtown, has always been a local seafood favorite), grand inns (most notably, the oceanfront 1914 Chatham Bars Inn), beautiful old municipal buildings (like the Chatham Public Library), large 18th century homes and Cape Cod cottages. Chatham also features the beginning of the Cape Cod National Seashore Park, a spectacular 40-mile stretch of pristine beach on the outer side of the Cape that spans to Provincetown.

In a sense, Chatham combines the developed (although somewhat abridged) shopping-dining-lodging presence of Hyannis or Falmouth with the understated, quiet coastal traditional Cape Cod small town appeal of communities like Sandwich and Welfleet. So, you really get the best of both worlds in Chatham.  Yes, the town has developed to the point of bordering on touristy and overcrowded in the summer months (perhaps suggesting a trip during the more quiet fall foliage season might be a terrific alternative), but the reality is that Chatham remains, essentially, a summer place that represents the best of Cape Cod travel. Add a 4.5 mile bike path, the picturesque Chatham Light lighthouse, local free Cape Cod League baseball games (the Chatham Anglers, play at Veterans Field on Route 28), numerous local events (4th of July fireworks, town concerts) and you have even more of a great Cape Cod travel destination that just might require future visits.   Further proof of the pudding of Chatham's greatness: In 2007, the National Trust for Historic Preservation chose Chatham as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations!

Additional Info... Beaches in Chatham:
Chatham Light Beach, Shore Rd., a half mile from downtown
Cockle Cove Beach, Cockle Cove Rd. off Route 28. Excellent sheltered beach for small children
Hardings Beach, Barn Hill Rd., off Route 28
North Beach, (the southern end of Nauset Beach on the Atlantic Ocean). It's accessible only by boat.
Ridgevale Beach, Ridgevale Road off Route 28

More Cape Cod travel articles:
Cape Cod summer travel ideas

Visiting a self-serve dog wash in Dennisport

How to vacation in Nantucket on a budget

Mexican restaurant in Orleans spicing up Cape Cod restaurant scene

Finding affordable Cape Cod beach lodging

Why you should consider a Cape Cod vacation rental

Chatham Candy Manor is one sweet place

Taking in a Cape Cod Baseball League game

Visiting beautiful Chatham

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