By Grace Knoop
Boston University News Service
Chatham, a small town on the elbow of Cape Cod, is known for its scenic views and quaint downtown. Many longtime residents like Kathy Doyle, a realtor in the town, still marvel at its natural beauty and encourages college students to pay a visit to spend time at the local beaches and nature trails.
“I think the thing that really drew me to Chatham was just the views of the ocean in so many places in town,” said Doyle.
The ferry from Boston to Provincetown only runs during the summer months, but Boston students can hop on a bus for about $40 to visit the beautiful seaside.
Chatham features some of the best sunset views on the Cape, with various colors lighting up the sky on a clear day. Local residents cherish their time at sunset, meeting up at local beaches, including Hardings Beach and Oyster Pond, which are known for their five-star views.
Some of Doyle’s recommendations include trips to her favorite beach, Chatham Lighthouse Beach — the largest beach in town with scenic views, only half a mile from Main Street. Visitors should be on the lookout for the seals swimming to shore or local fishermen setting out on their daily routes.
After arriving in Chatham, it’s easy to rent a bike for a day at Chatham Hood Bikes, located on Main Street, and head over to the Cape Cod Bike Trail or ride around the town, taking in the unique architecture that houses in the area have.
“There’s tons of conservation trails throughout Chatham. But even so, if you’re staying in Chatham, you know, it’s a 20-minute ride to the National Seashore to hike for a mile or two,” said Doyle.
Local business owner Domonic Boreffi was also drawn to the beauty of the town. He relishes his mornings in Chatham before opening his art gallery, Gallery Antonia, for the day.
“I have this routine, where, in the morning, I do my errands, but I go down certain streets before I get to the gallery. If I grab a coffee, I’ll just park at Lighthouse beach. And sometimes it’s just 10 minutes,” said Boreffi.
“Chatham is different from a lot of other towns. A lot of towns don’t have the downtown that we do,” said Boreffi.
Although the natural beauty of the area is what draws in Chatham’s visitors and residents, it is critical for visitors to support Chatham’s local businesses on Main Street. Boreffi made it clear how important it is to support businesses like the Candy Manor, Mayflower Gift Shop, and Squire Tavern because they are at risk of being replaced by national stores, which would make Chatham lose its famous old-fashioned charm.
President of the Chatham Merchants Association, Susan Dimm also believes that although college students might not have the funds to support the success of small businesses right now, getting to know Chatham by taking a day trip may make a difference in the future.
“Every person who comes is great because they’ll come back. I visited in college, and now I come every summer,” said Dimm.
A visit to Chatham will have you fall in love with the charming downtown and picturesque views — quickly becoming your favorite Cape town.