5 Dawn-to-Dusks

 By Laura V. Scheel

SimpsonL-0605-Kite005Sport

Take advantage of the endless and thrilling symphony of wind, wave and water with a morning of windsurfing. The best spots from which to launch your Technicolor sail and board are the beaches along Nantucket Sound, Pleasant Bay and the Chatham Break. If you’re in need of the hardware, rent your board (you’ll be thankful for a wetsuit, too) at Monomoy Sail & Cycle (275 Orleans Rd., N. Chatham; 508.945.0811 or 800.824.0201); the friendly folks here can also match your skill and ambition level with the right location to take to the wind.

All that exercise will have worked up a serious appetite. Stake your claim at the counter astride one of the green swivel stools at Larry’s PX (1591 Main Street, W. Chatham; 508.945.3964) or slide into a booth for food that’s not fancy but good and plentiful. You can get a filling breakfast all day (Larry’s opens at 5 am in the summer) or choose from classic lunch options like burgers, BLTs or fried clams.

Head back out on the water—no need to get wet this time—for an afternoon in pursuit of the area’s famed giant striped bass, bluefish and maybe even tuna or flounder. Sign up with Captain Russell Peterson of Liveliner Sportfishing (508.345.5470; www.liveliner.com) for trips out of Stage Harbor; equipment is provided. You bring the luck and they’ll clean your catch. If fly fishing is more your style, Capt. Jeff Walther of Striped Tease (508.240.6602; www.stripedtease.com) will follow the fish on the flats around Monomoy Island and South Beach or out in deeper water.

SimpsonL-0605-Kite009After an early dinner, grab a blanket and some beach chairs for the summer action of the Chatham A’s, an eastern division team within the Cape Cod Baseball League. This is serious baseball: Top college players from around the country fill the rosters of the ten teams, all with eyes set on a future in the big time. And with good reason: Nearly 200 Cape Cod Baseball League players were picked for the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. Home games are held at Veteran’s Field, right behind the old Chatham Elementary School on Route 28.


IMG_4485Nature

Take advantage of the endless and thrilling symphony of wind, wave and water with a morning of windsurfing. The best spots from which to launch your Technicolor sail and board are the beaches along Nantucket Sound, Pleasant Bay and the Chatham Break. If you’re in need of the hardware, rent your board (you’ll be thankful for a wetsuit, too) at Monomoy Sail & Cycle (275 Orleans Rd., N. Chatham; 508.945.0811 or 800.824.0201); the friendly folks here can also match your skill and ambition level with the right location to take to the wind.

All that exercise will have worked up a serious appetite. Stake your claim at the counter astride one of the green swivel stools at Larry’s PX (1591 Main Street, W. Chatham; 508.945.3964) or slide into a booth for food that’s not fancy but good and plentiful. You can get a filling breakfast all day (Larry’s opens at 5 am in the summer) or choose from classic lunch options like burgers, BLTs or fried clams.

Fisherman-walkingHead back out on the water—no need to get wet this time—for an afternoon in pursuit of the area’s famed giant striped bass, bluefish and maybe even tuna or flounder. Sign up with Captain Russell Peterson of Liveliner Sportfishing (508.345.5470; www.liveliner.com) for trips out of Stage Harbor; equipment is provided. You bring the luck and they’ll clean your catch. If fly fishing is more your style, Capt. Jeff Walther of Striped Tease (508.240.6602; www.stripedtease.com) will follow the fish on the flats around Monomoy Island and South Beach or out in deeper water.

After an early dinner, grab a blanket and some beach chairs for the summer action of the Chatham A’s, an eastern division team within the Cape Cod Baseball League. This is serious baseball: Top college players from around the country fill the rosters of the ten teams, all with eyes set on a future in the big time. And with good reason: Nearly 200 Cape Cod Baseball League players were picked for the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. Home games are held at Veteran’s Field, right behind the old Chatham Elementary School on Route 28.


Transport

C-046Fuel up with a full breakfast at the Wayside Inn (512 Main Street; 508.945.5550) before heading out to hike amid the scenic holdings of the Chatham Conservation Foundation (154 Crowell Road; 508.945.4084). With just about 500 acres under their protective belt, the Foundation maintains a series of trails traversing alongside such varied terrain as creek beds, salt marsh, cranberry bogs, woods and the very unusual white cedar swamp. Wear comfortable shoes and bring your binoculars and camera for wildlife and photogenic sightings along the Frost Fish Creek Trail, the Barclay Pond route and the easy jaunt along the Honeysuckle Lane Trail.

If riding along on two wheels better matches your speed, you can follow along the approximately 7-mile Chatham spur that leads to the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Harwich. From there your options are many; the Cape’s longest bike route extends for twenty-six miles from end to end, from Dennis to Wellfleet. If you’d rather tool around town, sharing the road with like-minded sightseers, look for the green signs that mark Stage Harbor Road, branch off to Cedar Street, wind around to Bridge Street and make their way to Chatham Light. The route is lined with exquisite homes, both old and new, splendid gardens and stunning water vistas at every turn. If you need a bike, rent one at Chatham Cycle (193 Depot Rd.; 508.945.8981) or Monomoy Sail & Cycle (275 Orleans Rd., N. Chatham; 508.945.0811 or 800.824.0201).

IMG_5708Take advantage of the prevailing southwesterly breezes of summer afternoons with a turn out on the water. Whether you prefer the solitary paddling of a sturdy kayak or the serenity of a small sailboat, there are numerous spots from which to launch your craft. Explore the inner reaches of Pleasant Bay, ply the waters of Nantucket Sound or drift about in calm harbors. Rent a vessel (you’ll have to transport it) at Nauti Jane’s Boat Rentals (Ridgevale Beach, Ridgevale Road; 508.432.4339).

Take it easy in the evening with a relaxed stroll about town. Get a giant ice cream cone, nibble on homemade fudge from Candy Manor (or both – why not?) or browse and find tomorrow’s intriguing beach read at one of the three independent bookstores.


History

ChathamLightThe venerable Chatham Bars Inn has been around long enough to both witness and be a vital force in the town’s transformation from farming village to refined tourist destination. Sheep and cattle used to roam the very same windswept heights on which the resort first opened it doors in 1914. Begin your day with breakfast in the main dining room, where you’ll discover that elegance in dining is a thriving—and not at all lost—art. Indulge in the richness of fine linens and polished silver as you gaze out toward the Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Even now in the days of GPS, cell phones and a well-equipped Coast Guard, the stalwart presence of shoreline lighthouses is still essential to maritime safety. Chatham has three lighthouses, though only one—Chatham Light—still sends out its white warning flare, two flashes every ten seconds. Tours of the oft-photographed, 1877 tower and its mechanisms are run by the U.S. Coast Guard (508.430.0628) on two afternoons a month (and on other special occasions), free of charge. Keep your camera out to capture the idyllic 1880 Stage Harbor Light, no longer in use and privately owned, but perfectly maintained with good views available from Harding’s Beach. If you’ve got a boat you can set your sights on the 1849 Monomoy Point Light and its adjacent keeper’s house, on the south end of Monomoy Island.

viewersThere’s no better place to fully immerse yourself in Chatham’s history than the Atwood House Museum (347 Stage Harbor Road; 508.945.2493). You could easily spend an entire afternoon perusing the 1752 home of sea captain Joseph Atwood and several outbuildings with their many collections of period artifacts, artwork, historic tools and exhibits that highlight early Chatham life and its seafaring industries. Of particular interest are the murals painted in the 1930s by Alice Stallknecht Wight, depicting everyday Chatham folk at work and in worship.

After a full day of exploring, unwind upstairs at Christian’s (443 Main Street; 508.945.3362) to the melodic lilts of the piano bar. There’s music every night in the summer and on weekends in the other seasons., but it also gives a sense of history as well—history of the movies, that is. Dish and décor both follow an old Hollywood theme.


Relax

Untitled-4Take your time while making your way through a stack of golden pancakes or a bulging 3-egg omelet: Today’s regimen requires little more than indulging yourself. Sleep late, since you can get breakfast all day at Sandi’s Diner (639 Main Street; 508.945.0631), and read the entire paper while they fill your bottomless cup of hot coffee.

When you’re feeling up to it, decide where you’d like to lay down your blanket and reclining chair for a day at the beach. If you’re looking for warmer and gentler waters, make your way to Harding’s Beach, Ridgevale Beach or Forest Beach, all fronting Nantucket Sound. For the wilder feel of the open ocean, take one of the several beach shuttles (Beachcomber, Municipal Fish Pier, Shore Rd., 508.945.5265; Outermost Harbor Marine, Outermost Harbor, 508.945.2030) to cruise by boat to the less crowded spots at South Beach, Monomoy or North Beach. Take a fishing rod along if you’d like to make some inquisitive casts into the surf for passing stripers or blues. You’ve already packed a lunch—or, rather, you picked up a picnic—from Luscious Louie’s (1603 Main Street; 508.945.4800), a favorite local place known for its incredible pastries and specialty sandwiches. Just try not to get sand in that roast beef, boursin cheese and marinated mushroom sandwich.

relaxD2DNot many things can pry a contented beachgoer from their place in the warm sand, though an afternoon at the spa certainly could. A tempting array of treatments await at Sol Spa (1291 Main Street; 508.945.8772), from deep tissue massage to the slightly more esoteric lemon and sage sea salt glow body treatment. Barely a body part is ignored here, for both men and women; you can design your own spa package for your full frame experience.

If you’re wondering about all those empty blankets and chairs laid on the green grass of Kate Gould Park in front of the bandstand, you’ve got some catching up to do. The Friday night Chatham Band Concert is a huge local tradition, a beloved institution, and the quintessential town experience. The lively town band sparks up the tunes, the children dance, the balloons wave in the breeze. Just sit back and relax and all will seem a little bit better in the world.

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