A Perfect Day in Chatham

From beaches to bookstores to fun evening activities, six locals divulge their local spots.

Photography by Jay Elliott

My ideal summer day in Chatham starts with a cup of coffee and muffin sitting on a bench at Oyster Pond enjoying the water before the beach fills with children and families.

Then I walk far enough down Lighthouse Beach to check out the seals.

At least once a week, there’s a stop at our wonderful Eldredge Library to pick up a book I’ve reserved or just browse the shelves for a good mystery.
I also enjoy strolling down Main Street to check out the new artwork and talk with the artists at some of the many galleries.

Late in the afternoon there’s always Harding’s Beach, which is quiet now and has warm water for a swim and sometimes a chance to watch sailboats
or wind surfers. Then I head home to dinner on our porch—some clam chowder and scallops bought earlier in the day at one of our local fish markets.
And although it’s summer, committees and boards are still meeting regularly—so there’s that too!

—Florence Seldin
Chatham Board of Selectmen


Chatham’s best kept secret is the amazing wildlife! Between Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge, Morris Island, seal watching, whale watching and fishing, there is something here for everyone! Lighthouse Beach is the largest in Chatham and the overlook on the bluff boasts some of the best views on the Cape. Through coin-operated telescopes you can see far across the Atlantic, watch the commercial fishing boats heading out to sea or the seals frolicking on the sandbars. The view alone is well worth the trip. I would spend the morning exploring Monomoy and Morris Islands and then head to the Beach House Grill at
Chatham Bars Inn for lunch.

After lunch, I’d go out on a fishing trip. The waters off of Chatham are some of the best places to fish in New England, however, even if you don’t catch a fish you’re sure to see some seals and maybe even whales…you can’t beat a day on the water! As the day comes to a close there are so many options to choose from—dinner at a classic New England Clambake at Chatham Bars Inn, a casual dinner with a Cape Cod Beer at the Red Nun before a Chatham Anglers’ game, or on Fridays, dinner at the Impudent Oyster followed by a band concert at Kate Gould Park.

—Olivier Rabsch
Director of Sales and Marketing at Chatham Bars Inn


My perfect day would start with a cup of coffee down by Lighthouse Beach watching the water and reading the newspaper. From there, I would drive to Monomoy Wildlife Refuge and walk down the stairs to the beach and along the shore. After this, I would walk down Main Street, going in and out of all the shops and galleries. I really enjoy Chatham’s galleries with all the variety so I like seeing what is new.

I love Yankee Ingenuity for their unique items and photography by Jon Vaughan. Narrowland Gallery has become one of my favorite galleries. They have featured artists every Friday with wine receptions and music.

For lunch, I like to go to the Wild Goose and love the Mural Room with its rich wood bar. The food is delicious and the service is always top notch.  After lunch, I go to Where the Sidewalk Ends bookstore, sit, reflect, and read. I always have to walk through Chatham Beach Dog for a treat or two for my dog, too! In the evenings, I enjoy going to Chatham Bars Inn and sitting on their veranda with a cocktail and watching the setting sun in Aunt Lydia’s Cove. I am so lucky to live here and never get tired of the beauty around me.

—Lisa Franz
Director of the Chatham Chamber of Commerce


I would start my perfect day by waking up and heading to the Corner Store. I’d eat a breakfast burrito and have a nice cup of coffee and sit out on the deck and enjoy the neighbors and locals. I would go down to Main Street and do a little walking and then head to the Outer Beach and see Cape Cod from a local’s perspective. We have a boat shuttle at Wequassett that takes our guests out for lunch on the water and a local sandbar and I’d jump on that. It’s an idyllic setting and you feel like you are on your own private beach. After the beach, I like to come back and have a cocktail on the porch and then get cleaned up and enjoy watching the sunset during a delicious dinner at 28 Atlantic.

—Andy Ross
Director of Sales and Marketing at Wequassett Resort and Golf Club


An ideal day in Chatham for me is to be outdoors enjoying the water and the beach. Perhaps it’s because in New England our summer is so short!

Grab the beach pails, shovels, towels and chairs and bring a cooler packed with sandwiches and drinks and head to South Beach, or North Beach, via one of the water shuttles. This gets you not only onto a beach, but out on the water as well, and who wouldn’t like to travel by boat!

While relaxing on the beach, in between swimming, castle building and treasure collecting, plans can be made for the return to town and what to do for the rest of the day. In the late afternoon, we enjoy a pick-me-up of drinks and snacks outdoors on the deck at the Wild Goose Tavern, saving plenty of time to stroll the streets of Chatham and enjoy the unique shops. In the evenings, we head to a late dinner at a local restaurant, a pizza at the Cape League ball game, or a summer concert on Wednesday or Friday nights.

I wrap up my day with an ice cream treat, and head away from the town lights to the waters edge with a blanket for some stargazing. Spotting a shooting star would be the perfect end to an ideal day in Chatham.

—Nancy Underhill
Director of Sales at the Chatham Wayside Inn


My family and I have lived here for 40 years and would not want to live anywhere else. There is so much here for us.

After an invigorating two to three mile walk, it’s off to breakfast at The Old Harbor Café, Sandy’s Diner or Larry’s PX where I catch up on all the goings on in Chatham with my local friends. For the day ahead, we might pack a lunch and head to Harding’s Beach or go fishing in Pleasant Bay.

One major priority for me is planning lunch with my grand-daughters Kayla-Rose and Allie, followed by ice cream and a walk down Main Street. For lunch, The Squire, the Impudent Oyster and the Wayside Inn are certainly on the list. Our lunches together are of highest priority.

The late afternoon is for softball practice, Cape Cod Senior Softball League games or working with our World Champion travel team, Back Office Associates.

For dinner, my family enjoys an occasional cookout or dinner at Chatham Bars Inn, Del Mar, or Pates. After dinner, we head to a Friday night band concert or a leisurely evening stroll. Cape League baseball, providing wholesome family entertainment for residents and visitors alike, is always on the schedule for us.

Indulging in the unique riches of the Chatham community are such on going treats, which fill plethora of ideal days for me
and my family. I wouldn’t trade them
for anything.

—Dick Sullivan
Chatham resident and philanthropist