Martha MacCallum escapes the hectic 24-hour cable news cycle in the summer to enjoy family time in Chatham.By Scott Lajoie | Photography by Dan Cutrona
Martha MacCallum had spent more than a week in London, anchoring Fox News’ coverage of the internationally awaited royal birth. Although the self-described Anglophile was excited to be across the pond for such a momentous event, the Duchess of Cambridge’s “prolonged gestation” was getting frighteningly close to overlapping with the start of MacCallum’s other much- anticipated summer activity—joining her family for a two-week-long vacation here in Chatham.
Thankfully, Kate Middleton gave birth to the future king, and MacCallum was soon on a plane back to the states. She didn’t even make it into Fox’s Manhattan studios, as she was packed and headed north on I-95 in a matter of hours.
While most of her colleagues at Fox News retreat to the Hamptons or the Jersey Shore for vacation, MacCallum, 50, who co-hosts “America’s News-room,”with Bill Hemmer weekdays from 9 – 11 a.m. ET, prefers to head to the vacation spot she fondly remembers as a child. Even though she is a very recognizable television personality, she blends in here.
She and her family embrace the quiet and casual lifestyle. MacCallum goes for a run every morning through town. The family spends a lot of time on their small Boston Whaler and the kids all sail out of Stage Harbor Yacht Club. They bike the rail trail and kayak around Mill Pond. She’s thrilled about the recent renovation and opening of the Orpheum Theater, saying, “I’m gonna go once a week.”
The family is refreshingly down-to-earth. In addition to living in a smaller cottage and cruising on a smaller boat, the children earn their keep. In addition to enjoying local beaches and other activities, daughter Elizabeth works as a clerk at a downtown boutique, and her older son Reed is an attendant at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club. It is expected that younger son Harry will eventually find a part-time job here in future summers.
MacCallum’s New Jersey-bred parents likewise brought their kids to the Cape for as far back as she can remember—to West Dennis, Harwich, and finally Chatham. She says, “I lived for the beach, trips to Candy Manor and Chatham Bars Inn, and I would dream as a little girl to one day work at Thompson’s Clam Bar.” (In high school and college, she did.)
As an adult, MacCallum and her husband, Dan, rented on Oyster Pond for years before purchasing this home a few years back. The family cottage is in a remarkable location, but modest in size. Built in the 1960s, it was in need of some sprucing up as well. With the help of a designer friend, she painted much of the dark-pine paneling, reupholstered furniture the family already owned to complement the nautical-themed colors, and filled in the gaps with items from area shops and garage sales. They left the unfinished wood paneling in the mudroom, decorating it only with pennants from the kids’ sailing competitions.
The house wraps around a small deck that looks out over a sloping waterfront lawn. The sleeping quarters are cozy, but the common areas are open enough to accommodate a big lobster dinner each year, which includes her and her husband’s extended families. The two weeks go by pretty fast and she is back anchoring her morning show before she knows it. She doesn’t garner the attention that the Duchess of Cambridge would if she were in Chatham, but MacCallum likes being able to enjoy this seaside town that way.