Thanks to everyone for the anniversary wishes last weekend. We had a great getaway joining lots of tourists in Cape Cod, MA, a first-time visit for us. We enjoyed ourselves despite late summer crowds, but our next visit will be off season.
Chatham, MA is located on the elbow of Cape Cod, half-way between Falmouth and Provincetown. This seaside community has less than 7,000 year-round residents, in-season, this number swells to an estimated 30,000 people.
Chatham was first settled in 1664 by the English and was originally called Monomoit. The area quickly developed into a shipping, fishing, and whaling center. Chatham’s early prosperity endowed it with a number of 18th century buildings and helped it develop into a summer resort. The town has a walkable Main Street with many family-owned and operated shops, restaurants, and businesses. The shopping area has pedestrian crosswalks, on-street parking, and limited parking off Main St. Facilities are overcrowded with limited parking even at the popular Lighthouse Beach where off-street parking can mean a long walk to the beach.
Here's a pictorial tour of where we went in and around Chatham.
The Chatham Fish Pier draws much interest from humans, gulls, ducks and grey seals.The fishing fleet makes a daily run to fishing grounds 3 10 100 miles off shore, weather-permitting. The catch includes haddock, cod, flounder, pollock, halibut and lobster. One-day fresh fish is iced and transported in refrigerated trucks to NY, Boston, New Bedford, and local markets less than 24 hours from when it was caught.
The Chatham Lighthouse was established by President Thomas Jefferson in 1808 to protect ships circling the Cape. The 1808 towers were replaced in 1841 by twin brick towers that were eventually lost to erosion. The pair was rebuilt in 1877 out of cast iron across the street from its original location, where the light resides now. The light keeper’s house is home to a Coast Guard station which patrols the waters of the Atlantic and Nantucket Sound from Wellfleet to West Yarmouth.
The Chatham Windmill, called the Godfrey Mill, after Col. Benjamin Godfrey a local citizen who attained his rank during the Revolutionary War. It was one of the last grist mills to be built in Chatham. Windmills were once an integral part of town life and a dozen were in the town from the early 1700s - 1800s, with about half that number operating at any one time. Today, only two of these historic mills exist in Chatham and only the Godfrey Mill is open to the public.
The Chatham Labyrinth is located in Chase Park near the windmill and is a replica of the 12th century labyrinth inlaid on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France and was dedicated in June 2012. It's made of cut and sealed earth-toned pavers. The labyrinth is an ancient circular pattern with a single winding path that provides a meditative walk to the center and back out. Grenville and others walked it during our visit
The Eldredge Public Library is the town's public library and is located on Main Street. The building is a Renaissance/Romanesque revival style and is on the National Registry of historic buildings. It's named after its benefactor, Marcellus Eldredge, a successful NH businessman and legislator, who was a Chatham native. In 1894 he purchased land on Main Street for $1,000. Construction of the new library took a year and cost about $30,000 at the time.
The Chatham Railroad Museum is located in a restored 1887 railroad depot that served Chatham residents and visitors for nearly 50 years. The museum building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It features an architectural style known as Railroad Gothic and contains numerous exhibits and even the New York Central model locomotives used at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. He's an avid RR fan, so this museum was one of Grenville's favorite stops.
The museum was founded in 1960, when the vacant depot building and land was donated to the Town of Chatham. The museum has collected hundreds of railroad artifacts including original and operating Western Union telegraph equipment, lanterns, badges, signs, tools, timetables, menus and passes, promotional literature, original paintings and prints, calendars, a 600 volume library, and a restored 1910 wood sided caboose.
Our visit wasn't all just about sightseeing. We dined in some fun places and visited a well-known illustrator's cottage. More on those places in another post.
Enjoy your weekend, Everyone.