Family of four from Westchester (NYC Metro) New York, with two young (4yr and 1.5 yrs) children. We were looking for a relaxing week away and were very happy with our time in Chatham.
Although I was very active on the NYC forums for years here on TripAdvisor, I only did cursory research here (or anywhere) prior to the trip due to a crazy work schedule.
Driving from the NYC area, we decided to split the trip, staying on Friday night in Warwick, Rhode Island at the Courtyard by Marriot, which was fine. We hit some traffic Saturday morning at Bourne Bridge, of course, but it really wasn’t bad and more manageable since it came only an hour or so into the day’s driving.
We found a 4BR cottage near Harding’s Beach on VRBO. Booked back in May, cost was $1600/week. The cottage was a nice size, more than enough room for a family of four, plus we had my in-laws stay for two nights. Nice sized yard, and the rental included two kayaks which I had every intention of using but never did. Only gripe was the lack of a gas grill – there was a smallish charcoal grill. Overall, we were happy with the accomodations, and found the price very reasonable. If you want details on the exact location, email me and I’ll send you the link.
Del Mar – Only takes reservations for parties of six or more. We waited about an hour for a table, which was reasonable given that it was a weekend night. Very nice atmosphere, half of the restaurant is tented, which gives the whole place a bit of an outdoor feel. I had the striper (striped bass) special, which was very good. Clam chowder was disappointing. Wife had cod, also good. Kids split pizza, which was very good and reasonably priced (note that my definition of “reasonable” may be different coming from the NYC area, which is very expensive).
Hangar B - Very unique, tiny restaurant at the Chatham Airport. Very long wait for brunch, but we were a party of nine (met up with friends) and so that was to be expected. Excellent, excellent food, and in such a unique and fun setting for the kids. Breakfast staples (pancakes, etc) were very nicely done, plus you get to watch airplanes take off and land. Kids loved it, and so did we.
Larry’s PX – We ate here thrice – once, lunch takeout during a rainstorm on Monday, and twice for breakfast. We loved this place, very old school New England diner which seemed to be a favorite with locals. Food was very, very reasonable, service good, and just a great vibe. Cannot recommend it highly enough when you just want something relaxing and inexpensive.
28 Atlantic – “Date night” without the kids. A stunning restaurant at a resort on Pleasant Bay. Food and service were spectacular. Two of us had the lobster, which was probably the best we’ve ever had (and we’ve had a LOT of lobster). Two of us had the scallops, which were again probably the best we’ve ever had. Service was attentive – white glove all the way. Expensive, but worth it. Request a table with a view and if you’re lucky, like us, you’ll see the moon reflecting off the bay. Stunning.
Impudent Oyster – Probably our favorite given the combination of reasonable prices and superb food. I had the “Impudent Oysters” – lightly fried. Even our picky four-year-old daughter who is pretty picky loved them. Great variety on the menu, excellent service. This is a good place if you’re travelling with seafood-averse folks, since they’ve got a lot of non-fish options available. Apparently it’s nearly impossible to get a dinner reservation, so go for lunch – it’s was quiet and we were seated immediately.
Kreme n’ Kone – Tourist trap? Probably, but a fun experience. Fried seafood is the way to go. Fisherman’s Platter was obnoxiously huge, and the fried scallops were flavorless, although the fried clams, fish, shrimp, and onion rings were pretty good. This is really a fast-food joint, nothing more, but again, kind of a fun experience. We got lucky and showed up when the place was empty at 6:30pm, by 7pm it was mobbed.
Sundae School – (In Harwichport) Stopped here for ice cream and again lucked out – place was empty upon arrival at noon, mobbed by 12:30pm. Fun place, loads of flavors to choose from, very reasonably priced (about $6 for a sampler of four scoops, which would be about $10 in NYC). Ice cream was really nothing special, though. The kids get cute little hats which makes it all worthwhile.
Carmine’s Pizzeria – Had zero expectations, coming from NYC, and those expectations were met, although the pizza was fine. Just had a quick lunch there the first day as we were killing time before checking into our house.
Fish Pier – Ate here for lunch the last day in Chatham. Superb lobster rolls and clam fritters. Takeout only, we sat in the car and scarfed down the food before hitting the road back home.
Chatham Lobster and Seafood – If I recall, they have a sit-down restaurant, but we just bought seafood to cook at home here. Really fresh, high quality, very good prices (steamers at $2.99 a pound was ridiculously cheap, and they were very, very good). Also picked up lobsters for steaming, which I thought were way overpriced at $11/pound. Got a nice piece of tuna, too, and their clam chowder was amazing.
Fishing on The Yankee – I went fishing on my own on the Yankee, out of Harwichport. Morning trip from 8am – noon for $40, including bait and tackle. I’ve done a bunch of “party” boats in different parts of the country and the Yankee was pretty good. Mates were very helpful, and the fishing was good – we caught a ton of scup, along with a few fluke and sea bass.
Ridgevale Beach – This beach is great for kids, because there’s a little cove where they can wade and swim without any waves. It’s really quite gorgeous, and so relaxing to wade around with a net and catch minnows and not have to worry about the kids. We also went on the “real” beach with some pretty solid waves for boogie-boarding and such. The seaweed was pretty heavy on the Sound, but we expected this. There’s a snack bar which we didn’t check out.
Harding’s Beach – My daughter and I loved this beach during sunsets. It’s a classic, white sand, gorgeous beach that was a little less crowded, it seemed, than Ridgevale. Less seaweed, too. If you go later in the day, you don’t have to worry about paying the parking fees here or at other beaches ($15/day, $60/week).
Town Launch/Boatyard – I took the kids down to the Town Launch on the Oyster River one morning, and it was a ton of fun. Lots of marine life to check out (hermit crabs by the hundreds, waterfowl, fish, etc) and very interesting for them to see boats being launched. I personally loved the old weathered shacks and New England charm of the place.
Lighthouse – Drove out to Chatham Light early one morning and was really impressed with the area. Watching the sun rise over the Atlantic with fishing boats coming in and out was awesome. Probably the most picturesque area, an absolute must-see, but do it early before it gets crowded.
Chatham Fish Pier – Another must see for the commercial fishing boats unloading and the harbor seals.
Cape Escape Mini Golf – (in Orleans) We went here twice, and had a lot of fun. It gets really crowded, but it’s a cheap ($8/pp) way to entertain the kids for an hour. Staff was friendly.
Baseball Shop – (in Orleans) A bit of a disappointment. I had hoped to pick up a local Cape Cod League jersey but they really didn’t have anything.
Narrowland Gallery – A wonderful art gallery on Main Street in Chatham. Stunning photography, painting, and mixed media. Truly unique and worth a visit. Picked up a gorgeous Chatham poster print, signed, for only $10. Can’t wait to return next year and buy something more substantial.
Nickerson Art Gallery – Spent an hour in here, at least. The owner, Ginny (I think?) Nickerson was lovely to my daughter, and is a talented painter herself. Gorgeous artwork, and not the touristy/cheap kind.
Eldridge Library – Main Street in Chatham. Went here on the one rainy day and was very impressed. Amazing kids’ room with computers and a train table. The kids would have stayed for hours. Easy to get a library card even as a visitor, we checked out some books and DVD’s that came in very handy over the course of the week. Wonderful staff.
Overall we had a fabulous time in Chatham, and can't wait to go back next year!