Light is on Main Street overlooking South Beach. Day and night,
the light sends out two flashes every ten seconds. This is a good
place to go after dinner and be hypnotized by the light flashes
and the surf on the beach. It's most dramatic on a foggy night with
a full moon rising. For a nice photo of the Light, see Jay
Pulli' s web site.
In front of the Chatham Light, South Beach faces
the Atlantic. It extends a long tail south that invites you to keep
walking on and on with bare feet in the cool surf. Most of South
Beach was an island until a few years ago, when the shifting sands
reconnected it with the mainland near the Chatham Light. If you
want to get out to the end the easy way, Outermost Harbor Marine
offers shuttles to South Beach from Seagull Road (945-2030).
Morris Island and Monomoy Wildlife Refuge
Island, now a scenic penninsula, houses the
Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge headquarters. A charming nature
trail of a little over a mile leads out to a long flight of steps
down to a beach. The refuge includes North and South Monomoy Islands
and part of Morris Island. To get there from the Chatham Light,
follow Main St south to Morris Island Rd.
Stage Harbor View from The Neck
Be sure to bicycle, drive or walk out Stage Harbor
Rd to "The Neck" for wonderful views of Stage Harbor.
Chatham has a vibrant Main Street for walking and
gawking. At the opposite end of the spectrum from Provincetown,
Chatham's Main Street exudes conservative good taste. Everything
is pretty and the stores offer art, books, handcrafted gifts, fine
clothes, and much more. I counted five ice-cream stores, but my
favorite lunch is fresh seafood in the cool pub atmosphere of the
Old Grist Mill
This mill is near Chase Park, off Shattuck Place,
high on a hill. It normally is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the summer
Oyster Pond is a salt-water pond at the end of a
deep inlet connecting to Stage Harbor. The public beach is a good
place for a swim. At Queen Anne Rd and Pond Rd.
Chatham is one of my favorite places for a bicycle
ride. The rail trail bypasses Chatham. However, if you can put up
with some traffic, hills, and Chatham's ubiquitous wind, you'll
ride into striking picture postcard views around every corner. The
route, described in Short
Bike Rides, follows the coast around Chatham's beaches,
harbors, and inlets. In addition, Fox Hill Road to Nickerson Neck
gives some great views of Pleasant Bay and a fine golf course overlooking
Harbor Light and Hardings Beach
Harbor Light stands alone on a sand penninsula, surrounded by
Nantucket Sound, the entrance to Stage Harbor, and the Oyster River
inlet. On the flat, sandy trail out to the lighthouse from Hardings
Beach, you see birds and grasses and beach plum, and the water off
to your right. As you approach the building, you may glimpse sailboats
behind it on Oyster River. It's two miles round trip through the
sand, described in the Short Nature Walks
book. Start at Hardings Beach, at the end of Hardings Road,
and return to the beach to relax.
Nantucket Sound at Ridgevale Beach
If you want to go boating in the open waters, Cape
Water Sports rents sailboats, power boats, and surfbikes and kayaks
at Ridgevale Beach on Nantucket Sound (432-4339). It's just west
of Hardings Beach, and you can sail up to the Stage Harbor light
that you may have visited on foot. To get there, heading west on
Rte 28, turn left onto Ridgevale Beach. It's a good place to spend
the day on the beach, too.
North and South Monomoy Islands are part of the
Wildlife Refuge. Boat tours to the islands are offered by Wellfleet
Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cape
Cod Museum of Natural History. The half-day trips to North Monomoy
give you a chance to beachcomb and see the birds and the seals.
Cape Cod Museum also offers a 1-hour cruise around North Monomoy
just to view the seals.
South Monomoy is six miles out into Nantucket Sound
and the Atlantic. I've taken the all-day tour. We walked through
tidal pools and marshes and grasses for a mile and a half to the
Monomoy Lighthouse, learning from the guide about the birds and
wildlife, nature, and history. Cape Cod Museum also offers a trip
where you stay overnight at the lighthouse keeper's house
on Pleasant Bay
protected waters of Pleasant Bay are a great place for boating.
You can rent a boat and explore on your own, or take part in a sponsored
canoe or cruise trip. Both the National Seashore and Wellfleet Bay
Wildlife Sanctuary sponsor canoe trips. The Wildlife Sanctuary and
Cape Cod Museum of Natural History sponsor guided cruises to learn
about the birds and wildlife, and trek around on the beaches of
the Bay's islands.
At the elegant Wequassett Inn, Cape Water Sports
rents sailboats, power boats, surfbikes and kayaks. Call 432-5400,
x530. Sailboats include the very simple little Escape sailboat or
the fast Hobie Cat Wave, as well as larger Daysailers. You can rent
for an hour or up to a day. Park at the lower level lot at the Wequassett
Inn and walk through their resort pool area to the boat rentals.
Combine a sail with a perfect lunch on the inn's dining room patio
overlooking the Bay. The Wequassett is at the intersection of Rte
28 and Pleasant Bay Road.
Salt water to swim in as warm as a pond is the appeal
of Pleasant Bay beaches. There's a nice beach on Pleasant Bay just
off Rte 28, just a bit south of the Wequassett Inn. There also are
are couple of town landings on Nickerson Neck (around Fox Hill Road)
that look like they would be fine for swimming in Pleasant Bay