Cape Cod Day Trip: Chatham
By Courtney Wittenstein
Picture perfect…everywhere you go in Chatham could be the front of a postcard or a cover of a magazine. From Shore Road, where modern and historic homes hug the Cape Cod National Seashore, to the beautiful crest of the Nantucket Sound beaches, it’s no wonder Chatham is one of the Cape’s most desirable towns. And what makes the town even better are the unique local shops and eateries that deliver seasonally and year-round.
If you’re looking for a delicious breakfast, look no further than the Lazy Lobster in North Chatham. Caleb and Liz Hessler of Chatham took their long history of working in restaurants and continued the savory legacy. You can order the hearty basics, like a stack of buttermilk pancakes or, if you’re craving something unique, try the Lobster Scramble made with fresh lobster, hollandaise sauce, Swiss cheese, red onion and asparagus. Another popular dish, the Deviled Eggs, is made with whole grain mustard, truffle oil, thick cut bacon, green onion and arugula. The adorable dining room and bar have an island cabana feel to it. They’re open for lunch, too!
After a big breakfast, it’s time to work it off! If you’re looking for stellar views and serenity, head out to the Monomoy Refuge. Monomoy was established as a sanctuary for migratory birds back in the 1940s. It’s a beautiful walk and you’re sure to see some feathered friends while strolling. Make sure you stop at the visitor’s center at the refuge to get more information and to see if any spots are off-limits due to piping plover nests.
Before you go and lounge on the beach, you want to be sure to hit up the popular Corner Store. Known for its burritos (breakfast, lunch and dinner), panini, salads and more, the Corner Store has developed quite the following and reputation. Ingredients are as fresh as they can get and each recipe was created in-house. Open now for over a decade, they recently expanded to Orleans where they also offer beer and wine. Don’t let the line intimidate you, “fresh, fast, fun,” is their slogan, so they move quickly. Their grilled chicken panini will definitely please most, with basil pesto aioli spread on local Pain D’Avignon bread, melted provolone cheese, red onion and grilled chicken, all pressed to perfection so it truly melts in your mouth. Don’t leave without a homemade whoopie pie or cookie!
Time to go catch some rays! Head to one of the breathtaking Nantucket Sound beaches. Harding’s Beach offers two parking lots and, if you need to stretch after that whoopie pie, there is a beautiful walk along the coast to the tip of Harding’s where you’ll find Stage Harbor Lighthouse. Plus you can watch the boats coming out of Stage Harbor. There is a daily parking fee of $15 or you can get a season pass.
Before you set out for the night, head to downtown Chatham where you’ll find an eclectic array of retailers and eateries, including the off-the-beaten-track Cottage Street Bakery. The bakery just opened a few years ago and is a hidden gem. Tucked behind clothing store In The Pink, it feels as though you’re walking through a secret garden. The Cottage Street Bakery is absolutely delightful and delicious…be prepared to have your mouth water. They offer everything from breakfast pastries like the Dirt bomb muffin—a moist, buttery muffin covered in cinnamon and sugar—decadent cakes and thick, creamy, buttercream brownies (try the peanut butter or cappuccino). You’ll definitely leave satisfied!
After loading up on sweets, be sure to check out the local shops in town. There is a wide array of great retailers. Mark August features uniquely crafted jewelry from artisans to desirable home goods like recycled wood frames and wine glasses with rock stems. Looking for clothing truly unique to the Cape? Head down to Fisherman’s Daughter where you’ll find eco-friendly clothing. Designer and owner Taylor Brown features her line of sea-themed threads there. Gustare stocks extra virgin olive oils, from some of the worlds most well-respected artisanal producers, as well as balsamic and specialty vinegars. Bring home a bottle of the Cape Cod Cranberry-Pear vinegar as a unique memento of your visit. There is truly something for everyone in the downtown area.
Shopping makes you work up an appetite, and what better way to enjoy your last meal of the day than at the delectable Del Mar. Del Mar is a bistro just on the outskirts of town and has been popular since the day they opened. The menu offers a variety of items including appetizers like the amazing tempura fried shrimp—made with pickled Asian slaw, wasabi and sweet chili—fresh salads with homemade dressings and the most perfectly made wood-fired pizzas. Of course, there are the entrees including my favorite, the Grilled Filet Mignon served with bacon mashed potatoes, haricot verts, truffled micro arugula, frizzled leeks, grated Manchego & port wine demi-glace…it is an explosion of flavors in your mouth. They have blackboard specials every single day, featuring entrees with the catch-of-the-day and sure-to-please dishes that you will have trouble deciding on. Try one of their special drinks at the bar with gorgeous glass lights illuminating the area, or sit out on their screened-in patio and, on the cooler nights, they crank up the heat lamps. Del Mar is sure to please anyone (and everyone’s) palette.
The night is still young, which is why it’s time to head to the local watering hole, The Red Nun. With a wide selection of beers on tap, including some of the Cape-made brews, you’re sure to see some local color at “the Nun.” Looking for that game on TV? The Nun has several TVs going to make sure you’re up-to-speed on your favorite teams. There’s a great porch to enjoy the summer breeze and a refreshing cocktail. If you’re still craving some food, be sure to try one of the Nun’s famous burgers. There is quite the selection of 7-oz. Angus burgers that will satisfy any meat lover!
Chatham’s beauty is natural and so easy to find, but it’s the local artisans, fishermen, business owners, chefs and residents that keep this town as amazing as it is. And delicious, too!
Lazy Lobster, 247 Orleans Road
Monomoy Refuge, 30 Wikis Way, Morris Island
The Corner Store, 1403 Old Queen Anne Road
Harding’s Beach , Harding’s Beach Road
Cottage Street Bakery, 483 Main Street
Mark August, 490 Main Street
Fisherman’s Daughter, 402 Main Street
Gustare Oils & Vinegars, 425 Main Street,
Del Mar Bistro, 907 Main Street
The Red Nun, 746 Main Street