Chatham (Cape Cod), Massachusetts
Located on the southeast corner of Cape Cod is the beautiful town of Chatham, Massachusetts. The area is often referred to as the elbow of Cape Cod as this is where the Cape goes from heading east to making a sharp left-turn and heading north. The town itself almost seems to be tucked a bit out of the way halfway between Hyannis on the Mid-Cape and Provincetown, on the furthest tip of the Cape.
Chatham's downtown is often referred to as the Historic Business District with Main Street being the primary commercial cooridor from the Rotary where Route 28 meets Main Street down to the intersection of Main Street and Homestead Lane. Businesses here include clothing shops, galleries, gift shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, and inns. The inns provide easy access to both the downtown and the beach. Chatham is approximately 88 miles from Boston, and 92 miles from Providence, Rhode Island. Other Main Streets worth checking out on Cape Cod include Falmouth, Hyannis, and Provincetown.
Shops and boutiques line Main Street in the Historic Business District in Chatham, Massachusetts. Chatham is located on the southeastern corner of Cape Cod, sometimes referred to as the Elbow of the Cape.
Looking down on Main Street from a hill on Seaview Street you can see the shops and other activity in town along with the First United Methodist Church rising up in the background.
Shops occupy quaint historic properties, many of which have that distinct Cape Cod feel to them.
We'll start our tour on the southeastern side of downtown on Main Street and work our way northwest. Here at the intersection of Main Street and Homestead Lane is an attractive home. We'll be heading away from the beach, but if you headed southeast on Main Street towards the beach, you'd find many houses, most of which can be rented over the summer.
This building with its nautical flare contains shops and even a cafe with outdoor seating. Much of Chatham's past is rooted in the sea, first as a fishing and shipping town and then as a center of tourism.
Small houses are now occupied by quaint boutiques. Many of the buildings in Chatham date back to the nineteenth century and are modest in size, housing the workers who participated in the town's maritime industries.
This house, converted into multiple boutiques, features a mix of architectural styles. The cedar siding reflexes the Cape Cod style while the tower in the front reflects a Victorian style.
More shops, including a gourmet market, are located inside of this well-kempt historic building.
This house, which also contains a shop, almost looks like a beach house complete with a driveway. Many of the buildings in Chatham are covered in cedar siding, which is very popular on Cape Cod.
Along this stretch many of the businesses occupy what appear to formerly be houses, including this antique store and coffee shop with an outdoor dining area in what used to be a front yard.
How cute is that? Today this small cottage is an art gallery.
We're now getting closer to the heart of the Historic Business District. Many of the shops are in commercial spaces, some of which are newer or more recently renovated, including this stretch along the 400 block of Main Street.
At the intersection of Main Street and Chatham Bars Avenue is the Brick Block, a large commercial structure built in 1915 in the half-timber English Tudor style.
Across the street, the Mayflower gets its name from the ship that brought those Pilgrims to their final destination nearby. Notice the green crosswalks at the bottom of the picture. Chatham's crosswalks are bright and well-marked.
Here's another commercial building at the intersection of Main Street and Chatham Bars Avenue, this one selling apparel for those near the beach. You can get another look at Chatham's distinctive crosswalks in this picture.
Boutiques and cafes occupy these historic houses along Main Street. The clock and wrought-iron benches give a cozy feel under the large tree in the front yard.
We continue our tour heading northwest along Main Street. Chatham is home to many art galleries and even several candy shops. When we came early in the morning, some of the shops were not yet open and there wasn't too much activity on the streets yet.
This large restaurant has a distinct Cape Cod feel to it and even contains a tavern and a gift shop. You can see me in the reflection on the right, taking a picture from across the street.
Here's a view of Kate Gould Park from Main Street. On Friday nights in the summer, concerts are held in the bandstand, which you can see behind the trees on the right side of the picture.
This charming inn right on Main Street dates back to 1860. It's one of the many places to stay right in heart of Chatham, Massachusetts.
Here is a view, facing northeast along Main Street, starting at around the 500 block. The First United Methodist Church rises in the background.
Several shops and businesses occupy this house known as Kent Place along Main Street in Chatham.
This large building on the 500 block of Main Street sports a clothing store on the ground floor. Notice its cedar siding, which is very popular on Cape Cod and other parts of New England.
The Chatham Chamber of Commerce provides a small Visitor Information Center right on Main Street.
Even this small bank has cedar siding. We told you it was popular on Cape Cod.
Here's a closer view of the historic First United Methodist Church in Chatham at the intersection of Main Street and Cross Street. For shoppers, they even provide a Thrift Shop.
Also at the intersection of Main Street and Cross Street is this interesting historic artifact. Looks like an old water pump surrounded by stonework.
Across the street from the First United Methodist Church is the historic Eldridge Public Library built in the Renaissance/Romanesque style of architecture.
A house stands above the hill looking down on businesses along Main Street at the intersection of Main Street and Library Lane. There was a lot of beautiful architecture in Chatham but sometimes all of the power lines and electric poles made photography a little frustrating.
More galleries and boutiques along the 500 block of Main Street. You can see what I mean about all of the power lines. Oh well, the shops need electricity.
A clothing boutique and an antiques shop occupy this charming building. Most of the shops are independently owned. There are a few small chains in the Historic Business District, but you won't find any national chains.
This building appears to be a bit more modern and is part of a multi-building complex.
Here's a twin of that previous building so they are probably part of the same complex. On the right you have a bistro with outdoor seating and on the left you have an anchor, which gives a nod to Chatham's nautical heritage.
Chatham's Civil War Memorial occupies the green triangle of space made up by the unique intersection of Main Street and Seaview Street. An antiques store occupies the historic house at the top of the hill on the right-side of the picture.
A row of gift shops and boutiques line this commercial structure along the 600 block of Main Street. And yes, even this otherwise nondescript structure is dressed up in that ever popular cedar siding.
More shops and boutiques occupy these structures. The building on the right is a perfect example of Cape Cod architecture. The First Congregational Church rises in the background.
As the morning progressed more stores began to open and more people began to appear along the sidewalk. On the right-side of the picture is the Chatham Orpheum. Built in 1917, the historic theater continues to show first run movies.
We near the end of the tour as we reach the northwestern most edge of Chatham's Historic Business District. But there are still a few more shops and restaurants along this stretch.
When you reach the Rotary (as traffic circles are called in Massachusetts) you know you have reached the end of Chatham's Historic Business District. But you can always cross the street and turn around and shop the other side of the street. Just be sure to use that well-marked crosswalk in the middle of the road.
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