Cruising to Chatham, Massachusetts

Chatham, Massachusetts is one of the most charming and historic boating destinations in New England. This Cape Cod village has long been a favorite among boaters for its exceptionally beautiful scenery, world-class fishing and gorgeous beaches.

Visiting boaters should make sure to get up-to-date local information before visiting Chatham, as the area is constantly being reshaped by powerful coastal storms. Boaters can reach the harbormaster (http://www.town.chatham.ma.us/public_documents/chathamma_harbor/index) at 508-945-5185 or on VHF 66.

The area features two harbors. Chatham Harbor provides access to Pleasant Bay, a well-protected and beautiful body of water. But while the harbor has a well-marked channel, it also has difficult turns and sometimes treacherous conditions. Chatham’s other harbor, Stage Harbor, is protected by Monomoy Island and is home to sheltered waters and several marinas.

In Stage Harbor, boaters will find Stage Harbor Marine (www.stageharbormarine.com; 508-945-1860), which has slips, moorings and fuel. Oyster River Boatyard (www.oysterriverboatyard.com; 508-945-0736) also has fuel, slips and moorings, as does Chatham Yacht Basin (www.chathamyachtbasin.com; 508-945-0728). Outermost Harbor Marine (www.outermostharbor.com; 508-945-2030), which has a great marine store, is another dockage option. Boaters in Chatham Harbor can find slips, moorings and fuel at Ryders Cove Boat Yard (www.ryderscoveboatyard.com; 508-945-1064).

After docking, boaters can explore the charming shops and wonderful eateries in Chatham village. At the Atwood House Museum (www.chathamhistoricalsociety.org; 508=945-2493) visitors can learn about the area’s history and culture. Nearby, the Monomoy Island National Wildlife Refuge (http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Monomoy/) is one of the Northeast’s best birding areas. It also has large numbers of seals and boasts amazing scenery. Nature lovers can enjoy seal and bird-viewing tours with Beachcomber Tours (www.sealwatch.com; 508-945-5265) or Outermost Adventures (www.outermostharbor.com; 508-945-5858).

When it comes time for dining, Chatham has several excellent restaurants to choose from. Visitors who enjoy seafood can have their meal prepared on the pier at the Chatham Pier Fish Market (www.chathampierfishmarket.com; 508-945-3474). The Chatham Squire (www.thesquire.com; 508-945-0945) has pub food, Italian dishes and seafood. The Wild Goose Tavern (www.wildgoosetavern.com; 508-945-5590) features elegant seafood and specialty dishes. And the Wequassett Inn (www.wequassett.com; 508-432-5400), in nearby Harwich, can be directly accessed by water.

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