Historic Chatham, Massachusetts Is a Great Family Daycation
I don't recall having ever spent time in Chatham, Massachusetts, until recently. Chatham is historic for several reasons, and it's an easy and worthwhile Sunday drive for the entire family.
Most locals know how the Pilgrims sailed from England aboard the Mayflower in 1620, bound for the New World. Of course, we know about how the Pilgrims settled in what we now call Plymouth and established relations with the Native American tribes that were already here.
Some folks might not know that the Pilgrims were bound for the Hudson River in New York and not New England. A storm or two put the Mayflower on a more northerly course towards the eastern edge of Cape Cod.
Realizing their error, the Pilgrims sailed the Mayflower southward, hoping to find the mouth of the Hudson River, but the dangerous reefs and shoals of Pollack Rip off the coast of Chatham forced them to turn back.
The Pilgrims sailed around the tip of Cape Cod and anchored at what is now Provincetown Harbor. After five weeks, the Pilgrims sailed across Provincetown Harbor and settled in Plymouth.
Pollack Rip is a notoriously dangerous hazard to navigation. Many vessels have met their doom in that area resulting in the death of countless seamen over the centuries.
Recognizing the hazards, Congress appropriated funding for the Chatham Light, which opened in 1808. The U.S. Coast Guard Station at Chatham was built in 1872 and is still in operation today.
There are monuments and memorials in Chatham to those lost at sea and of course, the historic Chatham Light and Coast Guard Station. The homes in the area are beautiful, as is the beach. There is a charming downtown area with restaurants and shops.
And there are restrooms near the beach!
Oh, and this is also where the Great White Sharks like to hang out during the warm summer months.
Chatham is about an hour's car ride from New Bedford using U.S. Route 6.