In just over a week, AJ and I will be packing up the Jeep and driving four and half hours to the South east most corner of Cape Cod. Once in Chatham, we'll be spending about 5 days there with my family. Since I was a baby, my family has rented a house in the same neighborhood in Chatham for one week every summer. Last summer was the first time AJ joined us and I was nervous, not because it would be his first time spending an extended period of time with my extended family, but because I just really, really, really wanted him to love Chatham as much as I do! It's my favorite place and it's been a big part of my life forever. If he didn't like it, what would I do???
Luckily—even though he is not a beach guy—he loved it, too. And he's really excited to go back. We had fun taking long walks and exploring hidden parts of Hardings Beach. We would walk through town together and on our last day there, we put Greek yogurt and cereal into Solo cups, got iced coffee from Dunkin's and walked to private beach at the house to have a little breakfast in the sand. That's one of my favorite memories from that trip. My other favorite memory took place on our last full day there, it was drizzling outside so we were taking a little drive through town when we noticed that my favorite ice cream place, Buffy's, was open! It hadn't been open at all when we there because we went so early in the season but I kept telling AJ how badly I wanted mint Oreo ice cream from there. So, even though it was raining, we pulled a quick U-turn, picked up some ice cream, and drove to Lighthouse Beach where we parked the car, walked down on the sand towards the water, and ate our ice cream in the freezing cold rain. What a good sport he is!
So I am happily anticipating our impending trip and I am brainstorming everything I want to fit into this next trip to make the most of our time! Here are a few of the things that we will definitely do.
Watch a Chatham A's Game
We might be there too early in the season, again, so we might not be able to catch a game this time. However, if you ever are on the Cape during the summer, try to catch a baseball game! It's a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening when you want a change from going to the beach or out to dinner. It's a fun atmosphere and they sell T-shirts and ice cream and hot dogs at all the games.
Have Dinner at Chatham Bars
We did this twice last year because the first time the spot where we really wanted to eat at the Inn was closed for a private party so we ate on the Veranda, which I don't really recommend. The portions and options are slim but really pricey, still, it was a great view of the ocean for dinner. We went back the next day for a late lunch and ate at their patio grill which is actually on the beach. The food is a bit cheaper and there are plenty more options. Plus, the view is even better!
Get Coffee at Chatham Cookie
Last year was the first time I even noticed Chatham Cookie! And since I am known as a cookie monster, I had to check it out. It's right at the beginning of Main Street in town and it is the perfect place to take a break from walking around or to pass a cloudy morning. As the name suggests, they have dozens of cookie flavors (why aren't there more cafes like this? Enough with scones and muffins and cupcakes—we want cookies!) along with different coffees, teas, pastries, and even small buckets of food that are specially made to order for your day at the beach! It is such a cute idea and is well decorated. It has a beachy, mermaid theme with lots of cute signs with funny or inspiring quotes.
Watch the Fishermen Come In
Just passed the Chatham Bars Inn, you can park your car and walk over this little deck that overlooks the docks where the fishermen boats come in. You stand above them and watch all the fish pour off the boats and into buckets to be cleaned up and sent out to restaurants and stores. It smells, yes but it's interesting and you will always spot some seals that come in to try to get fish scraps. The seals are the real scene stealer, they flip over and pop their heads out of the water to stare at you like they're putting on a show!
Drive to the National Seashore
I am always content to spend the whole trip parked in Chatham, but we usually drive to other beaches that are smack dab on the ocean, rather than the Nantucket sound like Chatham. The waves are taller, the beach is bigger, and the drive up the coast is beautiful. There are also bike trails that go through all the towns on the Cape that can shoot you out at the beach. I haven't tried that yet, but my sister and cousin did a few years ago and enjoyed it! Last year when we drove up the coast, it was raining and dreary so we didn't lay out on the beach, but we still walked in the sand, watched the waves crashed, and enjoyed the long drive.
Take Photos on Hardings Beach
Since we were babies, my mom has been taking photos of my sisters and me on Hardings Beach because it's where we stay every year. You can watch us grow up in those photos on the beach. Last year, neither of my sisters came to the Cape and AJ gladly stepped in to take photos with me. These are some of my favorite photos of us that we've ever taken and they were so fun! The weather was perfect and the sun was in the perfect spot. I definitely want to make this a new tradition for AJ and I to have photos on Hardings every year. And when we have children, we'll take photos of them in the same spot, too!