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Village LIFE: Charming Chatham

Chatham Light
Jeff Dannay

A wondrous day of checking out Chatham’s Main Street would not be complete without splicing in a little history with one’s entertainment. The Chatham Orpheum Theater originally opened at 637 Main Street in 1916 during the silent era of film. The Orpheum captivated audiences with first-run movies until its first chapter ended in 1987. It closed and became a CVS. In November 2011, after CVS had left the building, a grass roots team raised the $1.2 million to buy the building, and then the $4 million to renovate the old theater into a modern cinema. The return of the beloved movie house has earned praise from locals and visitors, even legendary director Steven Spielberg. 

One would be truly missing out on the heart and soul of Chatham if they did not spend some time out in nature exploring. A perfect place to get lost among the untouched scenery of Cape Cod is at the Monomoy Wildlife Refuge on Wikis Way. Established in 1944 as a protective habitat for migratory birds, the refuge is 7,604 acres in total, although due to the shifting sands only 40 acres remain connected to the mainland, with the rest of North and South Monomoy Island lying just offshore. For those wishing to see the islands more closely, there are island excursions offered by companies such as Monomoy Island Ferry, based out of Stage Harbor, which has been in business since 1989.

There are also a number of other delightful options to enjoy the outdoors in Chatham. One can stop, sit, listen and enjoy the sights of the fishing fleets departing or returning with their catches at Stage Harbor or at the Chatham Fish Pier on the Barcliff Avenue Extension, where one can also enjoy a drink and a bite to eat at the Chatham Pier Fish Market. It was featured by CBS Boston as one of the best lobster shacks on Cape Cod in 2014, after all! One can also enjoy a pleasant day outdoors sitting on the sand at Oyster Pond, or cycling along the Old Colony Rail Trail, which begins at the intersection of Depot Road and Hitching Post Road. It is possible to ride the trail all the way north to Wellfleet, or west through Yarmouth.

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