Chatham was named a Distinctive Destination in 2007 by the National Trust of Historic Preservation. It really is a special place no matter when you visit but surprisingly, autumn and winter are some of the most interesting times to come enjoy Chatham. From Veterans Day Parades with that old-fashion feel, to holiday house tours, to First Night Chatham for bringing in the New Year, Chatham off season is fun-filled and magical.
One of Chatham's most well known attractions is the Chatham Light. The view of the Atlantic is spectacular and you can use the public telescope viewers and maybe you will spot one of the gray seals that call Chatham and near by Monomoy Island and Wildlife Sanctuary home. During the holidays, the Coast Guard hangs a lovely wreath from the lighthouse, so if you are looking for a great place to take holiday photos on the Cape this is a spot that should go to the top of your list. Stop in during First Night for a tour of the lighthouse.
Veterans Day is celebrated with a traditional "small town" parade like your parents grew up with and is a great way to have your family honor and remember all those who have served. It begins and the Main Street Rotary (aka the Veterans Rotary) at 11 am on Veterans Day.
This year marks Chatham's 33rd Annual Christmas by the Sea Festival, which begins The first weekend in December and runs through First Night. Christmas-by-the-Sea is a Chatham Merchants Association sponsored event kicking off at 1:30 pm on Dec. 4, with Santa's arrival at the Fish Pier, followed by a concert with the Chatham Town Band. That evening is the Holiday Dinner Dance at the Chatham Bars Inn. The annual Christmas stroll will be Dec 9 - 10 on beautiful, picturesque Main Street with tree lightings, hayrides and hot chocolate. Rumor has it Santa will be there too!
Chatham is home to some great theatre groups like the Chatham Theatre Guild, part of the American Association of Community Theatre. If you are living in the area and have been bit by that theatre bug, they will be auditioning for Wrong Turn at Lungfish at the end of November for a mid to late February 2012 opening. Chatham also has the famous Monomoy Theatre, where the Ohio University Players have been in residence each summer since 1958.
Atwood House Museum, the heart of the Chatham Historical Society, offers events in the fall even when the museum exhibits are closed for the season. This year they are offering a "Black Friday" after Thanksgiving Sale at the Museum gift shop. Check out the Afternoons at the Atwood Lecture Series being offered. On December 9 and 10, the Historical Society throws open their doors for their Annual Hearth Warming during the Chatham Christmas Stroll.
First Night Chatham is a 20 year tradition of celebrating the arts in Chatham on New years Eve. This year, the theme is "Dance the Night Away", so bring those dancing shoes! The event kicks off on December 30 with the Cape Cod Opera performing. New Year's Eve is filled with artists, performers and the always popular Count Down to the New Year Cod Drop at Oyster pond and fire works. With programs for kids and teens, First Night Chatham offers a fun, alcohol-free town-wide celebration for all.
If you are looking for some great places to stay in Chatham to enjoy New England holiday traditions, go check out AllCapeCod's Chatham Lodging page. For other great places to stay on the Cape see AllCapeCod's Lodging site.