Chatham, one of the older townships of Cape Cod, was settled in 1656 by a handful of Pilgrims, whose surnames still dominate the town's census list. The town was incorporated in 1712. Originally a farming community, its inhabitants found deep sea fishing more lucrative, and today small boat deep sea fishing is an important source of the town's revenue.
Covering an area of approximately seventeen square miles, Chatham is a happy combination of past and present: old fashioned and picturesque, yet affording the best in modern facilities. The town operates under the town meeting form of government. The executive officers are a board of five part-time selectmen and an executive secretary. Once a year, the citizens meet to discuss articles in a town warrant and pass or reject them. Most funds spent by the town are voted at this meeting. The citizens of Chatham enjoy the special benefits of forward-looking zoning and current planning, and of both public and private conservation efforts. Warm summer days with cool summer nights, beautiful warm indian summers, and relatively mild winters make.
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Chatham Beaches Information:
Parking permits are required at most of Chatham's nine beaches; the exceptions are Forest Beach Road and Pleasant Street beaches, both in South Chatham, which have limited but free parking. Stickers good at the other beaches can be obtained at the booths at Hardings, Cockle Cove, and Ridgevale beaches, where daily parking is $8. A one-week sticker is $35, and a season sticker is $60. Residents and property owners can get season stickers for $20 at the permit department on George Ryder Road, (508) 945-5180. Only four beaches have lifeguards: Hardings, Cockle Cove, Ridgevale, and Oyster Pond. Those beaches also have restrooms; other town beaches have portable toilets. Cockle Cove Beach, off Cockle Cove Road, is the best choice for families with little ones since it has lifeguards. It also has restrooms, and parents will appreciate the calm waves and long stretches of soft sand. Hardings Beach, off Hardings Beach Road, has a concession stand for snacks, restrooms, and quietly pounding surf. Ridgevale Beach, between Hardings and Cockle Cove (at the end of Ridgevale Road) also has lifeguards, restrooms, and a concession stand in summer. Also on Nantucket Sound are Pleasant Street Beach (where you don't need a sticker to park) and Forest Beach Road Beach. Those seeking solitude should head over to Atlantic Ocean-fronted North Beach. Located at the southern end of Orleans' Nauset Beach, it's accessible only by boat. Area water taxis will take you there (and bring you back) for a small round-trip fee per adult.
The remote South Beach, off Morris Island Road just beyond the Chatham Light, and also on the Atlantic, provides solitude without requiring a boat. It has no parking lot, so you'll have to walk or bike there. The most desolate stretches take quite a hike, but the quiet and grandeur cannot be beat.
Oyster Pond, an inland saltwater pond off Stage Harbor Road that's connected to Nantucket Sound via Stage Harbor and Oyster Creek, is calm and relatively warm and has a lifeguard in season; it also has restrooms. Schoolhouse Pond, situated on Schoolhouse Road in West Chatham, is also worth a visit for its tranquility, but note that parking is limited to Chatham residents.