Location: Depot Street, Chatham, MA
Distance from Providence, RI: 98 miles. Drive time: approximately 2 hours. (map it)
Kids love playgrounds and finding a brand new one–where the equipment is barely used and nothing has been broken yet–is an extra bonus. On our recent vacation to Chatham to visit friends and family, we made a trip to the local playground and discovered that the old play equipment had been replaced with a new play structure based on a maritime theme with boats, fish, and a lighthouse, along with plenty of swings and climbing structures.
This lovely sunny playground has very little shade, which is a plus or minus depending on the weather. During our visit, grass seed had just been planted and there was only one picnic table, but it looked like spaces were planned for adding more tables.
Next to the playground is the baseball field where the Chatham A’s college team plays games almost nightly in the summer, and during the day you may catch them practicing. The field provides an opportunity to watch great baseball up close for nothing.
Across the street from the playground is the tiny Depot Train Station museum, and the Chatham Fire and Police station. If the fire crew is not busy, you can ask for a tour of the firehouse; if they are busy, you may get to see the trucks in action.
The Chatham Cycle shop is located on the corner of Depot and Old Harbor Road. It’s a great place to rent bikes or get your two-wheeler tuned up.
Turn right down Old Harbor Road and head towards downtown Chatham. If you continue straight through the rotary, past the next block, there is a small town beach called Oyster Pond Beach. It has a protected swimming area for little kids, free parking, picnic tables, bathrooms, and lifeguards on duty, and it’s a great place to prowl for sea life like hermit crabs.
Leaving the beach, head back to the rotary and turn right on Main Street into Downtown Chatham.
Eldredge Public Library (564 Main Street) has a great children’s area with craft projects, a reading nook, puppet theater, and costumes.
If your kids tend to nap in the car, you may opt for a scenic drive. Grab a bagel, sandwich, cold drink, or a coffee at the Chatham Village CafÃ© (400 Main Street) and then continue down Main Street and turn right at the stop sign. Stop off at the Chatham Lighthouse parking area for a beautiful view of the beach and the coast guard station. Proceed past the lighthouse and turn right on Bridge Street, then left on Stage Harbor Road, which turns into Champlain Road. The road will twist around before turning right on Battlefield Road. Take a right onto Cedar Street and a left on Stage Harbor, and you will arrive back at Oyster Pond Beach. Continue though the rotary and turn left on Depot Street and you will be in front of the Chatham playground once again.
Photo Credit: Douglas Itkin