Cape Cod, redolent with the summer perfume of suntan lotion and the tang of saltwater taffy, holds in the crook of its sandy elbow this historic little town. Pure New England in its shingled cottages, cozy along its narrow streets, Chatham maintains the small-scale beauty of its 18-century beginnings. A sense of community permeates the town (the year-round population of 6,625 more than triples in the summer), particularly among the family-owned and operates shops, restaurants, and businesses that dot downtown. Add to that a pretty little gazebo on Main Street for concerts, the bleached-white stalwart beauty of the Chatham Lighthouse, the 2 p.m.-to-4 p.m. ritual of strolling to the pier to watch the fleet come in, and the colorful presence of a local baseball team, the Chatham Anglers, for more old-fashioned fun.
Where to Stay: Captain's House Inn is a AAA four-diamond property. Don't miss the gourmet breakfast. Rates start at $185; 800/315-0728 or captainshouseinn.com.