Welfleet or Chatham (or Martha's Vineyard)

Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 06:36 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 148
Welfleet or Chatham (or Martha's Vineyard)

My family of 5 (kids ages 13, 11 and 9) will be visiting Cape Cod for a week in early June 8-16) , and I am trying to find a location which would suit us best. So far, I have found great homes in both Chatham and Welfleet that are within our budget, but I know little about each area. From my web searches, I am guessing that Chatham is bigger, as there is much more info available on the town than Welfleet. Can someone tell me the character and your opinions on both? I used to vacation in the Cape as a child, and I am now looking forward to bringing my family back for the first time. The houses I have chosen are both on the water - harbors, I believe, but the one in Welfleet has a beach with private steps out the back yard down to the sand. As a family, we enjoy playing on the beach, going out for lunch and dinner wiithn town, and strolling around quaint towns looking for that perfect souvenir and ice cream cone. We also like to explore other towns within the area, so we do plan on using our car to drive to other locations as well.

One more thing, I do have an inquiry into a house in Martha's Vineyard as well, but don't know yet about the price. I have never been there, but this could be a possibility as well.

Any suggestions are appreciated!
Neal623 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 08:43 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,430
Wellfleet - and because you so carefully explained who you are and what you like. Wellfleet to me feels like the essence of Cape Cod - more rustic, less honky-tonk. As a weekly renter you will be able to buy a beach parking sticker (you can in most towns) and Wellfleet has both ocean and bay beaches. The downtown is tiny but feel authentic. Several nice but not pretentious restaurants and a few smaller more casual places. You are very close to dunes of Truro and for a daytrip to Provincetown.

I also like Chatham, but more for a couples vacation than a family vacation. Nicer restaurants, spas, and certainly bigger. Similar opinion of Marthas Vineyard.

Some thoughts about your vacation - early June may or may not be beach weather - and certainly will not be swimming weather for reasonable people (that excludes the kids, perhaps). Advantage of bay beaches in Wellfleet is that the water will not be quite as cold. Sometimes at the end of May/early June the end of the Cape gets fog in the AM that is slow to burn off - but when it does the weather is generally OK.

Pick the best beach day and go to the National Seashore - best entry is in Eastham (close by). You park at a lot about a mile from the beach and take a shuttle - to preserve the dunes. If you have a National Parks pass by any chance, parking is free. Best waves and sand on the Cape - body surfing, boogey boarding (they only let you use a board with a wrist strap and rope attached to the board and they do check). Well life-guarded and you can walk for miles of sand if you want.

Rentals are usually Sat PM - Sat AM. Traffic is consequently horrible getting on and off Cape at those times. You can limit it by going and leaving a bit early or late, but it is still bad - although early June is better than mid-summer.
gail is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 10:08 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 148
Thank you for the info, Gail - very helpful. A few more questions: After reviewing the homes' websites, I now know which bodies of water the homes are on. The Chatham one sits on Nantucket Sound and has a private beach right outside the house. It looks like the town must be reached by car - not sure how far other larger beaches are from the home. The Wellfleet home sits on Wellfleet Harbor, and is within walking distance to other beaches and some restaurants. The Wellfleet home, however, is $600 more which is not an insignificant amount.

As far as beach activities, my kids do love to ride waves in, build sand castles, look for shells, sea life, so a good beach close by is important. Although both homes have the private beaches, they both look small, so we'd probably want to spend some time at other nearby beaches as well. As far water temp - they have gone swimming in Hilton Head in February, so they are rather harty when it comes to braving
the elements. I think I will ask what other beach is within walking distance of the Wellfleet home as this
could play a role in our decision.

Any thoughts on the info I have added?
Neal623 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 10:51 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,430
You are not going to find waves at either of those locations -the beach is too protected. I would check out website I just found chathaminfo.com/beaches - it lists various beaches in Chatham and maybe you can figure out which is closest. I would imagine most rental houses on beach in Chatham would involve a drive to town. So thinking that beach location in Chatham might be better - you certainly are not swimming in Wellfleet Harbor (or any other harbor) but walking distance to anything might be better in Wellfleet. There are not too many places on the Cape where you are going to get a decent beach and walking distance to the real world.

Google map or earth it and see if you can get an idea of exact location if they actually give you an address. "Private beach" can mean anything - we own a tiny beach house north of Boston where realtor description said "pocket beach" across the street - and it is actually big enough for 2 chairs and a towel and then only at low tide. Considering the $600 difference, assuming houses are similar enough - I might go with the Chatham one. You can buy a lot of fried clams and ice cream for that $.

Keep questions coming if you want - and hopefully others will chime in, since you shouldn't be making a decision based just on me. My warm spot for Wellfleet perhaps has to do with years of renting a place for a few weeks every summer when our kids were young.
gail is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 12:43 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 148
Hi Gail,

Your replies are very infomrative, and they are helping me to narrow my search. I started looking at the sizes of the private beaches in the photos, and I'm now concerned that they are just little areas, which might detract from the fun we usually have as a family on the Hilton Head beaches. I did find another home(haven't heard back from the owner yet) on Lt. Island in Welfleet which has a huge beach and can be accessed by steps from the house. Other bay beaches are within walking distance. Are you familiar with this area? I agree that Wellfleet seems more like "us", but I think we would be happy in either Chatham or Wellfleet, as we have a car and plan on exploring different towns in the area.
Neal623 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 12:49 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 148
**imformative
Neal623 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 12:51 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 48,820
Luitenant Island has a larger bay beach, but again, no waves. You need the ocean side for waves.
Also I would not choose Lt's Island with small kids because at high tide it is inaccessible.
Can you post links to homes? that would help.
Also, cape is very different from Hilton Head, character of beaches is quite different.
jubilada is online now  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 02:44 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
If your kids are small then you'll want to be on the Cape Cod Bay beaches or Nantucket Sound beaches. Wellfleet has beaches on Cape Cod Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Chatham has beaches on Pleasant Bay and Nantucket Sound. The waters of the Atlantic Ocean are wild and cold. My kids, who grew up on the Cape, swam at the Coast Guard Beach in Eastham, near Wellfleet and also in the National Seashore, wearing wetsuits. The tides are fierce there. You sure you want that kind of action?

Next coldest waters on Cape Cod are the Cape Cod Bay beach waters. However, the tremendous low tide provides a nice warm 'wading pool' for little kids. Warmest waters on the Cape are the Nantucket Sound beaches. Some of these can be seaweedy but the water is warm and there may be enough of a surf to satisfy most people. The Lighthouse Beach, overlooking Pleasant Bay in Chatham, has had a bit of a shark problem the last few years because of the large seal population there, so I don't consider it swimmable, but it's infinitely walkable and quite lovely. Oyster Pond, downtown, is also known as the Childrens Beach, a nice place for little kids. You can enjoy a seal watch out of Chatham or catch a whale watch out of Provincetown. These towns offer complimentary activities.

Wellfleet is very rural, Chatham is more suburban. Both are beautiful. Chatham offers you easier access to the upper Cape towns including easy access to the Fast Ferry out of Harwich that'll get you to Nantucket for a day trip. Wellfleet is close to Provincetown where you'll find some of the best restaurants on Cape Cod.

I hate driving up and down route 6 though, which is what you'll be doing to go anywhere from Wellfleet.
Bowsprit is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 03:12 PM
  #9  
cw
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 3,648
I'm not that familiar with Chatham but I am with Wellfleet. I think many of the bay front rentals don't have a lot of beach at high tide. Much of Wellfleet is National Seashore so it hasn't been developed as much as other towns. You may want to check the tide chart for the week you are there.

An advantage to Wellfleet is that they have some wonderful ponds that are very kid-friendly. You may be early enough in the season to not need a parking sticker for the beaches. You can check on the town of Wellfleet website.

Wellfleet also has one of the last drive-in movie theaters in the area. Might be a fun experience for the kids. There is also a multi-screen theater in case the weather doesn't cooperate.

The Wellfleet Bay Audubon Society reservation is a nice area to walk through with (and without) kids. There is a boardwalk down to the beach.

It would be helpful to those who know the area if you could post the address or street of the cottage--or even the link to the rental. This goes for both towns. Many people are familiar with both areas.

I wouldn't worry about Rt. 6 traffic in early June. Massachusetts schools are still in session and the vacation season doesn't really begin in earnest until the end to June.
cw is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 03:15 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
As a family, we enjoy playing on the beach, going out for lunch and dinner wiithn town, and strolling around quaint towns looking for that perfect souvenir and ice cream cone.
-----------------------------------------------------------

Any town on the Cape will provide you with these opportunities. I agree that mid-June can be lovely weather for a day on the beach but the water will still be cold no matter where you are.
Bowsprit is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 03:56 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 148
Thank you for all of your replies. It sounds like I should cross Lt. Island off the list due to the high tide issue. The ocean beaches might be more than we bargained for as well. When asked what she really likes to do at the beach, my youngest daughter said she loves collecting things - shells, sand dollars, oysters - you name it, so big waves are not as important.

Here are the homes we like so far:

VRBO #23280 (Chatham - most expensive)
VRBO #338423 (Wellfleet)
Homeaway #769917 (Chatham - cheapest)

I haven't tried to negotiate, so if one is in a better location, I would be willing to pay a bit more. A great view, a good beach close by and maybe a small beach in front of the house, a clean, nicely furnished home, and a quaint town are the things that are most important to us.

Hopefully one of these homes fits the bill. I look forward to your comments. Thanks again!
Neal623 is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 04:24 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,430
This is fun - just looked at all 3 houses and what was most useful about seeing them is getting a picture of what type of vacation you are seeking. All seem to have great views and strengths and weaknesses. And all seem about twice the house and twice the price of the type of place we have stayed in.
For even more fun (and since I just finished painting the bathroom and are waiting for it to dry) I googled some Cape realtor websites and found lesser houses - more rustic - in comparable locations for less. Not telling you what to rent - just FYI.

As near as I can figure, all 3 houses are nice properties in good locations. I can't think of too many places on the Cape where you are going to get real ocean with waves in a rental - since much of that is along the National Seashore which has limited housing. While that is not very helpful, perhaps you should show the descriptions to the kids and let them vote - then if it is not perfect, they can't blame you.
gail is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 04:27 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
1. the first chatham house is on a busy road, route 28, between chatham and orleans. the views are nice, the beach there is not. this house appears to be in chathamport and not an area that i would consider close to chatham bars inn nor downtown chatham.
Bowsprit is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 04:37 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
the second Chatham house overlooks one of the Nantucket Sound Beaches but I can't tell which one: Hopefully, it's not Cockle Cove Beach which has had some difficulty with nitrogen loading because of water fowl foul, if you get my drift.

If the house is near Harding's Beach or Ridgevale Beach,(both in west chatham), it'll be a protected beach, (lifeguards, but I'm not sure exactly, when they start to guard!). If the house is near Forest Beach, a sweet, little end of the road beach,(south chatham), it won't have a lifeguard there at all. You'll need a car to get downtown of course. There's a great little restaurant in S. Chatham, Pisces.

These houses are huge! One of them sleeps 11 people! You need all that house?
Bowsprit is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 05:15 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 4,549
I looked at 1 and 2. 3 wouldn't upload right now. Originally I thought Wellfleet, but the 1 Chatham is very nice and offers a much nicer living space compared to 2 if there should be a bit of weather during your stay, which is often likely in early June. Looking at 1 Chatham, I noticed their calendar is bare for the month. I'd offer them $3000 this close to your dates, as I would also check the calendars of the other properties. Early June is a rentees market.
Lookin_Glass is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 05:16 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
The first Chatham house is terribly situated.

To the op: Please take a look at rentals available on weneedavacation.com and also on homeaway.com
Bowsprit is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 05:23 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 4,549
No need to be so intense bowsrit. We are all here to offer our opinions.
Lookin_Glass is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 06:03 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 48,820
Neal, the Wellfleet house has no reviews, which I learned last summer is a BAD IDEA.
It is also way more money than I have ever paid in Wellfleet and I can't tell what beach that is, but it looks like a typical bayside beach, must be right in town, which is nice for convenience sake. i agree that looking on weneedavacation is a good idea.
jubilada is online now  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 06:12 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
I wasn't being intense, I am hurried!
Bowsprit is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2012, 06:21 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 2,886
(but that stretch of route 28 is the main thoroughfare between Chatham and Orleans on the way to Nauset Beach and beyond.)
Bowsprit is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO