Chatham, Cape Cod
I spent about 4 months there mostly working on a student work&travel program but had the chance to see a lot on the Cape and in the North East of the USA. I was surprised that there was no separate entry for Cape Cod so I will put some tips and impressions about the Cape on the Chatham page. The other thing that surpised me was that there weren't many pages of this supposedly so popular 'vacational' spot. So here you go, an Eastern European student who mostly waited on, sold stuff to and cleaned after American tourists, will be you guide to this area.
Before leaving for the Cape I searched for some information about Chatham and the area, and I read stuff like 'great beaches', 'historical places', 'one of America's favourite vacation spots', 'great culture, concerts, sea food '...etc. So when I got there I experienced a great disappointment: The beaches were indeed beautiful but warm enough for only a month (as to opposed to the 5 months of swimming I was used to) and then there wasn't much going on next to the beaches, you would be lucky if you could buy an icecream. Besides it's illegal to go there after 10 p.m. which is not good for night-swimmers of beach-parties. It's true that this part of the USA is 'historical' and has some of the oldest buildings provided that the USA is one of the youngest nations but everybody coming from Europe (and not only) wouldn't consider something particularly old if it's not at least 500 years old. As for culture, well... if you didn't reach Provincetown, you could only find some antique shops ( antique meaning from the 18c maybe), amateur theatre, and the band concerts ... As for night life, well, there was almost nothing for the 20-something students coming from big European cities: a few decent bars, one or two dance clubs on the whole Cape where I couldn't go with some of my friends since they were under 21. So basicly if you're planning a full-time vacation there wait till you retire :) . On the other hand, the Cape could be great to visit for a few days, especially if you're into fishing,boating/sailing, bird-, seal- and whale-watching!
I started with the things that disappointed me but I have to say that even though I had some very boring times, I also had great experiences too!! The Cape is crowded with foreign students working there (Eastern European, Dominican, Brasilian, Jamaican, etc.) so it's a unique mix of culture. So the lack of good clubs and the drinking age rules were easily solved by this international crowd and some very nice local guys and girls. So the solution mainly was: HOUSEPARTIES! This mix of culture was a great and funny way of learning and opening your mind. That's one of the things I greatly appreciated. Working for 2 summers and having 8 different jobs I had employers from both extremities: some were very friendly, hones,open-minded, supportive and others were narrow-minded, greedy, chauvinistic and not much different from slave masters.Luckily most were from the first type, so thank you all! As for the second type, I can only pity them because you cannot experience the beauty of the world if you keep you eyes shut and only open then to look at your wallet.
Another thing, on the Cape I not only met many people both American and foreigners, but I also made a lot of friends from different countries including my own. And last but not least, the main reason I love America and specifically the Cape is because there I met this great guy, a medicine student from the Dominican Republic, who later moved with me to Bulgaria and became my loving husband and father of our son! This is getting too personal so back to the facts. I started with the cons but here are some great pros about Chatham and the Cape:
Beautiful nature: beaches, state parks, lakes, ponds, sunsets
Whale watching, seal watching, bird watching
Great bike trails, sailing, boating, fishing
Provincetown - a unique place, not to be missed (page coming soon)
Cultural ( All-American & inter-cultural) experience, a lesson in diversity.