"Jaws" may have been filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, but it is Chatham that has become the unofficial home of the great white shark.

To understand why, simply hop onboard a Beachcomber Boat Tour for one of its interactive seal tours, where you are guaranteed to catch a glimpse of the marine mammals that are drawing sharks to this section of the Cape. On land, you can learn more about the ocean’s apex predator at the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy’s Chatham Shark Center. The conservancy is leading research efforts here in Cape waters to better understand this fascinating creature, and the shark center gives the public an insight into those efforts.

If you want to see the movie that launched the public’s fascination with sharks, then head to the iconic Chatham Orpheum Theatre, which regularly screens “Jaws” during the summer season. The independent theatre - which originally opened in 1916 as Chatham’s first and only movie house - offers first-run major motion pictures along with more independent fare and one-of-a-kind events that in recent years have included screenings of Disney's “The Finest Hours” (followed by a Q&A with "The Finest Hours" author and native Cape Codder Casey Sherman), as well as “Back to the Future” (followed by a Q&A with film star Christopher Lloyd and producer Bob Gale).

And if you're seeking more shark action, over 50 hand-painted sharks are displayed in Kate Gould Park and in front of the Eldredge Public Library every May and June as part of Chatham's popular Sharks in the Park exhibit, organized by the Chatham Merchants Association. Bring your camera to capture pictures of these unique pieces designed by local artists.

Vibrant Downtown
The display only adds to the vibrancy of one of the more scenic downtowns in all of Cape Cod. During the summer, its quaint shops and trendy eateries are bustling with action. Main Street’s dynamic energy is even more pronounced during the annual 4th of July Parade, the Chatham Christmas Stroll in December, and First Night, a family-friendly gathering that concludes with fireworks at Oyster Pond and the traditional "Dropping of the Cod" to ring in the new year.

A great place to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and many other nights throughout the year, is the popular Chatham Squire. Its great fare is topped only by its nightly entertainment; there is a reason the Squire is a must-visit for those looking to experience the best that the Cape’s nightlife has to offer.

Not far behind on the fun-meter is The Red Nun, a slightly more relaxed bar and restaurant that features some of the best pub food in town. With a slate of mouthwatering burgers, the Red Nun is a regular contender for Best Burger on Cape Cod.

A newcomer to that competition, Mom & Pops Burgers, is quickly making a name for itself thanks to its tasty offerings, which include traditional options as well as the El Dyablo (hot) and Naughty Dyablo (hotter) burgers for its more daring customers.

When it comes to burritos and specialty sandwiches, The Corner Store is the choice for locals and tourists alike. As a result of its popularity, The Corner Store has now branched out into Orleans.

For a slightly more upscale, sophisticated feel, pay a visit to the trendy Chatham Wine Bar. You’ll find a similar atmosphere at the Chatham Bars Inn, a hotspot for weddings, romantic dinners and anniversary celebrations. For more casual dining, stop by the inn’s oceanfront Beach House Grill.

Make sure to end your meal with a visit to the Chatham Candy Manor, a staple of this Cape community since 1955. There you’ll find an assortment of homemade chocolates including truffles, clusters and creams.

History, Art and Adventure Abound
Those looking for an adventure in Chatham are in luck. The first stop? Maps of Antiquity, where a collection of historical maps and charts will not only help guide your journey, but serve as a charming keepsake of your time on Cape Cod.

The Cape is a region that abounds in history, and visitors can embrace that at the Chatham Marconi Maritime Center, which celebrates the first wireless transmission that occurred between the United States and Norway due to the genius of Guglielmo Marconi. The center pays tribute to Marconi’s contributions to wireless communication and Chatham’s connection to that technology.

From June through October, the public can learn more about Chatham’s history at the Atwood House Museum, which boasts a collection of 3,000 items - paintings, decorative arts, maritime artifacts, photographs and historical documents - that provide an insight into this charming seaside community.

Adding to Chatham’s charm is the Creative Arts Center, a nonprofit that offers a variety of workshops, from painting to photography to pottery to jewelry, and hosts such artistic luminaries as Edward Minchin, Mel Stabin and Mary Whyte. The center also features regularly rotating exhibits in the Somy and Bigelow Galleries, displaying the works of students, members, and faculty as well as local and regional artists.

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy the historic Chatham Seaside Links, a nine-hole golf course originally built in 1895. A par 68 course, it plays less than 5,000 yards, with no holes measuring more than 350. Seaside Links is a great bargain, but remember that tee times are not accepted.

And no trip to Chatham is complete without a visit to its two lighthouses: Stage Harbor Light, located near Harding’s Beach, and scenic Chatham Light, which overlooks Lighthouse Beach and currently serves as an active U.S. Coast Guard station. A short drive from Chatham Light is the Chatham Fish Pier, where the public can not only watch local fishermen unload their day’s catch, but view seals hoping to get a free meal.

Blogger's Note: This is part of a series of "Road Trip" blogs that spotlight each of Cape Cod's distinctive towns and villages!