daffodils in a field, sylvan gardens chatham

I married into a large family, and when we gather it’s usually at my in-laws’ home in Harwich. We’re always looking for walks to go on as a family. We have two grandparents, two aunts, two uncles, my husband and I, our two kids (ages 6 and 1), and occasionally, a dog. Last month, all of us (including the dog!) went for a nice walk for all ages at Sylvan Gardens in Chatham.

toddler on the shoulders of her grandfather, sylvan gardens chatham, photo courtesy of Danielle Kempe

About Sylvan Gardens

Sylvan Gardens is one of our favorite spots for a family walk, especially when the daffodils are in bloom. A former nursery, the Sylvan family owned the gardens until 2004, when the Town of Chatham purchased the property. Now, the land is conservation-restricted, which means it can’t be built upon and must remain as the beautiful landscape that it is. Friends of the Sylvan Gardens volunteer to keep the flowers tended and trails cleared.

Daffodils, sylvan gardens chatham, photo courtesy of Danielle Kempe

The trails at Sylvan Gardens

The trails at Sylvan Gardens are short and all under a mile. Sylvan Path is an ADA-compliant compressed stone path that goes from the entrance on Old Main Street to the White Pond and Black Pond Overlook. Parking includes a disabled parking spot and is located at the entrance to Old Main Street. Use “88 Old Main Street Chatham” if you need an address for your GPS.

When we visit, we take the accessible Sylvan Path for 975 feet and add the Black Pond Loop for 1,200 feet. Black Pond Loop is not wheelchair accessible because of the occasional root in the path, but it is still a relatively easy walk. There are always flowers in bloom on the paths and the view of the pond is lovely. Wood benches along the paths are a great place to relax for a moment and enjoy the scenery.

Man and woman sitting on a bench, sylvan gardens chatham, photo provided by Danielle Kempe

My mother-in-law just had knee replacement surgery and needs to walk as part of her recovery, but she still uses a cane. Because of that, we prefer routes that are accessible and flat, and this one is.

Guided walk at Sylvan Gardens

The Friends of Sylvan Gardens will be leading walks through the gardens on Saturday, April 23rd at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., and on Sunday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. Registration is required. You can check their website for details.

Where do you walk?

We’re happy to have found Chatham’s Sylvan Gardens as a great place for a walk for all ages in our family. Another place we like to go for walks is at Mass Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. And here are some good kid-friendly nature walks on the Cape. Where is your favorite family-friendly walk on Cape Cod?

Hope to see you on the trails!

Danielle Kempe
Danielle is a lifelong MA resident - and proud of her “wicked strong” accent. She grew up on the North Shore but now lives on the South Shore, splitting her time between Upper Cape Cod & Marshfield. Danielle has 2 children - Elise and Ethan. Elise was born in 2017 and as of 2023 she’s 5 years old. She is also Autistic. Ethan is a new baby born April of 2023. Her family of 4 (husband, David) loves visiting Mass Audubon sites across MA and is always up for a fun adventure. Danielle is neurodivergent and works as a nonprofit fundraising professional. You can find her shuttling her kids between activities, being silly, lost in a good book - and sneaking in writing when she gets a chance.


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