Have you ever wondered what the venerable gray shingle and red brick Chatham Bars Inn might look like if it were painted, say, hot fuchsia?
Or what the pristine-white Chatham Wayside Inn might look like in purple with green instead of black shutters? And why should the Red Nun building be red with white trim, anyway? It might be pretty in pink.
Now is your chance to find out how these colors would look on Chatham’s iconic restaurants. Marie Williams, who owns the graphic design business Watermark, has come up with a neat new idea: A coloring book for children and adults featuring 20 of Chatham’s restaurants. And a $2 donation from every sale goes to the Chatham Coronavirus Impact Fund.
“The current coronavirus pandemic and the closures of businesses have seriously impacted our restaurants and their employees,” Williams said in a press release. The coronavirus fund, which was launched in mid-April, was founded by Stephen and Mary Beth Daniel to aid year-round Chatham residents facing financial challenges due to the shutdown. The couple seeded the fund with $30,000; the fund has a goal of $300,000. If that goal is reached, Williams will direct her donations to the non-profit WE CAN, a group in Harwich that offers services to women in life-changing transitions.
In the past, Williams introduced another major idea to Chatham. She is credited with bringing First Night to town back in 1991. So how did her coloring book idea take hold?
“I like to draw, I like to do pen and ink sketches,” she said during a telephone conversation. She says she has taken art classes and, in fact, she is a would-be artist hampered by a lack of time—something she now has, thanks to the pandemic. One day she started drawing the Red Nun restaurant. That’s when her idea of creating an entire coloring book came about. As the owner of Watermark, which does everything from producing a newspaper ad to laying out an entire book, Williams had the equipment and the skills, on top of her drawing, to create a coloring book.
She is promoting “Chatham Colors and Dines” as a new book “for the coloring enjoyment of those who enjoy dining.” And why, you might ask, is the coloring book focusing on restaurants rather than familiar landmarks such as Chatham Light and the Chatham Bandstand? Williams remarks on “how fortunate we are to live in a beautiful town with so many wonderful places to dine.” She just happened to take her inspiration from the town’s restaurants. She says if this coloring book sells well, she may next turn her focus on the town’s landmarks.
After her early sketch of the Red Nun, Williams settled on highlighting 20 restaurants. She wanted to choose places that are open a good part of the year, offer table service, and serve dinner. She apologizes to “many dining establishments that are not included,” and includes a list of 24 casual breakfast, lunch and ice cream restaurants along with their addresses in the front of the book.
She began by photographing the 20 restaurants, and when she went out to Arizona for a month this winter, she brought her photos with her. There, on vacation, she got serious about the project.
“I put the pictures on the window and traced,” she said. “Then I did a pen and ink.”
Many of the restaurants that she features happen to be painted white, so “people are going to have to get creative,” she says. She mentions the building locally known as “the Calico Cat” on the corner of Hallett Lane and Main Street in the Old Village. For most of its history, the 1840 building was white. Today, the building is painted in yellow and two tones of green. The colorful Calico Cat might inspire the artists coloring the new cookbook. While architectural purists might shudder, you can, on paper anyway, recreate the town in wild hues.
The coloring book is printed on heavy, 80-pound paper. Williams suggests that it can be colored with watercolor pencils. After filling in the colors, you go over the pencil marks with a wet brush, causing the colors to run and give the effect of a watercolor painting.
Featured restaurants (or the buildings that house them) are Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham Wine Bar, the Impudent Oyster, the Chatham Squire, Bluefins Sushi and Sake Bar, Wild Goose Tavern, Captain’s Table, Bistro on Main, the Orpheum Café, the Red Nun, Sweet Tomatoes, Branches Grill and Cafe, Del Mar Bar and Bistro, Knots Landing, Pate’s Restaurant, Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster, Mom and Pops Burgers, Kreme ‘n Kone, Pisces Restaurant and the Talkative Pig. Each entry includes the address, telephone number and website of the restaurant.
“It’s a good reference book,” Williams says, noting that the book can be helpful for people ordering take-out right now, during the pandemic when the seating sections of the restaurants are closed. And “it would be great for rental properties.”
To order “Chatham Colors and Dines,” email Williams at email@example.com or call her at 508-945-4444. The book costs $10 plus tax.