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Winter Walks

January 17th, 2011 by Beth Colt

 

Woods Hole Inn guests Douglas and Mary enjoy a quiet moment at the end of the jetty on Stoney Beach.

It’s been cold here — oh yeah, it’s winter — but we still give our walking tour of Woods Hole in whatever kind of weather, because Woods Hole is dramatically beautiful 24/365.

Douglas and Mary came up from NYC for a four day getaway.  They took me up on my offer to see the “secret spots of Woods Hole” and we wandered out the front door of the Woods Hole Inn on a sunny morning to explore.  I took them down Water Street, over the drawbridge and past Woods Hole harbor.  I told them all about the history of this little village at the edge of the sea, about the whalers, how the harbor was especially protected like Nantucket’s, the clearing of all the trees up the hill for building ships, the way sheep used to graze everywhere, the coming of the railroad and the industrial age here, then the arrival of scientists from Harvard and the importance of the industry of science to the last 100 years, and finally the development of tony Penzance Point and the turn to a luxurious summer retreat at the edge of the world.

We walked up Bar Neck Road and peered at the Penzance guard gate and the manicured (even in winter!) hedgerows of the mansions out there.  Then we walked to Stoney Beach where Douglas and Mary walked out the jetty, gazed out at Buzzards Bay and embraced.  It was such a romantic spot, I snapped the photo above then quickly turned away to give them a little privacy.  Standing out on that rocky jetty, thrust into the ocean so calm, it looked as if they fell into a magical spell, bathed in the spotted light of the water with the positive ions of the ocean’s atmosphere washing over them.  I defy you to not feel relaxed in this sublime spot.

It was especially clear and I was able to show them the windmills of Falmouth and the railroad bridge over the Canal at the top of the Bay.  In the other direction, you could see to New Bedford and imagine the joy of a fisherman heading out to sea on a calm day like this one.

We continued up Gardiner Road and peeked in at the hidden beaches, then up the hill on Buzzards Bay Avenue, densely wooded now and more for houses than grazing sheep two centuries later.  Back on School Street, we paused at our third view of the Eel Pond where a man was rowing a boat through the ice — crunch, crunch — to get to the gammed houseboats frozen together in their protected spot by the shore.  We stopped at the Woods Hole schoolhouse and reflected briefly on the storied history of science as well as the instincts of this village to preserve this old building.

When I left Douglas and Mary back at the Inn, I gave them a copy of Susan Witzell’s charming “Walking Tours of Woods Hole” for further study.  I imagined them poring over it back in their room — or perhaps just taking a well-deserved nap.

Douglas and Mary, guests of the Inn, on our winter walking tour.

Views to the Eel Pond on our winter walking tour, winter 2010-11.

We watched a man crunch his rowboat through the ice on the Eel Pond to get to the houseboats. I learned later he was one of the caretakers. Note the submerged boat to the right of the houseboat cluster -- that will be a project come spring!

The Woods Hole school house is now used as a preschool and in summer, houses the Children's School of Science, an amazing program that has existed here for 100 years.

2 Responses to “Winter Walks” Comments are currently closed.

  1. Gail says:

    How great to include a walking tour—a real bonus to the charms of the inn.

  2. Sara says:

    Nice blog! Lovely winter photos. Love the one of WH School! I went to WH School for kindergarten and grades 1-4. My mom was the kindergarten teacher there for years.

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