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Professional Development Writers Workshop

December 29th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole –  long cherished as an epicenter of marine science — is growing in it’s reputation as a place for artists to gather as well.  This year, for the fourth time, the Woods Hole Inn and Woods Hole Film Festival unite with a weekend of professional development writers with exploration in screenwriting and a special focus on television, being held February 21-23 in Woods Hole.

Drama writer P.K. Simonds (Reign, Ghost Whisperer, Party of Five) joins comedy writer Ian Maxtone-Graham (Simpsons, Saturday Night Live) for two days of exploration in screenwriting.  Filled with helpful ideas about how to break in and what to do when the door opens a crack, veterans Simonds and Maxtone-Graham will regale the crowd with stories from the trenches.  How does an episode of TV get plotted, what is the “writers room,”  what kind of spec script should you write to get there?  Professional development for writers rarely takes place in such a beautiful spot, with great leaders and an intimate setting like this one.

The weekend kicks off with a wine and cheese reception Friday night at the Woods Hole Inn.  After breakfast at the inn the next morning, the TV writers gather for professional development writers workshops — with two sessions that day led by Simonds and Maxtone-Graham.  Most of the aspiring TV writers choose to attend “Dinner and a Movie” together on Saturday night at the Captain Kidd (additional fees for this element).  On Sunday, the writers gather once more for a morning session to wrap it all up.

The TV Writers Retreat Fee is $299 per person and applications are being accepted at the Woods Hole Film Festival website (biographical info and a writing sample is required).  The Woods Hole Inn is offering a deeply discounted two night package on this professional development writers retreat where $369 queen and $399 standard king includes the Retreat Fee AND two nights at the Inn.

Comments from previous TV Writer Guests: “I loved that after years of looking into the TV screen, I was brought into the inside and got a chance to see what it is to look out at the audience.”

“I am walking away with a new view on television writing, new contacts, new energy.  I am so thankful for that.”

Get a sense of the excitement in this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofjigL5c5_c

Woods Hole Writers Retreat Woods Hole Inn package save money

 

Woods Hole Inn offers unique events

MV Chilifest on January 25, 2014

December 16th, 2013 by Beth Colt

MV Chilifest (also known as the Big Chili Contest) is right around the corner on January 25, 2014 this year!  Start getting excited for the fun of the ferry ride packed with happy people headed to the big tent with all you can eat chili donated from local restaurants, live music and plenty of cold beer.  Sponsored by mvyRadio, this day of wintery fun and games benefits the local Red Stocking Fund and raises over $30,000 for local charity.

The ferries leave Woods Hole starting early with eager restauranteurs carting hot chili for the MV Chilifest.  There are free buses on the Martha’s Vineyard side to the PA Club in Oak Bluffs where the crowd gathers under a huge tent with heaters.  About 3,000 people attend, and the party lasts most of the day, at least until all the soups are consumed and prizes handed out for winners.  Tickets to the  Martha’s Vineyard Big Chili Contest are hard to get, mostly sold at local bars and hangouts both on the island and in Falmouth.

This year, the Woods Hole Inn is offering a special MV Chilifest package with free Chilifest and ferry tickets included in your two night stay.  Conveniently located across the street from the Steamship Authority ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, our two night package is a great deal.  You can see all the details on our specials page.  Book now while supplies last.

Here are some snapshots of all the fun from prior years, or go ahead and dive into the blog archive for the full story.

Woods Hole Inn Chilifest Special

Having fun at the Marthas Vineyard Chilifest.

Woods Hole Inn Chilifest Package

Over 3,000 people attend the MV Chilifest in January on Martha’s Vineyard

Woods Hole Inn close to ferry to MV

Great fun with live music all day under a tent in January on Martha’s Vineyard near Woods Hole MA.

Woods Hole Inn package for Chilifest

Free chili and lots of beer at the Martha’s Vineyard Big Chili Contest on Cape Cod in winter.

Woods Hole Inn Chilifest package

Move aside Mardi Gras, we have FUN on Cape Cod in wintah.

Holiday by the Sea in Woods Hole

November 24th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Oceanside holidays are often glamorized in places like St Barths and Key West.  But people forget that the beaches of Cape Cod — especially if we are lucky enough to get a dusting of snow — are perhaps more spectacular than any other time of the year.  Consider spending your holiday Cape Cod with us at the Woods Hole Inn!

Empty beaches, wide open vistas, Nobska lighthouse with a wreath, Victorian cottages dressed up with lights and Christmas bows are the touchstone of a Cape Cod Christmas.   Snuggling by the fire with a snifter of brandy while the winter wind whistles outside, your Cape Cod holiday is cozy, romantic and lots of fun.

Add the great local restaurants that stay open (Glass Onion, Landfall, Coonamessett, Seacrest and more) with holiday specials, plus our hearty breakfast served daily and you start to get a sense of real Cape Cod holiday cheer.

We encourage you to book early, and stay longer for the full effect that the holidays on Cape Cod can offer — a feeling of total relaxation and fullness that comes when you commit a few precious days to sharing your holiday by the sea.  Our special holiday offer is good while supplies last, so call us today to book your winter getaway.

Christmas on Cape Cod

Merry Christmas ornament Funky Santa Claus at Woods Hole Inn Cape light, romantic beach in winter holiday turkey at Woods Hole Inn Woods Hole in winter Beautiful Cape Cod beach in winter View of Woods Hole Passage in snow holidays-Santa-Stairs-dec-1

Six Reasons to Cycle Cape Cod MA starting in Woods Hole

November 5th, 2013 by Beth Colt

bike tour of Falmouth and Martha's VIneyard, Cape Cod activities, cycle cape codCycling Cape Cod MA, especially in the crisp fall weather, is the best way to see the hidden vistas and back road treasures of this sandy peninsula.  But how to make it all happen seamlessly in one killer weekend?  Well, meet our our bike tour package, which answers the question — why cycle Cape Cod starting in Woods Hole?

1) Rail Trails.  The Shining Sea Bike Path — eleven miles of cycling fun each way, connecting Woods Hole to North Falmouth with everything in between — gorgeous vistas, Nobska Lighthouse, downtown Falmouth, Sippewisset Marsh and the cranberry bogs of Bourne Farm — voted one of the best bike paths in America.  Ride hard, feel safe.

2) Free Breakfast.  Enjoy a hearty breakfast, included with the room, to prepare for your Cape Cod cycling adventure.  At the Woods Hole Inn, that means all-you-can-eat quiche, bread-pudding, croissant, fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt and home-made sweet granola plus our fair-trade piping-hot coffee to slosh it all down.  Work hard, play harder.

3) Chillax.   Friday night, the sun sets over the water and you enjoy a wine and cheese reception to warm into your Martha’s Vineyard cycling adventure:  rice crackers, Spanish Manchego, Brie, Marconi almonds and a sprig of fresh rosemary artfully arranged on a recovered slate from the recent re-model of the Woods Hole Library rooftop.  Add your choice of red or chilled white wine?  Great way to start the weekend!

4) Never Get Lost.  Guide Rob Miceli of Cotuit Cycling Tours shares his secret routes,  back roads and amazing views as you explore cycling Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard over two days.  Rob will tell you all about the area, and pace the bicycle ride to meet where you are.  He is great!

5) Escape to an Island.   Across the street from the Woods Hole Inn, the ferry takes you to Vineyard Haven and you cycle with Rob on the bike path past Oak Bluffs to Edgartown and beyond if the group is feeling confident.  Soak in the incredible views over State Beach, past the Jaws Bridge, over Vineyard Sound.  You are on island time now.

6) Lobster Tacos.  Don’t forget dinner at Quicks Hole (also included in the package!) our farm-to-table Taqueria with a water-view deck where the sun sets over the water every night.  If you’re lucky, the band is set up and locals have gathered for a sangria or draft Cape Cod beer.  Close your eyes and you are at one of any of the best end of the road hangouts — Todos Santos, Montauk, Key West, Carpenteria, Laguna, and yes, Woods Hole.

Last weekend, we hosted this special getaway inspired by travel writer Tim Jones, whose blog EasternSlopes.com urges readers that “life isn’t a spectator sport.”   Taking the mystery out of enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Cape from the seat of your bike, Tim Jones wrote the journey up for the Concord Monitor, and I urge you to read more about his experience here.

So for all you weekend warriors out there, consider joining us next time — we plan to keep the bike tours rolling in the spring and fall so stay posted here or “like” our Facebook page for updates, specials and sales.

View from Martha's Vineyard ferry looking over Woods Hole MBL, WHOI, red buoy Free wine and cheese reception at Woods Hole Inn on Cape Cod quiche, sweet bread pudding, real maple syrup, best breakfast on Cape Cod at the Woods Hole Inn cycling tour enjoys private dining at attractive bar height tables at the Woods Hole Inn waterviews Woods Hole Cape Cod weekend warriors gather on Cape Cod for adventure biking tour bikers gather for beautiful guided ride around Falmouth and Marthas Vineyard cyclists gather in from of Woods Hole Inn Cape Cod cycling tour, adventure tour Cape Cod, active Cape Cod

 

Elope Cape Cod for the perfect New England Elopement

October 31st, 2013 by Beth Colt

Elope Cape Cod, Cape Cod Weddings, Nobska LightOctober is the perfect time of year to elope on Cape Cod with mild weather, empty beaches and sunsets that make photographers drool.

The Woods Hole Inn is your one-stop shop for a stylish New England elopement — vintage-restored guest room, home-made breakfasts each morning and advice in arranging all the details for your perfect wedding.  New England elopement was never so easy!

Chad and Kendall came up this week from Texas to tie the knot in the magic hour at Nobska Lighthouse.  The Woods Hole Inn staff helped them coordinate the officiant, the marriage license, flowers and a photographer.

The photos from this extraordinary afternoon really tell the whole story, and at the risk of sounding like an Irish poet:  Chad and Kendall, may the rosy glow of sunset illuminate your marriage for many years to come and may you remember to return to Woods Hole to connect with this special day with it’s darkening sky, empty seascape, dramatic lighthouse and a young couple deeply in love.

Of course there is the sweet morning repast to jog your memory;  my father always said the perfect honeymoon breakfast was a roll in bed with honey.

Stylish modern bride chooses Cape Cod elopement Chad and Kendall walk into their future together Sunset over a wedding on Cape Cod Kiss the bride wedding Cape Cod Weddings Cape Cod, wedding New England View over Vineyard Sound for wedding on Cape Cod Nobska Light elope New England Dad and daughter right before the ceremony elope Cape Cod red flowers brigal bouquet Cape Cod wedding Elope Woods Hole Inn small family wedding at Nobska Light on Cape Cod, Cape Cod elopement

Hurricane Katrina

October 16th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Sam and Marsha Smalley of Folsom, Louisiana share their sign recovered from Hurricane Katrina.When I bought the Woods Hole Inn, my attempts to purchase the web address woodsholeinn.com led me to Sam and Marsha Smalley of Folsom, Louisiana.    Yes, turns out there was another Woods Hole Inn, down in the bayou near New Orleans.

When I called in 2008, I discovered that the southern Woods Hole Inn had been wiped out by Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the memory of the disaster that ruined the Smalley’s quiet life was still very fresh.  Sam Smalley was kind enough to sell me the web address for a reasonable sum plus the promise that he and Marsha would visit as my guest one day.

Well, here we are five years later, and I am pleased to tell you that the Smalleys drove up this week — took them four days — and I was lucky enough to get a minute to hear more of their incredible story.

The Smalley’s bought their property in Folsom, opening a three-room inn in the late 1990’s.  Sam ran the place and Marsha kept her day job in real estate.  Things were going pretty well for them by 2005 – favorable reviews in Southern Living and plus Sam’s involvement in the local tourist bureau created a strong demand from New Orleans which was a scenic hour drive north across the longest bridge in the world, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.  Sam told me that he used to get bookings all the time that would end with, …and so how far is the drive from Boston?   Well, that’s quite a ways, he would drawl with a smile. 

As Hurricane Katrina approached, the Smalleys decided to tough the storm out.  One guest who was booked (a woman on dialysis) chose to remain home, thank goodness.  Another guest took one look at the swaying pine trees and drove north.  By nightfall of the first day of the storm, they were solo on their heavily wooded property.

What followed was the epic and now famous storm that hovered longer than expected and brought down over 40 trees in, on and around their house, cottage and garage.   Trees came up with their entire root balls intact, erupting the earth.   A tree crushed their garage.  A tree in their courtyard destroyed one side of the main house while they hid in the foyer hoping for the best.  As the storm cleared, the Smalleys realized they were lucky to be alive, but contacting worried family took another five days.  Their beloved property was damaged beyond repair.

As Sam told the sad story of how it all ended, both he and Marsha’s eyes pooled with tears.  And yet the Smalley’s have kept their good sense of humor and spirit of generosity.  They have six kids, scads of grandkids and they profess to love the northern Woods Hole Inn, talking about coming back for a family reunion and appreciative of the breakfast, the staff, the service. 

They brought me the sign that stood at the end of their front driveway, and I will hang this with pride.  Connections like this make inn-keeping special: living in hurricane country is scary, but the world is a better place when we share it with people like the Smalleys.

Living the Dream

September 1st, 2013 by Beth Colt

view of Eel Pond Woods Hole

“Wind’s from the North,” my friend Phil admonished, as we got in the boat to go fishing Saturday.  “Don’t expect much.  Fish don’t like that North wind.”

I was expecting nothing — based on years of failed attempts as a kid — but I thought: Who cares?  Day like this on the water?  Heaven with or without fish for dinner.

Now Phil is a pretty accomplished fisherman, and in certain circles he is downright notorious.  Others stalk him with binoculars and generally scratch their heads about how he manages to catch mo’ bigger better than anyone else.  He seems to know where the fish live.  Call it a hunch, a sixth sense or just the Gladwell-ian 10,000 hours, but it’s fair to say fish should tremble when “Betty’s Boys” heads out past the drawbridge.

First stop was the currents of Woods Hole itself and there were others there already.  Phil looked at one group with disdain, casting along shore near Mink Point:  “Won’t get anything in there today,” he chuckled as he dropped his lure and started trolling.  Now he swore me to secrecy so I can not tell you the direction we trolled, what that incredible lure looked like, or which patch of rocks we skirted but in the first FIVE MINUTES, I had a striped bass on the line which, with guidance, I reeled into the boat.  A keeper!

Within a half hour, my son Charlie had hauled in an even bigger one, north of 20 lbs.  Then Phil threw his hands up –  “We’re outta here” — and whisked us west on Vineyard Sound to another one of his secret spots, “between the grey tote and the stairs to nowhere.”  Along the way we passed about 30 other boats casting for false albacore (it’s derby time on Martha’s Vineyard as well); one of them spotted us and followed.

Coming in close to land, Phil cut the engine, his friend Lisa tossed an anchor.  Then he broke out the live eels.  Yes, I said eels, squirming and wiggling all over the place.  Phil deftly hooked several through the head and and started casting.   Genius.   My son Sam landed another bass within a half hour, too small to keep but the fight was worth it and we got a nice picture.

Back in Woods Hole, we hauled our catch across town to weigh in for the Calcutta Fishing Derby sponsored by the Woods Hole Business Association.  We will surely attend the October 14th award ceremony (at the Landfall) to see if we won and claim our free appetizer for entering.  But it’s safe to say we are already winners with our fridge full and our deepening friendship with Phil.

Now this might sound like a great fish tale, but here are a few photos to prove it really happened.  Thanks to Phil Stanton.

Betty's Boys

fishing Cape Cod fishing Cape Cod Beth Colt with striped bass Phil Stanton fishing in the fall on Cape Cod Woods Hole drawbridge Phil Stanton in his boat Fishing off Woods Hole Live Eels from the Eel Pond Phil Stanton

 

 

Building a Team

August 21st, 2013 by Beth Colt

great place to work on Cape Cod

One of my favorite parts of running the Woods Hole Inn is building a team of people who come together to deliver a fantastic guest experience.  I am particularly blessed this summer with a great group who have worked seamlessly together all summer.  As we approach the dog days of August, I reflect on how lucky I am to work with such a talented, committed, knowledgeable and thoughtful crew.

Thank you to each and every one of you who made and is making summer 2013 memorable for all our guests.  You make it look easy!

Day trip to #OB

August 20th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Cape Cod

Did you know over a million people a summer take the Steamship Authority Ferry to the Vineyard from Woods Hole?  Hard to imagine, until you live in Woods Hole and you watch the people streaming on and off the boats.

And while we spend the summer at the front desk advising people about how to navigate the island, you would be surprised how infrequently we actually have time to head over ourselves.  So it was with some excitement that I boarded the Island Home this Saturday to explore.

Highlight of the trips are many, but it all starts with the ferry ride itself — bright sunshine, sparkling water over Vineyard Sound, seagulls following the boat, wind in your hair on a hot day.  Fantastic.

On arrival, we walked the beachfront with the great expanse of ocean and sky to your left.  Down on the sand below you, there are people, boats, towels, beach chairs and so much fun happening both in the water and out.

After our fill of the beach views, we strolled to the Methodist Camp often referred to as the “Gingerbread Cottages.”  Built in circles surrounding an open air wooden gathering place from the 1880s, these historic landmark cottages are a sight to see all dressed in their Victorian finery, many colored facades and rocking-chair stuffed porches.  The lucky occupants were sipping wine spritzers with their feet up on balconies, enjoying the promenade of people walking through and the sound of  Wynton Marsalis playing under the glorious tabernacle.

From the Campgrounds, we returned to the hustle bustle of Circuit Avenue and jostled our way past pizza, donut, fudge and burger joints.  We window shopped all the hangouts and chose the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company.  I was dutifully impressed with their milky and authentic clam chowder — winner of this year’s Yankee Magazine Best Chowder in New England award!  Yum.

The boat ride back was just as great as the way over, except now sunset over water and a lot cooler.  I got some good snaps of the scenery — plus the Quicks Hole churros we enjoyed in Woods Hole at dusk — and I will share it all with you here.  A fine summer’s day.

Cape Cod, summer fun Vineyard Haven harbor view

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gingerbread Cottages Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

 

 

 

 

 

Oak Bluffs Martha's Vineyard ferry terminal Churros from Quicks Hole in Woods Hole Sunset over Vineyard Sound on ferry home to Woods Hole

Takes a Village

August 16th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Cal Peternell, Chez Panisse, Quicks Hole

Despite setbacks including intermittent rain and no power to the building for at least an hour mid-day, our James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef dinner called “Starry Starry Night” came off in style this past Tuesday evening August 13, 2013.

We started the night before, renting a truck and emptying the restaurant of all it’s furniture to make room for the chefs to work.  Early in the morning, our parking lot was emptied of cars, the dramatic Sperry Tent raised, True North’s gorgeous farm tables assembled, glassware and plates and table dressing delicately placed with guidance from Susan Ryan Ackell and Jen Chagnon of the Pink Polka Dot.

With celebrity chef Cal Peternell of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, CA and Anna Kovel former food editor of Martha Stewart Living at the helm, the kitchen was an incredible thing to witness. Cal held a meeting of staff at 9 am and the Quicks Hole crew led by our executive chef Stephanie Mikolazyk jumped into action prepping lobster, roast fennel, fish stock, fresh mozzarella and much much more.  All day was spent bustling, chopping and prepping but the tone of the kitchen was calm, relaxed, jovial even.

All key ingredients for the meal were sourced from local farms, fisheries and the Falmouth Farmers Market.  Running short on fish bones, I dashed to the Clam Man early in the morning where our friends there had saved this key ingredient for excellent stock, the critical base of the fish and lobster bouillabaisse.

One hundred lucky guests gathered on the deck of the inn with Woods Hole harbor twinkling beyond to enjoy bellini’s while noshing on passed appetizers like Washburn Island and Island Creek oysters with mignonette, smoked bluefish toasts with roasted fennel, fried panisses and summer vegetable fritters.   Moving to the tent below, we were seated at farm style tables and the courses started arriving, first a salad of heirloom tomatoes and freshly made mozzarella, then this incredibly light saffron and tomato bouillabaisse with scallops, lobster, mussels, cod and a Maison Villatte grilled bread topped with rouille.

Nectarine galettes (along with all the delicious breads) were provided by chef Boris Villatte of Maison Villatte an authentic french bakery here in Falmouth and dressed up by Chef Peternell with creme fraiche.  Lavender chocolates from Sirenetta Seaside Chocolatier were passed with gooseberries.

Oooh La La!

We gathered to support both the James Beard Foundation and our local Falmouth Hospital which is in the process of raising money to expand it’s emergency room.  Representatives from both organizations attended the dinner, and I spoke briefly about how important that emergency room is to the community, and how lucky we are to have such a good one.  Jeff Black spoke on behalf of the James Beard Foundation.

Our celebrity guests included captains of industry from Boston, Providence, Newport, Falmouth and Woods Hole.  Artists in the crowd were directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, singer China Forbes of Pink Martini and actor James Waterston, all dear friends of mine who made the evening special.

As guests trickled from the tent at the end of the night, I enjoyed the gushing about this unique venue and Cal’s  amazing food.  After months of planning and the gauntlet of the day, it was really satisfying to have made people happy.  I am also so grateful to the event sponsors including Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Bank of Woods Hole, Robert Paul Properties and the Sea Crest Beach Hotel and hope they will join us next year as we build on the success of this evening.

James Beard Foundation rep Jeff Black told me that despite seven years of circling America hosting 20+ dinners like this one per year, he had never hosted a celebrity chef dinner with anyone from Chez Panisse as the restaurant tends to stay focused on it’s roots.  We are so grateful to Chef Cal Peternell for coming and falling in love with Woods Hole!

I am deeply grateful to the farms and vendors who supported this event, plus our volunteer staff who served so beautifully and made the night incredibly special:  Allen Farm, Cabo Cado, Cape Cod Beer, Cape Cod Saltworks, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards, Carpet Barn, Clam Man, Courtney’s Floral Creations, Edible Cape Cod, ElizaJ, Eva’s Garden, Fishmonger Cafe, Half Shell Co, Island Creek Oysters, Jacquelines Catering, Kayak Cookies, LKnife, Mac’s Seafood, Wellfleet Fish Co, Mahoney’s Garden Centers, Maison Vilatte, Mionetta Prosecco, Moonlight Rose, MS Walker, Narragansett Creamery, Newport Winery, Peachtree Circle Farm, The Pink Polka Dot, Pocasset Pretzel Co, Polar Beverage, Rentals Unlimited, Running Brook Vineyard, Shy Brothers Farm, Sid Wainer and Sons, Silverbrook Farm, Sironetta Chocolatier, Sperry Tents, Stella Artois Beer, Travessia Urban Winery, True North Event Rentals, Vermont Creamery, and Washburn Island Oyster Farm.

Finally, it must be noted that it takes a village to put something like this on, and the village of Woods Hole rallied to make this possible.  Every business in the village helped out in some important way — offering sandwiches to feed our staff, extra parking places to wash dishes and clear up, walk in cooler space when we ran out, cocktail napkins that we forgot to buy and so much more.  We are so lucky to work next door to places like the Landfall, Pie in the Sky, Jimmy’s, Coffee Obsession, Fishmonger, Phusion, Captain Kidd, Woods Hole Market, and Shuckers — could not make it through the summer without the support of our terrific peers.  When you come to the food mecca of Woods Hole, you must try all these special spots.  Thank you all!

Here are a few more photos of the evening for you to enjoy.

Travessia Rose Anna Kovel formerly of Martha Stewart Living fish stock for bouillabaisse table settings for Starry Starry Night Courtneys Floral Creations event servers

radishes farm-to-table Mark Levin, Jennifer Flackett, Tracey Roberts, PK Simonds Jim Taylor and Kim Taylor Bouillabaisse by Cal Peternell of Chez Panisse at Quicks Hole China Forbes of Pink Martini Buzzards Bay Little Necks on the half shell Quicks Hole staff Sperry Tent at Quicks Hole view of Woods Hole harbor the day of the event

Starry Starry Night, a farm-to-table dinner in Woods Hole

August 13th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole harbor

We are hosting a James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef dinner tonight, raising money for Falmouth Hospital.  One hundred lucky guests will dine under a tent next to Quicks Hole (our farm-to-table restaurant) overlooking Woods Hole harbor and under the stars.

This will be a summer meal to remember…

The meal is being prepared by Chef Cal Peternell (of Chez Panisse, Berkeley CA), Anna Kovel (former food editor Martha Stewart Living) and our own Stephanie Mikolazyk (executive chef at Quicks Hole).  You can read more about the chefs here.  The guests come from Woods Hole and all over the world, foodies who unite in their passion for fine dining and a great cause.

Preparations for this special meal began over a year ago when I met the amazing and talented Cal Peternell, continued this winter when we went to cook with his crew at Chez Panisse, and heated up this spring with the help of many volunteers who came together to plan all the details for tonight.

Today, the parking lot next to the Inn will be transformed with a tent, shrubs, hydrangeas, long wooden farm tables, linen napkins, stylish rental chairs, flowers.  At the same time, the kitchen will bustle with a different energy as lobster tacos are put away for the day and our crew boils stock, shucks oysters, steams lobster, mixes chickpea flour panisses, prepares smoked blue fish pate and much more.

I am eternally grateful to our sponsors, local companies who understand partnership, ambitious food and creative friendship:  Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Bank of Martha’s Vineyard, Robert Paul Properties, and the Sea Crest Beach Hotel.

I am holding my breath, fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly….

 

 

Bike Tour of Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard

August 5th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Two bikes at the beachBack by popular demand!

We are hosting another bike tour weekend on October 18 – 20th 2013 with the Woods Hole Inn and our good friends at the Captains Manor Inn as your home base.

Come away to the sea-side town of Falmouth, Cape Cod and explore Falmouth’s coastline and villages as well as nearby Martha’s Vineyard island.  Your getaway package includes luxurious accommodations, great food and lovely scenery seen from your guided cycling tour.  Your personal guide Rob Micelli, owner of Cotuit Cycling tours, will guide you on two leisurely bike tours during your weekend getaway.

Price includes all elements of the tour as listed below, with two nights luxury lodging at your choice of the Woods Hole Inn or Captains Manor Inn.  Queen $645, King $835, double occupancy.  Ask about staying a third night when you reserve.  This will sell out — so get your reservation by calling us TODAY!   Bring your own bikes, or call us to coordinate rentals (not included).

Itinerary:

Friday October 18th   2013

3:00     Check-in to your Inn

5:00     Wine and Cheese Reception

Evening on your Own

 Saturday October 19th

8-9:00 Full Breakfast at your Inn

9:00   Falmouth Village Cycling Tour Begins

12:00 noon     Cycling Tour Ends

3:00     Afternoon Refreshments at your Inn

6:00     Lobster Tacos and a pitcher of Sangria/Cape Cod Beer at Quicks Hole

Evening on your Own

 Sunday June 16th

8-9:00  Full Breakfast at your Inn and check out (bags can be held at the front desk)

9:30     Ferry from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard

10:15   Arrive in Oaks Bluff and begin cycling tour

2:30     Cycling Tour Ends & Ferry returns to Woods Hole (you can return later on your own if you so choose)

Falmouth Village Center Tour (Day One)
Ride the best kept secret on the East Coast! We’ll explore the The Shining Sea Bikeway with it’s oceanside views of Martha’s Vineyard, a sneak peek of a Frank Lloyd Wright home and a stop on the hilltop view of Nobska lighthouse. The route follows the famous Falmouth Road Race and leads us past the marshes of Sippewissett to the village of Woods Hole, home of the Marine Biology Labs and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.   Explore the peninsula that separates Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound, and get a sense of the gentle topography of Falmouth from it’s peaceful, car-free bike path.  All with the delightful leadership of our guide Rob Micelli.

The Vineyard Tour (Day Two)
We’ll ferry to Oak Bluffs and tour the sites and sounds of Martha’s Vineyard. We’ll travel bikeways and quiet back roads, beaches and boardwalks.  Come see what all the fuss is about, exploring the Vineyard at your own pace with a group of eager cyclists.  With rolling hills, plenty of bird life and lots of places to stop for a swim, you will delight in a day of fun and sun on the Vineyard with our knowledgeable tour guide showing you all the secret spots and best routes.

Bikes together, Martha's VIneyard

 

New Perch in Woods Hole

July 31st, 2013 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Inn, best place on Cape CodMeet Phil Stanton, a friend of mine and local fisherman extraordinaire.  Phil has won more fishing derbies than most people have collected parking tickets, is renowned for having re-located a raft of eider ducks from Maine to Penikese Island (not to mention being a world-expert on the species),  and is a dedicated participant in all elements of the Woods Hole community from auctioneer to fishing guide to horse wrangler to deer hunter to welcome wagon.  It’s not an exaggeration to say Phil is the ultimate renaissance man, Woods Hole style.

Phil took my son fishing last summer and showed him a secret spot where the squid gather in the Woods Hole current at certain tides.  “Cast right in there,” he said, pointing to a swirl near the rocks about 10 feet in diameter.  Ten minutes and several large Stripers later, the fishing trip was over and my twelve-year-old came home with a huge catch and a huger smile on his face.  Phil’s generosity and knowledge inculcated another young convert to the secret joy of fishing.

Last winter, Phil offered to build a stone bench to honor his mother on the side of the Community Hall. There has been much hoopla in town about the new Rachel Carson statue, and tongues wagging about a new MBL whale-tail sculpture that is possibly dangerous for climbing children.  But to date I have seen no notice of this wonderful bench Phil financed which might be the best addition to town in decades, perched as it is on the edge of the channel into Eel Pond at just the right spot to catch both the view and the breeze. (Of course, Phil would know that!)

With a stunning view out toward Nonamesset Island, this bench is the perfect place to watch the drawbridge go up and down, with boats large and small flowing in and out of our protected harbor. You will enjoy the view, the constant southwesterly breeze… and if you are patient, you will see Phil heading out in his boat, as he goes fishing most everyday.

Phil Stanton view from the bench, Woods Hole Phil Stanton Betty Stanton bench SEA

Tuesdays at Shuckers

July 19th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Shuckers in Woods Hole

A short stroll from the Woods Hole Inn, the waterfront restaurant Shuckers offers a great spot to beat the summer heat and enjoy a delicious meal.  I wandered over there after work last week with my family for a great dining experience.

Love the raft they have set up so you can sit right on the water, with great views of Eel Pond and nice steady breeze.  The portions were huge — my older son enjoyed the rib eye, my younger son scarfed down his baked scrod, and my husband and I enjoyed fresh salads.   Mine was topped with blackened scallops that were fresh and yummy.

Summer is not complete without a trip to Shuckers, and on Tuesday nights they offer a boiled lobster special that is the best deal on Cape Cod — TWO boiled lobsters with steamers, mussels and corn on the cob for just $23.95.  Beat that!

Salads at Shuckers in Woods Hole Baked Scrod at Shuckers in Woods Hole Cobb Salad at Shuckers Waterfront Dining in Woods Hole Shuckers World Famous Raw Bar and Cafe

 

Fourth of July

July 4th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Fourth of July

 

Woods Hole has the most distinctive Fourth of July parade in America.  Organized by the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), this gathering of young scientists celebrating our nations birth is filled with costumes, dancers, and balloons.  Representing things like cell reproduction, neurobiology, marine resources and much more, student laugh and dance their way down a spectator-packed Water Street.

Tossing candy along the path, the parade takes starts at noon every year and takes about fifteen minutes.  One fun tradition is that after students cross the drawbridge, they break into a serious water-balloon fight, a nice respite from a hot Cape Cod day.

On the porch of the Woods Hole Inn, we offer cool lemonade, iced tea and Charlene’s fresh baked cookies to as many people who will fit.  It’s a great birds-eye view of the whole event.

Half hour later, the streets are empty as people dash back to the beach.  Ahh, Cape Cod summah.

Hope to see you there next year!  Happy Fourth.

Woods Hole Inn

 

Woods Hole Fourth of July  Woods Hole lemonade Woods Hole Inn Quicks Hole, lobster tacos MBL Woods Hole Brazen Belles, Woods Hole, Cape Cod Woods Hole Brazen Belles, Cape Cod Woods Hole Woods Hole Parade Woods Hole Inn Woods Hole, beach fun Woods Hole, Cape Cod Woods Hole, Cape Cod Woods Hole, Cape Cod

James Cameron comes to Woods Hole

July 2nd, 2013 by Beth Colt

James Cameron loves Woods Hole.  He has been coming here for decades, first to meet with Bob Ballard and the team that discovered the Titanic for his hit film of the same title, later to research the underwater sequences for the international blockbuster Avatar.
When Cameron crossed the line from film-maker to explorer to built his own deep-sea submersible called the Deepsea Challenger, he became one with the scientists and engineers here, and his visits increased culminating in the donation of his incredible vessel to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In Woods Hole last month with his whole team, Cameron talked about the team of engineers and his solo dive to the Mariana Trench, one at 11,000 meters one of the deepest places in the ocean.  His exciting journey to the bottom of the sea (think Abyss, literally)  gathered video and samples allowing for the identification of over 60 new species!

Cameron’s vessel Deepsea Challenger will live next door to us here in Woods Hole, where WHOI scientists can make the most of this incredible vehicle.   Here are a few photos of the donation ceremony, as well as a link to more information on the WHOI website.

We hope Cameron returns to Woods Hole to visit Deepsea Challenger, and that the legacy of this extraordinary gift to humankind continues it’s reach.  Woods Hole — a picture postcard village, postmarked around the world.

James Cameron and Susan Avery at WHOI Woods Hole, Cape Cod James Cameron donates vessel to WHOI, Cape Cod

Photowalking Woods Hole

June 23rd, 2013 by Beth Colt

One of the greatest pleasures of inn-keeping is the chance to meet people from all over the world.  One of my passions is photography, and I enjoy sharing the beauty of Woods Hole on guest “photo-walks” the best of which turn into fascinating conversations about life.

We generally depart from the front door of the inn, and I like to get out when the light is still good, and we explore the village for about an hour, scouring the back alleys for lobster traps, peering down pathways and scampering across Cape Cod beaches.  I love sharing my favorite spots, and seeing them anew as guests always point out things I have never noticed.  There is always new light, new flora, new angles to explore.

This spring I went out a few times, and one guest Janice Murray (who keeps a great Etsy shop of her work here) even sent me some of her favorites to publish here (see below mixed with mine).    Then there was the guy on his honeymoon from the UK, wandering the East Coast for a few weeks with a large camera and an insatiable thirst to understand the American psyche.  Here are a few pictures from these great walks/talks.  I look forward to many more…

Beach Cape CodPhoto Walk Cape Cod Summer Beach Cape Cod

Jan Murray

photo by Janice Murray

Jan Murray

photo by Janice Murray

Jan Murray

photo by Janice Murray

Marshfield Hills General Store

June 2nd, 2013 by Beth Colt

One of my favorite places to visit from Woods Hole is the historic village of Marshfield Hills, Mass.  Here, nestled in a blink-and-you-will-miss-it town center, you will find the charming Marshfield Hills General Store.

Who does not love the delights of a general store, half dedicated to US post boxes, the rest jam packed with everything from penny candy to milk, ice cream to t-shirts, jewelry to mugs, home-decor to a wine room.   Check out the DVD collection in one nook, and grab a bottle for the movie at home in another.  It’s the way shopping used to be — curated, simple, perfect.

Yankee Magazine named this spot one of the best in New England this year in their annual round up. No wonder as the place was saved from the wrecking ball by Steve Carell (“The Office”) and his wife Nancy.  Without their generous intervention, it is likely the Marshfield Hills General Store would no longer exist.  So kudos to good people who understand that preserving our small-town culture is the spirit of America.

Open year round, the store and surrounding Marshfield are well worth the 50 minute drive from Woods Hole.  Check it out!

Marshfield General Store "The Office" Steve Carrell Henry David Thoreau Marshfield General Store candles for sale owned by Steve Carrell Steve Carrell Steve Carrell Yankee Magazine editors pick

 

 

Meet Our “New” Lobster

May 30th, 2013 by Beth Colt

lobster tacos on Cape Cod

lobster tacos on Cape Cod

Much happens behind the scenes to get Quicks Hole ready to re-open in the spring — dusting off the bar stools, scrubbing the floors, fire inspections and so much more!

But the most exciting thing each year is rolling out our mascot, the lobster.  This large fiberglass object is the source of endless street happiness with kids smiling and parents snapping his photo all summer long.

At the end of last season, our lobster was pretty beat up.  Faded from years in the sun, too many toddlers had crawled on him and his left claw had fallen off.  Off he went to the lobster hospital (yes, that’s what it’s called) and he came back with all his body parts re-attached.  Add a sturdy metal base, plus a great new paint job by Steve (artist, lobsterman and Steph’s dad).  Sweet!

How much did all that cost?  Really, don’t ask.  I mean what does price matter when it comes to things like life-like fiberglass lobsters?  This baby has watched Luscombe Avenue for decades now. He has seen owners come and go.  He has witnessed countless ice cream disasters, seen ferries grounded, watched hurricanes blowing through.  He has posed with thousands of toddlers, hundreds of drunks and a few famous guests.   To us, he is priceless.

We are pleased to see him back at his perch.  Enjoy the photos that follow, and consider a trip to Quicks Hole for our famous lobster tacos.   Quicks Hole at 6 Luscombe Avenue on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner in season.

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5 ways Woods Hole is just like PARIS…

April 8th, 2013 by Beth Colt

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Last month, my family and I went on a week’s vacation in Paris.  That’s right, Paris, France, home of the Mona Lisa and birthplace of the croissant.   With its’ dramatic wide boulevards, miles of shops and restaurants, triumphant arches and epic churches, it’s fair to say that on the surface of things, Paris does not have much in common with our tiny fishing village on Cape Cod.

But scratch a little deeper and there are similarities, so many that I may start calling Woods Hole the Paris of Cape Cod.

So here we go, countdown style, starting with number five, the things Paris and Woods Hole have in common:

5) IT’S COLD, BUT NOT CROWDED IN MARCH.  Both Paris and Woods Hole are damp in March, prone to spring flurries of snow and dominated by people in rubber boots, blown backwards umbrellas and the scowl that comes from winter lasting longer than desired.  Endure the chilly weather, and visit both places without the crowds.  Here on Cape Cod that means empty beaches, crystal clear waters, open sky and views for miles.  In Paris, you can jostle into the Louvre in less than 10 minutes, and see the Mona Lisa with 100 people rather than 1,000.  Love it!

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4) KILLER PASTRY SHOPS.  OK, Paris has thousands of patisseries competing with each other for the finest tarte citron and mousse au chocolat.  But, here in Falmouth, we have Pie in the Sky bakery offering sweet treats all year long, and the new Maison Villatte, serving French delicacies like croissant au chocolat and palmiers.  Don your bakers hat and let the Parisian bake off begin!

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3) SCULPTURE GARDENS.  Sure, Paris boasts Rodin, Braque and Brancusi… but here in Woods Hole, we have a pretty cool collection of outdoor sculpture.  Check out the placement of simple mill stones in Spohr Gardens, which like the  famous Jardin des Tuileries, is not to be missed in spring plus the collection sprinkled around the MBL on Water and MBL Streets.   Coming soon?  A bronze of Rachel Carson, the famous environmentalist who wrote “Silent Spring,” expected in Waterfront Park.  Take that, Gay Paris!

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2) BIKES EVERYWHERE.  Paris has embraced the bicycle, offering municipal bike rental stations called velib, and creating bike lanes to green up the city.  This is also true here in Woods Hole, where the former train tracks into town have been converted to a dedicated bike path running along beaches, past cranberry bogs and though ancient forests.  Hear, hear to forward-thinking municipalities everywhere.

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Drumroll, please….The number one thing that Paris and Woods Hole have in common is:

1)   BATEAU MOUCHES.  The River Seine is packed with ferries and transport ships, called bateau mouches, some for tourists but many plying the river for trade as they have for eons.  Woods Hole is no different, with a deep water harbor that brought whaling ships here in the 18th century, scientific research vessels in the 19th and 20th.   Ferries also run constantly here, connecting Woods Hole like a tether to the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  The allure of pragmatic boat travel is central to both locales, and ties us to our sister city.

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So there you have it people… why Woods Hole is the Paris of Cape Cod.  If you are having trouble guessing which photo is which, you are not alone, because that is how similar the two places are!

What do you think?

Jenny Wren

March 14th, 2013 by Beth Colt

I don’t often write personal posts, but today I uncovered a cache of photos from my past, and I have to share this story with you.

Here I am as a toddler, my hand mysteriously extended in mid air.

friendship loveOn the back of the photo, my mother wrote:  Beth holding hands with “Jenny Wren” her important imaginary friend!   We lived in Milton, Mass. and I was the first born.  According to my mother, I insisted on this portrait of myself and Jenny Wren.  At the ripe old age of three, with my baby sister maybe six months old,  I can imagine I felt the need for a someone who I could really talk to about losing my mother’s attention, someone who listened, someone to hold hands with when I felt scared.

And there were lots of things to be scared about.  The world was changing everywhere you looked — civil rights, women’s lib, Vietnam.  I remember the nightly news reports with strange names that I whispered to Jenny because I liked how they rolled off my tongue: Ho Chi MinhMy Lai…   I remember running naked through the sprinkler until I heard news about the arrests of streakers which scared me into a bathing suit.  I remember the Great Dane next door, especially after our paper girl arrived on the doorstep with her thigh ripped open from his giant teeth.  Yes, there was plenty of scary stuff back then.

Little could I imagine that 25 years later, I would meet my friend Jenny, and she would become a real-life Jenny Wren for me.  I kind of think I was preparing for her here in this photo, making room in my growing brain for a friend so loyal that she would do anything for me (and visa versa).

The real-life Jenny Wren and I found each other in Los Angeles in the 1990′s, discovered that we were both from Massachusetts, and recalled that we had once met through the odd world of high school speech team.  We found ourselves thousands of miles from the cobbled lanes of old Boston, wandering among the sushi bars, nail salons, parking lots and palm trees of Hollywood.  Should it surprise you that we clung to each other like Mork and Mindy?

Everyone should have a friend like my Jenny Wren.  She is warm, caring, kind and a great listener.  You can count on her to tell it to you straight.  She will support you to the ends of the earth with her spirited laugh and wide smile.  Imaginative, talented, a great storyteller — my Jenny Wren is so great, she became a successful film writer and director.  She is everything that little girl in the top photo dreamed of in the perfect friend.

Jenny WrenJenny Wren and I have some pretty great plans about growing old together (after our husbands are gone – it happens, you have to plan!)  We will make sure to have plenty of younger friends, so we keep in touch with pop culture.  I will teach her to knit, she will teach me charades.   We will buy audiobooks when our eyes fail.  She is a killer poker player, so we will go on the pro circuit — she will play and I will handle her marketing.  Granny Jenny?  That is ratings gold!  We will eat out, laugh plenty and always hold hands in icy weather.

In case you are wondering what the real Jenny Wren looks like, here is the photo also discovered today that inspired this post.  It’s the day before my wedding, back when Jenny was my “new” friend.  She looks older than she did when we were three, but that is to be expected when you move from imaginary to real.

The real Jenny Wren is now traveling the world with her husband and two kids (you can learn more about her amazing journey on her blog AYeartoThink.com).  While we are miles apart, and in different time zones, she is always in my heart.  In fact, if I miss her, I can reach out my hand and feel hers right there, warm and calm, squeezing me back.

Just like when I was three.

 

 

 

 

In like Lion, Out like Lamb…

March 10th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Spring is in the air, and despite a three day storm where Old Mother Nature huffed and puffed and tried to blow our house down, the crocuses are popping with longer sunnier days reminding me that summer is right around the corner.

I guess that blooming witch hazel in an inch of snow, followed by crazy high tides from our most recent two storms are pretty normal for March on Cape Cod, but sometimes the schizophrenia of season-shifting leaves me scratching my head and wondering … what coat should I wear?  Slushy rain, followed by freezing rain, followed by plain old rain, followed by plenty of mud is about how I would describe it from my shoes point of view.

I am enjoying getting out of the house on long walks with my “Weekend Wellness” guests — customers who bought a two night package including power walks and a wellness seminar.   This weekend, I walked three hours with people from the Inn, showing them all over Woods Hole from Penzance Point to Nobska Lighthouse.  I love the oohs and aahs of newcomers to the dinghy-cluttered yards in town, the massive lawns on the outskirts, and everywhere the vistas with ferries coming and going like toy boats out to entertain us.  Views + fresh air = a clear mind.  Add a camera in my hand and I am particularly happy.

Here is a photo essay of the many facets of weather I have seen just in the last two weeks.  I hope you enjoy it, and maybe consider joining us some day in the fabulously quiet off-season.

Snow on Cape Cod Romantic walks on Cape Cod Beach between storms in Woods Hole, MA Stoney Beach on a stormy day Flooding on Cape Cod, Woods Hole, March storm Extremely high tides in Woods Hole Nobska Light views to Martha's Vineyard Eel Pond after the storm, Woods Hole flowers coming up for spring largest Beech tree in Woods Hole Flotsam and jetsom on beach after storm in Woods Hole

Pond Skating

February 27th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Skating on a pond with the sky all around you — the marsh in frozen suspension all dusty brown, the birds eyeing you skeptically — is one of the most exhilarating parts of winter in New England.  Last year, it never got cold enough for the salty ponds to freeze, but this season we got a few wonderful days on the Mill Pond behind my house.

Neighbors gather for a pond party, very impromptu since we are never sure when the pond will freeze.  One neighbor calls another, and the kids pass the news along the street — pond party tonight!  It’s the winter equivalent of making hay when the sun shines — like, make hot cocoa when the ice freezes over.

Late afternoon in the gloaming we gather, boots stamping and breathes visible.  The views back on our houses is so different from this new vantage point, and I think, this is what the ducks look at every day.  Someone starts a small bonfire, and a tray of cheese and crackers gets nibbled at by kids whizzing gleefully across mushy, undulating ice.  Parents gather around the fire, and someone brings a life ring — just in case.  A few firecrackers are put off,  sparklers shared.  People talk about colder winters than this one, and their memories of even the Eel Pond freezing over years ago.

Finally it’s really dark and we head in for dinner, all rosy cheeks and good appetites.  What a wonderful way to get out of the house in winter, and visit with friends.  I live for pond skating on wintery Cape Cod.  Just one of the many fun things to do in the off season.

hot cocoa sparklers on ice bonfire on ice happy kids on Cape Cod cape cod pond skating sparklers on ice bonfire cape cod ll bean boots in snow life ring on cape cod

Finding Nemo, a photo essay of the Big Storm

February 10th, 2013 by Beth Colt

IMG_0791 IMG_0783 IMG_0737 IMG_0789 IMG_0788 IMG_0778 IMG_0790 IMG_0784 IMG_0800 IMG_0795 IMG_0782 IMG_0820 IMG_0823 IMG_0820It’s been a long couple of days, first marked by the howling winds of a blizzard (the fifth worst nor’Easter on record in these parts) then the relentless clean up from the storm they named Nemo.  The first half of the storm was all wet snow which became leaden and icy, and was topped with a lighter snow that blew and drifted all over the place in the 60 MPH winds, making the shoveling out particularly challenging.

Miraculously, we found ourselves with power as the storm started to lessen on Saturday morning, and as reports came in on Facebook and other places that more than 3/4 of Cape Cod was not in the lucky position we were in, I decided to offer all the rooms at the Woods Hole Inn for free to any local person without power.  I posted that on Facebook and Twitter, and the phones lit up almost immediately.

I offered our rooms on a first come, first served basis and they filled up very quickly –waitresses, women with small children, a young scientist and his pregnant wife, an older couple plus daughters and twin grand-daughters.  People who had been in the cold and the dark well on 12 hours, and who were so sweet and grateful for the warm bed and a nice hot cup of coffee.

In between checking all those people in, then cleaning every room in the house after they left (phew!), I managed to sneak out and get some wonderful pictures of Woods Hole in this rare deep snow.  First are the ones taken while the wind was still raging, then later in the weekend when the sun came out.  The Blizzard of ’13 was a lot of extra work, but it sure was fun!

Visiting Chez Panisse

January 20th, 2013 by Beth Colt

Last week, Stephanie Mikolazyk and I were honored to “guest chef” at one of the most famous restaurants in America — Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California.  Head chef Cal Peternell invited us (as he will be coming to Woods Hole this summer for an epic farm-to-table dinner at our restaurant Quicks Hole on August 13th) and its safe to say we JUMPED at the chance.

We helped out in the kitchen for two full days, starting with the chefs meeting at about 1.30 pm, through all the prep work, then service for two seatings of 50 lucky customers and an extraordinary meal (see menus and photos below…not for the faint of heart).

We chopped, swept, cleared, plated and generally tried to stay out of the way in our Chez Panisse chef jackets.  We were also invited to the chefs meal, where the kitchen crew sits down together to eat what they have cooked that night in very civilized a half-hour break between the first and second seatings.

I was astounded by the restaurants commitment to going green — every scrap of waste is composted or recycled if possible, all produce is sourced locally and organic — and the incredible calm demeanor of the staff.  This kitchen has a culture of mutual respect and teamwork unlike any workplace I have ever seen.  Alice Waters was not there, but you could feel her presence in this culture, a feeling that the process of working together, making the food with love, and sharing the journey was imbued in the copper lined walls, soaked into the butcher block tables and baked right into the wood-fired grill.

What follows is a photo essay of the highlights from our incredible experience.  Thanks to all the chefs at Chez Panisse for making us feel so welcome, and especially to Cal whose calm leadership style is a personal inspiration.

Menus:  The first night the menu was warm salad of cardoons and leeks with chervil, egg and black truffle followed by Tomales Bay clam brodetto with grilled fennel and Espelette pepper, then Becker Lane Farm pork loin with chicories, balsamic vinaigrette and sage, new onion and Lady William apple fritters plus tangerine millefoglie for dessert.  The second night the menu was Chino Ranch radicchio and orange-scented beets with ginger vinaigrette, then Louisiana Gulf shrimp risotto with toasted sesame seeds and fried leeks, then Salmon Creek Ranch duck breast grilled with coriander, fennel and green garlic, with roasted parsnips and pickled persimmon relish and for dessert Meyer lemon ice cream profiteroles with pistachio-anise nougatine.

I re-read this menu and think – OMG!!!   Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

Remember the scene in Harry Met Sally when Nora Ephron says, “I’ll have what she’s having…”  ??

It was like that:)

 

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