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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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Lap of Luxury

January 8th, 2013 by Beth Colt

The summer people (those who own houses and visit Woods Hole mostly in the summer) really know how to live — yachts waiting at the end of long deep harbor docks, vegetable gardens brimming with hyper-local fare, rose cutting gardens and tennis courts perched above private beaches.

Martha's Vineyard vacation

Surrounding the charming village of Woods Hole (where the Woods Hole Inn is located) with it’s busy shops and wonderful restaurants are estates, docks and yachts that would put the most status-oriented Hamptonite’s teeth on edge.

But Woods Hole wealth is so low key that you probably have never heard of the families that reside near here, captains of industry who choose to remain anonymous, who cherish their private personas and their hidden invitation-only estates.  Cape Cod has sections where it’s all about status, where public dinners in expensive and impossible-to-get-into restaurants are de rigueur (ahem, Nantucket) but Woods Hole is decidedly not one of them.

Woods Hole people are more impressed with your latest published book, your hike up Kilimanjaro or your Nobel prize than they are with the length of your driveway or the new varnish on your Woody.  (Yes, that is a real Woody waiting to squire this Woods Hole family around Buzzards Bay after dinner.)

Woody waits in Cape Cod driveway.

 

One such prominent Woods Hole clan entertains guests on a series of dark blue power yachts for sunset cruises to Vineyard Haven and Edgartown (harbor towns on nearby Martha’s Vineyard), finally acquiring so many different boats that they bought a local marina in order to dock them all nearby.  Another local grande dame told me, upon touring her house laden with China Trade era antiques: “We don’t buy furniture, we have it.”  The Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey could not have said it better.

 

 

Private beaches on Cape Cod

But keeping it real is part of the game — I have had cocktails on the verandah of a fabulous Penzance Point house only to see it’s occupants headed out of Job Lot the next morning, arms laden with items priced at $1.  Or arrived on the porch of the finest property and shared laughter and deep insights into current events along with stale saltines and watery lemonade.

This must be how the rich get richer, I muse.  I just continue to feel lucky to live amongst the beauty and eccentricity that is Woods Hole — the best kept secret on Cape Cod.

 

map of Cape Cod

 

 

 

 

 

Red Chair in Snow

December 30th, 2012 by Beth Colt

Red Chair TravelsSnow is rare in Woods Hole.  The confluence of Gulf Stream waters that surround us keep it warmer here than other places.  Last winter it snowed only once!

And so it is special indeed to wake up to a frosting like the one inch we received last night.  Add that our Red Chair is back after months and months traveling all over New England and yes, you guessed it, despite my winter cold I threw on boots, wool hat and finger mittens this morning to catch the (already melting!) snow in bright light.

The wind was howling so hard out on Stoney Beach that it knocked the chair right over, more than once.  And crunch crunch crunching over the hoary ice on the golf course made me nervous that I might slip down one of those slick hills like the kids I heard squealing with delight on sleds.  My nose was running and my cheeks starting to match the chair when I finally stumbled back home to the Inn.  But without further adieu, here is my photo essay of Woods Hole in winter with my friend, the Red Chair….

 

Pie in the Sky

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Red Chair on Eel Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Chair in Woods Hole Winter 2012

 

View of Woods Hole Inn from Crowell House WHOI

Wellness Weekends

December 27th, 2012 by Beth Colt

Beth Colt in lobby of Woods Hole InnStarting in January, as we all kick off those New Year’s resolutions, we are launching themed  “Wellness Weekends” here in Woods Hole.

Where better than Cape Cod to find peace, tranquility, and the quiet restorative power of nature with a walk on the beach, the exploration of a bird sanctuary, or just a few moments at the pier staring into the churning grey ocean as it meets a slate winter sky?

The wellness weekend includes a healthy snack welcome platter (hummus, almonds, fresh cut carrots & more), followed by healthy breakfast options — our private chef is working on gluten free quiche crusts, egg white omelettes and more — and a guided power walk each morning at 7.30 am.  Breathe in the salt air as you explore local beaches, hidden treasures and the stunning views from Nobska Lighthouse while starting the day with a brisk work-out.

On Saturday afternoon, we invite special guest and guru wellness coach Felicia Hilliard (of “Why Weight? Cape Cod”) in to share her nutrition and wellness secrets for one hour.  Felicia has transformed lives with her simple plans, and you will be inspired by what she shares in this seminar which starts promptly at 4 pm in the Inn.

Leave time Sunday to take advantage of our late parking deal, and hop the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard for a day of exploration.  Use this getaway to hit the reset button, move away from the glow of the computer screen and start the healthy habits that will put you on track for the whole year.

The Wellness Package is on sale starting today, only on Groupon.  Certain restrictions apply, and the offer is based on availability, and we expect it will sell out.  We look forward to welcoming you to Woods Hole!

Happy Holidays

December 22nd, 2012 by Beth Colt

Cape Cod holiday specials

Sound track as follows:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

SFX: shrrk of needle across vinyl

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

SFX: another loud scrrratchchchch…

Have a holly, jolly Christmas!

CUT!  OK, now that I have your mind buzzing as mine is with the soundtrack of Christmas… let me pause for a moment and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays too!

From all of us here in Woods Hole, to you and yours.

 

 

Woods Hole Inn, Baby

December 13th, 2012 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Inn photo contestWoods Hole Inn guests Joe and Colleen Klinker had every intention of entering our annual photo contest by wearing their Woods Hole Inn t-shirt to the birth of their third baby.  Great idea!

But they could never have imagined that baby Noelle, born at Mass General Hospital yesterday on 12.12.12 at 12 minutes past 12 noon would end up on yesterday’s TV news and splashed all over the local papers with happy Mom proudly wearing her Woods Hole Inn t-shirt in every shot!

When guests check out of the inn, we encourage them to enter our annual photo contest and say “Wear it in an interesting or unusual location and the most interesting will win a two night stay at the Inn.”  You can see photos from prior years here.

Last year’s winner was on top of a mountain near McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  Another group of happy guests wore their t-shirts on the Times Square Jumbotron for their 15 seconds of fame — inventive, we thought and they received a prize.

Wow!  The Klingers have taken our contest to a whole new level.  Game on!  We are still accepting entries, and will do so until end of March 2013.  Keep the photos coming people, or check this link out to vote.   It’s not over til it’s over…

We are sending our very best to the Klinker family as they settle into their lives with this gorgeous new baby.

What a joyous way to ring in the holidays!

Woods Hole Inn

Winter Visits to Martha’s Vineyard

December 8th, 2012 by Beth Colt

romantic Cape CodLast week I wandered across the street from the Woods Hole Inn and breezed onto the Martha’s Vineyard ferry for a short trip to a place we neighbors refer to as “The Vineyard.”

The winter is a wonderful time to visit, because you see real live Islanders, those hardy souls who choose to live year round on this gorgeous 18-mile stretch of sand and beech groves.

In terms of the look of the population, it is not much different than here in Woods Hole — more grey beards than I ever saw in LA, many people in thick work clothes, the creased faces of hardy sea-farers, boat builders, carpenters, artists and chefs —  plus the former summer people who own shops or have retired from busy careers to run non-profits or serve the demands of the busy summer trade.

There is a sense of distance, even in casual conversation, and my probings about island life are often met with bemused smiles and arch grins.  This cluster of small villages set three miles off the mainland seems to have some sort of secret power, and those who fall under it’s siren song are likely to never leave the place.   They refer to it as the Island, and the rest of the world as America.  As in, “We went to America last week on a BJ’s run.”  It’s like the moat that is Vineyard Sound creates a buffer between the two worlds, a separation that inspires poetry, and peregrinations from urban areas to this secret pocket of urbanity set apart from the rest.

This is one of many reasons why a winter day trip over there is so interesting — it is like visiting a secret world.  Not to mention a gorgeous one.  It takes only 45 minutes to be transported there, and I highly recommend you check it out, especially in winter when you get a better chance at meeting and talking to the locals.  Here are a few other images from my short sojourn.

easy day trip to Martha's VineyardI love the empty seats in the gloaming of dusk.

And arriving in Vineyard Haven at last light.  I do hope my next trip allows more time to explore.

romantic Cape Cod

TV Writers Symposium Feb 22 – 24, 2013

November 26th, 2012 by Beth Colt

TV writers meet in Woods HoleFor the third year, aspiring TV writers will flock to Woods Hole this February 22-24 to learn more about the craft of script writing from veteran television writer, P.K. Simonds.

Kicking off with a wine and cheese reception at the Woods Hole Inn on Friday night, writers will meet for two sessions on Saturday (2/23) plus a wrap up session on Sunday morning (2/24) making for a packed and fun-filled weekend of learning and excitement.

A vivid introduction to the inner workings of dramatic network television, this two-day Symposium will dissect all the pieces of success in hour-long drama writing.

Meet TV drama veteran P.K. Simonds (executive producer of “Ghost Whisperer” and “Party of Five”) who will lead your journey.  Film writing gets more attention in teaching programs and in the media, but the majority of jobs and income are derived writing for network and cable TV.  Simonds has spent over 25 years in the network TV trenches and he will share his experience with you!

The Symposium will go from macro to micro, beginning with an overview of the industry, exploring the differing roles of the writer in TV versus film, then deconstructing the process of writing and producing a single TV episode.  Says Simonds, “I want to break the business down and make it more understandable.  How does a writers room work?  How are stories developed and seasons planned?  Who is responsible for a single script?  What is the balance of power between the players?  Is it possible to do your job in Hollywood without selling your soul?”

To illustrate the creative process in action, participants will be invited to share their stories with the group.  Simonds will lead a story discussion, the same way it happens in professional writers rooms, to try to help writers develop their ideas.  We’ll conclude by discussing important first steps for writers to take to break into the industry.   Writers will network, share ideas and enjoy the stark beauty of Cape Cod in winter.

Applications are currently being accepted via the Woods Hole Film Festival website and include submitting a writing sample.  Fee to attend is $150 per writer.  Accepted attendees will be offered a discounted lodging package at the Woods Hole Inn in Woods Hole.  Book the Woods Hole Inn by calling (508) 495-0248, based on availability.

Renaissance Fair December 1st, 2012

November 25th, 2012 by Beth Colt

I have served the last of the turkey soup, polished off the pecan pie, and fought my kids to scarf the final serving of stuffing  so Thanksgiving is officially over and it’s time for the holiday decorations to come out.  In Woods Hole, that also means it’s time for the Renaissance Fair, a wonderful 30+ year tradition of gathering, shopping and feasting at the Woods Hole Community Hall.

Solstice Singers enter Community Hall in Woods Hole, holidays

Imagine a wreath-making shop with hand-made garlands and wreaths, a “tea house” with sweets and cookies of all kinds, plus plenty of hot tea and cocoa, the Community Hall (our local secular gathering place) decorated and packed with craft vendors selling all sorts of original items from beaded jewelry to stained glass, from sock monkeys to hand knit sweaters, from local photography to letterpress books and journals with covers from old maps.

This wonderfully eclectic collection is topped off by a visit from the “Solstice Singers,” a local choral group that will appear in Renaissance garb carrying a large stuffed pig on a platter.  I often wonder whose basement that paper mache pig lives in all year long, as he looks a bit worse for the wear with a few chunks missing, but the overall effect with the sun coming in sideways through the Hall’s windows and the good cheer in the room, plus the lovely voices of the singers brings a lump to the most cynical throat.

It has been a rough month for the Woods Hole community, as we lost a young man who grew up here and died in a car crash on our main road a few weeks ago.  People in this community came together to cradle his parents and siblings with love, helped fashion a pine box for him, crowded his funeral at the Church of the Messiah, passed a loaf of challah large enough for everyone lovingly made by his friends, the bakers at Pie in the Sky.

arts and crafts at Christmas

His mother has long been one of the organizers of the Renaissance Fair, and I can not help but think that this year will be especially poignant as we gather to kick off the holidays with hot cider, neighborly smiles and good cheer.  The fabric of a small town is rendered with these interactions, and it is as important to celebrate the winter solstice as it is to mourn a terrible loss.

Long Live the Renaissance Fair! 

December 1st from 10 to 3 in Woods Hole. Ample nearby parking.

All invited, free to enter.

Better Way to Stay

November 12th, 2012 by Beth Colt

fall foliage in best village on Cape Cod

Last spring, the Falmouth B&B Association gathered together and pooled our resources to shoot a video about how great our area is, and how cool it is to choose a bed and breakfast when you travel here.

Drumroll, please….

The “Falmouth Better Way to Stay” video, in which we show you all the fun things you will find to do in Falmouth, plus our gorgeous rooms, plus our fabulous breakfasts, has arrived on YouTube and your inbox!!

Although I coordinated the shoot, we did not actually shoot any of the footage at the Woods Hole Inn.

But if you look closely, you may find me in a shot or two, reviving my role as a featured extra, the very spot I started my acting career about (achem – edited so as not to shock you) let’s call it “so many moons ago” in LA.

Check it out here: http://bit.ly/Ukdq3B

Woods Hole is the best village of Falmouth

 

After the Hurricane

November 3rd, 2012 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole one of the most vibrant villages on Cape Cod

In the days after a hurricane, we sometimes get the clearest most beautiful weather of the year. Today, the water is glistening in the clear sunshine, and there are big puffy clouds scattered across a vibrant blue sky.

We were spared this season in Woods Hole, and there is no lasting damage from Hurricane Sandy.  Our power was restored within a few hours (thanks NSTAR!), the few trees downed have been cleared and the minimal flooding has receded.

Even the fall foliage is mostly intact, and looking gorgeous on this cooler fall day, which was not true last year after Hurricane Irene sprayed salt water over all the trees.  I think since Sandy blew from the East here, we were in the lea and the salt spray did not roll in as it sometimes does, blanketing us in an early winter brown.

As I watch the TV news and see the devastation in New York and New Jersey, my heart goes out to those suffering and in need.  At the Woods Hole Inn, we are donating to the Red Cross, visiting the blood bank and hoping that our friends and guests from these places are safe and sound.

traditional Cape Cod houses in fall

 

Birding on Cape Cod

November 1st, 2012 by Beth Colt

rare bird sightings from best B&B on Cape Cod

Did you know that Falmouth — with all it’s open space, forests, beaches, marshland and cranberry bogs — is known  as one of the best places for Atlantic coastline birding?

Yes, you will find the Merlin, the Sanderling, the Cooper’s Hawk and the Warbler all hiding in the rushes here in Falmouth in various seasons.  And if you love spotting the dramatic Osprey, the huge hawk that likely gave “Buzzards Bay” its’ name, you will find them nesting in summer here, and delight in watching their enormous wing span, wild twig-ridden nests, and incredible fishing prowess.  Osprey migrate from here to the Amazon in winter, but return to this area for nesting and hatching their young.

Craig Gibson is a Falmouth resident and passionate bird photographer.  Up at dawn with his long lenses and a sea kayak, Craig hunts the bird life deep in the marshes, and on the small barrier islands and sand dunes where they nest and breed.  His collection of photos “A Year of Falmouth Birds” will take your breath away.  Copies are available for sale in local book shops, and benefit the 300 Committee Land Trust, our local conservation group.  You can also see his great action shots weekly in our local newspaper, the Falmouth Enterprise.

Of course birders will be familiar with the Great Blue Heron, or the Snowy Egret, but for first time visitors to our area, these extraordinary birds will impress and awe you.  Come to Woods Hole to learn more!

Hurricane Sandy

October 30th, 2012 by Beth Colt

 

Cape Cod impact Hurricane Sandy

 

 

Hurricane Sandy blew through Cape Cod yesterday, and we were so lucky that the center of the storm was 400+ miles to our south.

I took this photo of a pink climbing rose a few hours before the storm hit our area, on the assumption that at the end of the day, this delicate flower would look very different.

I was at the Inn first thing in the morning, answering emails and the phone as travelers plans changed, and newcomers sought refuge from the coming gale.  We lost power about noon as the storm seemed to intensify, and by mid afternoon the ocean surge was threatening Waterfront Park.  Thank goodness for our generator, which is very handy in storms, as we were able to proved food, hot showers and shelter to many who found themselves without a home in the storm.

Woods Hole hurricane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I managed to sneak away and see the storm waves at Waterfront Park at about 3 pm, and it got worse later, wrecking the dock maintained by the MBL in this location.  I headed back to the inn to be sure our customers were getting the attention they needed — cheese, crackers, a few bottles of red wine always helps the anxieties that come with the hum of a tropical storm.

Woods Hole Inn best B&B on Cape Cod

 

Then I dug into the pantry and started cooking a Bolognese sauce for pasta, and chopping cucumbers for a bean salad, and washing lettuce for a nice green salad.  I wanted to be sure that our guests felt well cared for.  I mean there were no lights or TV or wifi at this point, so really, what more do you want in a storm than a nice glass of Cabernet and a warm bed?

Woods Hole Inn, best B&B on Cape Cod

As I prepared the meal, the fire department came down to check on the Landfall — the high tide was cresting into their restaurant.  It receded shortly thereafter, and I am pretty sure the building escaped with little damage.  You can see the Steamship Authority ferries, with brave men on board ready to move the boats off the piers if the storm turns, which thankfully in our location it did not.

I wish I had a photo of the meal we shared together, but really, it was too dark for photos.  The candle light was a nice way for people to meet each other, and experience the camaraderie of the storm.  We will be Hurricane Sandy friends forever.

Frankenstorm misses Cape Cod.  Cape Cod B&B

Best of all, the rose in my driveway seems to have survived.  Along with our rowboats, which also did not blow or float away.

We were spared, really, and as I watch the news of New Jersey and New York, my heart goes out to those who have lost so much.  All of us who live so close to the sea take this chance every day, but you never think you will be the one.  My thoughts and prayers to those in need on this dark night in Atlantic Coast history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holidays by the Sea

October 22nd, 2012 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Inn, the best place to stay on Cape Cod

Get in the holiday spirit with a visit to Cape Cod this year! The Falmouth “Holidays by the Sea” weekend is right around the corner (November 30 – December 2, 2012) so book your getaway to the Woods Hole Inn today!

What a great time to be on Cape Cod.  Wander the quaint boutiques and shops of Falmouth or Martha’s Vineyard (the inn is right across the street from the ferry landing making day trips particularly easy) and find the very best in original gift ideas.  Take a tour of a real lighthouse, Nobska Light, one of the most famous in New England.  See the lights come on for the decorations on the Falmouth Green, and watch Santa arrive by boat to our harbor.

Best of all, the Falmouth Christmas Parade, attended by thousands as one of the best spectacles of the season, kicks off on Sunday December 2nd this year.  Staying at the Woods Hole Inn, you can borrow one of our free bikes and tool up the scenic bike path to enjoy the parade.

For a full schedule of events, please see the Falmouth Chamber’s website.

Looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with you in Falmouth this year!  Ho, ho, ho!!

Trainman’s Lanterns

October 19th, 2012 by Beth Colt

Morning light rakes over Woods Hole Inn near Martha's VIneyard ferry

Everyday, interesting people walk in the front door of the Inn — people from all over the world, coming to get a glimpse of the New England seashore, or experience first hand the heady smell of salty marsh air that comes up off the beach at low tide, or walk in the footsteps of Presidents by touring the island of Martha’s Vineyard.

Sometimes they make plans to come a year in advance, and other times they just walk in the door in the late afternoon looking for a place for the night.  In late September, a couple “walked in” (to use the innkeepers jargon) from upstate, New York.  They had been touring the area and taking their chances…we were happy to have one room left, which they booked.

As they wandered around the inn, they saw an antique kerosine lantern that sits on an old metal safe in one of our living rooms and they asked me a bunch of questions about it.  This lantern actually came out of my grandfather’s barn.  My grandparents lived most of their long lives on a farm in coastal Massachusetts, and they kept a herd of dairy cows there from the 1930s through the late 1960s.

My grandfather bred the cows, and had pictures of his winners hanging on the walls of his 1700’s-era house.  I remember the one called “Larches Pat” posing with her handler, all curried and groomed to perfection with a big ribbon on her halter at the Topsfield Fair.  My grandfather was committed to these cows, he really loved them, and he always said one of the saddest days of his life was in the late 1960’s after the milk distributor stopped coming (“you’re too small to warrant a stop,” they told him); after months of pouring the milk onto the fields, he realized he had to sell his prized herd.

WNew England antiques found at the Woodshole Inn, Cape Cod Lodginghen the barn was cleared out after his death (at the age of 97!), this lantern moved into my mother’s basement.  I liberated it a few years ago and it sits in one of the dining rooms at the Woods Hole Inn, reminding me of my wonderful grandparents and their beautiful farm, where I was lucky enough to spend holidays my whole childhood.

Now enter my walk in guests! (I bet you were wondering when I might get back to that:)   No one has ever asked me about this lantern before, but these guests were very curious, remarking on it’s size and style.  Very unusual, they said.  Don’t see them that large, they said.  Well, there were tons of them in my grandfather’s barn before it was wired for electricity, so they were common at some point, I explained.

Honestly did not think much more about this interaction until this week when this cool Trainman’s Lantern arrived in the mail, one for me and one for Amanda.  It came with a thank you letter from the above-mentioned lantern-curious guests, who it turns out own a lantern company in upstate New York.  The letter tells me that the Dietz Company went out of business many years ago (maker of my grandfather’s lanterns), but their company Star Headlight and Lanterns, has been around for 123 years and is still going strong.  In fact, the owner (our guest) is the fourth generation of his family to run this business!!

Here are some highlights from this delightful letter:

“Anne and I really loved staying at your lovely place.  It was the end of a memorable trip.  Your MapQuest got us perfectly to our sons house, where we saw our grand kids, then flew home.  The enclosed lanterns are used daily by all railroads.  Put one next to your Deitz.  Please see Amanda gets one, she was most helpful.  We look forward to seeing you again sometime.”

 

"David W. Jacobs" owner and CEO of Star Headlight Trainman's LanternWell, so do we!!  These lanterns are sure to be useful in a winter storm when the lights go out!  This is the fun of inn-keeping, meeting interesting people and continually learning things about our fascinating world.  And creating this dialogue between new people, and returning guests, where they can share with us the important things in their lives, while we can offer a restful place to return, hopefully year after year, to find peace and tranquility from the crazy buzz of modern life.

So thank you so much, David and Anne (and all the nice people at Star Headlight and Lanterns),  — we hope to see you soon.

Jud’s Museum

October 14th, 2012 by Beth Colt

Dublin, New Hampshire with Judson Hale, editor of Yankee

 

 

The Red Chair is a great way to meet new people.  I know, that sounds really strange but it’s so true!

My humble red chair (rescued from the Falmouth dump, more context here)  is making a tour of all the best Inns and B&B’s in New England, and because of that, it was invited to meet the editors of Yankee Magazine.  And I got to tag along.

Yankee Magazine is headquartered in the village of Dublin, New Hampshire.  In the shadow of Mount Monadnock, this is a classic New England spot if ever I saw one with a white-spired church, petite village green, tiny sandwich shop and miniature rotary.

Blink and you will miss it.

We were ushered in the hallowed halls of this iconic spot, and amazingly enough, retired editor Judson Hale was there!  What an incredibly warm and charming fellow he is — curious about the Red Chair and eager to show us his famous “Museum,” a collection of objects gathered over the 50 plus years he has worked at Yankee, many of them as it’s editor in chief.

Red Chair visits Yankee Magazine

Jud’s Museum is irreverent, historical and downright hilarious.  He has a splinter of the sinking of the Maine (1898) which a man from Cuba claims to have rescued from Havana Harbor, a glove mold from the old runner factory next to “The Balsams” in Dixville Notch, NH and even a crows foot Jud says was stolen from the dead body of Sitting Bull.   He asked for Einstein’s brain but never got it, and that kind of detail does not set Jud back —  he has a fake.

You will enjoy his whimsy in this YouTube clip talking about the contents of his famous office.  I did get the sense he had told the stories he shared with me and the Red Chair a few times before, but you too can experience it with the magic of the internet:)

Here are a few more images from this special visit, one that both the Red Chair and I will cherish forever:

Hanging out outside the building, waiting to meet the Editors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contents of Jud’s Museum, up close and personal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up of the fragment of the “Maine” — “How do I know this is a splinter from the sunken ship?” Jud asked me, looking coy.  “The man who gave it to me told me so.” he answers himself with a wry smile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the exact historical relevance of each the objects in Jud’s museum may be a bit suspicious, one thing is surely true — Jud has enjoyed collecting them, and there would be no better tour guide to this rare space than the inspired collector himself.  You can read more about our visit in the Yankee Magazine blog written by Heather Atwell.  Check it out!

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