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Category Archives: Cape Cod

Cape Cod sunset sail on the Liberté

August 7, 2015 by Beth Colt

If you’re looking to get out on the water and do it in style, you’ve got to book a ride on the Liberté. Watching the sunset over the westernmost part of Cape Cod from the deck of a beautiful 74’ three-masted schooner is easily one of my best memories from this summer.

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My friend Bonny and I had been waiting for some good weather to go out for a relaxing evening after work, and last Thursday turned out to be the perfect day. The air had that perfect end-of-July warmth, and there was enough wind to fill the sails and keep us cool as we made our way out into the Vineyard Sound. The crew was composed of Captain Chris and two experienced and friendly young women. Their teamwork allowed us to get our sunset sail underway quickly, and all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the sights and sounds while reclining in one of the boat’s many comfortable seating areas.

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Once we were out of the harbor and all the sails had been raised, the crew offered full bar service with a selection of wine, beer, and cocktails. With glasses of pinot grigio in hand, Bonny and I toasted to the dog days of summer and laughed as we listened to Captain Chris’s tales from his time at sea.

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Captain Chris Tietje and his wife Jane had this sail boat designed and built just for them, and they live on it for most of the year. In the summers, they keep the boat docked in Falmouth Harbor (a 10 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn) and take people out for a one-of-a-kind Cape Cod sailing experience. While on the boat, Captain Chris treats the passengers to stories about the birth of the Liberté and the history of Martha’s Vineyard and the surrounding waters.

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There were about 35 other passengers with us that evening, but the boat never felt crowded. It seemed that each separate party was able to have their own intimate moments while still harmoniously coexisting with the rest of the group on board. There was plenty of room to move around, and I made sure to get photos from each part of the top deck.

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The Liberté sails three times a day, seven days a week throughout the summer and can be booked for private charters or parties. If you’re looking for a memorable Cape Cod sailing experience, you don’t want to miss out on a chance to ride aboard the magnificent schooner, Liberté. Check out www.theliberte.com for more information about the Liberte and how you can plan your sailing trip.

— from guest blogger Sam Frawley

Cape Cod Cocktails, the best of Woods Hole summertime concoctions

June 24, 2015 by Beth Colt

There’s certainly no shortage of places to sit down and enjoy Cape Cod cocktails in Woods Hole.  However, given so many good options it can be a daunting task to choose the right beverage for you. Don’t fear! This past week, a couple friends joined me for a Cape Cod cocktail tour and we did the “work” for you. Below you will find our favorite drinks at each of the seven waterfront restaurants we visited – all of which are walking distance from each other. Hope you enjoy and remember to read responsibly.

LANDFALL

Drink of choice: Bloody Mary

Secret house recipe served with Spanish olives and celery.

Notes: If you’re waiting for the afternoon ferry and you need something to tide you over before dinner the Landfall is the place to go. Their Bloody Mary is the best around and its zesty, savory, and spicy flavors will keep your mouth entertained until the very last drop. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!

Landfall

 

CAPTAIN KIDD

Drink of Choice: The Tarpaulin Brothel

House-made Privateer Spiced Rum, Angostura Bitters, Rinse of Absinthe, twist of orange

Notes: This drink is an adventure in a glass. If you’re feeling the winds of good fortune at your back and the call of the open seas then you’ve got to dive in. This bold drink from a watering hole that’s a self described “pirate bar” features Captain Kidd’s special house-made spiced rum and a dash of absinthe. Before long, it will have you wanting to chase buried treasure and hoist the main sail. If you’re looking for a drink to get you in touch with your inner Jack Sparrow then this drink is the “X” that marks the spot on Captain Kidd’s menu.

Captain Kidd

 

QUICKS HOLE TAVERN

Drink of Choice: Little Harbor Lavender

Muddled Raspberry, lavender infused Grey Goose, St Germain, and fresh lemon

Notes: Fresh, sweet, and modern like the new restaurant that serves it, this drink has a pleasing and relaxed flavor. Quicks Hole Tavern opened it’s doors last year and has quickly become a favorite with an innovative and imaginative menu. Looking to view the harbor as if from the prow of a ship?  Sip your Little Harbor Lavender and watch your ship come in with the best view of the Martha’s Vineyard ferry in Woods Hole.

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QUICKS HOLE TAQUERIA

Drink of Choice: House-made Sangria

Secret blend of red and white wines, fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice

Notes: One of my very favorite things to do in Woods Hole is to grab some friends and post up at the Quicks Hole Taqueria for some chips and salsa and their fantastic house-made sangria. They sell it by the pitcher and it’s the perfect complement to kicking back on a sunny afternoon and people-watching in the heart of Woods Hole. If you swing by on a Friday or Sunday evening, you can even catch one of the fantastic local bands that perform for free in the parking lot next to the restaurant.

PHUSION

Drink of Choice: Ruby Red Crush

Absolut Ruby Red Vodka, fresh mint, Combier Pamplemousse Grapefruit Liqueur, fresh lemon.

Notes: As this restaurant’s name would lead to you to believe, Phusion’s menu consistently presents interesting blends of different international flavors and styles. This French-influenced beverage features imported grapefruit liqueur and fresh mint that was picked from the restaurant’s in-house herb garden moments before it was added to our drink. The Ruby Red Crush is a light and refreshing drink that will have you crushing on summer and saying “au revior” to all your troubles.

Phusion

 

FISHMONGER

Drink of Choice: Mongerita

Tequila, Cranberry Juice, Triple Sec, Fresh Lime juice, Agave Nectar

Notes: This drink is the Fishmonger’s Cape Cod twist on a classic margarita. The addition of cranberry juice fills this cocktail with the tart refreshment you need on a warm summer day. Also, if you happen to be in Woods Hole on a Thursday evening, Fishmonger is a must – thanks to their Thirsty Thursday free appetizer special and great selection of draft beers.

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SHUCKERS:

Drink of Choice: Shucker’s Smash

Vodka, Dark Rum, fresh squeezed orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon, and Grenadine.

Notes: In addition to recently being featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Shuckers boasts a world famous raw bar, sushi and a great waterfront location. We asked for something summery and I think they found a way to fit summer into a mason jar. This drink was just the right amount sweet with a fresh squeezed citrus twist to keep you feeling like you’re sippin’ on sunshine, Cape Cod cocktail style.

Barnstable Harbor Cape Cod Ecotour

June 16, 2015 by Beth Colt

Cape Cod has so many great places to explore, but my friend Bonny and I were looking for something that could be described as a Cape Cod ecotour — you know, a fun day in the sun with a little learning and an eco twist.

Enter Captain Joe, who along with his staff at Barnstable Harbor Eco-Tours, offers a leisurely cruise around the harbor aboard a charming pontoon boat called The Horseshoe Crab.  Packed with a wealth of interesting information about the history of the harbor and natural life, the tour was guided by expert naturalist Phil Kyle. Bonny and I really enjoyed Phil’s enthusiasm for history, especially his tales about the Prohibition-era rum running from this storied harbor.

Sam and Bonny ready for the tour aboard the Horseshoe Crab

Barnstable Harbor itself is gorgeous, well worth the trip. On one side it is bordered by the white gold dunes of Sandy Neck Beach, a six mile long barrier beach, and on another there is a large field of marshland which draws myriad species of shorebirds which we learned about from Phil.  Sandy Neck Light

Might not sound much like a Cape Cod ecotour, but the best of the day was views of the Cottage Colony at the very end of Sandy Neck Beach. The Cottage Colony is home to a collection of beautiful beach cottages as well as Sandy Neck Light – a picturesque lighthouse marking the end of the peninsula. The cottages are in the historic district of the peninsula and most are more than 100 years old. As the boat neared the Colony it appeared we were visiting an idyllic little seaside kingdom, best captured from a boat.

Sandy Neck Point

There were many opportunities to take photos of the harbor and I couldn’t help snapping a couple gorgeous shots for my Instagram, and I thought about coming back another day and exploring Sandy Neck on foot to see more of this stunning harbor and unique ecosystem system from the land.  Well, there is always next year.

 

Buoy returning to Barnstable Harbor

Barnstable Harbor is approximately a 50 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn. Tours last about 2 hours and are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Woods Hole Inn concierge staff would be happy to assist guests in scheduling a day like this one on Barnstable Harbor.  Or call Captain Joe @ 508.221.6162 for more information or to schedule your Cape Cod ecotour – what a great way to spend the day exploring Cape Cod!  — from guest blogger Sam Frawley

Captain Joe, Phil Kyle, and the Horseshoe Crab

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend on Earth Day

April 24, 2015 by Beth Colt

Women gather around copper beech and hug it before it gets cut down April 2015 Woods HoleEarth Day is always special in Woods Hole, as the village is packed with scientists and others who study, examine, support and cherish mother earth and her oceans.

But this Earth Day was unique, as locals gathered on Challenger Drive to say goodbye to an enormous copper beech tree that has offered shade and comfort for 150 years.  Aborists have determined the tree is beyond saving, and this massive old friend will be cut down soon for safety.

About 40 people gathered as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution leader Susan Avery said a few words about how hard it is to say goodbye to a tree of this stature.  Local theologian Deborah Warner spoke about nature, then read a moving Mary Oliver poem that began, “When I am among the trees, especially the willows and the honey locust, equally the beech, the oaks and the pines, they give off such hints of gladness, I would almost say they save me, and daily.” (From “Thirst, poems by Mary Oliver,” Beacon Press, 2006)

Susan Witzell, a local historian, shared anecdotes about Joseph Story Fay who once owned this property and planted these seedlings back when Woods Hole had been cleared for timber and was mostly meadow used for sheep.  Fay was devoted to planting trees, and along with his gardener Michael Walsh, is responsible for much of the forest that now dominates this end of Falmouth.

In closing, a group gathered around the base for an actual tree hug.  It was such a warm spring day, with long shadows drifting across the impossibly green spring grass.  Susan Avery spoke of planting a new copper beech in the same spot and emotions ran high thinking about this symbolic new era in Woods Hole, a time for saplings, spring and new beginnings.

WCAI also reported on this special day, and you can hear their radio version of the story here.

Woods Hole Cape Cod Trees with blue flowersWoods Hole copper beechgreen spring grass in Woods Hole photo 4(1)Deb Warner and Susan Avery on Earth Day April 2015Cape Cod blue flowers in Woods Hole

Saying Goodbye to Summer in Woods Hole

September 14, 2014 by Beth Colt

Summer in Woods Hole, MAGirls just want to have fun or so my father likes to remind me. Although I am a serious college student during the rest of the year, I am an unabashed pleasure-seeker in the summer. And this summer at the Woods Hole Inn, my work and my play mingled most affably.

One might think that having grown up in Woods Hole, I’d be tired of the tourist scene. But for me, the bustling street life, the teeming beaches, and even the long lines for my double iced soy latte are all part of summer, and, seeing it all from the perspective of a Woods Hole Inn guest and blogger, I totally understand why our guests keep coming back.

Thanks to the Woods Hole Inn, I explored (and savored!) the restaurants, historic tours, and local museums and events through the eyes of a visitor and couldn’t have been more delighted. Early morning donuts at the Black Dog in Vineyard Haven, an afternoon lesson on Walsh roses at the Woods Hole Historical Museum, and one of the best sunsets over Eel Pond “on assignment”; who wouldn’t want to be a tourist or a guest blogger!

As my summer comes to an end, I would like to thank the pleasant and helpful staff at the Woods Hole Inn for giving me the chance to simultaneously work hard, learn tons, and play local traveler. It was a fantastic summer in Woods Hole!

Guest Blogger, Gwen Martin

Things to do in Woods Hole

Relax in Edgartown, nearby Edgartown MA lodging

August 11, 2014 by Beth Colt

 

Relax in Edgartown MA

Sea-washed shingles, neatly trimmed cottages, cheerful flowerbeds, and a scenic harbor full of yachts and sailboats make Edgartown one of my favorite spots to visit on Martha’s Vineyard. Edgartown seems to emanate summer and relaxation, beckoning me back every year.

Ferry boat to Martha's Vineyard from Woods HoleThe easiest (and most economical) way to get there is to take the Woods Hole Steamship Authority ferry to either Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven, which is the perfect solution for finding Edgartown MA lodging. From either of these Vineyard towns, catch Martha’s Vineyard bus #1 or #13; they leave every fifteen minutes and cost a few dollars.

 

 

 

Coffee in Edgartown MAOnce in Edgartown, I head immediately to Murdick’s Café for a perfectly brewed iced coffee and a taste of their homemade fudge. The chocolate peanut butter variety is decidedly indulgent, but who can argue with a recipe that dates back to 1887!

 

 

 

Things to do in Edgartown MALikewise, Edgartown is arguably one of the best places for boutique shopping: luxuriant cashmere sweaters donning nautical patterns at 20 Main, sailboat-embroidered shorts at Island Outfitters, and uniquely Vineyard necklaces and bracelets at numerous fine jewelry shops. There are also preppy name-brand stores like Jack Wills, Lilly Pulitzer, and Vineyard Vines. My favorite store is Backwater Trading, featuring outerwear, fishing paraphernalia, and casual beach attire – summer anyone?

 

 

Delicious food nearby Edgartown MA lodgingFor classic Vineyard fare, wander down Dock St. to the Seafood Shanty. Their calamari is fresh and local and delicious and the rooftop dining provides spectacular views of the harbor and the Chappy Ferry’s “back and forth” between the Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island, a 527 foot passage!

 

 

 

Edgartown MA lodgingI discovered two new treasures this year in Edgartown: Edgartown Books and the Edgartown Lighthouse. The bookstore is located right downtown and was a welcomed oasis from the bustling town. Cozy seating areas tucked between aisles of this historic building brings browsing for the perfect beach read to a new level. And don’t miss the awesome stairs! After unwinding, I was ready for a trek to Edgartown Light, my first time to venture out to this totally picturesque lighthouse. Wandering past the historic Edgartown Public Library, stately seaside homes, and the gorgeous Harborview Hotel makes the trip even more worthwhile.

 

Woods Hole InnBefore catching the bus to Oak Bluffs for the ferry and to complete my summer escapade, I grabbed a freshly made frozen “Arnold Palmer” from MacPhail’s Corner Café – refreshing! So, whether you want to walk along the harbor or spend the day browsing boutiques, Edgartown will become your summer pleasure. –Guest Blogger, Gwen Martin

 

 

 

Cafes in Edgartown MA

Shopping in Edgartown

Woods Hole Inn Day Trip

Day trip from Woods Hole MA

Downtown Edgartown MA

Edgartown Public Library

Chappy Ferry

Shopping in Edgartown MA

Edgartown MA books

Homes in Edgartown MA

Shopping in Edgartown

Ferry boat to Vineyard Haven

The Woods Hole Film Festival

July 28, 2014 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Film FestivalIf variety is the spice of life, Woods Hole and its film festival are hot! The village is home to world-renowned scientific institutions and historic buildings and a plethora of delightful eating establishments, beaches, and cultural events like contra dancing, jazz and folk concert series, art shows, and the Woods Hole Film Festival. And the film festival is a delectable mix of feature length narrative films, documentaries, animation, and “shorts,” and the content and settings of these mostly independent films are wildly diverse.

A few unconventional and intriguing ones that I plan to catch this year include Wicker Kittens, Marmato, and Antarctica. Just the title, Wicker Kittens, is enough to awaken curiosity, but an annual jigsaw puzzle competition in Minnesota – that’s a must see phenomenon! More seriously, Marmato, set in a 500 year old mining town in Columbia, is a film described as “a canvas of magic realism and the confrontation with globalized mining.” Antarctica, on the other hand, captures the issues of data recording in the frozen tundra with limited time – should be a packed audience, so get your tickets early! There is lots of light-hearted fare as well, like on Kids’ Day. This year, this fun event features a movie inspired by the famous children’s series, “The Boxcar Children.”

Don’t miss what Movie Magazine calls “one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world.” The Woods Hole Film Festival runs until Saturday, August 2nd, and, there is much more than films with music, parties, and filmmaker discussions to round out the week. Check out the full listing of movies and events at www.woodsholefilmfestival.org/. -from guest blogger Gwen Martin

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Woods Hole Film Festival

Day Trip to Historic Sandwich Village from Woods Hole, nearby Sandwich MA lodging

July 24, 2014 by Beth Colt

Sandwich MA lodgingEver drive a distance for a scone? You will for fresh blueberry or ginger ones from the Brown Jug Café in Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod.  Although the memory of the scone with a dark roast coffee on the café’s secluded patio persuaded me to make the trip, Sandwich has other treasures that will satisfy your curiosity just as well as the scone will satisfy your hunger.  Sandwich is a short jaunt from the Woods Hole Inn, which is your perfect solution for Sandwich MA lodging.

 

 

 

 

lodging sandwich cape codA five minute walk from the Brown Jug are two marvelous Sandwich MA historical sites:  the Hoxie House and the Dexter Grist Mill. The Hoxie House is one of the oldest surviving houses in Massachusetts, dating back to 1675. Perched atop a knoll overlooking the Shawne Lake, the traditional saltbox house preserves the ambiance of a bygone era with massive open fireplaces, leaded windows, and wide-planked “windfall” floors. I almost expected Mr. Smith (the first owner) or Mr. Hoxie to walk in as the tour guides set the scene of the time. The guides’ enthusiasm was contagious and I left both amused and better informed about the history of the time.

 

 

Sandwich MA lodgingThe bubbling brook from Shawne Lake feeds the wooden water mill at the Grist Mill, and, although most of the mill machinery is not original, it is true to 18th century New England technology. The rushing water and hum of the grindstones set a fine backdrop to the subtle sweet aroma of the ground cornmeal spilling from the chute. (The cornmeal is available for purchase for those who want to have a taste of history — bring some back to the Woods Hole Inn and our private chef will bake it up into something delicious for you the next day!)

 

 

 

romantic getawayThe pleasant stroll whetted my appetite, and, as I walked along the tree-lined streets, I entertained my options, from sandwich joints (no pun intended, of course) to more upscale venues. The Belfry Bistro, a renovated church with a stately belfry and spacious patio seating set back from the street, drew me in and I was not disappointed! I feasted on the Bento box special, which featured yellow tomato gazpacho, ham and swiss panini, and summer greens salad. It was a delicious way to sample a few of the bistro’s specialties; my favorite type of meal.

 

 

 

Woods Hole Day TripsOn the drive back to Woods Hole, I dropped by the Thornton Burgess Society’s Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen on Route 6A. The center is a tribute to Burgess, author of the classic children’s tales of Peter Rabbit (and his friends) and long-time resident of Sandwich. Just as I remembered from my childhood, the fragrance of steaming blueberries permeated the bright and cheerful jam kitchen and the color of orange swamp lilies brightened the wildflower garden.

 

 

 

Other options in Sandwich for the historical minded are the Sandwich Glass Museum, the Heritage Museum and Gardens and the historic Sandwich Boardwalk.  Whatever you choose, Sandwich will bring you back in time and bring you back for more.  Visit Sandwich MA for the perfect day trip from the Woods Hole Inn, and a great place to find Sandwich MA lodging.  – from guest blogger Gwen Martin

 

Cape Cod Roses, or How Woods Hole grew this famous Cape Cod Rose

July 15, 2014 by Beth Colt

WRFinal1From Guest Blogger Gwen Martin:  Ever wondered what a New England seaside village looked like in the early 1900s? A walking tour of Woods Hole opened my eyes to what life was like here over a hundred years ago. Although the village is now home to four major scientific institutions with their laboratories and offices, back then only the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and National Marine Fisheries were in operation and only in the summer months, and they had fewer than 5 year-round employees each. And people think that Woods Hole is quiet during the winter now, ha!

During those early years, however, there was a thriving industry in Woods Hole that I would never have imagined. Its products were totally trendy and shipped worldwide. Any guesses? Roses. Walsh Roses to be specific. After years of experimenting while a gardener at the Fay Estate, Michael Walsh developed several strands of low-maintenance, beautiful, and unique Cape Cod roses. The Fays even hired an additional gardener, so Walsh could concentrate solely on developing his roses. The Fays wagered wisely, the Walsh rose did become world-renowned.

The Woods Hole Historical Museum’s tour guide noted that Walsh was an astute horticulturist. He repeatedly sent roses across the Atlantic to Paris flower shows, and, without fail, the roses were in full bloom upon their arrival two weeks later.  And his Woods Hole rose grew to be one of the most famous exports of Cape Cod, known to travelers around the world for it’s distinctive color and simple bloom.

Although the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution now owns the land where Walsh’s roses grew, his Cape Cod roses also grow throughout the village alongside shuttered 18th century cottages, quaint churches, and treasures like the exquisite stone Bell Tower and the gorgeous stone building which is home to the Woods Hole Public Library, adjacent to Walsh Cottage at the Museum.

The Woods Hole Historical Museum has created a map of the main rose locations, and they hope that visitors and locals will take the time to walk around and see this remarkable living history, a wonderful activity while staying at the Woods Hole Inn.

– Gwen Martin, guest blogger

WRFinal4WRFinal2Falmouth MA lodging

Author Maile Meloy Visits Woods Hole, Talks at Eight Cousins

March 2, 2014 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Inn guestsAuthor Maile Meloy was in Falmouth last week talking with fans about her novels Apothocary (a New York Times bestseller which also won the E.B White Award in 2012) and it’s sequel Apprentices.  Eight Cousins Bookshop on Main Street hosted her visit and invited their middle school book club to read the book and come ask her questions.

Of Meloy’s debut novel Liars and Saints, the New York Times Book Review wrote, ” “Every once in a while a book comes along that upends popular notions of American fiction. There is the literature of family dysfunction . . . There is regional literature . . . There is the social novel about current events . . . And there is the historical novel . . . Liars and Saints, Maile Meloy’s spectacular first novel, is at once all of these literatures and none of them.” 

Meloy — a long-time fan of the Woods Hole Inn — visited for this chilly February weekend from her home in Los Angeles.  Meloy talked to her readers about growing up in Montana, her daily rituals as a writer, and her creative collaboration with the illustrator Ian Schoenherr.  She shared a wonderful slide show, took questions from the audience, and signed a bunch of books.

What a great visit from a wonderful friend!  If you are curious about Maile, check out her website right here.  If you are interested in seeing Woods Hole in winter, we recommend booking a room at the Woods Hole Inn, where culture meets a Cape Cod B&B.

Maile Meloy in Falmoutharts and culture near Woods Hole Inn arts and culture in Falmouth Woods Hole Inn Maile MeloyWoods Hole Inn winter culture romantic Cape Cod

Holiday by the Sea in Woods Hole

November 24, 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

Living the Dream

September 1, 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 21, 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 20, 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 16, 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 13, 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….

 

 

Tuesdays at Shuckers

July 19, 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

 

Pond Skating

February 27, 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 10, 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!

Lap of Luxury

January 8, 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 30, 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

P1040299

 

Red Chair on Eel Pond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Chair in Woods Hole Winter 2012

 

View of Woods Hole Inn from Crowell House WHOI

Happy Holidays

December 22, 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.

 

 

Better Way to Stay

November 12, 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 3, 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 1, 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!

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