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Category Archives: Cape Cod

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!

Hurricane Sandy

October 30, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boating on Vineyard Sound

August 22, 2012 by Beth Colt

Exploring VIneyard Sound in a boat

Re-discovering Cape Cod from the water is one of my favorite parts of summer.  As the days started to get shorter, and the crispness of autumn snuck into the air, I rushed to take my boat out onto the Sound.  The warmth of the summer water made me feel bold, and we packed the boat with kids and set off in our small vessel last week.

We departed from Woods Hole in the late morning with the goal of visiting Lake Tashmoo on Martha’s Vineyard, and making it up to Menemsha to get fresh fish for dinner at Larsen’s Fish Market.  Some people would take that time to go fishing themselves — I would rather buzz around with a boat load of kids, see the sights and purchase my fresh catch from one of the world’s best fish markets.

Martha's Vineyard boat trip

So off we set with sunscreen, bathing suits, beach towels and plenty of cash to buy our fabulous fish.  First stop, Lake Tashmoo, just about 20 minutes across the Sound on a clear calm day like this one.  Storm clouds hovered over this part of the Vineyard, and I am usually the first to wimp out in the face of real weather but the rest of the sky seemed bright enough and we pushed on.  Brave!

Summer visit to Marthas Vineyard by boatLake Tashmoo was once a pond and the entrance has been opened to a small channel that then lets you into a rather large protected harbor.  We slowed way down to avoid leaving a wake (waves would disturb the other boaters moored and anchored about) so it took the better part of half an hour to putt putt all the way in and see the whole thing.  There were scads of lovely boats, and houses with great green lawns yawning down to the sandy shore below.  It was exciting to peek in the back yards of the valuable waterfront real estate on Martha’s Vineyard and we were not the only ones snooping along the shore.

At the entrance, there is a barrier beach that was packed with people enjoying a lovely day in the sun:

Visiting the Vineyard by boat

Onward we traveled to Menemsha!  The Vineyard is not small (18 miles long) so we powered at full speed for about 20 minutes along the coastline to get to this tiny little town at the very end of the island.  A channel with a strong current flowing let’s you into a beautiful protected harbor packed with real fishing vessels.

Menemsha Harbor with lovely red fishing vessel

We struggled to get a spot to tie up, then found one along the pier and ran to get our fresh fish from Larsen’s.  The kids clambered along the island road to the local ice cream shop, and the day was so hot that it was a challenge to eat the ice cream before it melted all down your arm.  The smarter members of our crew bought “frappes” which is the New England way of asking for an ice cream shake.  Yum.

colorful fish signs in Martha's Vineyard up islandLarsen’s is an institution up island on the Vineyard (you can read more about visiting Up Island as a pedestrian on our blog).  I have seen Larsen’s t-shirts proudly worn in Los Angeles and New York, a way insiders telegraph to each other that they are “in the know” about what is cool on the Vineyard.  It was lunchtime when we got there and people were clustered around lobster trap tables enjoying the fresh fare and harbor views.

Larsens Fish on the VineyardI especially liked the look of this meal, but there were too many kids with us to indulge in a lobster feast.   Gotta love those all-American paper cups:)  Next time!

Lobster meal on paper plates in rustic setting

We explored the Menemsha harbor a wee bit more, then read a few days later of a shark sighting right near there.  I guess they come for the same reason the fisherman like these waters — plenty of fresh fish!

I love my annual peregrination to Menemsha, and I will be back soon before the weather turns the water cool again.  You simply can not beat a day on the waters of Vineyard Sound.  You can re-create this journey with one of many local charter boat captains.  Book a room at the Woods Hole Inn and with a little advance notice we would be happy to set a day trip just like this one up for you.  Sharks, lobster and all:)

Visiting Vineyard Sound

My Summer on Cape Cod

August 17, 2012 by Beth Colt

Summer is always too short, and the days and weeks are as fleeting as signs of the season – beach days, blooming flowers, and warm midday rainstorms come and go as fast as they arrived. My summer in Cape Cod has been too short, but entirely fantastic and memorable.

Living in and becoming apart of the town of Woods Hole has been wonderful. Before my time on the Cape I have always lived in larger cities and I was originally unsure about spending three months in a “small, sleepy” town. However Woods Hole has surprised me again and again and kept me very busy for the last couple of months.

While the list is long, some things I will miss most about living here are,

The smell of the Inn breakfast in the morning and my hot cup of coffee.

Every morning a delicious, gourmet breakfast is prepared in the Woods Hole Inn for the guests and I love starting my day with the warm smells of freshly baked muffins and just brewed coffee. There is something inherently comforting about walking down the stairs to the heartening smells of a hot breakfast.

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Being less than a five-minute bike ride away from the beach.

Coming from landlocked Minnesota, it’s been an extra special treat living near the ocean. I can see it out my bedroom window, smell it when I walk outside and whenever its sunny and I have an hour or two to spare I go for a quick midday swim. I haven’t swum this much in ages and being in the sun almost everyday makes me feel like a kid again.

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The small-town charm of Woods Hole.

Coming from Minneapolis, and having attended large universities both there and in Copenhagen, I’ve never lived somewhere that had the same feeling and atmosphere as Woods Hole. I love that I can go almost anywhere and run into someone that I know. It’s been interesting to feel apart of a community so easily and I’ll miss the sense of familiarity and friendliness that Woods Hole now has for me.

I’ll miss living in Woods Hole, and working at the Woods Hole Inn. It really has become a home away from home for me. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my perspective on the Cape, and all the wonderful things there are to do, see and try here.

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Thanks for reading and all my best to my friends in Woods Hole,

Megan

Visiting Beautiful Up-Island Martha’s Vineyard

August 16, 2012 by Beth Colt

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Blog Post by Megan Jensen

My early trips this summer to Martha’s Vineyard kept me close to the main island towns of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. Each town is unique and has plenty to offer for the casual journey to an offshore isle. But, for my last sojourn to the island before heading home, I decided I was up for something more adventurous – Up Island, as the locals call Menemsha, Chilmark and Aquinnah.

It was a rainy and cloudy day but I decided to brave the weather and optimistically bought a day pass for the bus hoping to see all of the up-island hotspots, from the Menemsha fish markets to the Gay Head lighthouse.

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Taking the bus is my absolute favorite way to get around the Vineyard and I love the helpful and informative bus drivers. They really are the true guides to the island. They’ll drop you off anywhere along their route, and make sure you get picked back up again. They can point out anything from Jackie Onassis’s property to the greatest breakfast stop, and will tell you the best and fastest route to get where you are going.

To head up island you will need to take the number 2 or 3 bus. I would recommend buying an all-day bus pass for $7, otherwise its $1-2 every time you get on and off the bus. When I took the bus I went to Menemsha first because I wanted to have lunch in the historic fishing village, but the bus driver told me it would have been much easier if I had first gone to Aquinnah and then worked my way back to Menemsha.

Menemsha

This tiny, historic fishing village offers visitors a chance to see and experience a different way of life. I was beyond excited to try the fresh seafood and it really was incredible, just-caught fresh and I found myself trying one of everything. The fish markets are little more than one room shacks and you have to eat your meal while sitting outside on lobster traps at makeshift tables. Menemsha Harbor offers a great public beach and beautiful sunsets. For five dollars, you can take the bike ferry across the water to the bike path that leads all the way to the Gay Head cliffs and lighthouse. If the scenery seems vaguely familiar to you, it might be because parts of the movie Jaws were filmed here. Give yourself a few hours here – and keep in mind the bus only comes once an hour.

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Chilmark

Chilmark offers a great in-between stop on your way from Menemsha to Aquinnah (or vice-versa). The Chilmark Store is sure to be busy, and here you can stock up on groceries, local produce and grab lunch – the pizzas are delicious and homemade. Down the street is the Chilmark Chocolate Shop known for a constant line out the door.  I found it to be a great place to relax and refuel before heading to Aquinnah.

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Aquinnah

Aquinnah may arguably be the most beautiful place on the Vineyard.  The name was changed from Gay Head in 1998 to reflect the year round Native American population that still lives there.  This town is known for its stunning clay cliffs, lighthouse and Jungle Beach.  Located near the lighthouse there are quaint rows of shops where you can buy beautifully crafted jewelry or have a bite to eat. Be sure to give yourself 2-3 hours here – there is plenty to see and do. Although if it is really rainy I’d come back a different day, as all activities are outdoors.

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Exploring this side of the Vineyard gave me a very different look at the island and personally I prefer the up-island area to the bustling towns. I love the remote feeling, the broad vistas and the sense of peace.  I hope you get a chance to visit this less-seen part of the Vineyard and find it as beautiful and memorable as I did!

Road Race Frenzy

August 12, 2012 by Beth Colt

Early this morning Woods Hole went from a bustling village to a packed-to-the-brim racetrack. Runners, and their family, friends and coaches all came for the 40th Annual New Balance Falmouth Road Race. The dark clouds and rain couldn’t dampen the excited spirit felt this morning. Donning garbage bags and raincoats participants came in droves to take part in the race.

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Over 11,000 runners were present for this seven-mile race beginning in Woods Hole on Water Street and ending in the Falmouth Heights. At its heart the Road Race is a “fun” run, perfect for all ages and skill levels, however there were elite athletes present.

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Watching from the deck of the Woods Hole Inn we were able to see the start of the race, the blur of colors as they ran past and hear the cheer of the crowd. The Road Race really is the event of the summer. Congratulations to all this years participants and especially our own Amanda Benoit who ran this year!

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Guest Post by Megan Jensen

 

A Day with the Whales

August 3, 2012 by Beth Colt

Guest Post by Blogger Megan Jensen

Last week I had the opportunity to go whale watching in Barnstable with Hyannis Whale Watching Cruises. Before coming to Cape Cod, I had heard about all the fantastic marine life off this unique spit of sand. During my first week here I was lucky enough to see Harbor Seals off of Race Point Beach in Provincetown. But I had yet to see any whales, and was excited to take to the high seas like a modern day Herman Melville.

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I got up early in the morning, hoping to catch the earlier of the two daily cruises. Hyannis Whale Watching recommend arriving a least an hour prior to the cruise departure time – and I recommend calling ahead of time concerning availability and precise cruise times.

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After a quick stop at Pie in the Sky for breakfast, I headed to Barnstable for the 9 am cruise (it’s about 50 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn). Parking is an additional cost to tickets – around $15.00. I recommend arriving early so you can get good seats on the boat (but once the cruise begins everyone moves around and stands up).

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The first hour is informational, as you make your way out of the harbor with stunning views of Sandy Neck Lighthouse and Provincetown.  As you pass Provincetown, you head out towards the Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary for the whale sightings  – and the real excitement begins.

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I had not anticipated how great, and close, the sightings would be! I recommend sitting at the top (open to those over 18 years) since you can easily see all sides of the boat. We saw tons of Minke and Humpback whales, many with calves cavorting alongside them.  It was amazing to see the whales catch fish and truly beautiful to watch them dive, flip their tails and empty their blowholes.

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I highly recommend taking a whale watching cruise during your visit to Cape Cod.  I was worried it might be touristy, or the whales would be hard to see, but I was very impressed with both the cruise and the staff.  Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and to dress in layers! The ship has tons of snack and drink options but feel free to bring your own as well.

After whale watching, I stopped by the Cape Cod Beer Micro Brewery that is just down the street for a quick tasting and to pick up a souvenir growler. Other nearby attractions includes the Oldest Wooden Jail in the United States, and the Coast Guard Museum. If you are looking for a bite to eat Osterville Fish Too is right next to the Whale Watching Cruise parking lot. I tried the XL lobster roll and it was delicious!

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I hope you get a chance to spend a day with the whales like I did – it was really unforgettable!

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