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Category Archives: Musings

Red Chair Diaries

June 18, 2011 by Beth Colt

The first red chair photo, January 2011

Becoming an innkeeper is a curious transition that starts with worrying about all the little details (do we have enough toilet paper?  Is the boiler working?) and eventually transforms to a place where the small interactions with one’s guests can make or break a year.  On that front, 2011 is a very good year.

Thus begins the tale of the red chair.  We moved to Woods Hole last year and made numerous trips to the swap shop (a wonderful institution at the town dump where you can drop off or pick up gently used stuff) and one day we found these two painted red wooden chairs.  Pretty solid, I said to my husband.  Yes, perfect for our new porch, he mused.  So into the trunk they went, paint peeling a bit, dirt crusted in the corners but a nice solid color, definitely worth cleaning up.

Six months later, in January, the small pond behind our house froze.   We decided to go skating one afternoon.   I grabbed one of the red chairs to help the kids get their skates on.  It was glowery and cold, with the light threatening to turn to actual darkness.  The pond was grey, silent, ringed with houses many of them dark in winter.  I stamped my feet to keep warm, listening to the skates whisk across the ice.  Cold and too dark now, I hustled the kids inside for dinner.  As we cleared the gear, I looked back and noticed we had forgotten the red chair.  There is sat, alone on the pond.  I snapped it’s portrait with my handy iPhone.

Later that evening, I posted the picture on Facebook as part of my photo project (“365″ – I attempt a new picture every day).  The image of the red chair ignited my FB friends and fans — I have never received as many comments.  People wanted copies of the photo, poster size.  I explained that this picture was taken on my iPhone in low light — unlikely to look very good blown up beyond 5×7.

One day in March, I received an email from a prospective guest from Santa Barbara.  She was coming to Boston to see her boyfriend and they were looking for a good place to stay.  She had seen my photos of Woods Hole on Facebook and wanted to come to the Woods Hole Inn because Woods Hole looked so beautiful (which it is, BTW).  Wow, I thought, all the way from the west coast…it really is a small online world.  She booked the room.  As we got close to the date, she emailed again.  She was a photographer, she said, and she loved my picture with the red chair.  Could she borrow it over the weekend for a photo shoot?

Well, I have to admit my first reaction was, huh? Now that is an unusual request!  That’s MY chair.   Then I remembered the swap shop.  This is not my chair at all, it is a chair passing through my life and I need to share it, I reasoned.  It is meant to be shared.   I loaded the chair up in my Prius, drove it over and parked it on the front porch of the Inn.

The red chair comes to the Woods Hole Inn, March 2011.

We had a family obligation that weekend and I left the Inn in the hands of my very competent staff.  When I came back, on Monday, the chair was still on the porch and I asked — did our guest use the chair?  Oh, I told her where it was and I think she did.  Well, did she say anything about it?  Nope, said she had a good time, that was it.  Hmmm, not very satisfying after hauling the chair across town but I brought it home and forgot about it.

About a month later, the red chair guest emailed asking for our address.  She had taken a picture with the chair and wanted to send me a copy.  She said the red chair had opened a whole new place in her work and she wanted to thank me.  I emailed back that she could just send me a digital file or post it on Facebook but she said no, she had something to send me.

Turns out our red chair guest is a professional nature photographer.  And a really good one at that.

About two weeks later a huge package arrived — what is this, I thought, what have I ordered now?  I opened the package, and there was the most incredible shot of Nobska Beach in winter, with the red chair out on the beach before the crashing waves.   I was literally breathless looking at this image, tears welled.  It was such a simple composition, both the chair and the beach so familiar to me and yet a totally fresh and new juxtaposition.  The winter waves crashing toward the grey sand.  The snow fence perfectly framing it, inviting me in.  Breathtaking.

I carried it around the inn like a teenage girl with a Justin Bieber autograph.  Look at this!  This came from our guest!  Can you believe it #@*?!!   It’s the red chair!  I put it right up in a prominent place by our guest water cooler.  I put a little sign next to it with the photographer’s website.   I emailed her a love note of appreciation.

Red chair on Nobska Beach in winter now hangs in the front room of the Woods Hole Inn.

So now, whenever I pass this picture, I think about the dialogue we have with our guests.  Sometimes it’s as simple as can I have another towel, or where is the best place for dinner tonight?  Or repetitious, yes the Martha’s Vineyard ferry is right across the street.  Or even disappointing,  as when someone is tired or grumpy.

But this dialogue always involves the give and take between real people who come to the inn with the rich back stories of whole and interesting lives.  It reminds me that we mostly scratch the surface when there are oceans of personality, talent, life experience floating underneath the rote interactions (here is your room key, breakfast is served between 8 and 10, the parking lot is right behind the building).  I wonder if we added questions like, what is your favorite color, what does the ocean mean to you and have you ever read Sartre? —  would we learn more or just scare people?  Probably the latter.

For me, the metaphor of the red chair is the invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet and beautiful place.  It is an open seat at the table of relaxation.  It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature where you can lose and find yourself at the same time.  It is the dialogue between artists and innkeepers, dreamers and shop-girls, lost travelers and those that welcome them into warm beds.  We are all – on some level — lovers of destination, landscape, color.

What does the red chair mean to you?

To read an update on this story, check out this post.

Skating with the red chair, January 2011.

Twitteratti at WoHo Tweetup

May 15, 2011 by Beth Colt

Silver Stills entertains a standing room only crowd at Quicks Hole (@QuicksHole) on Friday night.

I will be the first to admit…a few months ago I did not really “get” Twitter.  What was that crazy feed of posts and who were all these people posting?  What was with the “#’s” all over the place and why were people so comfortable with the outrageous statement?  It all seemed totally crazy to me.

Then, I got hooked.  Hooked on the chance to cross all social and geopolitical boundaries to find people with like interests — like the thousands who adore “#CapeCod” many of whom might visit just once, or come only once a year.  Hooked on the connections I made with real Cape Codders,  twitter moms, foodies, locavores and news junkies who were living their lives in quiet obscurity just like me.

Last month, I decided to cross an invisible boundary and organize a tweetup.   A tweetup is an opportunity for people on Twitter to meet each other face-to-face, to turn anonymous social media relationships into real friendships.  Since Twitter is populated with early adopters, many of whom (like me!) live for social connections with others, the opportunity to deepen that relationship by putting a face to the funny series of 140 character tweets that you have come to admire is enticing.   Add free lobster crostini at Quicks Hole on the first warm Friday in spring, intriguing.  Silver Still (fabulous local folk duo) playing on the water-view deck with no cover?  Sold!

I will admit that I fretted — will anyone come?  I tweeted and tweeted like a veritable red breasted robin in springtime in hopes of getting the word out.  I re-tweeted the clever posts of my new found #capecod friends.  I created a hashtag to mark my tweets, #wohotweetup, and entered a dialogue with several other twitterers who were committed to coming to the event.  I got name tags at Staples, checked on the lobster crostini, double checked the free wifi in the restaurant and then I waited for the party to start.

My first sangria at the Quicks Hole tweetup.

What a pleasant surprise awaited me.  Tweeps from Hyannis mingling with Twerps from Martha’s Vineyard as the sun set over Woods Hole harbor and the Cape Cod draft beer flowed from the tap in pitchers…  Incredible.   See, despite all the people who pass through here, Woods Hole is not thought of by Cape Codders as a destination.  I mean, for people to drive from Centerville or take the ferry back from Martha’s Vineyard for a pitcher of beer and a great sunset…well it is unusual because each of those places has its own incredible decks from which you can enjoy the very same sunset.

There were some highlights.  I met Paula @CapeProducer who organizes the annual “Geek Girl Camp” and recently did a great job re-launching the Falmouth Bed and Breakfast Association website.   I met Todd and Beth Marcus (@CapeCodBeer), Alecia Lebeda (@AleciaLebeda) the mind behind the magic of FCTV, Jason Peringer, the sassiest massage therapist on Martha’s Vineyard (@MVmassage) and Mike Nunez (@mike_nunez) a cool guy who commutes onto MV.

Tweetup conversation can get a little technical and ahh, OK… geeky.  Mike and Alicia had a long conversation about bar code scanners and then mixed it up a little as they compete against each other as the “Mayor” of the Bourne Bridge on FourSquare.  These are advanced topics.  If you don’t know what I am talking about, don’t worry, you will soon enough.  I am just glad I got to be there to witness all the fun.  Thanks to the crew at Quicks Hole for making it happen and giving us such a great spot to hang out.   Comments below encouraged — if you give me your twitter name you will get a personal invitation from me for the next one…  And if you are coming to the Woods Hole Inn on a Friday afternoon, look forward to more hangouts at Quicks Hole all summer long.

@CapeCodBeer with @CapePruducer at the #WoHotweetup May 13, 2011.

@AleciaLebeda and @Mike_Nunez battle over Mayorship of the Bourne Bridge!

@Mike_Nunes, @MVMassage and @AleciaLebeda hang at Quicks Hole tweetup.

Gotta love those pitchers of @CapeCodBeer!

Did you say #FREE lobster crostini? Only for the twitterati:)

Afternoon light rakes across @QuicksHole as “Silver Stills” plays us into the warm spring evening.

Spring is Around the Corner

March 18, 2011 by Beth Colt

Spring is coming to Woods Hole

I know it’s getting warmer because I have forgotten to put my slippers on three mornings in a row.  Now, when it’s really cold outside, my kitchen floor feels like ice and there is just no way that I can “forget” the slippers that wait under the radiator for me with their soft lambswool lining.  I went out yesterday with no scarf or hat.  And the time change means its light until well after 6 pm.  So, it’s coming, my dear friend called spring.  Maybe not here yet, but soon.

Yesterday was gorgeous, sunny calm no wind, and all of a sudden the streets of Woods Hole came alive with people.  St. Patricks Day green was observed on many, and the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce meeting at the Black Dog was packed with business owners and new friends.

I took another photo walk this week, and here are my spring-is-around-the-corner photos:

Secret beach, with public access looks gorgeous even on a chilly day.

Witch Hazel (NOT Forsythia as originally stated) starting to bloom near the pond. This morning there was a tiny frost but it has recovered.

Winter Walks

January 17, 2011 by Beth Colt

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One of many posts from guest blogger Caroline Matthews

July 1, 2010 by Beth Colt

Summer in Woods Hole.  Long evenings where the light lingers past 9 p.m.  Steady ocean breeze from the Southwest.  Cocktails on the stern of a wooden boat in seersucker suits and floppy hats.  That’s what it looked like to me from the glossy magazines.

I am excited to share my many adventures with you as I wander in and around Woods Hole.

In my 22 years of relentless travel, somehow I had never made it to this corner of the world.  I’m from Texas and like to explore with not much more than a backpack, a Lonely Planet guide and my Nikon D80.

Needless to say, I jumped at an offer to come to Woods Hole for the summer and explore.  They told me they needed “marketing advice” which is fine since I just earned a BA in PR and journalism.  But what I really came for is the chance to do a little more urban archeology:  What makes this place tick?  Why do people return here year after year?  What is the real Cape Cod?

In my first week I spent a majority of my time wandered the village of Woods Hole.  Two words: absolutely stunning. There’s a surplus of great seafood just waiting for a dash of cocktail sauce. The people are so unbelievably friendly— I certainly have made a friend for life with one of the locals who grew up North of here in Chatham.

Literally only a stones throw from the inn, Stoney Beach provides some of the best sunset views in the area. It never seems to be crowded once the darkness pours in over the horizon-- perfect for peaceful reflection.

My favorite thing to do so far is to borrow a bike and head down to Stoney Beach for some amazing sun set shots.  Nothing makes me happier than to feel the weight of my camera in my left hand as the shutter closes in and out.  In a blink of a second, I’ve got it— a moment that I will remember forever.

Even though Woods Hole is technically a village, there certainly isn’t anything sleepy about it.  The nightlife is great. There’s awesome live music almost every night and tons of people to meet, even out on the streets.  The ferry horns sometimes get me right up at 7 a.m., but I certainly don’t mind.  It just means I start my day with a swim and a bike ride.  There’s just nothing like that.

I may only be here for six weeks, but I look forward to sharing my perspective with you.

Brangelina come to the Woods Hole Inn

May 26, 2010 by Beth Colt

Justin Bieber eat my dust:)

Are you ready for your close up?

Just like producing a movie, at the Woods Hole Inn we are crafting great vacations, one customer at a time.  Every movie begins with a great script and the Woods Hole Inn is no different — our script calls for us to make you feel pampered and welcome the minute you walk in the door.

I started my career in Hollywood, managing a group of actors and producing a few movies.  I don’t want to make my career sound too glamorous because it wasn’t — thousands of people like me toil behind the scenes as part of the grist that turns the Hollywood mill.  But I did learn a thing or two about star treatment that I use everyday in running the Woods Hole Inn.

I like to welcome guests the way I would welcome the star of my film onto set the first day — smiles, warmth and plenty of free bottled water.  I like to clean the rooms imagining that Oprah and her entourage might walk in later tonight.   I like to train staff to show off their knowledge of the local scene as if they were job interviewing for locations manager on “Jaws.”   I hope breakfast comes out feeling “Like Water for Chocolate”  and your pillow top reminds you of James Bond.

These are hard things to achieve and we don’t always get there.  Has there been a bad day when the electrician made a mess right before check-in, the phone rang too many times to answer and a guest waited at the front desk feeling more like Rita Wilson than Tom Hanks?  Yes.  Now you know why Bruce Willis throws temper tantrums in his trailer when the coffee is cold — even on a movie set with a staff of hundreds, mistakes happen.  So we apologize and try again.  Most of our customers are much, much more amenable than Bruce (visit the inn and I’ll share a few hair curlers for you).

In any case, nothing makes us happier than getting it right and I want to quote an email we received last night, because I think we succeeded in making this couple feel like Brangelina:

“My wife and I just finished a three day stay at the Inn and I can’t stop talking about it to anyone who will listen. From the second we walked through the door at 28 Water Street the warmth we were greeted by, yourself and the Inn, captured our hearts forever. I cannot say enough about the cleanliness of the room and the efficiency of the staff.

We have stayed in Woods Hole before, but by far the location of the Inn is far more noteworthy than any other places we have stayed. We found it a complete luxury to drop our car off with the valet and not have to think about getting around for the rest of our stay. The area restaurants and attractions all within walking distances on the scenic main strip of Woods Hole, as well as Quicks Hole located in the same building.  Talk about convenience.  Not to mention the activities you planned and executed for us (ferry tickets waiting for us, wine chilled in our room, walking tour of Woods Hole, massages at Bellezza Day Spa) all completely flawless in their delivery. The things you said were going to be done, were done.

How can I write our happiness with the Inn with out mentioning Sara the Breakfast Queen. I can’t express to you enough what a pleasure it was to wake up at our leisure, walk down the hall, open the breakfast room door to find the smell of freshly brewed coffee, homemade breakfast treats, and Sara’s smiling face. To say the breakfast she prepared for us each morning was delicious would be an insult. The word just doesn’t do enough credit to her skill. We especially liked the Linguiça and Asparagus bread pudding. I can still taste its’ warm flavorful goodness.

We have spent the last few days figuring out excuses for us to return to the Inn and believe us it’s not hard, if we could come every weekend we would!  Again, Thank You for all of the wonderful memories we were able to take with us in celebrating our 5th year of marriage. We hope to see you soon!”  — guest from Worcester, Mass.

I feel like Sally Field’s did in her famous Oscar speech  — “You like me, you really like me!”  We live for this kind of feedback, and I am grateful to my tremendous staff for another star turn.

And when Brad and Angelina actually arrive?  We are ready for you.

The Big House

February 13, 2010 by Beth Colt

Cover art for George Colt's memorable memoir about 100 years in the life of a Cape Cod summer house.

Author George Colt (“The Big House”) will be speaking in Falmouth on March 1st.  He is staying at the Woods Hole Inn that night and has offered to breakfast with guests and sign copies of his wonderful Cape Cod memoir over our gourmet coffee and chef Sara’s sweet delights.

George is my first cousin and the characters who inhabit his book are my family.  The now-famous “big house” out on Wings Neck belonged to my grandmother Mary Forbes Atkinson.  And it is my father who (along with George’s father) once dominated the tennis scene there, my Aunt Mary who taught the young Colt boys to fish, my Aunt Sandy who died so young of cancer that she left a baby boy who grew up as my defacto brother.  See, it’s close stuff.

Having a memoir-ist in the family is a scary proposition — will we like how we are described? — but George supplies such insight, affection and humor that I found his book touching, revealing and a wonderful page-turner (and I know the ending!).   I look forward to my boys being old enough to read it.  They will laugh and cry along with the countless others who have enjoyed the book, all the while learning more about than I can possibly remember to tell them about our eccentric family.

So consider coming by  the Woods Hole Inn on a cold day in March.  I like to think of the Inn as a new kind of “Big House” where book lovers can wake from a restful sleep and then congregate over the kind of gourmet breakfast that my grandfather used to make (without his habit of using every pot and pan in the kitchen).  We keep spares of George’s book around so if you can’t come in March, feel free to come later and extend your stay to finish it.  It really is a great read.

George Colt lecture and reading at 7 pm March 1, 2010 at Falmouth Academy.  Breakfast with George on Tuesday March 2nd at the Inn approx 8  – 9 am.  Interested locals also welcome for coffee and a bite, just call us so we will have enough pound cake for you:)

Sippewissett Pound Cake with blackberries served at the Woods Hole Inn.

POST SCRIPT – This post is so popular!   Many people have asked me what the Big House looks like now.  I visit it regularly to pay respects to my Aunts Ellen and Mary who are often there.  So here is a glimpse of the renovated house, saved from the wrecking ball by my lovely first cousin and her husband.  Still the steep roof and the commanding views of the Bay, with all the charm of my grandparents and less eel grass insulation and mice:)

The Big House on Wings Neck as she is now.

Memento Vivere

October 12, 2009 by Beth Colt

Memento Vivere…Remember to Live.

“Memento Vivere” was tattooed on the arm of a friend who died unexpectedly last month.  Like he was trying to send a posthumous message to the rest of us… And so it was I embraced the carpe diem of it all and wandered off the beaten path this week in Woods Hole.

Ahh, the fall weather on Cape Cod is so unbelievably sweet.  I walked in the full moonlight around on Harbor Hill Road and back into town at School Street.  It was about 10 pm on a quiet Monday night and once I was on Harbor Hill I did not see a person or a car until a got back into town.  The crickets were singing to me, moonlight filtered through the leaves and a soft warm breeze followed.  Magical, zen, very in the moment.

Jon Kabat-Zinn lives in Woods Hole, with his family, and if you have read any of his books (“Full Catastrophe Living” or “Wherever You Go, There You Are”) you will recognize the splendor in a moment like that one.

So I share a few fall photos of Woods Hole.   This is from the Great Harbor where the ferries pass daily to the Vineyard, looking back across the water at our little town.  Windy day, but not cold yet.

The Woods Hole Passage, they call it, and it is one of the most treacherous crossings on the eastern seaboard — currents of 4-5 knots pull industrial sized buoys sideways at peak tides and the narrow channel is peppered with rocks the size of small islands.  A boat a day goes on the rocks here in the summer and there is a Coast Guard station around the corner to service all the rescues needed.  Through these waters pass huge yachts, old wooden racing boats called “Twelve Footers” and “Knockabouts,” Hinckley picnic boats daytripping to Quicks Hole and fishing boats of all shapes and sizes following the striped bass and bluefish.

And this is Hadley Harbor in the off season.  A short boat ride from Woods Hole, through the Woods Hole Passage, any local charter fisherman can take you there.  Empty and undeveloped, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Memento Vivere.

Woods Hole = Harvard Square of Cape Cod

September 2, 2009 by Beth Colt


So, I guess I am not the only one who thinks the academic buildings of Woods Hole make the whole place feel a little like Cambridge on Cape Cod. And frankly, since I often refer to Cambridge as “utopia,” when you mix utopia with great beaches and the positive ions of the ocean air, I guess you get…um… nirvana?

Harvard professor Louis Agassiz was an important force in the development of the Marine Biological Laboratory back in the 1880s. And along with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, there have been countless Harvard grads living and working here for the last 125 years. The MBL is billed as the oldest private laboratory in the country and it is famous for serendipitious scientific encounters such as the meeting of Franklin Stahl and Matthew Messelsen which resulted in the first replications of DNA. And lots of other cool stuff like that including all the research for Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”

There are two or three Nobel prize winners living right in this little fishing village. So if you are into science, walking around here is like being on the red carpet at the science Academy Awards: “Look, there’s Brad Pitt, err … I mean Osamu Shimomura. He’s married to Angelina Jolie, I mean … He won the Nobel for harnessing the natural power of luminescence found in jellyfish.”

Follow this link to the journalist who claims, “I like to think of Woods Hole, in Falmouth, as the Harvard Square of Cape Cod.” She has a number of nice photos there too.

But remember, the “nirvana” you may experience with those positive ions, the great beaches and our wonderful ocean views is not really science. To me, it’s more like art.

WoHo’s Colorful History

May 14, 2009 by Beth Colt

This little town is completely surrounded by water.

Woods Hole is one of the few good harbors on Cape Cod — it was a whaling port like Nantucket back in Melville’s time. In the 1860s, the peninsula was developed as a fertilizer factory. Shipping merchants from Boston were looking for a commodity to fill empty ships on the journey back from China. They settled on bird dung from a South Pacific island. When mixed with fish scraps, I guess the lime was an effective agricultural aid (is that organic?). This fine brew was shipped by railroad out of Woods Hole. I bet that smelled great on hot days.

Anyway, eventually the company literally emptied all the bird guano from their island, and the Woods Hole site was abandoned in 1889. So what happens to old factory land in America? Build a resort, of course! The thin strip was renamed “Penzance Point” (that sounds better than, say, Former Guano Factory:) Smack in the middle of the Gilded Age, (think “Gatsby”), up went Newport-style mansions. Most of these shingle-style cottages are still here, behemoths perched on the edge of the sea with spectacular water views with the great grandkids of their builders still racing to Hadley Harbor in 12-footers.

Around this time, a strong-minded local decided to improve the sound of things by renaming the town, “Woods Holl.” This had “a sylvan and romantic flavor…suggest(ing) moonlit glades and flowery dells” according to the New York Times in 1899 — and was better than the somewhat crass “Hole,” I guess. Perhaps the locals were hoping to disassociate themselves with the memory of a factory town that smelled like bird *@#%. But whatever the reason, the affectation did not stick for long. People couldn’t spell it or say it, letters to the post office were lost and with little fanfare, the name was changed back.

So here we are now, living in this little slice of heaven that I call WoHo. It’s like SoHo, only cooler (literally — there is always a breeze). I wonder what it would take to get that name on the post office door…

Spring has come to WoHo

May 12, 2009 by Beth Colt

I like to call it WoHo. And when spring actually arrives, watch out ’cause it’s really gorgeous. When you glide into the ferry landing from Martha’s Vineyard, you can see the inn commanding the harbor in all her grey-blue shingled glory. Water views! I love being in the middle of everything but also able to meditate on the water from my room.

In WoHo this time of year, everyone is sweeping their stoops and shaking off the winter blues to get ready for the summer season. I saw Donny Estes of the famous Landfall Restaurant — he opened a few weeks ago offering customers the best waterfront view in town. And my friend Erik Gura who runs “Pie in the Sky” was puttering behind the counter even though he sliced his hand fixing his expresso machine last week.

At the inn, we have been closed for a few weeks to finish some construction on the ground floor. Our incredible construction partners (Lauren, Dan, Kat you rock) have been hustling to get it all done. We put in a new sprinkler system and upgraded all the walls and ceilings to “2-hour fire ratings” which means our old Victorian is now updated to current building code which is pretty darn cool. Born in 1878, made modern in 2008.

We have a new T-shirt shop (Cape Cod Sweats) opening on the ground floor in a few days, and we are rushing to get our burrito bar/restaurant called “Quick’s Hole, wicked fresh” open by Memorial Day. More to come on that subject.

But the weather! Can I wax rhapsodic for a minute? It’s sunny, not too hot, gentle breeze off the still wintery waters. So crisp and clear, it looks like you can reach out and grab the Vineyard. Like, who-needs-the-ferry-I’ll-swim, kinda clear.

I took my bike out of the basement and rolled up the Shining Sea bike path to where the woods melt behind you and Surf Beach yawns out like a crescent. I had to stop and just gape, it was so gorgeous. I turned back and cycled straight to “Pie” — in WoHo, a 20 minute ride earns a latte and popover.

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