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Category Archives: Travel

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

Snow Photos 2015 from Woods Hole, Cape Cod

February 28, 2015 by Beth Colt

view of Stoney Beach winter 2015 with open water and hashtag snowThis winter brought more snow than usual with the month of February racking up over 100 inches in Boston, breaking snowfall records all over the region.  Our snow photos always intrigue summer visitors who only see Cape Cod at 80 degrees.  It’s hard to imagine Coast Guard ice cutters crisscrossing the Hole, intrepid explorers out seventy five feet on Buzzards Bay, MBL scientists enjoying pick-up hockey on Eel Pond, ferries dodging ice cakes clogging the Passage, massive navigational buoys drifting like toy boats.

My quest for snow photos typically involves rushing out the minute it starts, as the snow always seems to melt within a few minutes.  Not so much for snow photos 2015.  We have been covered in a decent blanket since the first blizzard hit in late January.  Since then, I have lost count of how many more days it snowed, although I remember Valentine’s Day — soft quiet accumulation all night with a dramatic blizzard slamming like a hangover in the morning.  These winter storms had romantic names like Neptune and Juno, Greek reminders of god-like forces greater than us.

In addition to the relentless snow fall, cold air blasted us for most of the month.  We now have significant sea ice formed all along our shores rendering the landscape at water’s edge into something otherworldly, arctic.  If you have not seen satellite photos of this phenomena, check this out, as it appears to be frozen at least half way across Buzzards Bay.

To keep the harbor open, the US Coast Guard sent ice cutters to maintain the ferry system connecting us to Martha’s Vineyard.  Out on Nantucket, a local photographer captured slushy waves that made the New York Times, while here in Woods Hole we watched, mesmerized, as the ice floes and some of the buoys moved through the currents of the Woods Hole passage.

When the Eel Pond froze over earlier this week, the first intrepid explorers were scientists from our local labs in special suits designed to prevent drowning.  But once it was proven solid, lots of Woods Hole lemmings (including me) rushed out to experience the feeling of walking and skating in the middle of the village.

I particularly love this birds-eye-view film shot by my neighbor Brian Switzer (a wonderful director and inspired teacher in our local public schools) of Woods Hole in these extraordinary conditions.  I think you will enjoy it, and perhaps the snow photos 2015 in my photo essay that follows.  For daily photos, check out my Facebook page #WoodsHoleColors.

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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

 

Visiting Falmouth Main Street, Old World Shopping at Cape Cod’s Best Main St

June 28, 2014 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole is a village of Falmouth MA on Cape CodWoods Hole is a village of the town of Falmouth, and three miles up the road is the center of town which we call Falmouth Main Street.  Crowded with year-round restaurants, adorable shops, candy stores and ice cream parlors, Falmouth’s Main Street is a nice bike ride from the Woods Hole Inn, where we offer bicycles to our guests.  It’s also an easy drive, and Main Street Falmouth has plenty of parking with no meters.

If you choose to bike from the Woods Hole Inn, hop on the bike path in front of the Steamship Authority and enjoy the three mile journey with vistas towards Martha’s Vineyard and several good spots to stop for a swim.  Once in Falmouth, head off the bike path at Depot Avenue (you will see the Falmouth Bus Depot filled with green Peter Pan buses there) and ride past the Queens Byway onto Main Street.

There are dozens of locally-owned restaurants on this historic stretch which like Woods Hole has been protected and preserved as a historic district.  You can choose from Indian, Mexican, Italian, Traditional Cape Cod, fabulous French bakeries, brunch spots, delis and much more.  There really is something for everyone on Main Street Falmouth, MA.

Then of course, the shopping.  Fancy upscale stuff at Lily Pulitzer, Maxwell & Co, Pilgrim and others.  Great summer finds at Port Cargo, Green Eyed Daisy, Cape Chic Co and more.  Gift shopping too at Celebrations, Treasure Chest, Pink Polka Dot.  Real old time shopping from small vendors who know their customer — and that customer is you.

Don’t leave Main Street in Falmouth without a visit to one of the many patisseries, candy or ice cream shops.  Perhaps a taste test is in order?  There is Gelfi’s, Ben and Bill’s, Tisberry Yoghurt, Cupcapes of Cape Cod and the fancy French bakery called Maison Villatte for starters.  Don’t miss Coffee Obsession or Pies a la Mode, at either end of this long stretch of charming shops.  Main Street is really a great hang out for the sweet tooth in us all.

Enjoy your exploration of our quaint town.  Falmouth Main Street is famous for being one of the nicest shopping and dining experiences on Cape Cod.  Here are photos of some of my favorite Main Street Falmouth MA spots.  Or click here for more info and a map of the area.

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Hurricane Katrina

October 16, 2013 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Marshfield Hills General Store

June 2, 2013 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

5 ways Woods Hole is just like PARIS…

April 8, 2013 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

Visiting Chez Panisse

January 20, 2013 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was like that:)

 

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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

 

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!

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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Sandwich: A Little Town as Great as Its Name

August 1, 2012 by Beth Colt

A guest post by blogger Megan Jensen

If most visitors to Cape Cod are anything like me, then they probably get a kick out of hearing there is town in the area called Sandwich. Looking at a map when I first arrived I had to laugh, and subsequently make a few bad jokes, “I wonder if they have a good BLT,” “that town sounds delicious, and “lett-uce go to Sandwich!”

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When I visited Sandwich I found there was much more to this village than an interesting name – this town is full of great places to visit, explore, spend time outside, shop and grab a sandwich.

Here is what I saw, did, ate…and highly recommend.

1. Visit the Boardwalk

By far my favorite thing about Sandwich is the boardwalk fording Mill Creek across Sandwich harbor. At 1350 feet long, located in the heart of Sandwich this is an attraction you can’t miss. This boardwalk is actually a replacement of the original that was destroyed in the early 1990’s by a hurricane. When walking the boardwalk pay special attention to the engravings on the planks, which helped pay for the new boardwalk. Messages range from heartfelt to funny, to mysterious. You can park in the boardwalk parking lot (10$), but there is also parking available in town (free) and the distance is easily walk-able.

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2. Grab a Bite to Eat

This town has lots of great places to stop and have a meal or just grab a bite to go.

Café Chew – Called Sandwich’s Sandwichery this organic café has delicious and healthy options on their extensive breakfast and lunch menus. Café Chew is more than just sandwiches; they have all your breakfast basics and a good selection of soups and salads as well. I tried “The Bavarian,” and the brie was amazing!

The Marshland – This Bakery/ Restaurant/ Diner has something for everyone and offers great casual dining on the upper cape. The Marshland’s Stuffed Quahog was featured on the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” When I stopped by around 2 pm they were still very busy and the woman working at the bakery knew most of the customers by name. She was incredibly friendly and gave me a day – old bakery muffin for free, it was so good!

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The Roost – Located near the boardwalk on the corner of Rt. 6A and Jarves, this café has a wide selection of locally brewed coffee’s as well as sandwiches. I got the special of the day to go and brought it with me to the boardwalk to eat on the beach.

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3. Heritage Museums and Gardens – Beware – you could easily spend an entire day here. “Comprised of three galleries and expansive gardens located in historic Sandwich, Massachusetts” Heritage Museums and Gardens, “includes galleries for American Folk Art, a vintage carousel, automobiles and traveling exhibitions.” This is a great place for families with children to visit, and it has something for all ages. Don’t miss the Hidden Hollow: an outdoor play complex, that was featured as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. When I visited the special exhibition was on Norman Rockwell. Running until September 3rd, I highly recommend seeing it if you get the chance.

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4. The Glass Museum – This was my first stop when I visited Sandwich and besides the several rooms and exhibits filled with amazing glass works I found this museum to give a detailed account of this historic towns history. It’s interesting how the history of glass works in Sandwich is closely tied to the founding, expansion and economic success of Sandwich. References to many of the great glassmakers can still be seen today, Jarves Street is named after Demming Jarves – the founder and manager of the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. Make sure to see live glass blowing demonstrations every hour on the hour. Also a secret tip, when the glass blower asks for volunteers, raise your hand, you might get a souvenir!

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5. Twin Acres Ice Cream – Don’t forget the ice cream! This local favorite is easy to spot by the crowd usually present outside its serving window. I stopped for ginger ice cream and it was delicious!

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6. Jarves Street – Located near the Sandwich Boardwalk and intersecting 6A this street has several cute shops, café’s and is a great place to park and relax.

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7. Burgress House – When in Sandwich stop by the Burgress House, the home of the author of the famous Peter Rabbit Tales. Thornton W. Burgress grew up and lived in Sandwich and his stories focus on the wildlife he loved around him. “Over 170 books and 15,000 stories by Burgess chronicle the tales of Peter Rabbit and his animal friends, including Jimmy Skunk, Grandfather Frog, Johnny Chuck, Sammy Jay, Reddy Fox, Hooty Owl and many others.”

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Don’t miss these upcoming events at the Burgress House:

August 4:   BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL 

August 15:  PETER RABBIT’S ANIMAL DAY 

This is the route I drove from the Woods Hole Inn to Sandwich. Enjoy!

A Cape Cod Summer

July 11, 2012 by Beth Colt

from Guest Blogger  Megan Jensen

Loving my summer in Woods Hole...

Every summer prior to this one has been a Midwest summer – long days filled with senseless humidity, mosquitos, lakeside bar-b-cues, and countless county fairs.

When I loaded up my car three weeks ago and drove across the country from Minneapolis to Cape Cod I had no idea what to expect of the summer to come.

I’ve traveled all across the US, and having just returned from a year abroad in Denmark, I was excited to once again pack up my bags and explore somewhere new.

Being on the east coast and particularly the Cape has been very different, surprising and refreshing from what I grew up with.

When I had heard about this internship from former intern Caroline Matthews, who I met while studying PR and Design abroad in Copenhagen, I knew very little about Cape Cod. I imagined Woods Hole — which sounded like a storybook village — would be a quiet, sleepy town.

However, when I got to the Cape I knew I had made the right choice. Far from sleepy, Woods Hole is a busy place with plenty to do. Filled with restaurants, an active harbor and a friendly local community – Woods Hole knows how to keep you busy.

Most mornings I wake up early to the sounds of the ships in the harbor. Walk outside my front door and the ocean is there, the smell of the sea and a beautiful view of the water.

I’ve come to love Woods Hole and feel at home here – I can’t walk down Main Street or go out for dinner without running into someone I know.

I don’t miss being landlocked at all, and the beaches here are perfect for swimming day and night. When I’m not working, one of my favorite things is to hop on one of the inn’s beach cruisers and bike to nearby Nobska or Stoney beach or take a small cruise on the Shining Sea Bike Path.

I’m looking forward to what the rest of the summer will bring and hope to share some of my experiences, discoveries and “Midwest” take on the Cape with you.

Cape Cod getaways start in Woods Hole, Massachusetts.

Loving life and lobster barley-pops on the Fourth of July in Woods Hole.

Glamour and answering the phone are all in a days work for Megan Jensen, the Woods Hole Inn's summer intern.

All in a day’s work for Girl Friday Megan Jensen, behind the scenes at the Woods Hole Inn.

Woods Hole's Great Harbor, across the street from the Woods Hole Inn.

It Takes a Village

June 17, 2012 by Beth Colt

Puffy clouds on a cool June day in Woods Hole.

They say it takes a village.  And in the lovely town of Falmouth, Mass (where there are eight villages that make up the municipality), I would say it takes NINE.

Nine Bed & Breakfast’s that is.  All members of the Falmouth B&B Association.  Together we offer over 70 rooms with many styles and locations.  Want the beach?  Try Baileys, Inn on the Sound, or the Beach Rose.  Love being in the middle of town?  Well there are four great spots clustered around the Falmouth Green, walking distance to the shops, restaurants AND the beach.  Want a convenient way to take the Martha’s Vineyard ferry?  Try your options in Woods Hole… and the list goes on.

This august group came together last winter and decided to re-do our association’s website (check it out here!) AND add some video as part of the “Better Way to Stay” campaign.  Since I have some film experience, I was elected to usher the filmmakers around town.  And be the craft services team, and the first AD, and the production coordinator, and the still photographer… See unlike my former days in Hollywood, where a crew might be about 200 people, this was a lean, mean operation.

Our “guests” were wonderful local actors and all-around great people like Davidson Calfee,  Maura Aldrich, Jenn Perault, and Jared and Jennifer.  We were so grateful they donated their time to make this shoot a success.

Here are a few “behind the scenes” shots of the “making of” the Falmouth Better Way to Stay video!  And if you want to see more  of the “Better Way to Stay” campaign, look here.  Stay tuned as we wait for the final edited version that we hope you will help us share with the world.

Falmouth, and it’s nine bed and breakfasts, are FOR SURE, the smarter way to visit Cape Cod.

Jennifer of the Pink Polka Dot in Falmouth helps out by modeling for the Better Way to Stay campaign.Luke Stafford of Mondo Media is behind the camera, while Jared and Jennifer (owner of the “Pink Polka Dot” a Falmouth gift and wedding boutique) serve as our breakfast models at the newly renovated Captain’s Manor Inn.

Part of the Better Way to Stay PAII campaignMaura Aldrich and Davidson Calfee playing guests at the Palmer House, an original Queen Anne property with 17 rooms on the Falmouth Green.

Davidson Calfee and Jennifer Perrault framed in the window.Luke works deftly to get this romantic silhouette shot on the porch of Bailey’s by the Sea, a wonderful B&B right on the beach in Falmouth Heights.  Davidson Calfee and Jenn Perrault oblige with faux martini’s and a toast to the sunset.

Thanks to all who made this day happen.  Stay posted for the results.

Miniature Tugboats

September 28, 2011 by Beth Colt

Late September is often cool and crisp, punctuated by the smell of woodsmoke as people start using their fireplaces to take the chill off rather than fire up the gas-burning boiler.   Grass mowing ends as the cool air ends the growing season and the tomato crop withers on the vine.

Not this year.

It has been hot, like middle-of-summer hot here for a week now.  Research vessels in to prep for peregrinations to southern climes are lingering to enjoy the fine weather.  Even the hard-working scientists are off early to go fishing or ride the bikepath.  I know the locals are into it because I see people sneeking off from work in their bathing suits, and heads bobbing way out in Buzzards Bay on long-distance swims.  In this calm, warm weather, why not?

I got out in my boat over the weekend, trudging across to Great Harbor with my oars, launching my tiny rowboat from the beach on Penzance and rowing out to my slightly bigger boat to go explore the Elizabeth Islands.  I brought a sweatshirt because you never know on the water but, wow, was that unnecessary!  It was so hot I was yearning to jump in by the time I had the engine fired up.

Woods Hole Great Harbor is filled with the most wonderful and eccentric boats.  I love this one, a tiny tug boat all made of well-polished wood from another era.  Not too practical, but adorable.

Clearly, I am a little obsessed with this vessel as I look through my photo-files for other shots of the harbor and find only more of the “Amycita.”  I don’t see her off the mooring often, but I do look forward to meeting her owners. Imagine a cruise over to Oak Bluffs (a great destination on Martha’s Vineyard)  in this stylish vessel!

And this is NOT the only miniature tug in our little harbor.  My friend Kimberly is lucky enough to have this wonderful boat, small as the smallest skiff but ooh, what style.  She was seen leaving work early yesterday madly texting to friends about a sunset tug cruise.  These are the perks of living so close to the water:)

So I guess this is what you would call Indian Summer.  Since my visit to Plimouth Plantation, I may need to re-name that Native People’s Summer.  Whatever you call it, it is something to be relished — summer weather long after is it expected to be gone is like a gift from the Gods (the Wampanoags called him/her “Moshop”).   Something to inspire us and help us prepare for the long winter ahead.

Off to swim!

Still Waiting…

August 27, 2011 by Beth Colt

The streets are empty, the restaurants deserted and the air completely still.  The last of the ferries hurrying out of Woods Hole getting people to their destinations.  There is an odd green hue to the afternoon light, muted with a grey low sky.  After moving another set of porch furniture in, making two banana pound cakes and allaying the fears of many guests about the storm situation (which appears to be improving), I grabbed a little “me” time.  I walked home past the Eel Pond where many parking meters stood empty like sentinels and I went to Stoney Beach.

It was incredibly flat calm down there, the waves so tiny they made a miniscule little whoosh as they lapped the sand.  Dead high tide, moon tide which is especially high, leaving the beach a sliver and the distance to the swim buoy more challenging.

I breast-stroked out and floated on my back, toes in front of me in the water like my Dad used to do, and looked back at the houses that line the beach.  Many have boarded up.  There are shutters closed, or removed to keep from blowing away.  But some houses seem to have made no preparations at all.

I thought about what a privilege it is to live so close to the water that I can walk to the beach for a quick after-work swim.  But that this same proximity is a huge disadvantage in a storm like Irene.  If the surge comes at moon-high tide, there could be 10 extra feet of water.  That would turn my street to a canal, my basement to an oily swimming pool and my lawn to seagrass.  Floating, I thought about how amazingly mutable the sea is, one minute calm, warm, embracing; the next roaring, foaming, angry.

I thought about my Aunt Ellen who spent her waning years living in the Big House on Wings Neck (a place lovingly described by my cousin George Colt in his book “The Big House”).  She loved to bathe in the sea, luxuriating the in the way the salt crunched on the sheets when she fell asleep.   In her youth, much of which was in the Great Depression, the Colt children were not encouraged to wash the salt off after swimming, so for her that feeling became reminiscent of long summer days, childhood games and fresh seafood at supper.

I learned at her memorial service last month that when she became too ill to walk down to the ocean to take her daily swim, the nurses brought up buckets of seawater to gently wash her with cloths.  “If you can’t come down to the ocean, we will bring the ocean to you,” one of them told her.

I think I will resist showering tonight, for that swim was so sublime I think it may cradle me in a well deserved sleep where I will dream of my father and his sisters, frolicking in the waters of Buzzards Bay so many years ago.  And pray that when the sea welcomes Irene later tonight, that perhaps the memory of an woman bathing in her dying days might mitigate the damage.

Blueberry Zen

July 22, 2011 by Beth Colt

Coonamessett Farm on a summer's day.

Thursdays are pick-up day at Coonamessett Farm’s CSA (community supported agriculture) where I have already paid for my “share” of farm fresh veggies, flowers and fruit.  It also happens to be the day I stock up on Sippewissett Oysters (a local harvest that is a side project of Coonmessett) for the Quicks Hole restaurant, so if you want to see me in summer, you will find me over there like clockwork.

The CSA started distributing a few weeks ago and as you can imagine, summer is a little errr, can we say BUSY, for me so I have not yet had time to head out into the fields to pick my own berries as offered each week.  Yesterday when I left Woods Hole it was foggy and cold — hard to believe in the middle of what the papers are calling the first heatwave of the summer.  Seven miles inland on the rolling acres of the farm, the sun was shining and it was warm — not too hot, just perfect.

So I said, check-in be damned, I am picking some berries!  I donned a wrist band, grabbed a bucket and headed into the blueberry patch.  Surrounded by a light mesh fence, you enter through a screen door and then you are in a maze, rows and rows and rows of six to seven foot high bushes heavy with berries, many still green but the bright blue ones popping out at you like fireflies on a dusky night.  I quickly walked to the back corner to find more berries and feel alone, then worked my way backwards towards the gate.

The berries are at eye level and easy to pick.

It was the most zen hour of my week.  Alone, deep in these lush bushes, looking for berries, my thoughts erased to nothing more than reach, pick, cradle, dump.  The satisfying plunk of the plump berry in the bottom of the bucket, the steady breeze bending the trees in waves, while I reached higher for the one at the very top, the wind taunting me by pushing the largest cluster away.   A meditation on nothing more than a simple task.  My purse hanging from my arm like a vestige of some long forgotten suburban life, my feet shuffling among the fallen leaves and compost, I felt like a different person, maybe a farm girl from another century or a field worker like the ones you see in a blur while driving on the California freeways.

My bucket full and my head miraculously emptied of the everyday worries, I wandered out and gathered the other veggies — a bag of fresh kale, five spring onions still clumped with soil, parsley, summer squash, fresh flowers and more.  Still in a blueberry haze, I drove home with the windows down enjoying the way my hair blows into a huge fuzz ball with the humidity.

The haul from this week's CSA.

I paused on the lawn to snap this picture.  Another indulgence!  Get back to work, the little voice on my shoulder was shouting — but I can not shake off the clear headed feeling of the blueberry patch.  I linger.  I snap a few more of the berries on the kitchen counter and the flowers in that little blue vase I found at the Rose Bowl on another zen day many years ago.  Blueberry Zen.

Then back to work at the inn, prepping tomorrow’s banana bread pudding and welcoming guests as they check in for the weekend.  Yes, our blueberry muffins are very special this weekend — I picked the berries myself!

Locavores who want to recreate my zen blueberry experience will be pleased to know that Coonmessett is open to visitors as well, so drive on over to pick your own bucket before heading back to reality.

June is for Weddings

June 17, 2011 by Beth Colt

The produce, finally fresh. The sun, steadily shining. The weight of school children’s daily burden, graciously lifted. June is a month understandably adored.  And June, throughout centuries of folklore and more modern tradition, is the month for weddings.

In Roman myth, the month of June was thought to be lucky for marriage because its namesake, the goddess Juno, represented women and love.  And this past June weekend, the Woods Hole Inn played host to a wedding party, with the bride Meg effusing goddess qualities all her own, rain or shine.

Despite an uncharacteristically gray June morning, the bridesmaids started the day early (post-gourmet continental breakfast, of course) with smiles and a garment steamer.

And with the sight of tulle and the smell of hairspray wafting through the halls of our historic inn, the anticipation grew throughout the morning.

And then the wedding dress was revealed.

And though the gray skies opened into gray showers, the bridal party remained cheerful and calm.

And preparations for the lovely event that was to be held rain or shine at Woods Hole’s own Nobska Lighthouse continued.

Along with a few last-minute dress alterations.

Once the bride was dressed, the troops were rallied.

And after last minute touch ups…

it was bridal party portrait time.

For as soon as the rain let up, it was time to say goodbye.

Or perhaps hello, as these sort of life events seem to lend themselves.

We wish Meg & Mike the best of luck on their new adventure. We are confident that the blessings of a joyful smile on a cloudy day will fill their lives together with genuine happiness.

From Guest Blogger Caroline Matthews

June 6, 2011 by Beth Colt

Summer in Woods Hole.  Long evenings where the light lingers past 9 pm.  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.

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.

Waterworld in Woods Hole

June 6, 2011 by Beth Colt

Houseboats in Great Harbor, Woods Hole.

One of the most unique things about Woods Hole is it’s collection of houseboats.   See, most of Woods Hole is right on the water.  Look at a map and you will see that we are on a peninsula of a peninsula of a peninsula, literally the last little strip of land on the southwestern edge of Cape Cod.

Just like Provincetown, only on the other end of the Cape and a lot less campy.

Anyway, the summer months are so precious here (rents go up by a factor of 10x) that it’s tempting to rent your regular house for a few weeks and earn enough to pay the mortgage all winter.  But then where do you go?  For generations, people moved out to their boats for a few months but, back in the 1970s, locals got clever and started building cabins on rafts and the Woods Hole houseboat phenomena was born.

People take day trips from the Vineyard, Chatham and Nantucket to tour the harbor and look at the charming house boats (it helps that some of the best fishing on the east coast is right here as well).

Every spring, the drawbridge in Woods Hole is occupied with the migration of the houses from their winter gam in Eel Pond, a slow march out to their spectacular perches looking out over all of Woods Hole.  Perilously close to the multi-million dollar houses of Penzance Point, these tiny house boats have some of the most spectacular views in town…plus no need for air conditioning as out on the water, it’s breezy and cool most days.  The tides that rip through Woods Hole keep the water super clean (but don’t fall overboard after dark as the current could whisk you away).  I think there are about 25 of them; new ones have been banned but the existing versions are grandfathered.

At the Woods Hole Inn, guests like to watch the house boats at sunset from our front deck.  A pitcher of Cape Cod beer and a comfortable chair with this view?  Add a lobster taco and now you are smiling.  Pretty special.

We have even considered owning one and offering it as a watery room option.  It’s a short row back to dinner at the Landfall or ahi-tuna burritos at Quicks Hole.  In the morning, get your New York Times, hot coffee and a popover at Pie in the Sky?  Would you like to stay out in water world?  Can you handle the rush of the current and the wind swinging your oversized hammock over the bay? Can you live without wifi for a night or two?

Glamorous camping is called “glamping.” Are you up for it?  Comments please…

Captain Kidd roamed these waters back in the day -- could he live here now?

Woods Hole houseboats in the shadow of Devils Foot island.

Woods Hole houseboats in the shadow of Devils Foot island.

Looking back at the Woods Hole Inn from the house boats in Great Harbor, Woods Hole.

If you live here you come to dread the relentless question — “How do I get to Martha’s Vineyard”?  I’m told that a favorite Falmouth joke is to give directions to the bridge.  You know, the bridge to Martha’s Vineyard?  It’s right down there, near the house boats.  You’ll find it, just keep looking:)

Wedding Virgins

May 23, 2011 by Beth Colt

A glorious May day for wedding in Woods Hole.

A glorious May day for a wedding ceremony in the middle of Woods Hole.

We have hosted countless bridal brunches, catered many bridesmaids luncheons and launched quite a number of rehearsal dinners.  Offering the accommodations for the bridal party, or the extended family of the groom?  Done that many times over.   But with only room for about 70 guests in the waterview terrace, I will be the first to admit that the Woods Hole Inn was a wedding ceremony virgin.

All that changed this Friday with the glorious nuptials of Kim and Jason.

It rained all week, cloudy, foggy, overcast and no glimmer of sunshine recorded in the three day advance forecast.  Oh dear, I thought, we should have insisted on a tent!  But I knew that tenting the garden would ruin that feeling of endless sky, and mute the Cape light to something diffused and ordinary.  Kim and Jason agreed, and they were willing to risk cramming everyone inside in case of a downpour.  Amazingly, and despite all prognostications, the day emerged with only a light fog shimmering on the harbor, melting off the Passage with an early morning sun.  By afternoon, it was the first hot day of the spring.  It was also the weekend of the much publicized “Rapture.”  When we made it to late afternoon Friday with no rain, I thought, there is a God.

Kim and Jason were staying in room 5, with friends and family surrounding them in every room of the house.  Sara baked all day to prepare special wedding breakfasts and the smells of fresh baked pound cake mingled with the bacon and roasted asparagus for the over-stuffed quiches.  We scrubbed and strategized, weeded the garden and swept the back corners of all the porches,  even dusted off our radio kits to make sure communication would be seamless during the ceremony.  Extra valets were on hand, and a team of extra servers from Quicks Hole to assure that every detail went off without a hitch.

At the appointed hour, all the guests hushed and gathered in front of the harbor, with Jason waiting for her in his signature green pants, Kim peeked out of room 6, giggled with the flower girls and kissed her father.  Gripping his arm, they walked down the driveway to emerge in the late afternoon Cape light.  She seemed to glide across the sandy terrace, up onto a modest platform where they embraced tenderly, a ferry boat headed to the Vineyard pulling out of the slip as if on cue as the ceremony commenced.  I was hiding in the back with my camera and captured their altar embrace, his eyes closed, lips pressed to her forehead.

First embrace on the altar set up in the garden of the Woods Hole Inn on a May weekend.

Flower girls at a May wedding in Woods Hole.

Guests squeezed each others hands as vows were exchanged, a harpist perched in the shade on the deck punctuating the moment with her soft plucking.  The best man expressed his love for the couple along with prayers for a wonderful long life together.  And then it was done!

Champagne and freshly shucked local oysters, fresh lobster crostini with sweet pea garnish and snow peas piped with herbed cream cheese appeared on platters.  Pitchers of cool Cape Cod beer, the IPA and the Blonde.  Glasses of Chardonnay to toast the newlyweds, extra bottled water for the little ones.

All in all, a wonderful afternoon for the Woods Hole Inn — wedding virgins no more!  A special thanks to Kim and Jason for sharing their big day with us.  May the blessings of a sunny day on Cape Cod be in their hearts forever.

Lobster crostini and snow peas with herbed cream cheese from Quicks Hole.

A very special day at the Woods Hole Inn.

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.

Playing in Traffic

May 8, 2011 by Beth Colt

Sam Waterston entertains the actors attending "The Actors Symposium" last week in Woods Hole.

What is it about actors that captures your imagination and makes you want to know more about them?  You look at Sam Waterston’s familiar face and you think — is he like that guy he played on “Law and Order”?  Is he funny?  Is he smart?  Does he really know how to write a great closing argument?

Well, if you had been in Woods Hole last weekend, you would have discovered the answer to these questions and much more.  In collaboration with the Woods Hole Film Festival and the Woods Hole Inn, actors gathered here for a weekend of learning about the craft and the trade of acting professionally.    Caroline Pickman, of CP Casting gave a two hour presentation on the expectations of the audition process, including getting the actors up on their feet to try out some of her audition material (known as “sides” in the business) from a Showtime television series.  And Beth Colt presented a session on working with agents and managers, what to expect and how to engage the professionals who are the gatekeepers to a good career in acting.

But by far the highlight was our time with Sam Waterston.   In the interest of full disclosure, let me explain that Sam and I worked together about a decade ago.  Our company was called Stardance Productions and we developed many projects and made one wonderful movie together (called “A House Divided” starring Sam, Jennifer Beals, Tim Daly and Lisa Gay Hamilton for Showtime).  So I know Sam well, and am reasonably well-equipped to ask him interesting questions.

We started with how his career got started (Yale undergrad, summer stock and then cast in the play “Oh Dad, Poor Dad…”).  I asked him if he ever had a day job and he told a delightful story about working at Macy’s back when they sold bundles of theatre tickets.  Like all of Sam’s stories, this was a self-depricating tale that ends with his firing for insubordination to a customer.  It was hilarious.  He told us about booking “The Killing Fields” (for which he was later nominated for an Academy Award) and his transition to television in the NBC series “I’ll Fly Away.”  He shared tidbits about Roland Joffe, and many of the other notables he has worked with (Woody Allen, Jeff Bridges and more).

Sam’s general advice for the young actors in the room was not to pursue acting unless you have to,  as he put it, “Only if there is nothing else you can do.”  The demands of the profession are so bruising he told them, it leaves it’s mark on you.  But he also advised, “You have to play in traffic if you want to get hit.”

Woods Hole is more than established as an international epicenter for the life sciences and oceanography, so it is a pleasure to see the reputation of this little village extend itself into the national arts scene.

We are playing in traffic here, and we intend to keep playing until we get hit:)

Sam Waterston and Beth Colt at the Actors Symposium in Woods Hole May 1, 2011.

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