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Category Archives: Woods Hole

Stormy Cape Cod in November

November 9, 2014 by Beth Colt

Fall comes slowly to Cape Cod, with the height of our foliage season happening now in early November.  As the nights begin to cool, winter storms start to head our way.  We had our first nor’easter of the season last weekend, felt a little early for it especially when the snow began to flurry, but the old timers nodded like this was normal — Cape Cod can be wicked this tima yehr.

My Sunday started especially early as power was out.  Here is the pole I discovered down in front of our neighbors at the Sands of Time.

Woods Hole stormWith the generator humming early, Charlene put out breakfast and hot coffee as the winds howled outside at 50 MPH.  We were able to warm up quiches, cakes and bread puddings and we added a platter of Dunkin Donuts because stormy days require extra fortification (and God forbid that generator did not work — I’m always thinking about the contingency plan:)breakfast Woods Hole Inn Most of our weekend guests headed home as it was a Sunday, but the wind kept blowing all day long.  By nightfall, the Woods Hole Inn filled back up again with islanders stranded in Woods Hole as the ferries stopped running.  There was a really dramatic sunset, all purple and red with only the horizon glimmering with light.  This photo barely captures it’s extreme beauty, but you can see the gusts of wind still moving across the puddles.

storm Woods HoleThe next few days were the most stunning clear weather, and the north wind from the storm gave the trees a major wake up call – time to lose those leaves!  This magical period with bright colors before the leaves tumble are some of my favorite days on Cape Cod.

foliage 1Later in the week, I headed over to Martha’s Vineyard for a cocktail party, boarding the ferry at about 3.45 pm as the gloaming was setting in, and the weather looked extremely ominous once again.   Another storm…already?,  I thought.

storm Vineyard ferry Woods Hole storm storm on Vineyard ferryI must admit, I was happy to be on a vessel this size, and am always confident in the judgement of the Steamship Authority captains who would never head out in unsafe weather.  My thirteen foot Boston Whaler has been dry docked for the season, but I would not venture out with that mean looking cloud hanging over me in a smaller boat.  As it played out, it looked worse than it was, and we had an uneventful passage culminating in this extraordinary view as we entered Vineyard Haven:

Vineyard Haven lodgingThis bejeweled vision really gave me pause.  Like, take a deep breath and relax.  Count your blessings.  Revel in the splendor of nature.   Enjoy getting off the beaten path.  Visit the Vineyard more often.  Get your nose out of the camera phone and just look, take it in, appreciate the gift of this view.

Woods Hole bed and breakfastAdd this moment to the sunset that came two nights later, and I pinched myself for being lucky enough to live in as magical place as sometimes stormy Cape Cod.  The winter winds will come, the leaves will fall, but each sunrise and sunset is it’s own small miracle here on the sand spit we call home.

 

Saying Goodbye to Summer in Woods Hole

September 14, 2014 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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

-Guest Blogger, Gwen Martin

Things to do in Woods Hole

Walking around Woods Hole

August 18, 2014 by Beth Colt

Relax in Woods Hole MAFrom Guest Blogger Gwen Martin:

Looking for something to do in Woods Hole? When in doubt, take a walk. I personally love walking anywhere, but walking around Woods Hole is especially rewarding.

Walk Around Eel Pond:  The classic Woods Hole walk is “around the pond.”   Start off where ever you can see Eel Pond (an inlet harbor and marina).  I prefer heading down Water St. from the Woods Hole Inn to Ocean Park for a pause to check out the boats and ferries passing through “the Hole” (aka Woods Hole Passage).

Continue down MBL St. to the walkway in front of the modernist Swope Building checking out the array of summer boats filling Eel Pond.  Bear right up Millfield St. and stop by the garden at the Bell Tower in front of St. Joseph’s Church.  At the top of Millfield take a right on School St., back to the village center. The view of the Pond at the causeway makes a spectacular place to pause and take in the view. The circumnavigation is about a mile, a perfect way to start or end your day, especially when topped off with iced coffee or ice cream at one of several Woods Hole eateries.  You’ve earned it!

Discover Nobska Lighthouse:  The secret walk up the bike path to Church St. disproves the thought that Nobska Light House is only accessible by car. For those with a sense of adventure (and good walking shoes), start at the Steamship Authority Parking lot and make your way up the bike path past scenic Little Harbor on your right.  Immediately after you go under a large overpass, look for a steep dirt path going up the hill to your right.  Once on Church St, head left past gorgeous, older estates. Just around the corner, you’ll be greeted by Nobska Light and a great view of Vineyard Sound.  Perfect spot for a selfie and a swim on Nobska Beach.

Explore Penzance Point:  Want to have major house-envy?  Stroll out to nearby Penzance Point — one of the most exclusive real estate spots in the world. Penzance Point is the final tip of the peninsula that is Woods Hole with water on both sides much of the entire walk.  From the Inn, head to the end of Water Street, turn right onto Albatross.  Take your first left onto Bar Neck Road.  There is a guard house at the beginning of the road but walkers are welcome during daylight hours.  Round trip from the Woods Hole Inn to the end of Penzance Point and back is about three miles.

Wherever you chose to take a stroll around Woods Hole, I guarantee that it will be great. What’s not refreshing about ocean views, lapping waves, magical garden vistas and fragrant sea air?

Relax Woods Hole, MARelax on Cape Cod WALKING6 WALKING7

Things to do in Woods Hole MA

Relax in Woods Hole MA

Woods Hole MA Things to Do

Things to do in Woods Hole MA

Relax in Woods Hole, MA

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

Woods Hole Film FestivalWoods Hole Film Festival

Woods Hole Film Festival

Visit the Woods Hole Historical Museum in summertime Cape Cod

July 11, 2014 by Beth Colt

Cape Cod summertime funThere are so many fun things to do in summertime on Cape Cod, but one of my favorites is a visit to the Woods Hole Historical Museum in Woods Hole, MA.  This small gem of a collection is housed in an adorable 18th century farmhouse draped with rambling roses and accompanied by an equally charming barn filled with old sailboats, models and memorabilia.

This season, there are two exhibits at the Woods Hole Museum — one on the history of businesses in the village and the other a series of life-like drawings of fish and sea creatures by James Prosek, a noted artist, author and naturalist.  His paintings are incredible, and made me think of a modernist Audubon.  See more on his work here.

I took a special interest in the “Businesses of Old Woods Hole” exhibit, as I recently gave a talk on being an entrepreneur in the village of Woods Hole so I am aware of some of the incredible leaders that have made this little village what it is today.  Lining the walls are biographical material and photos of small-town luminaries such as Elijah Swift, Walter Luscombe, Prince Crowell and others who built whaling ships, created the guano factory that once operated here, started the first banks and more.  It’s really interesting (and inspiring!) to think about the challenges they faced, especially as so much has changed since then.

There are a few exhibits that never change at the Woods Hole Historical Museum — the small boat museum is essentially an old barn lined with the hulls, models and detritus of small wooden sailboats.  There is a retired mirror dinghy (this class of boat developed in the 1930’s is still sailed on Saturday mornings at the Woods Hole Yacht Club), a Hereshoff or two and more.  Best of all is a moment in the cool shade of this quaint barn, looking out at the sunny Cape Cod weather just thinking about all the happy hours sailors spent on these vessels before they were retired to this perfect spot.

There is also a model of the village of Woods Hole, a brilliant creation of miniature houses, docks, ships capturing Woods Hole in the 1890’s.  It was made one winter by a crew of enterprising villagers, and it offers a birds eye perspective on the village that is well worth seeing.

When you come to Cape Cod in summer, don’t miss a visit to the Woods Hole Historical Museum located at 579 Woods Hole Road.   Check their website for access and hours which are significantly greater in the summertime.

fun things to do on Cape CodCape Cod summersummer Cape Cod funWoods Hole old boats summer funfun on Cape CodWoods Hole history exhibit

 

Soft As A Grape T-Shirts and Sweats Opens Woods Hole Shop

April 24, 2014 by Beth Colt

Shop at the Woods Hole Inn

This month, a new shop called Soft As A Grape opened on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn, a great expansion of shopping in Woods Hole.  This is exciting news for all of Woods Hole, as well as for travelers on the Steamship Authority ferries to Martha’s Vineyard as this stylish new shop offers high quality t-shirts, sweatshirts and much more in a convenient location right on the corner of Water Street and Luscombe Avenue, just steps from the ferry terminal.  Stay at the Woods Hole Inn and enjoy this Woods Hole shop!

The new space has been dramatically renovated with new hardwood floors, gorgeous wooden shelving, extensive new lighting and more.  Best of all is the antique boat that dominates the entrance, filled to the brim with sparkling new shirts and insignia clothing.  Want to head home with a memento of your trip to Cape Cod?  Soft As A Grape is the perfect place to find something hip to share the news of your travels at home.

In addition to their line of t-shirts and clothing, the nice folks at Soft As A Grape have dedicated a space for Woods Hole Inn branded merchandise including our famous coffee mugs, handmade starfish soaps, t-shirts and more.  Come into the new shop at the corner of Luscombe and Water Streets in Woods Hole and see for yourself the great energy of this new shop.

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Photo Safari exploring Cape Cod & Martha’s Vineyard

April 7, 2014 by Beth Colt

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Our spring Photo Safari exploring Cape Cod kicked off Friday night with a wine and cheese reception at the Woods Hole Inn.  Locals Cathy and Prue joined guests Marie and Janice for this weekend of exploring Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard through the eye of the camera.

Saturday morning,  I led a two hour talk designed to boost confidence and share tricks and tips for iPhoneography.  In addition, we covered some key principles of photo composition, including capturing the Cape light, creating the illusive third dimension, and shooting children’s faces for greatest impact.  I shared images from my collection “Woods Hole Colors,” daily visual ruminations on life in the most beautiful village on Cape Cod.

In the second half of the talk, I revealed my favorite phone apps that make taking great photos easy and fun.  By the end of the session, everyone was swiping and exploring; even the SLR crowd was considering using the iPhone to take photos to promote online sales.  In addition, we talked about strategies and tips for creating buzz on social media, and what sites to focus on for small business success.

In the afternoon, we walked the back alleys and waterfront roads of Woods Hole, stopping to capture things that caught our eye — red boat overturned on an empty beach, an osprey reflected on the flooded marsh, long jetties disappearing into the harbor.  Saturday night, the group bonded over sunset and dinner at the new Quicks Hole Tavern topped off with an order of the “bag of donuts” with dipping sauces of Creme Anglaise and chocolate.  Yum!

Sunday morning, we hopped the ferry to the Vineyard and explored the island with a car and driver.  With a cold wind in from the southwest, the sun was glinting off the water and the brown of the marsh grasses stood in stark contrast to the bright blue sky as we crept into Vineyard Haven on the Steamship Authority ferry.  Exploring gingerbread cottages (called “The Campgrounds”) of Oak Bluffs, waterviews along State Beach, lighthouses at East Chop and Edgartown, captain’s row of Edgartown Harbor — all with our great driver Chris from Harbor Taxi in Oak Bluffs.  A highlight for me was his choice of Middle Road to Menemsha, a winding country lane with open meadows, farms and fields overlooking the distant ocean that leads to the tiny deserted fishing village at the western end of the island.  Worth the trip!

Back in Vineyard Haven, we had a nice lunch at the Waterside Market, then ferried back to Woods Hole.  Much of this journey was already documented in social media, but please enjoy my photo essay on #PhotoSafari Cape Cod & Martha’s Vineyard, and consider joining us for a true getaway in Woods Hole!

Menemsha Details Cathy Norton from MBL on Photo Safari Janice Murray, photographer on Photo Safari Woods Hole Telegraph Hill Sign from Woods Hole Inn Photo Safari all rights reserved Seagull on Martha's Vineyard ferry Dinner with Woods Hole Inn guests at Quicks Hole Tavern walking Woods Hole, Penzance Point Seawall Beach on Penzance Point in Woods Hole Woods Hole Yacht Club Woods Hole harbor Martha's Vineyard Gingerbread Cottages Edgartown Harbor Hotel romantic Cape Cod weekend Woods Hole Inn Menemsha Larsens Fish Market Menemsha great day trip from Woods Hole Photo Safari Graduates, Cathy Norton, Prue Reynolds, Janice Murray, Beth Colt

Sledding on Cape Cod

February 18, 2014 by Beth Colt

Winter Getaway at Woods Hole Inn on Cape Cod

The cold air biting at your lungs with every deep breath, the weight of the sled in your mitten-ed hand, the bright sunlight glinting off acres of hot white snow, there is nothing better than a clear sunny day right after a deep snowfall for sledding on Cape Cod.

Yesterday was just such a day — six new inches from Saturday’s “ValenBlizzard,”  cousins visiting from Connecticut and a bright blue cloudless sky.  We dressed the crew up with all the gear, grabbed every sled we could unearth amidst sails, paddleboards and other basement debris, and walked over to the Woods Hole golf course.

What vistas are to be had for the intrepid who wander its lush hills and valleys!  In winter, this private club becomes our neighborhood sledding destination, with slopes varying from beginner to what locals call wicked steep.  In a scene reminiscent of Bruegel, we trudged in a single line across the vast meadow of snow towards the peak, top of hole 8, slickest spot on the course.

There was little time to pause and see Buzzards Bay flecked with white caps in the distance, or look the other way to see Martha’s Vineyard dancing across the Sound through bare winter trees — as we rushed to enjoy the epic Cape Cod sledding, the whoosh of speeding down, so exhilarating yet brief, followed by the epic march back up the hill.

Many laughs, selfies and snow heaps of exhausted children later, we piled back down the hill for cups of chowder and hot cocoa all around at the new Quicks Hole Tavern in Woods Hole.  A great winter’s vacation day, sledding here on Cape Cod.

Winter fun on Cape Cod winter fun at the Woods Hole Inn winter fun with kids on Cape Cod winter fun at the Woods Hole Inn

Cape Cod Blizzard in Woods Hole

January 3, 2014 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Inn cosy and warm in blizzardThe first storm of 2014 hit fast and furious in the middle of last night, blizzard conditions with gusts rumored to be up to 50 mph from the northwest.  Storm watchers called it “Hercules” — Really?

I love a good snow day, and this one started early with a phone call from Charlene (our breakfast chef) letting me know there was no way she was going to be able to drive in due to the blizzard.  I considered driving myself, but one look at the snow mound that covered my car  I  decided it would be easier to walk.  In daybreak’s grey light, I trudged thru the swirling snow to the Woods Hole Inn, stopping several times to attempt to capture the look of this gorgeous Cape Cod blizzard (see photos below or more on my Facebook page).

Inside, the Inn felt remarkably cozy and warm.  I quickly dug out the front steps and fired up the first pot of hot coffee for our sleeping guests.  The New York Times delivery guy handed me the paper as I was shoveling.  Thanks, I said — Appreciated!

Something about the smell of hot coffee and guests started trickling out of their rooms, happy winter vacationers enjoying a respite from everyday life with a visit to wintery Cape Cod.  I produced our usual breakfast spread — fresh cut fruit, Greek yoghurt, house made granola, cinnamon rolls, sausage quiche and slices of Charlene’s spiced cranberry pumpkin loaf.  I think they enjoyed experiencing the Cape Cod blizzard in their slippers with a great meal to start the day.

While guests watched the snow swirling from the warm breakfast room, I headed back for more shoveling.  The drifts were incredible, and with the wind still roaring it was possible to toss each shovelful into the wind and watch the snow burst away.  I managed to get the driveway and sidewalk cleared by about 9 am, although it was still snowing and I was sure it would need another pass.

Back into the house to begin the cleaning for the day, clearing up breakfast, washing the floors of the salt and sand that follows everyone inside in winter.  Cape Cod blizzards are fun for guests, but lots of extra work for innkeepers. For me, finding pleasure in the small things that fill each day is the secret to happiness.  That and taking pictures to share with you all.

Here are some photos of the rest of this glorious day.  If you enjoy this blog, please consider sharing the link with friends.  And thanks so much for all your support — we are deeply grateful to all our friends and customers for their help spreading the word about beautiful Woods Hole.

Woods Hole Inn lodging in Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod Storm Hercules was fun for vacationers in Woods Hole Cape Codhotel Woods Hole Inn Woods Hole Inn photos Cape Cod blizzard snow Woods Hole Inn Cape Cod lodging Woods Hole Inn hotel Cape Cod Cape Cod in snow

Fourth of July

July 4, 2013 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Fourth of July

 

Woods Hole has the most distinctive Fourth of July parade in America.  Organized by the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), this gathering of young scientists celebrating our nations birth is filled with costumes, dancers, and balloons.  Representing things like cell reproduction, neurobiology, marine resources and much more, student laugh and dance their way down a spectator-packed Water Street.

Tossing candy along the path, the parade takes starts at noon every year and takes about fifteen minutes.  One fun tradition is that after students cross the drawbridge, they break into a serious water-balloon fight, a nice respite from a hot Cape Cod day.

On the porch of the Woods Hole Inn, we offer cool lemonade, iced tea and Charlene’s fresh baked cookies to as many people who will fit.  It’s a great birds-eye view of the whole event.

Half hour later, the streets are empty as people dash back to the beach.  Ahh, Cape Cod summah.

Hope to see you there next year!  Happy Fourth.

Woods Hole Inn

 

Woods Hole Fourth of July  Woods Hole lemonade Woods Hole Inn Quicks Hole, lobster tacos MBL Woods Hole Brazen Belles, Woods Hole, Cape Cod Woods Hole Brazen Belles, Cape Cod Woods Hole Woods Hole Parade Woods Hole Inn Woods Hole, beach fun Woods Hole, Cape Cod Woods Hole, Cape Cod Woods Hole, Cape Cod

James Cameron comes to Woods Hole

July 2, 2013 by Beth Colt

James Cameron loves Woods Hole.  He has been coming here for decades, first to meet with Bob Ballard and the team that discovered the Titanic for his hit film of the same title, later to research the underwater sequences for the international blockbuster Avatar.
When Cameron crossed the line from film-maker to explorer to built his own deep-sea submersible called the Deepsea Challenger, he became one with the scientists and engineers here, and his visits increased culminating in the donation of his incredible vessel to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

In Woods Hole last month with his whole team, Cameron talked about the team of engineers and his solo dive to the Mariana Trench, one at 11,000 meters one of the deepest places in the ocean.  His exciting journey to the bottom of the sea (think Abyss, literally)  gathered video and samples allowing for the identification of over 60 new species!

Cameron’s vessel Deepsea Challenger will live next door to us here in Woods Hole, where WHOI scientists can make the most of this incredible vehicle.   Here are a few photos of the donation ceremony, as well as a link to more information on the WHOI website.

We hope Cameron returns to Woods Hole to visit Deepsea Challenger, and that the legacy of this extraordinary gift to humankind continues it’s reach.  Woods Hole — a picture postcard village, postmarked around the world.

James Cameron and Susan Avery at WHOI Woods Hole, Cape Cod James Cameron donates vessel to WHOI, Cape Cod

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?

Lap of Luxury

January 8, 2013 by Beth Colt

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

Martha's Vineyard vacation

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

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

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

Woody waits in Cape Cod driveway.

 

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

 

 

Private beaches on Cape Cod

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

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

 

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Renaissance Fair December 1st, 2012

November 25, 2012 by Beth Colt

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

Solstice Singers enter Community Hall in Woods Hole, holidays

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

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

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

arts and crafts at Christmas

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

Long Live the Renaissance Fair! 

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

All invited, free to enter.

My Summer on Cape Cod

August 17, 2012 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The small-town charm of Woods Hole.

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

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

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

Megan

Road Race Frenzy

August 12, 2012 by Beth Colt

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

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

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

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Guest Post by Megan Jensen

 

Graham Nash visits Woods Hole

July 22, 2012 by Beth Colt

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A guest post by blogger Megan Jensen

Since coming to Woods Hole, I’ve been surprised again and again at how busy this small town can be. You really never know what opportunities might turn up each week.

Last night I was lucky enough to attend a ceremony held by the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary awarding singer/songwriter Graham Nash of Crosby Stills Nash and Young with the Conservation and Environmental Stewardship Award.

Mr. Nash, who is well known for his work with CSNY as well as The Hollies is a true renaissance man. He is also photographer, artist and strong advocate of the environment. After a brief explanation of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, Nash was asked to give his thoughts on current environmental issues we are facing today.

Nash stressed how important it is that we leave a better world for our children, and that we work together to do all that we can. He quoted Willie Nelson, who recalled that things were better when, “you looked around and if there’s anything wrong here, there, anywhere, you took care of your own area. And I think that’s a pretty good thing to go by. If everyone just takes care of their own area then we won’t have any problems. Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there. And look around you and see what needs to be changed.”

After this hopeful discussion Nash was given his award and preceded to play a few favorite tunes. In the spirit of marine conservation he played “Wind on the Water,” for the first time ever on acoustic guitar, which he wrote after an encounter with a blue whale while on a sailing trip. The ceremony ended with Nash playing “Teach Your Children” and the audience couldn’t help but to sing along.

Having grown up listening to CSNY, it was amazing to meet Graham Nash, right here in Woods Hole!

(CSN is currently on a 70-plus date world tour, and they just released their first live performance in over two decades titled, CSN 2012).

Steady Pressure

March 8, 2012 by Beth Colt

Buffy Colt walking in Woods Hole.

My mother should write a self-help book.  With over 30 years logged as a kindergarten teacher, she has lots of great advice. My husband quoted her in our local paper this week and I have received a few calls and emails saying that her words inspired them.  She has certainly inspired me over the years, so I am going to share some of her wisdom.

Steady Pressure.  This is a central tenet of my mother’s philosophy.  When you are feeling overwhelmed, buried under a pile of obligations and work, do not despair!  Tomorrow is another day, and if you just apply steady pressure to your goals you will, like the hundreds of students my mother taught over the years, eventually learn to read, or climb Mt. Kilamanjaro, or get your inn open in time for the summer season.  Insert your problem here: __________.  Now apply steady pressure.  (Ping me in a few months and let’s see how this maxim is working for you, it’s a powerful one.)

Life is a series of sorting and collating exercises.  This gem has a lot of meaning for me.  Remember the simple sorting skills you mastered in kindergarten?   Place all the red apples in the bin with others,  move the oranges to the basket with their friends, place the bananas in another spot.  Put your coat on the coat hook with all the other children’s coats.  Keep your boots on the mat by the front door.  These exercises bring order to that first collaborative work experience (yes, I mean your kindergarten classroom) and help you start thinking about math.  But your adult work flow can be thought of exactly the same way.  Match like with like and you simplify, bring order, establish rules and systems.  Get in a rhythm, find the patterns and then refer to step one (apply steady pressure:).  At the very least, you will always know where your snow boots are.

Share the sandbox.  If you are always stealing the shovel from others, you will be isolated, lonely and bored when the other children stop playing with you.  If you were lucky and you had my mother in kindergarten, you were gently cajoled away from this, and coaxed into more civilized attitude.  Sadly, many people missed this key lesson.  The result, in it’s adult form, is hard to watch — angry, greedy and alone, these are the people who we all love to hate.  They are the staple of reality television.  To them I say, we are still here waiting to share the sandbox with you, so come on in and try again.

A Rising Tide Floats All Boats.  The slowest learner in the classroom is helped by the fastest, and buoyed along by the general skills of the group.  In my mother’s kindergarten, this meant working in groups, completing ambitious projects where everyone worked together.  To mix metaphors, think of it like tennis — you always play better with a better partner.  In business, this means you make your business the best it can be and you help your competitors improve as well.  The better you are together, the more will keep coming your way.  I certainly see this in Woods Hole, and not only out in Great Harbor where the boats all move together with the relentless tides.

Find the Farmyard.  My mother grew up on a farm, and as a teacher she developed what she called her “farm curriculum.”  She focused on the seasons, taught the kids all about farm life, even brought a baby lamb to school for a few weeks each spring during lambing season.  The benefits of this were huge.  The kids were enthralled with the information, and left her classroom with a knowledge that never gets covered in the years beyond.  Now her instincts are so in vogue!  At the Woods Hole Inn and the Quicks Hole restaurant, we are part of the “farm-to-table” movement, and because of my mother I never feel out-of-place when I visit the farms from which we source our incredible pea-green sprouts, our arugula and our fresh hot peppers.  It’s not too late for you to learn all about your local farmer; if you visit Cape Cod, the Coonamessett Farm right here in Falmouth is a great place to start.

Don’t Hold a Grudge.  You are the sum of your grudges, and they will only bring despair and unhappiness.  In kindergarten, the children were brought together, each holding my mother’s hand, crying and shouting at each other until they fully vented their feelings.  There may be no real resolution to their real feelings of hurt and betrayal, but waiting until they express, apologize (sometimes:) and it blows over kept the whole classroom open, vibrant and warm.  How great would it be if we could still do this as adults?  But the conventions of society shackle us in this effort, so take this to heart — work hard on your own feelings to air and move on from petty grievances with employees, customers and your competitors.  It leaves so much more open space for happiness, clear thinking and good work.  The benefits will be felt by all, but mostly by you.

My debt to my incredible mother inspired this, and I hope she will not mind my posting the lovely photo I took of her this weekend.  And now a few shots of Woods Hole, some from the walk we took on Sunday and others on my peregrinations later in the week…

Martha's Vineyard ferry passes Nobska Beach in winter.Ferry crossing from Martha’s Vineyard back to Woods Hole, as seen off of a wintery Nobska Beach…

One of my favorite houses on Gosnold Road.A wonderful house out on Bar Neck Road where it meets Gosnold.  Love the Cape light on broad shingles…

One of my favorite houses on Church Street, all decked out for Christmas.

One of my favorite houses in Woods Hole, on Church Street, still all decked out for Christmas…Lonely bike on the edge of the Eel Pond in Woods Hole. A lonely bike waiting in the edge of the Eel Pond reminds me of Ireland.

I never thought I would finish this blog post, but I used my mother’s advice, applied steady pressure, and look at me now!

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.

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.

Snow in the Hole

February 27, 2011 by Beth Colt

Landfall Restaurant, closed for the season, in snow.

Landfall Restaurant, closed for the season, in snow.

Charming little house on the back side of the Eel Pond in Woods Hole.

I woke up to Facebook messages about historic snow in Los Angeles, then looked out my window and saw that we had a wonderful dusting of our own here in Woods Hole.  Since we just relocated here from LA, it struck me as pretty ironic that it would have snowed in both places!

Add to that irony that Steph, our chef for Quicks Hole, is in LA this weekend trying all the cool food spots that inspire the Quicks Hole menu (La Lotteria, Ammo, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Clementine and much more).  The hope was that she would get some good eats and a little sunny R&R, well deserved vacation in warm tropical Los Angeles.  Ha.

So I scarfed my tea and toast to get out quick enough before it all melted.  Here are some of the photo observations:

Love the brave souls that just leave their boats in the water year round. I guess they are the first back out fishing in spring!

Pinky's Marina, politely referred to as a "seasonal" business.

From Juniper Point you can see the ferry coming in from Martha's Vineyard with Nonamessett Island dusted with snow beyond the Woods Hole Passage.

Private docks on Little Harbor in Woods Hole, MA.

Steamship Authority in Woods Hole - ferry to Martha's Vineyard. Only on a Sunday morning in February does this look empty. For all the summer people who fight the crowds here in July, this is a rare and amazing sight.

Hydrant waiting for a doggie guest from the Woods Hole Inn pet room:)

Hydrant waiting for a doggie guest from the Woods Hole Inn pet room:)

January on Eel Pond

January 22, 2011 by Beth Colt

Walking around the Eel Pond in winter.

I ran out of steam paying bills at my desk and decided to take a walk around the Eel Pond this afternoon.  The clear, still air is colder than usual today in Woods Hole.  My brisk walk while the sun was setting revealed boats, houseboats and summer docks stashed for winter.  Despite the feeling of summer in storage, the streets were full of joggers and walkers, some moving slowly with ski poles to be safe on the ice, others sprinting as if training for next year’s road race.

Rounding the corner of School and Millfield Streets, I watched the sun bow at the horizon, hovering past the frozen pond over the academic buildings beyond.  Like a large movie lamp, it illuminated the faces of the houses looking west.   At it’s finish, it turned from orange to bright red before sizzling into the sea with a glowery purple.  Woods Hole in winter brings new meaning to “magic hour.”

Here are a few highlights from my walk:

Houseboats in the Eel Pond for winter storage.

Locals hunkered down inside, lights on as dusk arrives.

Summer is a distant memory for this float.

The frozen pond is lined with dingies and motorboats awaiting the thaw.

Walking around WoHo

July 28, 2010 by Beth Colt

Naushon Island in the distance.

From our summer guest blogger Caroline Matthews:

I’ve had the great opportunity to live like a genuine Cape Codder: on the water. The nights are always cool and comfortable out on the back porch and the mornings start right at 6:45 thanks to the friendly folks at the Steamship Authority. What to do when you’ve got no TV, no Internet and the world literally as your oyster? Go explore, of course!

My two favorite things in the entire world are taking photographs and swimming at Stoney Beach. Beginning a day with both truly improves my mood and productivity while I’m running around the restaurant and attending to guests at the inn. There’s just something about finding a vacant beach and knowing you’re the first of the masses to take a dip in the Atlantic’s chilly yet comforting waters.

Woods Hole gets crammed with tourists in summer but if you venture past Water Street, the village is home to a hardy population of under a thousand. Traffic builds rarely during the day (except when the drawbridge goes up for a visiting sailor), and the quiet lanes and hedgerows are punctuated by crickets, birds and the occasional screech of a child at play.

Once the day is in full swing, the village can get hectic with all of the foot traffic — people dragging their rolling bags and fighting for a spot in line at one of the two local coffee shops.  Sometimes it feels almost like an airport with all the hustle bustle.

A morning along Eel Pond.

That’s what makes the quiet mornings so precious to me. Woods Hole reminds me of the unique treasures found only in a slow-paced life.

 

Hop on, hop off: WHOOSH TROLLEY

July 27, 2010 by Beth Colt

I’m pretty fond of chugging along in my dated 12 MPG Suburban back in Texas, but after being hired by an eco-friendly inn and restaurant, I figured I’d trade in my tank for a bike or a better pair or tennis shoes. I was so thrilled to explore the nooks and crannies of the village during my first few days, but then I realized I needed groceries! And shampoo! And toilet paper!

Quicks Hole has the only market in town providing fresh produce, milk, eggs and specialty cheeses. But Falmouth, just three miles up the lush Woods Hole Road, has an adorable Main street stuffed with tee shirt and souvenir boutiques, ice cream and candy shops and three supermarkets.

WHOOSH Trolley takes visitors on up to Falmouth for shopping and good eats.

Fearful that there’s not enough time to go to the Vineyard? Grab a famous tee at the Black Dog General Store. Be sure not to miss Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium for a typical Cape Cod treat: ice cream and fudge. Try the lobster ice cream if you’re brave!

The open-air trolley only costs $2 and leaves every half hour from the Steamship Authority just down the street from the inn. Strike up a conversation with the drivers, the owner of the red trolley car has the most character, and maybe he’ll let you toot the horn.

I’d trade my Suburban for a worn pair of tennis shoes and the trolley anyday.

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