Cycling Cape Cod MA, especially in the crisp fall weather, is the best way to see the hidden vistas and back road treasures of this sandy peninsula. But how to make it all happen seamlessly in one killer weekend? Well, meet our our bike tour package, which answers the question — why cycle Cape Cod starting in Woods Hole?
1) Rail Trails. The Shining Sea Bike Path — eleven miles of cycling fun each way, connecting Woods Hole to North Falmouth with everything in between — gorgeous vistas, Nobska Lighthouse, downtown Falmouth, Sippewisset Marsh and the cranberry bogs of Bourne Farm — voted one of the best bike paths in America. Ride hard, feel safe.
2) Free Breakfast. Enjoy a hearty breakfast, included with the room, to prepare for your Cape Cod cycling adventure. At the Woods Hole Inn, that means all-you-can-eat quiche, bread-pudding, croissant, fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt and home-made sweet granola plus our fair-trade piping-hot coffee to slosh it all down. Work hard, play harder.
3) Chillax. Friday night, the sun sets over the water and you enjoy a wine and cheese reception to warm into your Martha’s Vineyard cycling adventure: rice crackers, Spanish Manchego, Brie, Marconi almonds and a sprig of fresh rosemary artfully arranged on a recovered slate from the recent re-model of the Woods Hole Library rooftop. Add your choice of red or chilled white wine? Great way to start the weekend!
4) Never Get Lost. Guide Rob Miceli of Cotuit Cycling Tours shares his secret routes, back roads and amazing views as you explore cycling Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard over two days. Rob will tell you all about the area, and pace the bicycle ride to meet where you are. He is great!
5) Escape to an Island. Across the street from the Woods Hole Inn, the ferry takes you to Vineyard Haven and you cycle with Rob on the bike path past Oak Bluffs to Edgartown and beyond if the group is feeling confident. Soak in the incredible views over State Beach, past the Jaws Bridge, over Vineyard Sound. You are on island time now.
6) Lobster Tacos. Don’t forget dinner at Quicks Hole (also included in the package!) our farm-to-table Taqueria with a water-view deck where the sun sets over the water every night. If you’re lucky, the band is set up and locals have gathered for a sangria or draft Cape Cod beer. Close your eyes and you are at one of any of the best end of the road hangouts — Todos Santos, Montauk, Key West, Carpenteria, Laguna, and yes, Woods Hole.
Last weekend, we hosted this special getaway inspired by travel writer Tim Jones, whose blog EasternSlopes.com urges readers that “life isn’t a spectator sport.” Taking the mystery out of enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Cape from the seat of your bike, Tim Jones wrote the journey up for the Concord Monitor, and I urge you to read more about his experience here.
So for all you weekend warriors out there, consider joining us next time — we plan to keep the bike tours rolling in the spring and fall so stay posted here or “like” our Facebook page for updates, specials and sales.
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.
“Wind’s from the North,” my friend Phil admonished, as we got in the boat to go fishing Saturday. “Don’t expect much. Fish don’t like that North wind.”
I was expecting nothing — based on years of failed attempts as a kid — but I thought: Who cares? Day like this on the water? Heaven with or without fish for dinner.
Now Phil is a pretty accomplished fisherman, and in certain circles he is downright notorious. Others stalk him with binoculars and generally scratch their heads about how he manages to catch mo’ bigger better than anyone else. He seems to know where the fish live. Call it a hunch, a sixth sense or just the Gladwell-ian 10,000 hours, but it’s fair to say fish should tremble when “Betty’s Boys” heads out past the drawbridge.
First stop was the currents of Woods Hole itself and there were others there already. Phil looked at one group with disdain, casting along shore near Mink Point: “Won’t get anything in there today,” he chuckled as he dropped his lure and started trolling. Now he swore me to secrecy so I can not tell you the direction we trolled, what that incredible lure looked like, or which patch of rocks we skirted but in the first FIVE MINUTES, I had a striped bass on the line which, with guidance, I reeled into the boat. A keeper!
Within a half hour, my son Charlie had hauled in an even bigger one, north of 20 lbs. Then Phil threw his hands up — “We’re outta here” — and whisked us west on Vineyard Sound to another one of his secret spots, “between the grey tote and the stairs to nowhere.” Along the way we passed about 30 other boats casting for false albacore (it’s derby time on Martha’s Vineyard as well); one of them spotted us and followed.
Coming in close to land, Phil cut the engine, his friend Lisa tossed an anchor. Then he broke out the live eels. Yes, I said eels, squirming and wiggling all over the place. Phil deftly hooked several through the head and and started casting. Genius. My son Sam landed another bass within a half hour, too small to keep but the fight was worth it and we got a nice picture.
Back in Woods Hole, we hauled our catch across town to weigh in for the Calcutta Fishing Derby sponsored by the Woods Hole Business Association. We will surely attend the October 14th award ceremony (at the Landfall) to see if we won and claim our free appetizer for entering. But it’s safe to say we are already winners with our fridge full and our deepening friendship with Phil.
Now this might sound like a great fish tale, but here are a few photos to prove it really happened. Thanks to Phil Stanton.
One of my favorite parts of running the Woods Hole Inn is building a team of people who come together to deliver a fantastic guest experience. I am particularly blessed this summer with a great group who have worked seamlessly together all summer. As we approach the dog days of August, I reflect on how lucky I am to work with such a talented, committed, knowledgeable and thoughtful crew.
Thank you to each and every one of you who made and is making summer 2013 memorable for all our guests. You make it look easy!
Back by popular demand!
Come away to the sea-side town of Falmouth, Cape Cod and explore Falmouth’s coastline and villages as well as nearby Martha’s Vineyard island. Your getaway package includes luxurious accommodations, great food and lovely scenery seen from your guided cycling tour. Your personal guide Rob Micelli, owner of Cotuit Cycling tours, will guide you on two leisurely bike tours during your weekend getaway.
Price includes all elements of the tour as listed below, with two nights luxury lodging at your choice of the Woods Hole Inn or Captains Manor Inn. Queen $645, King $835, double occupancy. Ask about staying a third night when you reserve. This will sell out — so get your reservation by calling us TODAY! Bring your own bikes, or call us to coordinate rentals (not included).
Friday October 18th 2013
3:00 Check-in to your Inn
5:00 Wine and Cheese Reception
Evening on your Own
Saturday October 19th
8-9:00 Full Breakfast at your Inn
9:00 Falmouth Village Cycling Tour Begins
12:00 noon Cycling Tour Ends
3:00 Afternoon Refreshments at your Inn
6:00 Lobster Tacos and a pitcher of Sangria/Cape Cod Beer at Quicks Hole
Evening on your Own
Sunday June 16th
8-9:00 Full Breakfast at your Inn and check out (bags can be held at the front desk)
9:30 Ferry from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard
10:15 Arrive in Oaks Bluff and begin cycling tour
2:30 Cycling Tour Ends & Ferry returns to Woods Hole (you can return later on your own if you so choose)
Falmouth Village Center Tour (Day One)
Ride the best kept secret on the East Coast! We’ll explore the The Shining Sea Bikeway with it’s oceanside views of Martha’s Vineyard, a sneak peek of a Frank Lloyd Wright home and a stop on the hilltop view of Nobska lighthouse. The route follows the famous Falmouth Road Race and leads us past the marshes of Sippewissett to the village of Woods Hole, home of the Marine Biology Labs and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Explore the peninsula that separates Buzzards Bay from Vineyard Sound, and get a sense of the gentle topography of Falmouth from it’s peaceful, car-free bike path. All with the delightful leadership of our guide Rob Micelli.
The Vineyard Tour (Day Two)
We’ll ferry to Oak Bluffs and tour the sites and sounds of Martha’s Vineyard. We’ll travel bikeways and quiet back roads, beaches and boardwalks. Come see what all the fuss is about, exploring the Vineyard at your own pace with a group of eager cyclists. With rolling hills, plenty of bird life and lots of places to stop for a swim, you will delight in a day of fun and sun on the Vineyard with our knowledgeable tour guide showing you all the secret spots and best routes.
Meet Phil Stanton, a friend of mine and local fisherman extraordinaire. Phil has won more fishing derbies than most people have collected parking tickets, is renowned for having re-located a raft of eider ducks from Maine to Penikese Island (not to mention being a world-expert on the species), and is a dedicated participant in all elements of the Woods Hole community from auctioneer to fishing guide to horse wrangler to deer hunter to welcome wagon. It’s not an exaggeration to say Phil is the ultimate renaissance man, Woods Hole style.
Phil took my son fishing last summer and showed him a secret spot where the squid gather in the Woods Hole current at certain tides. “Cast right in there,” he said, pointing to a swirl near the rocks about 10 feet in diameter. Ten minutes and several large Stripers later, the fishing trip was over and my twelve-year-old came home with a huge catch and a huger smile on his face. Phil’s generosity and knowledge inculcated another young convert to the secret joy of fishing.
Last winter, Phil offered to build a stone bench to honor his mother on the side of the Community Hall. There has been much hoopla in town about the new Rachel Carson statue, and tongues wagging about a new MBL whale-tail sculpture that is possibly dangerous for climbing children. But to date I have seen no notice of this wonderful bench Phil financed which might be the best addition to town in decades, perched as it is on the edge of the channel into Eel Pond at just the right spot to catch both the view and the breeze. (Of course, Phil would know that!)
With a stunning view out toward Nonamesset Island, this bench is the perfect place to watch the drawbridge go up and down, with boats large and small flowing in and out of our protected harbor. You will enjoy the view, the constant southwesterly breeze… and if you are patient, you will see Phil heading out in his boat, as he goes fishing most everyday.
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!
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.
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.
One of the greatest pleasures of inn-keeping is the chance to meet people from all over the world. One of my passions is photography, and I enjoy sharing the beauty of Woods Hole on guest “photo-walks” the best of which turn into fascinating conversations about life.
We generally depart from the front door of the inn, and I like to get out when the light is still good, and we explore the village for about an hour, scouring the back alleys for lobster traps, peering down pathways and scampering across Cape Cod beaches. I love sharing my favorite spots, and seeing them anew as guests always point out things I have never noticed. There is always new light, new flora, new angles to explore.
This spring I went out a few times, and one guest Janice Murray (who keeps a great Etsy shop of her work here) even sent me some of her favorites to publish here (see below mixed with mine). Then there was the guy on his honeymoon from the UK, wandering the East Coast for a few weeks with a large camera and an insatiable thirst to understand the American psyche. Here are a few pictures from these great walks/talks. I look forward to many more…
Skating on a pond with the sky all around you — the marsh in frozen suspension all dusty brown, the birds eyeing you skeptically — is one of the most exhilarating parts of winter in New England. Last year, it never got cold enough for the salty ponds to freeze, but this season we got a few wonderful days on the Mill Pond behind my house.
Neighbors gather for a pond party, very impromptu since we are never sure when the pond will freeze. One neighbor calls another, and the kids pass the news along the street — pond party tonight! It’s the winter equivalent of making hay when the sun shines — like, make hot cocoa when the ice freezes over.
Late afternoon in the gloaming we gather, boots stamping and breathes visible. The views back on our houses is so different from this new vantage point, and I think, this is what the ducks look at every day. Someone starts a small bonfire, and a tray of cheese and crackers gets nibbled at by kids whizzing gleefully across mushy, undulating ice. Parents gather around the fire, and someone brings a life ring — just in case. A few firecrackers are put off, sparklers shared. People talk about colder winters than this one, and their memories of even the Eel Pond freezing over years ago.
Finally it’s really dark and we head in for dinner, all rosy cheeks and good appetites. What a wonderful way to get out of the house in winter, and visit with friends. I live for pond skating on wintery Cape Cod. Just one of the many fun things to do in the off season.
It’s been a long couple of days, first marked by the howling winds of a blizzard (the fifth worst nor’Easter on record in these parts) then the relentless clean up from the storm they named Nemo. The first half of the storm was all wet snow which became leaden and icy, and was topped with a lighter snow that blew and drifted all over the place in the 60 MPH winds, making the shoveling out particularly challenging.
Miraculously, we found ourselves with power as the storm started to lessen on Saturday morning, and as reports came in on Facebook and other places that more than 3/4 of Cape Cod was not in the lucky position we were in, I decided to offer all the rooms at the Woods Hole Inn for free to any local person without power. I posted that on Facebook and Twitter, and the phones lit up almost immediately.
I offered our rooms on a first come, first served basis and they filled up very quickly –waitresses, women with small children, a young scientist and his pregnant wife, an older couple plus daughters and twin grand-daughters. People who had been in the cold and the dark well on 12 hours, and who were so sweet and grateful for the warm bed and a nice hot cup of coffee.
In between checking all those people in, then cleaning every room in the house after they left (phew!), I managed to sneak out and get some wonderful pictures of Woods Hole in this rare deep snow. First are the ones taken while the wind was still raging, then later in the weekend when the sun came out. The Blizzard of ’13 was a lot of extra work, but it sure was fun!
Sound track as follows:
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
SFX: shrrk of needle across vinyl
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
SFX: another loud scrrratchchchch…
Have a holly, jolly Christmas!
CUT! OK, now that I have your mind buzzing as mine is with the soundtrack of Christmas… let me pause for a moment and wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas, and happy holidays too!
From all of us here in Woods Hole, to you and yours.
But they could never have imagined that baby Noelle, born at Mass General Hospital yesterday on 12.12.12 at 12 minutes past 12 noon would end up on yesterday’s TV news and splashed all over the local papers with happy Mom proudly wearing her Woods Hole Inn t-shirt in every shot!
When guests check out of the inn, we encourage them to enter our annual photo contest and say “Wear it in an interesting or unusual location and the most interesting will win a two night stay at the Inn.” You can see photos from prior years here.
Last year’s winner was on top of a mountain near McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Another group of happy guests wore their t-shirts on the Times Square Jumbotron for their 15 seconds of fame — inventive, we thought and they received a prize.
Wow! The Klingers have taken our contest to a whole new level. Game on! We are still accepting entries, and will do so until end of March 2013. Keep the photos coming people, or check this link out to vote. It’s not over til it’s over…
We are sending our very best to the Klinker family as they settle into their lives with this gorgeous new baby.
What a joyous way to ring in the holidays!
Kicking off with a wine and cheese reception at the Woods Hole Inn on Friday night, writers will meet for two sessions on Saturday (2/23) plus a wrap up session on Sunday morning (2/24) making for a packed and fun-filled weekend of learning and excitement.
A vivid introduction to the inner workings of dramatic network television, this two-day Symposium will dissect all the pieces of success in hour-long drama writing.
Meet TV drama veteran P.K. Simonds (executive producer of “Ghost Whisperer” and “Party of Five”) who will lead your journey. Film writing gets more attention in teaching programs and in the media, but the majority of jobs and income are derived writing for network and cable TV. Simonds has spent over 25 years in the network TV trenches and he will share his experience with you!
The Symposium will go from macro to micro, beginning with an overview of the industry, exploring the differing roles of the writer in TV versus ﬁlm, then deconstructing the process of writing and producing a single TV episode. Says Simonds, “I want to break the business down and make it more understandable. How does a writers room work? How are stories developed and seasons planned? Who is responsible for a single script? What is the balance of power between the players? Is it possible to do your job in Hollywood without selling your soul?”
To illustrate the creative process in action, participants will be invited to share their stories with the group. Simonds will lead a story discussion, the same way it happens in professional writers rooms, to try to help writers develop their ideas. We’ll conclude by discussing important first steps for writers to take to break into the industry. Writers will network, share ideas and enjoy the stark beauty of Cape Cod in winter.
Applications are currently being accepted via the Woods Hole Film Festival website and include submitting a writing sample. Fee to attend is $150 per writer. Accepted attendees will be offered a discounted lodging package at the Woods Hole Inn in Woods Hole. Book the Woods Hole Inn by calling (508) 495-0248, based on availability.
In the days after a hurricane, we sometimes get the clearest most beautiful weather of the year. Today, the water is glistening in the clear sunshine, and there are big puffy clouds scattered across a vibrant blue sky.
We were spared this season in Woods Hole, and there is no lasting damage from Hurricane Sandy. Our power was restored within a few hours (thanks NSTAR!), the few trees downed have been cleared and the minimal flooding has receded.
Even the fall foliage is mostly intact, and looking gorgeous on this cooler fall day, which was not true last year after Hurricane Irene sprayed salt water over all the trees. I think since Sandy blew from the East here, we were in the lea and the salt spray did not roll in as it sometimes does, blanketing us in an early winter brown.
As I watch the TV news and see the devastation in New York and New Jersey, my heart goes out to those suffering and in need. At the Woods Hole Inn, we are donating to the Red Cross, visiting the blood bank and hoping that our friends and guests from these places are safe and sound.
Did you know that Falmouth — with all it’s open space, forests, beaches, marshland and cranberry bogs — is known as one of the best places for Atlantic coastline birding?
Yes, you will find the Merlin, the Sanderling, the Cooper’s Hawk and the Warbler all hiding in the rushes here in Falmouth in various seasons. And if you love spotting the dramatic Osprey, the huge hawk that likely gave “Buzzards Bay” its’ name, you will find them nesting in summer here, and delight in watching their enormous wing span, wild twig-ridden nests, and incredible fishing prowess. Osprey migrate from here to the Amazon in winter, but return to this area for nesting and hatching their young.
Craig Gibson is a Falmouth resident and passionate bird photographer. Up at dawn with his long lenses and a sea kayak, Craig hunts the bird life deep in the marshes, and on the small barrier islands and sand dunes where they nest and breed. His collection of photos “A Year of Falmouth Birds” will take your breath away. Copies are available for sale in local book shops, and benefit the 300 Committee Land Trust, our local conservation group. You can also see his great action shots weekly in our local newspaper, the Falmouth Enterprise.
Of course birders will be familiar with the Great Blue Heron, or the Snowy Egret, but for first time visitors to our area, these extraordinary birds will impress and awe you. Come to Woods Hole to learn more!
Hurricane Sandy blew through Cape Cod yesterday, and we were so lucky that the center of the storm was 400+ miles to our south.
I took this photo of a pink climbing rose a few hours before the storm hit our area, on the assumption that at the end of the day, this delicate flower would look very different.
I was at the Inn first thing in the morning, answering emails and the phone as travelers plans changed, and newcomers sought refuge from the coming gale. We lost power about noon as the storm seemed to intensify, and by mid afternoon the ocean surge was threatening Waterfront Park. Thank goodness for our generator, which is very handy in storms, as we were able to proved food, hot showers and shelter to many who found themselves without a home in the storm.
I managed to sneak away and see the storm waves at Waterfront Park at about 3 pm, and it got worse later, wrecking the dock maintained by the MBL in this location. I headed back to the inn to be sure our customers were getting the attention they needed — cheese, crackers, a few bottles of red wine always helps the anxieties that come with the hum of a tropical storm.
Then I dug into the pantry and started cooking a Bolognese sauce for pasta, and chopping cucumbers for a bean salad, and washing lettuce for a nice green salad. I wanted to be sure that our guests felt well cared for. I mean there were no lights or TV or wifi at this point, so really, what more do you want in a storm than a nice glass of Cabernet and a warm bed?
As I prepared the meal, the fire department came down to check on the Landfall — the high tide was cresting into their restaurant. It receded shortly thereafter, and I am pretty sure the building escaped with little damage. You can see the Steamship Authority ferries, with brave men on board ready to move the boats off the piers if the storm turns, which thankfully in our location it did not.
I wish I had a photo of the meal we shared together, but really, it was too dark for photos. The candle light was a nice way for people to meet each other, and experience the camaraderie of the storm. We will be Hurricane Sandy friends forever.
Best of all, the rose in my driveway seems to have survived. Along with our rowboats, which also did not blow or float away.
We were spared, really, and as I watch the news of New Jersey and New York, my heart goes out to those who have lost so much. All of us who live so close to the sea take this chance every day, but you never think you will be the one. My thoughts and prayers to those in need on this dark night in Atlantic Coast history.
Get in the holiday spirit with a visit to Cape Cod this year! The Falmouth “Holidays by the Sea” weekend is right around the corner (November 30 – December 2, 2012) so book your getaway to the Woods Hole Inn today!
What a great time to be on Cape Cod. Wander the quaint boutiques and shops of Falmouth or Martha’s Vineyard (the inn is right across the street from the ferry landing making day trips particularly easy) and find the very best in original gift ideas. Take a tour of a real lighthouse, Nobska Light, one of the most famous in New England. See the lights come on for the decorations on the Falmouth Green, and watch Santa arrive by boat to our harbor.
Best of all, the Falmouth Christmas Parade, attended by thousands as one of the best spectacles of the season, kicks off on Sunday December 2nd this year. Staying at the Woods Hole Inn, you can borrow one of our free bikes and tool up the scenic bike path to enjoy the parade.
For a full schedule of events, please see the Falmouth Chamber’s website.
Looking forward to getting into the holiday spirit with you in Falmouth this year! Ho, ho, ho!!
Everyday, interesting people walk in the front door of the Inn — people from all over the world, coming to get a glimpse of the New England seashore, or experience first hand the heady smell of salty marsh air that comes up off the beach at low tide, or walk in the footsteps of Presidents by touring the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
Sometimes they make plans to come a year in advance, and other times they just walk in the door in the late afternoon looking for a place for the night. In late September, a couple “walked in” (to use the innkeepers jargon) from upstate, New York. They had been touring the area and taking their chances…we were happy to have one room left, which they booked.
As they wandered around the inn, they saw an antique kerosine lantern that sits on an old metal safe in one of our living rooms and they asked me a bunch of questions about it. This lantern actually came out of my grandfather’s barn. My grandparents lived most of their long lives on a farm in coastal Massachusetts, and they kept a herd of dairy cows there from the 1930s through the late 1960s.
My grandfather bred the cows, and had pictures of his winners hanging on the walls of his 1700’s-era house. I remember the one called “Larches Pat” posing with her handler, all curried and groomed to perfection with a big ribbon on her halter at the Topsfield Fair. My grandfather was committed to these cows, he really loved them, and he always said one of the saddest days of his life was in the late 1960’s after the milk distributor stopped coming (“you’re too small to warrant a stop,” they told him); after months of pouring the milk onto the fields, he realized he had to sell his prized herd.
When the barn was cleared out after his death (at the age of 97!), this lantern moved into my mother’s basement. I liberated it a few years ago and it sits in one of the dining rooms at the Woods Hole Inn, reminding me of my wonderful grandparents and their beautiful farm, where I was lucky enough to spend holidays my whole childhood.
Now enter my walk in guests! (I bet you were wondering when I might get back to that:) No one has ever asked me about this lantern before, but these guests were very curious, remarking on it’s size and style. Very unusual, they said. Don’t see them that large, they said. Well, there were tons of them in my grandfather’s barn before it was wired for electricity, so they were common at some point, I explained.
Honestly did not think much more about this interaction until this week when this cool Trainman’s Lantern arrived in the mail, one for me and one for Amanda. It came with a thank you letter from the above-mentioned lantern-curious guests, who it turns out own a lantern company in upstate New York. The letter tells me that the Dietz Company went out of business many years ago (maker of my grandfather’s lanterns), but their company Star Headlight and Lanterns, has been around for 123 years and is still going strong. In fact, the owner (our guest) is the fourth generation of his family to run this business!!
Here are some highlights from this delightful letter:
“Anne and I really loved staying at your lovely place. It was the end of a memorable trip. Your MapQuest got us perfectly to our sons house, where we saw our grand kids, then flew home. The enclosed lanterns are used daily by all railroads. Put one next to your Deitz. Please see Amanda gets one, she was most helpful. We look forward to seeing you again sometime.”
Well, so do we!! These lanterns are sure to be useful in a winter storm when the lights go out! This is the fun of inn-keeping, meeting interesting people and continually learning things about our fascinating world. And creating this dialogue between new people, and returning guests, where they can share with us the important things in their lives, while we can offer a restful place to return, hopefully year after year, to find peace and tranquility from the crazy buzz of modern life.
So thank you so much, David and Anne (and all the nice people at Star Headlight and Lanterns), — we hope to see you soon.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks for reading and all my best to my friends in Woods Hole,
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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!”
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.”
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!
Guest Post from blogger Megan Jensen
My favorite part of being an intern here at the Woods Hole Inn is the opportunity it gives me to explore Woods Hole and Cape Cod. So when I found out part of my job was to take weekly driving tours and write about what I saw and did, I was ecstatic!
Last week I took my first driving tour along the coast from Woods Hole to the Bourne Bridge. I started at the Inn early in the morning on a hot and sunny day, and drove up along the coast to the Bourne Bridge. It’s a fun and easy drive, with lots of great places to stop, for both locals and those coming from out of town.
Here is what I saw, did, ate…and highly recommend.
1. Visit the Knob
Just a few minutes drive from the Woods Hole Inn, the Knob offers a great short walk and beautiful views of the water and harbor. There is free parking available near the knob, on Quissett Harbor Road. The path is easy to find and the small conserved forest offers two trails, both ending up at the end of the “knob.” I recommend taking the right hand path, it will take you through the forest and along the water – offering great views, sunshine and an optional stop at a small beach. At the end of the path are benches where you can sit, relax and look out onto the water.
2. Stop and grab breakfast or lunch at the West Falmouth Market
As you continue your drive along the coast stop at West Falmouth Market for food, drinks and anything else you might need. When I got there it was nearly noon and very busy. They have a fresh deli – where you can choose one of their signature sandwiches or you can make your own. You can also order pizza to go. They have all the picnic essentials – coals for the grill, paper plates, and a good selection of beer. When I stopped I also grabbed a tempting looking muffin – all their bakery items are homemade each morning!
3. If it’s a beach day head for Monument Beach
Driving along the coast I passed by popular beaches with steep parking signs (20 -30$) and crowed shorelines. While Chapoquoit and Old Silver are great beaches, I recommend continuing north into Bourne and stopping at Monument Beach. When driving north it will be on your left, and can be easy to miss. Parking is free along the side of the road, and the beach is just across the railroad tracks. There is parking if you have a beach sticker, and there are also public restrooms and an outdoor shower. I loved swimming in the peaceful harbor, and the beach is great for all ages!
4. If it’s not a beach day stop and explore the Little Bay Walking Trails
These walking trails are a great way to spend an afternoon. Found alongside Shore Road in Bourne (before you get to the beach) there is a small area to park your car and take a walk in the woods. There is a map located at the beginning of the trails.
5. Grab dinner at the Lobster Trap
Only one mile north of Monument Beach this restaurant is a great place to eat after a day at the beach. Lots of parking and indoor and outdoor seating – this casual seafood restaurant has something for everyone. Next door to the restaurant is a fresh seafood shop where you also have the option of buying your own food and cooking it at home, or at the beach. I got a stuffed Quahog to go, and am in love. Being from the Midwest I’ve never tried this before and loved eating my meal off of a shell.
6. Drive across the Bourne Bridge
The last destination on my drive was to drive across the Bourne Bridge. I’ve always thought it was fun to drive across bridges (maybe a Minnesota thing?) and this one is really great. The bridge is huge and the views of the Cape Cod Canal are awesome. I also love driving back onto the cape and seeing the “Cape Cod” bushes welcoming me!
7. On the way home stop for ice cream at Somerset Creamery
This can be done at anytime during the drive. Located in Cataumet off of Route 28A, this is a good stop on your way out or back home. The ice cream is delicious and there are a ton of flavors to choose from. I opted for the waffle cone (they are homemade and have ingenious no-drip bottoms) with ginger flavored ice cream.
This was a great drive and can take as little or long as you would like. I suggest following the coastal roads for a better view and more places to stop along the way. Route 28A is a quick alternative however, and each stop is easy to navigate to from the main road.
This is the route I took Woods Hole Inn to Bourne Bridge.
from Guest Blogger Megan Jensen
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.
Loving life and lobster barley-pops on the Fourth of July in Woods Hole.
All in a day’s work for Girl Friday Megan Jensen, behind the scenes at the Woods Hole Inn.