Fourth of July in Woods Hole is like marine biology Halloween — students from all the local laboratories pour into the streets dressed in patriotic costumes with a science theme. This is your chance to see PhD graduate students clad in balloons, clustered like sporozites or bearded like “G-nomes.”
I love this parade with all it’s quirky glory. Where else would you see blow-up Santa’s with “Year Round Jobs Wanted” signs walking next to the buxom “Brazen Belles,” a local burlesque show.
Or the Ward family in an Italian surrey celebrating 55-years in Woods Hole?
Even the sidelines are a visual treat, with freckle-faced little boys sucking bright red lobster barley pops and grandmothers sporting red, white and blue t-shirts and vigorously waving their flags?
Here are the photos that tell the whole tale, from the dancing lobsters to the vintage American flags. All I missed was the water balloon fight at the end, where as I heard it told, a near-riot broke out and a local police officer called for backup after the science students continued peppering him with balloons and laughter.
They say it takes a village. And in the lovely town of Falmouth, Mass (where there are eight villages that make up the municipality), I would say it takes NINE.
Nine Bed & Breakfast’s that is. All members of the Falmouth B&B Association. Together we offer over 70 rooms with many styles and locations. Want the beach? Try Baileys, Inn on the Sound, or the Beach Rose. Love being in the middle of town? Well there are four great spots clustered around the Falmouth Green, walking distance to the shops, restaurants AND the beach. Want a convenient way to take the Martha’s Vineyard ferry? Try your options in Woods Hole… and the list goes on.
This august group came together last winter and decided to re-do our association’s website (check it out here!) AND add some video as part of the “Better Way to Stay” campaign. Since I have some film experience, I was elected to usher the filmmakers around town. And be the craft services team, and the first AD, and the production coordinator, and the still photographer… See unlike my former days in Hollywood, where a crew might be about 200 people, this was a lean, mean operation.
Our “guests” were wonderful local actors and all-around great people like Davidson Calfee, Maura Aldrich, Jenn Perault, and Jared and Jennifer. We were so grateful they donated their time to make this shoot a success.
Here are a few “behind the scenes” shots of the “making of” the Falmouth Better Way to Stay video! And if you want to see more of the “Better Way to Stay” campaign, look here. Stay tuned as we wait for the final edited version that we hope you will help us share with the world.
Falmouth, and it’s nine bed and breakfasts, are FOR SURE, the smarter way to visit Cape Cod.
Luke Stafford of Mondo Media is behind the camera, while Jared and Jennifer (owner of the “Pink Polka Dot” a Falmouth gift and wedding boutique) serve as our breakfast models at the newly renovated Captain’s Manor Inn.
Luke works deftly to get this romantic silhouette shot on the porch of Bailey’s by the Sea, a wonderful B&B right on the beach in Falmouth Heights. Davidson Calfee and Jenn Perrault oblige with faux martini’s and a toast to the sunset.
Thanks to all who made this day happen. Stay posted for the results.
They come from all around the world in buckets and ziplock bags, tagged with masking tape and a sharpie, from places with exotic and unfamiliar names like the Kane Megamullion, Galleon’s Passage and the East Pacific Rise. Sea muds, magmas, cores dredged up from the bottom of the ocean — some from as far away as Antarctica and others as close as Martha’s Vineyard — are the cornerstone of a 35-year experimental journey by local potter, artist and scientist Joan Lederman.
I was fortunate this week to be invited to a tour of Joan’s studio, tucked away in a lovely spot right here in Woods Hole. Here she receives the bounty of the sea (most of it from curious and helpful science friends back from research trips in marine biology). This rare collection from all corners of the earth does not look like much sitting in plastic buckets and dried bags draped all around her kiln.
But what dazzling things happen when it is fired onto hand-thrown pottery! Joan stumbled upon this wonderful confluence as a young artist here in the midst of a serious science community, and she has been perfecting the use of these glazes ever since.
As you will see yourself when you tour her place, or look at these photos, she is a master craftsman. Blues and browns crisscross with her delicate calligraphy, marking the seven seas or the latitude of the source of her glaze. Her work is the confluence of science and art. She likens the patterns that emerge from these ocean glazes to the DNA of the earth’s core itself, almost like an X-Ray of the origins of life. Under her careful tutelage, ghostly images emerge from these muds, some like prehistoric seaweeds reaching for the sun.
You may recall from sixth grade science, or in my case helping with the homework of a sixth grade scientist, that the earth’s magma or core comes bubbling up where the plates are shifting, mostly at the deepest and darkest spots in the sea. Modern machinery and robotics now allows us to see glimmers of these dark unknown corners, like Robert Ballard did when first exploring the wreck of the Titanic (adjacent sea-mud has been used in Joan’s work!) with a submersible robot called the “Alvin.” Later explorers have identified “hydro-vents” in which the most primitive forms of life are being studied as we speak, ground breaking work that is re-shaping textbooks, both challenging creationists and hinting at the mysterious hand of God.
Woods Hole is ground zero for this sort of cutting-edge conversation. Come here to visit the retired “Alvin” (on display along with all sorts of other data about the exploration at the WHOI Exhibit Center on School Street), then stroll out onto Juniper Point and see Joan’s work (by appointment only).
You will especially enjoy the ocean vista from her potters wheel, and imagine her on warm spring days with the french doors flung open, mud in her hair and the wheel whirring along with the bumblebees in her garden just outside.
Woods Hole — where science and art meet at the edge of the sea.
While we renovated the inn this winter, we did not renovate our website, SO for the time being, this post will serve as an introduction to the look, feel, vibe of the “New Rooms” at the Woods Hole Inn.
Some general comments: these rooms are all on the second floor of the inn. They all have vintage restored wood floors, the same wood floors that were always here just polished up. All have rain showers and bath tubs. All have views either of the village of Woods Hole, or over the harbor of Woods Hole. All have king beds, luxury linens, ipod docking stations, cable TV with DVD players. air conditioning AND free wireless internet access. Two have private water view decks, and all share a large deck with a great view of the Martha’s Vineyard ferry coming and going.
We continued with numbers on some, and others received names, like the birthing of infants which is not unlike how making them felt at certain moments. So without further ado…here they are:
ROOM 10: private entryway, private bath, king room with peekaboo view of the Eel Pond
ROOM 11: private entryway, private bath, king corner room with views out over the village green
Nobska Room: Delux private bath with vintage bathtub and glass rain shower, king room with killer views of the harbor and Martha’s Vineyard ferries
Penzance Room: Private water view deck, large private bath with twin pedestal sinks, vintage bath and glass rain shower in a large king room with water views
Nonamessett Room: Private water view deck, large private bath with distinctive wall mount sink, vintage bath and glass rain shower in a large king room with water views
So there you have it, pictures and information about the five new rooms! Please use our secure online booking agent at www.woodsholeinn.com OR call 508-495-0248 to book these rooms. We look forward to welcoming you to Woods Hole.
This is a big week at the Woods Hole Inn as we unveil the five new rooms on the second floor of the Inn. Last night, we hosted an opening party catered by Quicks Hole, with beer from Cape Cod brewery and wines provided by Travessia Urban Winery.
Le Tout Woods Hole was there munching on fresh salsas, lobster taco bites and crabcakes made fresh that very day. Yum! The building was packed with people, circling around and oohing and aahing over the new spaces and decor. Very gratifying after six months of sawdust and construction debris.
Falmouth Town Manager, Julian Suso, presented the Woods Hole Inn with a proclamation from the town, in gratitude for our saving the old grey lady. We were touched by the outpouring of compliments and appreciation from visitors, who seemed glad to see that this historic structure will live to see many more years in it’s prominent corner in the middle of town.
It was fun to re-visit with the contractors and sub-contractors as well, enjoying the space they all worked so hard to make beautiful. People lingered over the wallpaper designed from 1946-era check-in cards, gathered on the water view decks, and wondered when they could justify checking in despite living a three minute walk away!
So, without further adieu…drumroll please….here are a few views of the new rooms:
Modern decor with vintage restored details define the bath of room 10. This sink was found in the attic and restored at the Tub Doctor.
The Nonamesset Room has distinctive red coral lamps and a private deck with water views over Woods Hole harbor.
Hardwood floors, vintage restored bathtub and an unusual shape cast iron sink define the bath in the Nonamesset Room.
The Nobska Room is on the same side of the building as Nobska lighthouse, and looks out over the ferry terminal, Woods Hole harbor and Martha’s Vineyard in the distance. Love those soothing blue/greens.
So, pack your vintage bags and come on over for a fabulous romantic weekend at the best new inn on the Upper Cape. Book NOW; if it goes like last year we will sell out early.
Escher would appreciate the view from the top of the three story staircase looking down on the famous red chair in our lobby.
We look forward to showing you the place in person. Some of you have been following along all winter — What do you think??
I often get asked if I am related to the family in “The Big House” which is a memoir of life on Cape Cod written by George Colt. The short answer is yes. Mary Forbes Atkinson Colt was my grandmother, and George is my first cousin. The central tension of the wonderful book is what will happen to the house, and (spoiler alert!) the great news is that it remained in my family, purchased from my grandmother’s estate by one of my first cousins.
The house was is a state of advanced disrepair when that transition happened, more than ten years ago now. My cousin Forbes and her husband David totally renovated the place. There are many parallels to their process and my purchase of the Woods Hole Inn, not the least of which is the vast amount of work that was needed to bring the structure up to modern building code. Packed with family and friends all summer, I’m sure they sometimes feel like they are running a B&B.
The house is sited in the most wonderful spot on Wings Neck with incredible views of Buzzards Bay. The porch looks over Bassett’s Island; my grandmother called it the verandah. She also pronounced Miami “Mee-ahhmee” and made mayonnaise three syllables (“my-on-aisse”) in a vaguely french manner with a dramatic sss at the end. She and my grandfather dressed in black tie every night for dinner, although by the time I came along this garb from another era was rather tattered, and I had a childish hunch that they were actors in a play I didn’t quite understand. Think Arthur Miller and you have insights that you will learn more about in George’s excellent memoir.
One of the best things about moving to Cape Cod last year was that my father’s older sister Ellen was living at the Big House. I would drive out on Sundays to visit her, and she would fill me with stories about her parents, her life, her childhood on Wings Neck. She remembered my father as a toddler, all blonde curls and little boy giggles, lolling like a puppy in her mother’s bed.
Aunt Ellen was more bookish, she told me, and sometimes felt as if she did not fit in with the other four athletic siblings. She loved playing the harp, and came of age as a teenager in the middle of World War II. Her nineteen-year-old brother Harry was missing in action for over six weeks, during which time they all thought he was dead, but he miraculously returned from the war unscathed. I can only imagine her life as a young person in such tumultuous times.
Ellen battled cancer for 20+ years, and the rumors of her demise had been unfounded for so long, I came to feel she would be with me forever. Even her wonderful nurses seemed prepared to be with her out on the Neck for the rest of time.
Sadly, my Aunt Ellen died in the spring of 2011. How lucky I decided to come to the Cape when I did! I was so blessed to get a winter’s worth of visits before she wandered up to join my Dad. At her service, the most poignant moment was her son’s description of the nurses bathing her in ocean water so she could fall asleep with the tight feeling of salt on her skin as she had done in childhood.
So that is the short answer, and in classic Colt fashion, it’s a decent story but it’s not very short:) If you want more about the Big House, you can see my previous post on this subject here.
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Remember the story of the red chair? You know, the image I put on Facebook that inspired a visit from a Californian photographer who then sent me the most amazing photograph she had taken of the chair? I wrote all about this last spring, and told everyone I ever met all about it, and you can catch up with the story here.
Well, now the red chair is headed on a very unique trip. I have reached out to innkeepers all over Cape Cod. This chair is going to have the most amazing spring visiting the very best places to stay on the Cape and Islands.
Having checked in on the phone with these fabulous hoteliers, I can genuinely say I am jealous of the chair’s journey. I too want to spend five weeks crisscrossing the Cape, exploring every nook and cranny from the dunes of Race Point to the shops of Nantucket, from the farms of Martha’s Vineyard to the sand flats of Barnstable Harbor. I too want to try a growler of Cape Cod beer in Hyannis, or see the whales and dolphins off Provincetown, or chow on steamers in Truro, or skip the boardwalk in Sandwich.
Why send a chair on a journey like this? Because, like the surrealists used to say, this chair is not just a chair. It is a metaphor, an invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet and beautiful place. It is an open seat at the table of relaxation. It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature where you can lose and find yourself at the same time. It is the dialogue between artists and innkeepers, dreamers and shop-girls, lost travelers and those that welcome them into warm beds.
And that, my friends, is why the chair needs to travel!
Today I prepared my heart, then drove the chair to thirty minutes up the road to the lovely village of Sandwich where the chair will be hosted by the Belfry Inn and Bistro for a few days. This is a really cool place — a converted church with all the stained glass still intact. I must admit, I felt a bit like a mother taking their child to overnight camp for the first time! I mean, all the preparation I have put into this trip, and when it came down to it I really did not want to let that chair out of my hot little hands. I was feeling anxious and worried, wrote a long note to my fellow innkeepers about it’s care and safekeeping, even fretted a little about leaving it on side deck rather than handing it directly to the next innkeeper.
But I have to remember, the soul of this chair was meant to be shared. I found it at the swap shop, and so much joy has come already from sharing it. I have to believe more joy, laughs, curiosity will come as others are touched by it too.
Some nostalgic images of the chair at the Woods Hole Inn before it headed out:
Oooh, that Cape light.
On a foggy day:
Then getting ready to head out today, with a little note that says “Read Me!” filled with instructions and well-wishes.
Here we are all loaded up in the car:
Arriving at the Belfry Inn in Sandwich MA, a lovely 30 minute drive on a windy bright day:
Isn’t everything better when shared?
More to come on this story, plus read about it directly in a new blog called RedChairTravels.com.
The winter months pass faster than you might imagine, as you count the days for Cape Cod summer to return. The sunsets are glamorous and this winter has been unusually warm — a mixed blessing for those of us so close to sea level. If global warming is for real, then we are looking into the maw of the beast. The silver lining? The mild weather makes it easier to dash out at sunset and catch this kind of panorama.
Construction continues at the Woods Hole Inn. The second floor, where the new guest rooms are located, is almost done. This week they put the finish paint on, and next week will be consumed with refinishing the amazing original hardwood floors. Radiators went back in, the old school cast iron kind, and french doors were hung on the doors to the decks. Deck railing comes next week as well.
On the third floor, where the staff of the Inn will live soon enough, the drywall and plastering is complete and carpenters are putting the trim on the windows and molding along the floor boards. Sadly, the old wood floors up there were trashed, a cruel fate required for structural reasons by the Falmouth building department. In it’s place, the sustainable cork tiles will look modern and clean. The shapes of the rooms can finally be seen fully, and it’s odd to have such an intimate memory of the bones underneath the skin of the walls.
We are ordering a special wallpaper for the front hall, made from the piles of 1946-era check in cards we found stashed in the attic. I am confident that it will look graphic and interesting, and also delight those who want to reminisce about Mrs Josiah Smith of Vineyard Haven who stayed at the inn in 1946 for $3 per night. In addition, I found two incredible Russian ship lanterns, galvanized metal with red paint and old marine glass. I am having them made into lights for the front porch. You will tell me if you think they make the right “vintage restored” statement when they are finally hung in place.
I took my copy of building plans and wrote a love note to the person who will unearth all our work 50 years from now. I tried to express the joy I found in the doing, but I secretly hope they will know my passions from the lines of the house before they ever find my rushed scribbles.
A few images for you:
View from the top of the stairs looking down. The splattered wood you see in the middle will be removed so that you can experience three stories in the entrance. These are the walls that will be wall-papered with the check in cards from 1946.
Top floor, a lovely living room with private balcony and views to Martha’s Vineyard. Grey from the fresh plaster, this will be painted white and all trimmed out.
Another view of the same room, the light streaming in from the side of the building that faces the Martha’s Vineyard ferry.
New bathrooms with combo shower-tubs and the vintage floors brought back to their pre-paint glory.
Cast iron tubs came from the tub doctor in New Bedford. They look happy to be out of the showroom and back in the action.
Finally, the perfect image of the summer coming, from my friend Denise at the Sippewissett Campgrounds. This is what we are all waiting for. Thank you for sharing this, Denise — Nobska Lighthouse on an incredible summer day.
I can’t wait to be out on my boat looking up at that lighthouse, waiting for the fireflies to come out, basking in the last light of the day as the sun sets over Vineyard Sound. See you all this summer.
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…
I never thought I would finish this blog post, but I used my mother’s advice, applied steady pressure, and look at me now!
The winter has been unseasonably warm, with Quahog diggers out on the mud flats at low tide in the middle of February. They scatter over the landscape, the afternoon light low on the horizon and it looks like a scene from the Breugel-era, all hand tools, muscle and community. This warm weather is great for long walks, photographing and construction projects. As you know from this blog, I am deeply embroiled in all three, so this continuing good weather is particularly appreciated.
Construction progress is good, and we are on schedule to re-open the main floor of the Woods Hole Inn in April and the new rooms in May. The new rooms are really shaping up — tile went into the bathrooms last week, and the floors were sanded over the weekend so that the vintage tubs can travel up from New Bedford mid-week and find their new homes on shiny wooden floors.
Doors went in this week, decks are finished, and carpenters are working on the trim around the door frames. The painters were there all last week, priming the walls. They will be back next week for a finish coat.
On the third floor, we have been delayed by the insulation sub-contractor, who is supposed to blow this open-cell foam around the edges of the building sealing everything up like a styrofoam cup. I guess he is busy which is great for him, not so great for us. Fingers crossed on this one.
Here are some progress photos:
Doors ready for installation…
So as I take my walks in this unseasonably warm winter, I am gratified by the pace of hard work happening at the Inn. Next winter, these rooms will be full of people taking winter walks and enjoying these incredible sunsets:
Walking the Cape Cod woods in winter is a special treat, especially after a light dusting of snow. The jewel in Falmouth’s crown of conservation land is a 300+ acre property called Beebe Woods, which astounds the visitor with ponds, paths, ridges, hidden stone walls and wildlife. I wandered there for several hours yesterday, seeing few other people and enjoying the way the new snow makes the woods come alive with color.
Despite the low cloud cover, everything was aglow — the rusty colored pine needles lining the paths, dark roots growing over lichen covered rocks, sand pocked with footprints from deer and coyotes, slippery patches of swamp-mud and the flat black surface of the icy ponds. We spent two hours exploring and never crossed our own path — from Ter Heune Drive (near the hospital) clear across to Peterson Farm with its wide open meadows, from a high ridge path fit for mountain goats to the edge of Ice House pond near Sippewissett Road and the perimeter of the Punch Bowl, another incredible kettle hole pond.
This refuge, a sanctuary in the Walden Pond vernacular, is an incredible asset to the town of Falmouth and it’s many visitors. Here, you can visit the high church of nature and commune on your own with a spirituality that soars through the high tree cover like a red-tailed hawk hunting voles (which you may well see on your journey). Moving though this landscape in silence — listening to the crunch of boots on thin snow, scanning the hilltops for deer or fox — erases your everyday woes, De-fragging the hard-drive of your barnacle-crusted brain.
Tracing the old stone walls, green with lichen and frosted with snow, made me think of the early settlers who spent decades hand-digging rocks from the sandy soil and marking the boundaries of their primitive homesteads. How must they have felt, looking at these hard-earned walls?
Here are a few things I saw along the way:
For a map and more information about this astounding resource, read more about the 300 Committee here. Without the vision and generosity of a few local leaders, this land would have been developed into cul-de-sacs with matching mailboxes and over 500 cookie-cutter homes. Forever insuring that this land is available for wildlife and the appreciation of nature, the 300 Committee is to be commended for all their efforts — my appreciative donation is in the mail. And I encourage all visitors to the Woods Hole Inn to explore this unique spot in any season. Ask us for the map at the front desk.
The Martha’s Vineyard Chilifest is coming up this weekend, on Saturday January 28th in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard.
FAQ’s about Chilifest -
How do I get tickets? This is hard but not impossible. You could have mailed a request to WMVY but that is sold out now. Here is what the MVY Radio website has to say about it today:
Tickets are on sale now at Shirley’s True Value Hardware in Vineyard Haven, Trader Fred’s in Edgartown and they go on sale at The Courtyard in Cataumet on Wednesday, January 25th at 6pm. A limited number of tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event.
How much are they? Tickets are $30. Limit of 4 tickets per person.
How do I get there? Steamship Authority from Woods Hole. See the schedule here.
Who is playing this year? This according to the MVYRadio website:
Under the tent
12n-1pm Mexico Lindo
2pm-2:45pm Mexico Lindo
Inside in the New Bar
4-6.30 DJ Alvzie
Will I have fun? Oh yeah.
What about the chili? Lots to pick from, all free once you are inside. Well worth the trip.
Where can I spend the night in Falmouth? Usually I would say the Woods Hole Inn but we are closed for renovations. Try the Palmer House in Falmouth, the Holiday Inn in Falmouth or Inn on the Square in Falmouth if you decide driving post the Chilifest is not a great idea.
Good luck and tell me how it went!
Even though it’s Sunday, I feel like today is a real snow day here in Woods Hole. I mean who can pay bills or even watch football (OK, maybe by late in the day football is OK) when it looks like this outside?
My photo essay on the January 21, 2012 snow storm:
The venerable Woods Hole Inn, looking stately and a bit half-dressed while under-construction in the snow.
If you enjoyed this, I urge you to subscribe to my blog (see RSS Feed button at the top right of the page), and become a fan of the Woods Hole Inn on Facebook for daily pictures and updates from our little village at the edge of the world. If you feel there are other people who love Woods Hole who might also enjoy this, I urge you to mail them a link, or share the page with your friends on Facebook.
I really appreciate your help reaching a wider audience.
Figuring out how to restore stuff from a creaky old house is complicated. Who can bring these aging beauties back to life? Where do you have to go to find old-world craftsmen? Who cares about worn and antique stuff anymore?
I am headed down to New Bedford to the workshop of the “Tub Doctor” this week. For $500, the doctor will re-porcelain your worn cast iron tub, and sandblast the exterior to ready it for paint of any color. He is a colorful fellow, the Tub Doctor, and you will learn all about his life when you visit him. He prefers black feet on the tub to chrome, he wishes that women were more faithful, and he is looking for investors in a new business idea that will double your money in less than three months. I am resisting calling his eccentric conversation style over-sharing…. how about peppered with interesting and specific information.
Just finding the studio is intense. Imagine a series of abandoned brick factory buildings, sprawling over acres of empty asphalt behind chain link and razor wire with an old wooden door that might be in a travel blog about Moldova or Croatia.
The workshop is set in the middle of the largely-abandoned mill compound, and this section is littered with debris, broken tile, odd concrete. When they say New Bedford never recovered from the collapse of the Industrial Revolution, they are talking about places like this.
On the inside, vast chambers disappear as far as the eye can see and you can feel the spirit of the mill girls from the 1890’s, giggling and laughing at their sewing tables, even in today’s dank and empty silence.
Once you get into the Tub Doctor’s lair the heat is on, a radio plays and the smell of cigarettes mixed with paint fumes makes you feel like you are back in the 21st century. The Doctor is friendly and chatty, telling me about his baby, his son’s landlord and the price of the lunch he plans to eat later today.
We debate the cast iron tub feet and I defer to his taste about the chrome — never looks good, he tells me, chrome paint just looks like chrome paint. I like how the feet look like chess pieces, pawns clustered in a corner for safety. Maybe the ghostly mill girls play with them after dark, I think to myself.
I pay him cheerily, genuinely happy to have stumbled upon this odd corner of the world. I look forward to seeing him again when he delivers the final product to the Woods Hole Inn in a month or so. I drive out of the compound, back in the sharp winter sunshine, and smile.
You can find the old tubs plus the Tub Doctor yourself by calling New England Demo and Storage. Leave a little extra time for the stories, because let’s face it … the journey is half the fun.
The winds blew so hard on Friday that I had to lean into the railing of the Woods Hole drawbridge as I took this photograph looking out towards Martha’s Vineyard. By the weekend, the bitter Canadian winter had settled over our little village and I worried about pipes freezing on the construction site, not to mention my cheeks as I took my afternoon walks.
But that did not slow the pace of renovations at the Woods Hole Inn. Oh no, we have our eye on the proverbial prize as reservations are rolling in for summer and beyond (book now if you want to be sure and get in summer 2012) .
The place is swarming on the inside with people. One of the things you learn quickly as you renovate an old property is that the stuff required to make it “new” again is pretty high tech, read expensive. I walk around the site and I see dollar signs: ruby-red foam insulation, diamond-encrusted lighting and platinum sprinkler pipes. Even the pipe fittings glitter in the sun like precious jewels.
One notable change is that in past winters when the wind howled (over 50 MPH this weekend I heard), the old Woods Hole Inn groaned and creaked, shuddering with the big blasts and swaying like a salsa dancer in the smaller gusts.
But up on the top floor on Friday, I was struck by the stillness of new windows, and the hush of firm framing. All those new connections — the spider web of wood and joinery which will be hidden by plaster — makes the building sturdier. As sad as I was to see the old lathe walls in dumpsters, this new development reminds me that a renovation of this magnitude will help the building survive another 130 years, well beyond my lifetime.
Ruby red insulation…
low-voltage, recessed lighting …
sprinkler pipe coated with platinum ….
and all the trimmings for sprinkler installation…
The parts that people can actually see look good too, all closed up from the winter winds with nothing needed but a coat of paint:
Which leaves me with this parting thought: You get what you pay for.
Construction blogging is like high school dating. You flirt, you kiss for the first time, and then all of a sudden you have nothing to say to each other. Yes, hard to imagine but I have run out of clever things to say about wood framing, Marvin windows and drywall.
In truth, quite a bit of drama unfurled at the Woods Hole Inn as we hurdled towards 2012. But I can’t really go into it in any detail without hurting feelings or pissing people off. There was the fight over an 8 foot hole in the roof (abated), the struggles with NStar (we gave up), the drama of the chimney flues (unnecessary) and the saga of crumbling masonry (ongoing). There were highs and lows, and suffice it to say that so far, the highs have it. Could I really ask for more than that?
The sub trades came and went. I met with the contractor and architect weekly. The bills came monthly and I kept a difibrulator in the office in case of heart attack. (Wow, stuff is expensive on Cape Cod! ) The bank visited to be sure we are actually spending the money they lend us for the building. There are cautionary tales told, about borrowers who bough Ferrari’s instead (hmmm) and people over 90 days in default (oooh, that sounds uncomfortable).
But we plowed onward. The wind blew yesterday, too hard for the roofers which was a disappointment as it was otherwise fortuitous : clear, dry and not too cold. We are gunning for the “rough framing, plumbing and electric inspection,” the first big step toward completion. After we pass that, then we can insulate, sprinkler and drywall. It’s all downhill from there with finish carpentry, painting and decorating. Sounds easy, huh. And here is what you came for, the photos of progress and action as of late December 2012:
We struggled with Marvin Windows as their lead time is much longer than other companies, and they are pricey. But they look really nice once installed. If they last a nice long time in the salt spray, I will be happy. Call me in fifteen years.
And the views through those windows. Wow…
Thanks for following along and see you all this summer…
I have been thinking quite a bit about the people who built the Woods Hole Inn back in the 1870’s. They looked out over the same harbor, probably more big ships in it than now, but for sure ferry service plying Vineyard Sound in the same brisk and predictable fashion. Like us, I imagine that they were happy with the way fall seems to never end on Cape Cod, enjoying the brisk wind that whistles up past the inn on sunny days and bemoaning the rain when it slowed them down. Only about 140 years ago, these guys worked entirely with hand-tools — the grandparents of our grandparents.
So the renovation of the top two floors of the Woods Hole Inn moves relentlessly onward. With each passing day, with every dormer rebuilt or ceiling gutted, we find clues about the people who came before us, the hardy souls who also lived here on the edge of the world.
Yesterday, a shingle was discovered. Every chance this would have been tossed without a glance, but Bruce (one of the framing crew) noticed and nabbed it before it went to the dumpster. Since we have no idea the exact year the building was built, this is a pretty huge clue — hard to imagine they would have re-shingled so soon, so I am going to guess August 11, 1887 is the completion date.
I can’t wait to show this to my new friends at the Woods Hole Museum. Other treasures emerged in the last few weeks. One is a large piece of upholstered furniture, maybe the side of a chaise someone planned to repair? I need to share this with Skinner to see if it has any “significance” then decide what the heck to do with it!
I particularly like this letter, part of it devoured by a nineteenth century mouse. From what I can make out it is a super top secret, highly confidential sales pitch from a pencil vendor offering pencils at an excellent price — The Long Pencil Company of Chicago Illinois writing to Mr. Briggs (a former owner), dated September 11, 1894. Long before email and Google Ad Words…
I love that mackerel is a specialty and my clever friend Nick made me laugh by suggesting that “Stillman was easier to deal with than Griffin.” I suspect the third floor of the inn may have been used by a wholesaler of salt-fish and he kept his labels in the attic. He may even have stored or cured fish up there, as the smell was really strong when the beams were cut out.
And so the clues leave us with more questions than answers, but they are fascinating. All of the building crew — from the plumber to the electrician to the framers — have gotten into the hunt. I will let you know if we find more, and you can come next summer to see the highlights on display in the lobby of the Inn. Here is the whole letter, in closing, in case you can make out more of it than I could. Perhaps someone more accustomed to this old style of writing could write a translation into the comments?
Work continues at the Inn at a breakneck pace, as both my contractor and I are eager to get the place sealed up before the real cold socks in. The Marvin custom windows take longer than you might think — now they are saying early December. Ergh. But everything else seems to be going well, knock wood. The weather has obliged, it is still a balmy 50 degrees in the daytime here. Days are getting shorter and work starts early and finishes at dusk.
The views from the upper floors continue to astound me. Last week the floors were still open allowing a two story view of the place:
Then in an instant (it seemed) down went the third floor, plus new stairs were installed. I wasn’t keen on balancing the rafters like the boys, but now I can walk up there. The structural engineer came by and liked the solid feeling that comes from all this re-enforcement. “Stiff” he called it, while bouncing a bit on the new plywood. I guess that’s good.
Today was a bit of a shocker as I arrived mid-morning to the roof open to the sky. The front dormers had shed roofs added incorrectly decades ago. No wonder the windows eventually blew out — the structure was totally compromised by hacking the roof rafters. It had to be completely rebuilt to come up to code. I guess the good news is that despite the expense, this part of the building will be like new. OK, not just like new. Actually ALL new.
It was a bit glower-y and at one point it started to sprinkle, but thankfully the weather report was accurate and there was no real rain. By late in the afternoon, thanks to a hard-working framing crew, the roof was starting to come back together. I love the way these guys work in concert, moving around and cooperating with so much grace. I guess they study the architectural drawings the night before so that there is no time wasted on site. They have a plan. Best of all, they seem to always be smiling. There is a joy in the work, singing and laughing. I can feel it in the finished product.
And while our crew scurried around on our little ant-hill, the ferries came and went carrying people to the Vineyard, many of whom didn’t notice that say, the roof is gone from that building over there. Across the street at the coffee shop, they were serving lattes to customers who heard a bang but had no idea that a room up there was totally exposed to the harbor. In the laboratories of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (aka “WHOI”) right next door, same thing. Even my husband, back at his desk, totally unaware. We are all in our own little worlds… Micro-climates… Fishbowls…
This blog is about me sharing my small fishbowl with you:) Happy Thanksgiving! May your weekend be filled with the joy of a new roof successfully installed on a New England fall day.
This week, construction began on the new rooms at the Woods Hole Inn. With a crew of five demolition experts, the walls came down on the top floor revealing the majesty of a high-ceilinged space with amazing light and great views…when you can see through the construction dust that is.
Franko and the boys arrived Tuesday with crowbars and mallets to pound it out. Electricians stripped back the wires and a plumber came in to unhook the old claw foot tub. We pulled as much moulding as we could so we can re-use it as we put the place back together again.
I snuck in the day before they arrived and took some “before” photos. Inn guests happily ensconced in the lap of luxury two stories below would be shocked by the state of affairs up here. The windows were blown out and boarded up after various storms years ago. There was a rabbit warren of tiny rooms, accessed by a barn-like stairway. One bath for maybe 10 cubby-sized spaces, some only big enough for a bed roll.
I have met a few people who lived up here summers in the 70s and earlier, but I don’t think it has been habitable for maybe thirty years now. One former waitress at the Landfall told me she paid $25 per week. Another former resident bragged that a lot of pot was smoked up here, back in the sixties when Woods Hole was a real hippie hang out.
The Woods Hole Inn was more flophouse than eco-destination at that point. Summer college kids slummed it with the former chauffeurs of Penzance Point estates and other retired alcoholics. One man told me his mother advised he run past the building, as there were often “unsavory characters” on the front stoop.
Here are a few photos of what it looked like just before the demo crew showed up:
It’s was really hard to photograph because the rooms were small and dark. We had already done some minor demo three years ago while renovating other parts of the building. On top of that, it appears that the piles of old air conditioners were mating with the dusty artificial Christmas trees, or something like that. That the debris was replicating in the dark is the only explanation I can come up for why the junk seemed to grow larger each time I ventured up.
But after three days with a sledgehammer, you could see the old lathe and look through walls to the windows beyond, Cape light streaming in and promising a better future. Franko told me they had found some really old work boots (see above) and other debris — fell down from the ceilings he said. A couple of really vintage brandy bottles, a pair of cotton spats with little hooks for covering the calves when riding (?), a tiny wooden sailboat-toy painted a matte blue, a dusty old stuffed kitty long forgotten by it’s childish master.
I am working on an exhibit of artifacts to trace the history of the inn. Any input from people who know more than I do would be greatly appreciated. The final will be on display in the lobby next summer so come take a look. And come back to this blog for more posts about our progress. The expected completion is spring 2012 when the Inn will re-open with 14 new rooms and suites. See you then!
Late September is often cool and crisp, punctuated by the smell of woodsmoke as people start using their fireplaces to take the chill off rather than fire up the gas-burning boiler. Grass mowing ends as the cool air ends the growing season and the tomato crop withers on the vine.
Not this year.
It has been hot, like middle-of-summer hot here for a week now. Research vessels in to prep for peregrinations to southern climes are lingering to enjoy the fine weather. Even the hard-working scientists are off early to go fishing or ride the bikepath. I know the locals are into it because I see people sneeking off from work in their bathing suits, and heads bobbing way out in Buzzards Bay on long-distance swims. In this calm, warm weather, why not?
I got out in my boat over the weekend, trudging across to Great Harbor with my oars, launching my tiny rowboat from the beach on Penzance and rowing out to my slightly bigger boat to go explore the Elizabeth Islands. I brought a sweatshirt because you never know on the water but, wow, was that unnecessary! It was so hot I was yearning to jump in by the time I had the engine fired up.
Woods Hole Great Harbor is filled with the most wonderful and eccentric boats. I love this one, a tiny tug boat all made of well-polished wood from another era. Not too practical, but adorable.
Clearly, I am a little obsessed with this vessel as I look through my photo-files for other shots of the harbor and find only more of the “Amycita.” I don’t see her off the mooring often, but I do look forward to meeting her owners. Imagine a cruise over to Oak Bluffs (a great destination on Martha’s Vineyard) in this stylish vessel!
And this is NOT the only miniature tug in our little harbor. My friend Kimberly is lucky enough to have this wonderful boat, small as the smallest skiff but ooh, what style. She was seen leaving work early yesterday madly texting to friends about a sunset tug cruise. These are the perks of living so close to the water:)
So I guess this is what you would call Indian Summer. Since my visit to Plimouth Plantation, I may need to re-name that Native People’s Summer. Whatever you call it, it is something to be relished — summer weather long after is it expected to be gone is like a gift from the Gods (the Wampanoags called him/her “Moshop”). Something to inspire us and help us prepare for the long winter ahead.
Off to swim!
In fall, the early settlers of the real Plimouth settlement would have been busy preparing for winter, digging root vegetables into cellars, salting fish caught in the remaining long days and checking the seams on their thatched roofs before the winter storms. Today, a visit to the Plimouth Plantation (a recreated village replete with role playing settlers and native guides) is like a jaunt into another time, when a handful of brave souls clung to a stern version of Protestantism on the edge of a clear blue bay.
Wandering the paths of the faux settlement, you meet men and women who “live” there and who talk directly to you, answering questions simple and complex about their journey to the new world, their motivations and daily life. The pastor told us all about the hardships, 12 years spent in Holland gathering funds followed by an epic sail across the Atlantic where nearly half the pilgrims died. He told us how they grew corn to trade with “Indians” who came from a northern place called “Maine.” These native people, he explained, lived in a place with a short growing season and counted on trade of furs for corn to make it through the winter. The furs were valuable back in England, so the Pilgrims traded them for olive oil, salt, gunpowder and many other staples that they did not have in the new world.
We explored the little clapboard houses inside and out. I was especially taken with a lovely garden, filled with rhubarb and chard and the old fashioned split rail fencing that kept a big black cow grazing in a meadow nearby. It is hard to imagine the isolation of this little community perched on the edge of such a vast wilderness, so separate from their own culture. Many could not handle it and returned to England, we were told. Others were seditious and banished from the community. With so few people, it is no wonder petty issues had the possibility to become major problems.
The occupant of this little house was a feisty lass who told us about pub life in England and all the sacrifice she had made to come to the new world. Her authentic dirt floor, open hearth and simple wooden furniture made for a setting that Vermeer would have painted, and I was pleased how the iPhone captured the limited light from a small window:
Up at the top of the hill is a meeting hall, a church I guess, with a gorgeous view out over Plymouth Bay and the lighthouse in the distance. Built with cannon on the top, it is a fitting metaphor for the fire and brimstone church style of the rigid Pilgrims. This young woman told us she had just been married and was hoping to have children soon, if the Lord saw fit:
Around the bend, Native Peoples dressed in period garb work and play in a series of tents. The “winter house” of the Wampanoag looks like this:
Inside, a Wampanoag descendant sat on furs, weaving a colorful ribbon. The Native Peoples do not role play; rather they describe native lifestyles and culture when asked. There is a sign on the way in reminding visitors to be respectful. Some of the suggestions were so obvious as to be insulting (don’t “war whoop” or call someone “chief” or “squaw” — I mean please, who would do that?) But others are more subtle, for example, don’t ask what percentage native the people you see here are. OK, that’s fair.
We learned that Wampanoags spoke an Algonquin language that had common roots for all Native Peoples on the eastern seaboard. That they had a varied diet of meat in winter, fish in summer plus corn and many other vegetables both cultivated and gathered. That they made canoes from hollowed out tree trunks and larger vessels with pontoons that they used to catch whales off the tip of Cape Cod. Once captured, they would plug the blowhole of the whale and the whale would swell with air so they could drag it inland.
We learned that they lived in a simpler structure in summer, usually close to water they could fish but come winter they moved inland 10 miles or so to larger structures covered with bark. Around the outside of the tent were beds made of saplings lashed together and covered with many layers of fur. Whole families lived together this way, with a cook fire in the middle and a hole in the roof to let the smoke out.
Fall is the perfect time to step back in time and spend a few hours in the 17th century. Plimouth Plantation is about a forty minute drive from Woods Hole, and offers fun for the whole family.
Sunday is already a bit of a blur for me. Mix exhaustion with adrenaline and too much caffeine and you get a solid forget-me drug. I know I made it to the Inn to help with breakfast and there was a large crowd there enjoying the meal after several successful weddings (yes, we had guests with us attending THREE different Woods Hole affairs).
It was rainy, grey, still so very hot the air thick like in a movie but everything seemed normal — hot coffee flowing, baked goods fresh from the oven, halogen cutting the flat grey from outside. Then the electricity flickered and died. Wow, everyone could use a little makeup in the light of those camping lanterns.
By late morning, the wind was really howling, screaming into Woods Hole’s Great Harbor and the tide was high, lapping at the tops of the docks. The Martha’s Vineyard ferries were bobbing visibly on the piers outside our windows. Salt spray was washing over the building, covering the plants whipping in the 40-50 MPH winds.
Inside, many went back to bed, lulled to sleep by the roar of the winds and the dark light. A group from one of the weddings gathered to watch a ten-month old baby crawl across the king size bed. Little Susannah was adorable but I bet if the TV had been on with weather news, that would never have happened. Someone broke out the Jenga and played a few distracted rounds before moving back to the hot tea and cookies. Even the Sunday New York Times held little appeal — it was yesterday’s news and we were in the middle of the story of the week. There really was nothing to do but wait it out.
By mid afternoon, it seemed to be tapering a bit. It never hit the intensity of my memory of Hurricane Bob where the scream of the wind put your teeth on edge and the curvature of the glass windows threatened to bring the storm inside. It didn’t rain a lot, which is a blessing as I watched roof tile whip past me to the street half the morning. For us, several hundred miles from the eye, Irene was downgraded to a “tropical storm” and she was an entertaining but well-behaved actress, like a burlesque dancer from the roaring 1920’s (Irene) compared to a stripper on the “Sopranos.” (a stripper named Bob? I guess on the Sopranos…)
I wandered out in the car. The surf on Nobska Beach was intense, really churning in a way that we never see in Vineyard Sound (protected from the prevailing winds by Martha’s Vineyard.) There was this bright yellow foam whipping off the top of the waves and oozing over the road in strips. I heard that Surf Drive was impassable, covered with drifts of sand and seawater. When I ventured from the car I felt small and vulnerable, the sound of the wind an overwhelming roar, and I struggled to keep my balance.
On the way home, I saw a power line bucking and sparking by the Sands of Time. I later heard that when NStar tried to put our grid back online there was an explosion in a local house, burning it to the ground. Terrible. I hurried home, made a light dinner and collapsed.
Then it was just over. A gorgeous day today, sunny and cool, the taste of fall in the air. Except for the downed branches and the unusual smell of fresh green crushed leaves, you would never know there had been a storm. The ducks were out on their favorite little dock, the only difference that a summer’s worth of duck poop was miraculously gone, fresh scrubbed, as if it was made new by some magic cobblers in the night. I marveled at the small brown birds – so resilient! Where did they hide in all that wind?
Up way too early, I conquered the Inn’s generator system, managing to make warmish showers, hot coffee and freshly baked croissants with one plug and five gallons of gas. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with myself as mechanical tasks are amongst my most dreaded, and generally least successful. Charlene took the sheets into Falmouth (can you say laundromat?) and Amanda and I cleaned rooms with brooms, dustpans and rags. By three pm, we were still without power but miraculously ready to check in new guests. We even managed a new batch of cookies.
When NStar showed up on the pole right outside the front door of the Inn I knew we were close. Power was restored about 5.30 pm, my trusty generator put away for another day. Irene was relatively sweet to us. We we ready for worse, but so lucky we only got her simple side. Our hearts go out to others out there not so lucky. We know first hand how scary it can be. Now I hear there is a new tropical depression brewing out there…so we take our experience from this one and we wait for another battle. Next time, less florescent camping lanterns and more battery operated candles! I am gonna need that forgiving faux flicker to weather the next one.
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.
We are preparing for Hurricane Irene. Will she pass with a whimper like last year’s Earl, or rumble through roaring like Bob or Carol, or the dreaded Hurricane of 1938 that decimated this coast so many years ago that only octogenarians remember.
Doesn’t much matter because no one can actually see into the future (even those hurricane trackers) to tell us where the eye of the storm will pass. And so we must go through the same rituals every season, all the stuff up from the basement in case it floods, sandbags at the doors, boats out of the water, flashlights, gasoline, duct tape, spare water, tubs filled, canned goods at the ready.
I went to Eastman’s Hardware and stocked up. What a place! A real, old-fashioned hardware store with knowledgeable staff and plenty of the supplies you need. I filled the gas can and tested the generator. Jeremy moved all the porch furniture into the basement and tied down what was too heavy to move. We put batteries in all the flashlights and took down the flag.
And so we are ready. And then we wait. I wandered out onto the street to compare notes with other business owners — have I thought of everything? Is there more I can do? I thought of the early settlers, and the Native Americans who survived on this narrow peninsula for generations without doppler radar and the constant barrage of media warning to prepare prepare prepare. Perhaps some of them came to be able to feel the low pressure systems in their bones, or noticed how the birds get very quiet.
But on a sunny hot day like today, it’s really hard to imagine that a huge storm is coming. And easy to think that people were caught unprepared before modern tracking and the relentless clack clack of the TV’s StormWatch!. I guess that makes us lucky, but sometimes the anticipation is worse than the storm.
For real time pictures and news, follow my FaceBook feed at “Woods Hole Inn.” As long as the cell sites are operating, I will be posting up to the minute news and information. After the dust settles….