Photo of the Year, Pick Your Favorite from the 2014 Season

December 20, 2014 by Beth Colt

Call me shutterbug.  All year long, I wander around Woods Hole and snap photos with my iPhone.  I post these photos daily on the Woods Hole Inn’s Facebook page under the moniker “Woods Hole Colors.”  Maybe some of you already follow me there.

As we hurtle towards the New Year, I decided to review 365 days of my photo library and share my favorites.  There are so many breathtaking vistas in and around Woods Hole, but I am always hunting for new light, a new angle, a new take.  Somehow, the scenery manages to change and familiar spots continue to look new to me.

My photo of the year essay starts in the winter, perhaps my favorite season because it is new to me.  As a wash-ashore aka former summer person (the lowliest form of life to a real Cape Codder:), the landscape I know so well never ceases to amaze me when bathed in snow.

snow on Eel Pond Channel in Woods Hole winter 2014

A close second to snow scenes are winter sunsets.  I am not sure if they are more beautiful because we need them to be to keep our spirits up in the cold, or perhaps we are more likely to appreciate them because they come so much earlier in the day.  In any case, the light across the water with storm clouds hovering also captures my imagination.

sunset and research vessel in Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod

When spring comes, I wait for these three cherry  trees to blossom.  You can see them from Woods Hole Road as you drive into town, and their high bloom only lasts a day or so, less if the wind blows hard.  Perched as they are atop a hill in the golf course, these three sisters epitomize late spring for me.

cherry trees on Woods Hole golf club in full pink blossom in springCome summer, I like to visit Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard.  You can get there via the ferry to Vineyard Haven, then hire a taxi or hop the public bus system.  This spring, I held an iPhoneography workshop at the Inn and on Sunday we visited this tiny fishing village.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a commitment to get all the way out to Menemsha.  Off the grid.  Rustic.  Old school.

Menemsha Fish Market closed for the seasonIn late June, the Corwith Cramer comes back to her home port.  This metal hulled clipper ship sails the seven seas with college kids aboard as part of the “Sea Education Association” (aka S.E.A.).  Her slip in Woods Hole is right across the street from the Woods Hole Inn.  All of a sudden, Woods Hole feels a bit more like the whaling village it once was.

Corwith Cramer from the stern at port in Woods HoleHigh summer, the days are so long it does not get totally dark until after 9 pm.  The view from the Eel Pond drawbridge is beautiful every day, but some days, with the stillness of evening settling the water to glass, a ferry perched on the horizon and the sky tingling with hues of pink and baby blue?  Thank goodness for that iPhone in my pocket!  Poems should be written about this channel, children named after it, world leaders brought here to fill their hearts with tranquility before global negotiations.  I share the immeasurable healing power of a single vista.

Martha's Vineyard ferry in the distance from Woods Hole draw bridge

Summer is a blur of guests from far and near with the streets of Woods Hole packed like Manhattan, the buzz of late night revelers walking in the warm air, buskers, beach days, sailing trips, outdoor showers, sand on the floor, piles of salty towels on the porch, little sleep and lots of fun.

green bike with red wagon on Falmouth MA beach photo by Beth ColtFriends visit: we enjoy restaurant meals, ferry rides, books on the beach and long walks home under the bright stars.

friends gather at Quicks Hole Tavern including Timothy OliphantThe kids love these long days filled with cousins, trips to Cuttyhunk for ice cream, climbing the copper beach in front of Pie in the Sky, trying every item at the penny candy store.

Cuttyhunk ice cream store summer Cape CodSummer is all about parties and invitations.  This was a memorial gathering in the forest outside the house of my friend Jill (a wicked talented architect) who lost her daughter earlier this year.  It was an understandably muted festivity in honor of Lizzie, but there was plenty of square dancing after the pot luck meal.

hay bales for chairs and wooden board tables at pot luck gathering summer of 2014 in Falmouth MA


Of course there are also spectacular summer sunsets, and many people have roof decks.  Sweet huh.

sunset on roof deck overlooking Buzzards Bay on Cape Cod

Not every day is perfect.  Sometimes the fog rolls in and you can hear the ferries talking to each other with their horns as they pass in pea soup of Vineyard Sound.  A hush seems to fall over the village, even the street conversations are quieter.  OK, you’re right – it’s perfect in a different way.

Eel Pond Channel in fod with red light in foreground and mysterious large ship in the distanceThen with a headlong rush comes fall.  It’s later here because the Gulf Stream keeps temps high until the end of October.  As my kids carved pumpkins on the front porch at Halloween this year, a gaggle of eighth graders came by in towels from a swim at the beach. (I think they were showing off, but whatever.)

Road winding away with yellow leaves and old fashioned fence in Woods Hole MAFor the final best photos of the year, I will take you home to a recent autumn picture of the Woods Hole Inn, where a warm welcome awaits you should you decide to come experience the Cape Cod seasons for yourself.  If you have a favorite from my collection, let me know in the comments below.

Or follow me on Facebook, where I post seasonal images every day, all year long. #WoodsHoleColors

Woods Hole Inn instagram filter with autumn leaves in forground



Exploring the SEA

June 18, 2012 by Beth Colt

Corwith Cramer open for tours in Woods Hole.

Yesterday, the Sea Education Association (SEA) opened the hatches to their primary Atlantic sailing vessel, the sturdy clipper ship Corwith Cramer, for an afternoon of guided visits.  Students and teachers were on board explaining the ship, their scientific mission, and the logistics of day-to-day life on a floating school.

SEA runs semester and summer learning excursions for high school and college age kids.  The group we met yesterday had spent five weeks in Woods Hole training and preparing, then the last six weeks sailing up the East Coast from St. Croix aboard this very ship.

Home port for the "Corwith Cramer" is Woods Hole.

The ship is a floating laboratory, replete with a science library, and lots of gear for water collection, monitoring and analysis.  Students had vacated the hold that morning, and will spend the next two weeks preparing research papers on the data collected in the cruise.

Since getting out on the water is one of the great perks of the marine scientist, you can imagine that there is a long list to berth/study on the Corwith Cramer, and I got the sense that the students were very serious in their pursuit of science.

Corwith Cramer below deck in Woods Hole.

Being in the hospitality business, I was curious about the sleeping arrangements…Let’s just say this is not a pillow top mattress!  But students said the narrow berths were very comfortable, especially when exhausted by a long day at sea.

Corwith Cramer, an SEA vessel, docked in Woods Hole.

Every young Jacques Cousteau dreams of life on the water, and these students get to live it, literally learning the ropes needed to hoist the full sails of the ship.  Students told us that while there is a motor, most of the journey is under sail, including maneuvers to collect water samples that involve jibing and going in irons.  Tricky stuff even for experienced sailors!

"Steer a course for others to follow"

It was a great afternoon on an incredible clear summer’s day, but I especially loved the school motto, emblazoned in brass on the helm:  “Steer a course for others to follow.”  Words to live by.

Landfall Restaurant and the rest of Woods Hole seen from the deck of the Corwith Cramer, Cape Cod summer.