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.
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.
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.
Come 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.
In 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.
High 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.
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.
Summer 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.
Of course there are also spectacular summer sunsets, and many people have roof decks. Sweet huh.
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.
Then 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.)
For 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
Perched right on the edge of the Atlantic with french doors across the front, the Landfall Restaurant sits like a dock on the cusp of Woods Hole harbor. From here, the ferries come and go like stately matrons marching back and forth across Vineyard Sound. Watch the gulls, hear the tinkle of a child’s laughter as the boat pulls away, sit back with a cold brew as the crowds fight their way onto the Vineyard.
You see, the locals know that there is no rush to get out there. That half the fun is the process and if you miss this boat, another one leaves in a half hour so why not enjoy the breeze for a few extra minutes? The room is littered with lobster pots hung from the rafters and staffed by the college kid you wish you once were — bright-eyed, optimistic and efficient.
The Landfall Restaurant is such an institution that they hold reunions of their summer staff each year and scores of former employees now masters-of-the-universe show up for one more Cape Codder on the edge of the world. This is one of the few spots on the East Coast where the sun sets over the water (think about it, setting in the west usually means over land if you are on the Atlantic).
When hurricanes come, the owners just take the french doors off, clear everything out and wait for the tidal surge to wash through the restaurant. That’s how close this place is to the water.
There is a webcam at the end of the dock here, looking out at Nonamesset Island. In the spring there’s a banner announcing the restaurant’s opening day. I like to log on just to see if it’s raining, or if the ferry is pulling out. Or some brave spring fisherman is heading out from the Eel Pond. Or a new vessel has docked at WHOI. For me it’s a rite of spring to start thinking about what is happening in WoHo, who is there, what’s going on and when will I get to the Landfall for the baked scrod and a pinot grigio?
Somehow, I suspect, I am not the only one who counts on this webcam to bridge me to the actual summer. Check it out on www.woodshole.com. The Landfall Restaurant is across the street from the Woods Hole Inn.