MV Chilifest on January 24, 2015

September 7, 2014 by Beth Colt

MV Chilifest (also known as the Big Chili Contest) is right around the corner on January 24, 2015 this year!  Start getting excited for the fun of the ferry ride packed with happy people headed to the big tent with all you can eat chili donated from local restaurants, live music and plenty of cold beer.  Sponsored by mvyRadio, this day of wintery fun and games benefits the local Red Stocking Fund and raises over $30,000 for local charity.

The ferries leave Woods Hole starting early with eager restauranteurs carting hot chili for the MV Chilifest.  There are free buses on the Martha’s Vineyard side to the PA Club in Oak Bluffs where the crowd gathers under a huge tent with heaters.  About 3,000 people attend, and the party lasts most of the day, at least until all the soups are consumed and prizes handed out for winners.  Tickets to the  Martha’s Vineyard Big Chili Contest are hard to get, mostly sold at local bars and hangouts both on the island and in Falmouth.

This year, the Woods Hole Inn is offering a special MV Chilifest package with free Chilifest and ferry tickets included in your two night stay.  Conveniently located across the street from the Steamship Authority ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, our two night package is a great deal.  You can see all the details on our specials page.  Book now while supplies last.

Here are some snapshots of all the fun from prior years, or go ahead and dive into the blog archive for the full story.

Woods Hole Inn Chilifest Special

Having fun at the Marthas Vineyard Chilifest.

Woods Hole Inn Chilifest Package

Over 3,000 people attend the MV Chilifest in January on Martha’s Vineyard

Woods Hole Inn close to ferry to MV

Great fun with live music all day under a tent in January on Martha’s Vineyard near Woods Hole MA.

Woods Hole Inn package for Chilifest

Free chili and lots of beer at the Martha’s Vineyard Big Chili Contest on Cape Cod in winter.

Woods Hole Inn Chilifest package

Move aside Mardi Gras, we have FUN on Cape Cod in wintah.

Relax in Edgartown, nearby Edgartown MA lodging

August 11, 2014 by Beth Colt


Relax in Edgartown MA

Sea-washed shingles, neatly trimmed cottages, cheerful flowerbeds, and a scenic harbor full of yachts and sailboats make Edgartown one of my favorite spots to visit on Martha’s Vineyard. Edgartown seems to emanate summer and relaxation, beckoning me back every year.

Ferry boat to Martha's Vineyard from Woods HoleThe easiest (and most economical) way to get there is to take the Woods Hole Steamship Authority ferry to either Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven, which is the perfect solution for finding Edgartown MA lodging. From either of these Vineyard towns, catch Martha’s Vineyard bus #1 or #13; they leave every fifteen minutes and cost a few dollars.




Coffee in Edgartown MAOnce in Edgartown, I head immediately to Murdick’s Café for a perfectly brewed iced coffee and a taste of their homemade fudge. The chocolate peanut butter variety is decidedly indulgent, but who can argue with a recipe that dates back to 1887!




Things to do in Edgartown MALikewise, Edgartown is arguably one of the best places for boutique shopping: luxuriant cashmere sweaters donning nautical patterns at 20 Main, sailboat-embroidered shorts at Island Outfitters, and uniquely Vineyard necklaces and bracelets at numerous fine jewelry shops. There are also preppy name-brand stores like Jack Wills, Lilly Pulitzer, and Vineyard Vines. My favorite store is Backwater Trading, featuring outerwear, fishing paraphernalia, and casual beach attire – summer anyone?



Delicious food nearby Edgartown MA lodgingFor classic Vineyard fare, wander down Dock St. to the Seafood Shanty. Their calamari is fresh and local and delicious and the rooftop dining provides spectacular views of the harbor and the Chappy Ferry’s “back and forth” between the Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island, a 527 foot passage!




Edgartown MA lodgingI discovered two new treasures this year in Edgartown: Edgartown Books and the Edgartown Lighthouse. The bookstore is located right downtown and was a welcomed oasis from the bustling town. Cozy seating areas tucked between aisles of this historic building brings browsing for the perfect beach read to a new level. And don’t miss the awesome stairs! After unwinding, I was ready for a trek to Edgartown Light, my first time to venture out to this totally picturesque lighthouse. Wandering past the historic Edgartown Public Library, stately seaside homes, and the gorgeous Harborview Hotel makes the trip even more worthwhile.


Woods Hole InnBefore catching the bus to Oak Bluffs for the ferry and to complete my summer escapade, I grabbed a freshly made frozen “Arnold Palmer” from MacPhail’s Corner Café – refreshing! So, whether you want to walk along the harbor or spend the day browsing boutiques, Edgartown will become your summer pleasure. –Guest Blogger, Gwen Martin




Cafes in Edgartown MA

Shopping in Edgartown

Woods Hole Inn Day Trip

Day trip from Woods Hole MA

Downtown Edgartown MA

Edgartown Public Library

Chappy Ferry

Shopping in Edgartown MA

Edgartown MA books

Homes in Edgartown MA

Shopping in Edgartown

Ferry boat to Vineyard Haven

Day trip to #OB

August 20, 2013 by Beth Colt

Cape Cod

Did you know over a million people a summer take the Steamship Authority Ferry to the Vineyard from Woods Hole?  Hard to imagine, until you live in Woods Hole and you watch the people streaming on and off the boats.

And while we spend the summer at the front desk advising people about how to navigate the island, you would be surprised how infrequently we actually have time to head over ourselves.  So it was with some excitement that I boarded the Island Home this Saturday to explore.

Highlight of the trips are many, but it all starts with the ferry ride itself — bright sunshine, sparkling water over Vineyard Sound, seagulls following the boat, wind in your hair on a hot day.  Fantastic.

On arrival, we walked the beachfront with the great expanse of ocean and sky to your left.  Down on the sand below you, there are people, boats, towels, beach chairs and so much fun happening both in the water and out.

After our fill of the beach views, we strolled to the Methodist Camp often referred to as the “Gingerbread Cottages.”  Built in circles surrounding an open air wooden gathering place from the 1880s, these historic landmark cottages are a sight to see all dressed in their Victorian finery, many colored facades and rocking-chair stuffed porches.  The lucky occupants were sipping wine spritzers with their feet up on balconies, enjoying the promenade of people walking through and the sound of  Wynton Marsalis playing under the glorious tabernacle.

From the Campgrounds, we returned to the hustle bustle of Circuit Avenue and jostled our way past pizza, donut, fudge and burger joints.  We window shopped all the hangouts and chose the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company.  I was dutifully impressed with their milky and authentic clam chowder — winner of this year’s Yankee Magazine Best Chowder in New England award!  Yum.

The boat ride back was just as great as the way over, except now sunset over water and a lot cooler.  I got some good snaps of the scenery — plus the Quicks Hole churros we enjoyed in Woods Hole at dusk — and I will share it all with you here.  A fine summer’s day.

Cape Cod, summer fun Vineyard Haven harbor view







Gingerbread Cottages Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard






Oak Bluffs Martha's Vineyard ferry terminal Churros from Quicks Hole in Woods Hole Sunset over Vineyard Sound on ferry home to Woods Hole

Eight fun things to do in Oak Bluffs

July 20, 2012 by Beth Colt

Hot days in July sometimes cause sudden thunderstorms.

This week was hot, hot like life on the proverbial tin roof, so I lit out for the open air of the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, hoping to catch a little wind on the way, and see the sights in Oak Bluffs.  I have been to the Vineyard many times before, but never explored every nook and cranny of this hip little island town, so here — after an afternoon of beating the streets  — are my favorite to things to do in Oak Bluffs:

1. Hunt for a Souvenir.

Island life is filled with long dusk walks, ice cream cones and trips to the beach.

From Soft as a Grape to Menemsha Blues to the Black Dog, there is a t-shirt for everyone on the main strip which is called Circuit Avenue.  I wandered into the Black Dog and admired their fluffy sweatshirts with the ubiquitous large retriever.  Tip for shoppers: While there appears to be a Black Dog on every corner, the “outlet” store sells much of the same stuff at a discount in a small shop down by the marina called the Dockside Premium Outlet.

2. Go Upscale.

Oak Bluffs now has a Vineyard Vines.

Since the Vineyard was discovered by the masses in the last decade or so (much to the chagrin of the folks who have loved it for centuries), the shopping has gone upscale, especially in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven.  But even rough and tumble Oak Bluffs now has a Vineyard Vines, so don’t miss this wonderful shop painted navy and hot pink at the end of Circuit Avenue.

3. Eat an  Ice Cream.

Ice Cream on Martha's Vineyard.

Do not leave OB without an ice cream cone.  Mad Martha’s, Ben and Bill’s —  doesn’t matter much which place you choose, you will be sure to leave with that blissed out, I-am-on-vacation-and-I-just consumed-three-days-worth-of sugar smile.

4.  Visit the Gingerbread Cottages

Illumination Night is a famous time to visit this incredible neighborhood.Just behind Circuit Ave sits the neighborhood known as the “Gingerbread Cottages.”  This incredible collection of brightly-painted Victorian summer cottages was originally a Methodist campgrounds but is now on the National Register of Historic Places and is a cherished spot for visitors and residents alike.  Stroll back in time on the tiny pedestrian streets, their yards cluttered with day lillies and porches jammed with Kennedy rockers painted every color of the rainbow.

5.  Grab an iced coffee.

A visit from the Woods Hole Inn to Oak Bluffs for the day.

Plenty of choice here for the quintessential frosty coffee crammed with ice.  I went with decaf and lots of milk, and the cup in my hand kept me cool for several extra blocks of exploration.

6. Ride the Flying Horses.

Near the ferry terminal in Oak Bluffs is a 100 year old carousel.

This 100+ year old carousel is just as charming as it looks in photos.  You will see it immediately as you get off the ferry in OB, and be sure to wait for a ride — it’s worth it!

7.  The Beach.

You don't have to go far to find the beach on Martha's Vineyard.Is there anything better than a beach right next to a ferry terminal?  The Jersey Shore has nothing on this, with calm waters, a waterfront park and the shops a stone’s throw from the sand.  Feeling ambitious?  Rent a bike and ride towards Edgartown.  You will come upon the “Jaws” bridge — with kids jumping off the causeway into the tidal currents below just like they did 30+ years ago in the movie.

8.  Ride the ferry home to Woods Hole.

Ferries leave about hourly all summer long between Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole.Nothing better at the end of a full day of sightseeing than flopping into an ocean-view seat for the cool ferry ride home.  Watch the gulls circle above the deck and feel the southwesterly breeze on your face.  Well-earned relaxation at it’s very finest.

Home from a long day in Oak Bluffs, happy to be back in Woods Hole.

Miniature Tugboats

September 28, 2011 by Beth Colt

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!