Is is fitting that I captured images of the late Steve Jobs yacht Venus with my iPhone? Yes. Would he have been amused that posting them to Instagram later that day would cause an international stir? I am thinking not.
I took a vacation last week, sailing around the British Virgin Islands with my family and a few friends on a small rental sailboat from a great outfit called the Moorings in Tortola. On our last night out at sea, we anchored in the Norman Island Bight, famous as an ancient hideaway for pirates and rum runners. Captain Kidd hung out there, or so they say at the pub onshore.
In any case, I was snorkeling and enjoying the trade winds on our last day out when this extraordinary mega yacht anchored at the mouth of the harbor. It looked like something suitable for a villain in a Bond movie. Not really even like a ship — boxy, clear, highly structured. From a distance it appeared that the bow was square, like the whole thing was a floating Bauhaus inspired cube. More like something you would see in the Malibu hills than on the ocean. More like an Apple store.
When we got closer, we saw the huge bow deck littered with teak furniture and red cushions. The illusion of a box from afar was created by a polished chrome bowline that reflected the water. The whole boat was like a mirror, mirroring images that passed (like our tiny sailboat that looked positively trailer trash in comparison). The stern was open like a tin can, with a ziggurat of steps cascading down to the water. We circled peeking into what was clearly an exercise room with a huge shiny X that reminded me of the Mondrian Hotel in LA. Several crew members were in there, polishing the chrome, scrubbing the deck and rearranging the bicycle collection. There were paddle boards, a small umbrella, room for the launch which appeared to be elsewhere.
I posted these photos to Instagram right after I saw the ship. I could not resist, even though I try to keep my photo stream focused on fun things to do here in Woods Hole. Little did I imagine that these images would go viral the next day. First on Gizmodo, then Business Insider, Time Magazine, Cult of Mac, you name it.
So what does Steve Jobs’ mega yacht have to do with the Woods Hole Inn? Challenging question. I am a big fan of the iPhone, especially for photos, and I teach a seminar called “ten tips for great photos with your smart phone” with a session coming up next week. Not nothing, but not likely to get me the TED talk that might earn me an invite on this ship. Of course, there is always Captain Kidd. He hid out around here too, in amazing harbors like Tarpaulin Cove and Quicks Hole — equally beautiful places in summertime. (There is even a Captain Kidd restaurant right here in Woods Hole!) And we share the beautiful Atlantic waters as Cape Cod is the last stop on the East Coast for the Gulf Stream.
OK, maybe you are right — the connections between the Woods Hole Inn and Steve Jobs’ mega yacht Venus are tenuous at best. I doubt publishing these photos will help get me my dream invite on board, but I’ll keep you posted. I can only imagine the stir true inside shots might make. All rights reserved.
Summer on Cape Cod…the smell of fresh cut grass, the whoosh of the surf, a light breeze on hot skin, corn on the cob with butter, tender lobster meat melting in your mouth. Cape Cod is the essence of summer, and Woods Hole is the quintessential place to enjoy it.
My summer started with a visit to Stoney Beach (an easy walk from the Woods Hole Inn) and my first swim away from the shore. Looking back at the bay dotted with waterfront estates and sweeping lawns, I felt a release from the worries of winter. I reflected on all the things I love about our little village — scientists walking around with lanyards, wooden boats bobbing on their moorings, the smell of charcoal from my neighbor’s yard, rabbits that tear around at dusk, twinkling lights of the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard reflecting on the harbor, sunset with music playing at Quicks Hole, warm popovers in the morning from Pie in the Sky, my favorite tea at Coffee Obsession, a cool pinot grigio on the dock of Landfall.
Last weekend, I put all the winter coats in the basement and dusted off the paddle board, the life preservers and my flip flops. We moved the dinghy to the beach, and collected the Mirror (a tiny wooden sailing vessel popular here) for racing in Great Harbor with the Woods Hole Yacht Club. I located last year’s stash of sun screen, my summer shorts and t-shirts, swimsuits and coveralls.
Oh summer, with your visitors galore and friends from faraway places. We wait for you all year, then you are here and we wonder, can it really last through October? Oh yes… in beautiful Woods Hole, the answer is yes.
Cycling Cape Cod MA, especially in the crisp fall weather, is the best way to see the hidden vistas and back road treasures of this sandy peninsula. But how to make it all happen seamlessly in one killer weekend? Well, meet our our bike tour package, which answers the question — why cycle Cape Cod starting in Woods Hole?
1) Rail Trails. The Shining Sea Bike Path — eleven miles of cycling fun each way, connecting Woods Hole to North Falmouth with everything in between — gorgeous vistas, Nobska Lighthouse, downtown Falmouth, Sippewisset Marsh and the cranberry bogs of Bourne Farm — voted one of the best bike paths in America. Ride hard, feel safe.
2) Free Breakfast. Enjoy a hearty breakfast, included with the room, to prepare for your Cape Cod cycling adventure. At the Woods Hole Inn, that means all-you-can-eat quiche, bread-pudding, croissant, fresh fruit, Greek yoghurt and home-made sweet granola plus our fair-trade piping-hot coffee to slosh it all down. Work hard, play harder.
3) Chillax. Friday night, the sun sets over the water and you enjoy a wine and cheese reception to warm into your Martha’s Vineyard cycling adventure: rice crackers, Spanish Manchego, Brie, Marconi almonds and a sprig of fresh rosemary artfully arranged on a recovered slate from the recent re-model of the Woods Hole Library rooftop. Add your choice of red or chilled white wine? Great way to start the weekend!
4) Never Get Lost. Guide Rob Miceli of Cotuit Cycling Tours shares his secret routes, back roads and amazing views as you explore cycling Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard over two days. Rob will tell you all about the area, and pace the bicycle ride to meet where you are. He is great!
5) Escape to an Island. Across the street from the Woods Hole Inn, the ferry takes you to Vineyard Haven and you cycle with Rob on the bike path past Oak Bluffs to Edgartown and beyond if the group is feeling confident. Soak in the incredible views over State Beach, past the Jaws Bridge, over Vineyard Sound. You are on island time now.
6) Lobster Tacos. Don’t forget dinner at Quicks Hole (also included in the package!) our farm-to-table Taqueria with a water-view deck where the sun sets over the water every night. If you’re lucky, the band is set up and locals have gathered for a sangria or draft Cape Cod beer. Close your eyes and you are at one of any of the best end of the road hangouts — Todos Santos, Montauk, Key West, Carpenteria, Laguna, and yes, Woods Hole.
Last weekend, we hosted this special getaway inspired by travel writer Tim Jones, whose blog EasternSlopes.com urges readers that “life isn’t a spectator sport.” Taking the mystery out of enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the Cape from the seat of your bike, Tim Jones wrote the journey up for the Concord Monitor, and I urge you to read more about his experience here.
So for all you weekend warriors out there, consider joining us next time — we plan to keep the bike tours rolling in the spring and fall so stay posted here or “like” our Facebook page for updates, specials and sales.
Despite setbacks including intermittent rain and no power to the building for at least an hour mid-day, our James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef dinner called “Starry Starry Night” came off in style this past Tuesday evening August 13, 2013.
We started the night before, renting a truck and emptying the restaurant of all it’s furniture to make room for the chefs to work. Early in the morning, our parking lot was emptied of cars, the dramatic Sperry Tent raised, True North’s gorgeous farm tables assembled, glassware and plates and table dressing delicately placed with guidance from Susan Ryan Ackell and Jen Chagnon of the Pink Polka Dot.
With celebrity chef Cal Peternell of Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, CA and Anna Kovel former food editor of Martha Stewart Living at the helm, the kitchen was an incredible thing to witness. Cal held a meeting of staff at 9 am and the Quicks Hole crew led by our executive chef Stephanie Mikolazyk jumped into action prepping lobster, roast fennel, fish stock, fresh mozzarella and much much more. All day was spent bustling, chopping and prepping but the tone of the kitchen was calm, relaxed, jovial even.
All key ingredients for the meal were sourced from local farms, fisheries and the Falmouth Farmers Market. Running short on fish bones, I dashed to the Clam Man early in the morning where our friends there had saved this key ingredient for excellent stock, the critical base of the fish and lobster bouillabaisse.
One hundred lucky guests gathered on the deck of the inn with Woods Hole harbor twinkling beyond to enjoy bellini’s while noshing on passed appetizers like Washburn Island and Island Creek oysters with mignonette, smoked bluefish toasts with roasted fennel, fried panisses and summer vegetable fritters. Moving to the tent below, we were seated at farm style tables and the courses started arriving, first a salad of heirloom tomatoes and freshly made mozzarella, then this incredibly light saffron and tomato bouillabaisse with scallops, lobster, mussels, cod and a Maison Villatte grilled bread topped with rouille.
Nectarine galettes (along with all the delicious breads) were provided by chef Boris Villatte of Maison Villatte an authentic french bakery here in Falmouth and dressed up by Chef Peternell with creme fraiche. Lavender chocolates from Sirenetta Seaside Chocolatier were passed with gooseberries.
Oooh La La!
We gathered to support both the James Beard Foundation and our local Falmouth Hospital which is in the process of raising money to expand it’s emergency room. Representatives from both organizations attended the dinner, and I spoke briefly about how important that emergency room is to the community, and how lucky we are to have such a good one. Jeff Black spoke on behalf of the James Beard Foundation.
Our celebrity guests included captains of industry from Boston, Providence, Newport, Falmouth and Woods Hole. Artists in the crowd were directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett, singer China Forbes of Pink Martini and actor James Waterston, all dear friends of mine who made the evening special.
As guests trickled from the tent at the end of the night, I enjoyed the gushing about this unique venue and Cal’s amazing food. After months of planning and the gauntlet of the day, it was really satisfying to have made people happy. I am also so grateful to the event sponsors including Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Bank of Woods Hole, Robert Paul Properties and the Sea Crest Beach Hotel and hope they will join us next year as we build on the success of this evening.
James Beard Foundation rep Jeff Black told me that despite seven years of circling America hosting 20+ dinners like this one per year, he had never hosted a celebrity chef dinner with anyone from Chez Panisse as the restaurant tends to stay focused on it’s roots. We are so grateful to Chef Cal Peternell for coming and falling in love with Woods Hole!
I am deeply grateful to the farms and vendors who supported this event, plus our volunteer staff who served so beautifully and made the night incredibly special: Allen Farm, Cabo Cado, Cape Cod Beer, Cape Cod Saltworks, Carolyn’s Sakonnet Vineyards, Carpet Barn, Clam Man, Courtney’s Floral Creations, Edible Cape Cod, ElizaJ, Eva’s Garden, Fishmonger Cafe, Half Shell Co, Island Creek Oysters, Jacquelines Catering, Kayak Cookies, LKnife, Mac’s Seafood, Wellfleet Fish Co, Mahoney’s Garden Centers, Maison Vilatte, Mionetta Prosecco, Moonlight Rose, MS Walker, Narragansett Creamery, Newport Winery, Peachtree Circle Farm, The Pink Polka Dot, Pocasset Pretzel Co, Polar Beverage, Rentals Unlimited, Running Brook Vineyard, Shy Brothers Farm, Sid Wainer and Sons, Silverbrook Farm, Sironetta Chocolatier, Sperry Tents, Stella Artois Beer, Travessia Urban Winery, True North Event Rentals, Vermont Creamery, and Washburn Island Oyster Farm.
Finally, it must be noted that it takes a village to put something like this on, and the village of Woods Hole rallied to make this possible. Every business in the village helped out in some important way — offering sandwiches to feed our staff, extra parking places to wash dishes and clear up, walk in cooler space when we ran out, cocktail napkins that we forgot to buy and so much more. We are so lucky to work next door to places like the Landfall, Pie in the Sky, Jimmy’s, Coffee Obsession, Fishmonger, Phusion, Captain Kidd, Woods Hole Market, and Shuckers — could not make it through the summer without the support of our terrific peers. When you come to the food mecca of Woods Hole, you must try all these special spots. Thank you all!
Here are a few more photos of the evening for you to enjoy.
Much happens behind the scenes to get Quicks Hole ready to re-open in the spring — dusting off the bar stools, scrubbing the floors, fire inspections and so much more!
But the most exciting thing each year is rolling out our mascot, the lobster. This large fiberglass object is the source of endless street happiness with kids smiling and parents snapping his photo all summer long.
At the end of last season, our lobster was pretty beat up. Faded from years in the sun, too many toddlers had crawled on him and his left claw had fallen off. Off he went to the lobster hospital (yes, that’s what it’s called) and he came back with all his body parts re-attached. Add a sturdy metal base, plus a great new paint job by Steve (artist, lobsterman and Steph’s dad). Sweet!
How much did all that cost? Really, don’t ask. I mean what does price matter when it comes to things like life-like fiberglass lobsters? This baby has watched Luscombe Avenue for decades now. He has seen owners come and go. He has witnessed countless ice cream disasters, seen ferries grounded, watched hurricanes blowing through. He has posed with thousands of toddlers, hundreds of drunks and a few famous guests. To us, he is priceless.
We are pleased to see him back at his perch. Enjoy the photos that follow, and consider a trip to Quicks Hole for our famous lobster tacos. Quicks Hole at 6 Luscombe Avenue on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner in season.
Last week, Stephanie Mikolazyk and I were honored to “guest chef” at one of the most famous restaurants in America — Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Head chef Cal Peternell invited us (as he will be coming to Woods Hole this summer for an epic farm-to-table dinner at our restaurant Quicks Hole on August 13th) and its safe to say we JUMPED at the chance.
We helped out in the kitchen for two full days, starting with the chefs meeting at about 1.30 pm, through all the prep work, then service for two seatings of 50 lucky customers and an extraordinary meal (see menus and photos below…not for the faint of heart).
We chopped, swept, cleared, plated and generally tried to stay out of the way in our Chez Panisse chef jackets. We were also invited to the chefs meal, where the kitchen crew sits down together to eat what they have cooked that night in very civilized a half-hour break between the first and second seatings.
I was astounded by the restaurants commitment to going green — every scrap of waste is composted or recycled if possible, all produce is sourced locally and organic — and the incredible calm demeanor of the staff. This kitchen has a culture of mutual respect and teamwork unlike any workplace I have ever seen. Alice Waters was not there, but you could feel her presence in this culture, a feeling that the process of working together, making the food with love, and sharing the journey was imbued in the copper lined walls, soaked into the butcher block tables and baked right into the wood-fired grill.
What follows is a photo essay of the highlights from our incredible experience. Thanks to all the chefs at Chez Panisse for making us feel so welcome, and especially to Cal whose calm leadership style is a personal inspiration.
Menus: The first night the menu was warm salad of cardoons and leeks with chervil, egg and black truffle followed by Tomales Bay clam brodetto with grilled fennel and Espelette pepper, then Becker Lane Farm pork loin with chicories, balsamic vinaigrette and sage, new onion and Lady William apple fritters plus tangerine millefoglie for dessert. The second night the menu was Chino Ranch radicchio and orange-scented beets with ginger vinaigrette, then Louisiana Gulf shrimp risotto with toasted sesame seeds and fried leeks, then Salmon Creek Ranch duck breast grilled with coriander, fennel and green garlic, with roasted parsnips and pickled persimmon relish and for dessert Meyer lemon ice cream profiteroles with pistachio-anise nougatine.
I re-read this menu and think – OMG!!! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Remember the scene in Harry Met Sally when Nora Ephron says, “I’ll have what she’s having…” ??
It was like that:)
The sky was glowering when I biked out of Woods Hole on the Shining Sea bike path yesterday, with a blustery wind blowing from the southeast which is where the summer storms blow in from. The breeze was warm enough, it was cool and pleasant, a perfect day to explore.
The bike path, which is one of the biggest draws to Falmouth, is on the reclaimed path of the old railroad tracks (abandoned in the 1960s). This means it is a nice straight line, far from any road except a handful you cross along the way. How rarely do we get to bike on a paved road nowhere near a car? A special experience, it makes me wish that cities and towns across the country would have to foresight to install a unique right of way such as this one.
The bike path was extended last year, and now runs 11 miles from Woods Hole to North Falmouth. I dream that someday it will extend (as the abandoned train tracks still do) all the way to the Cape Cod Canal and hook up with the path that swoops out toward Provincetown making all of the Cape safely bike-able and connecting us in a green way to our neighbors in Chatham, Wellfleet, Truro and beyond.
I am working towards riding the whole thing round trip, and yesterday I made it past the five mile marker. The first mile out of Woods Hole is in the shady beech forest, passing over several old wooden bridges the bike wheels going thump thump thump on the weathered boards. There are glimpses through the trees of the houses on Fay Road that line a private beach looking out at Vineyard Sound. Tiny intriguing foot paths veer off to the right and left with small painted “private please” signs.
About a mile up, you get your first big reveal of the ocean. Surf Drive, one of the most beautiful of Falmouth’s many beaches, stretches two miles before you, surf crashing today over the breakwaters, the shore dotted with little cabins on stilts. I think of the people who used to come here on the train, most headed to the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, and imagine that this view was an exciting moment as they emerged from the woods and saw Vineyard Sound for the first time, caught a whiff of that distinctive smell of eel grass drying in the sun, and felt the cool breeze off the water. I can only imagine this was the first real taste of summer vacation.
Yesterday, the southeasterly wind buffeted my bike as soon as I emerged from the woods. I passed the Trunk River which is a tidal pond that empties into the ocean. Herring run here in season, and fisherman gather at the breakwaters to catch fish drawn to the current. There is another small wooden bridge, and a sign about the life of the tidal river that is worth a quick stop.
From here, the path veers inland, back into the lee, past several conservation sites with salt-water pond views and walks, toward the main streets of Falmouth. The vista to the left across the Oyster Pond is particularly delightful, even on a gray day, with the Spohr Gardens in the distance. Once in Falmouth, you can take a right off the path at the bus station for a pick-me-up at the locally-run Coffee Obsession on Palmer Ave., or continue onto Main Street for ice cream, homemade fudge, cupcakes and lots of fun local shopping.
I did not stop, as the weather was still threatening. Past the village, from the path you can see the back side of the bus station, the back corners of the Steamship Authority parking lot, and the cooking vents of Seafood Sam’s then you are back in the woods again, the canopy high above you and the light filtered green with the glow of the spring leaves.
I made it up to the Sippewisset Marsh, about mile five, before the rain started coming down in those large droplets that you can almost dodge between but indicate that much more is likely on the way. I paused to look out over the marsh and read a sigh posted there about the Wampanoag. It says, among other things, that “Sippewisset” means “place of the brook” and that this was a sacred site for Native Americans on their annual peregrination towards the fishing holes and summer hunting of what we now call Woods Hole and the islands.
History buffs will enjoy learning that this marsh is also the site of Rachel Carson’s 1950’s era scientific exploration into the devastating effects of DDT (a pesticide) on the environment which inspired her to write “Silent Spring” the book that launched the environmental movement in the US, ultimately inspiring the US Congress to ban the use of DDT. Were she alive today, she would reflect again on the sacred beauty of this marsh, again filled with osprey and many other shore birds that have returned due to her clarion call. Even with the threatening rain, I pause for several minutes to appreciate this achievement, a nice confluence of the scientific with the spiritual. Louis Agassiz would approve.
The ride home, I pick up the pace as the rain starts to come in earnest. It is all subtlety downhill now, I realize as soon as I turn around, and the trip back is faster and easier. I fall into a trance as the rain drips softly from my hat and the view in reverse rushes past.
Rolling back into Woods Hole, almost two hours and ten miles later, I am ready for a snack and a place to put my wet feet up. Lobster taco time! Thank god for Quicks Hole, the restaurant on Luscombe Avenue across from the Landfall, the perfect spot for a dripping wet biker to unwind a bit before heading back to that comfortable suite at the Woods Hole Inn.
One of the most unique things about Woods Hole is it’s collection of houseboats. See, most of Woods Hole is right on the water. Look at a map and you will see that we are on a peninsula of a peninsula of a peninsula, literally the last little strip of land on the southwestern edge of Cape Cod.
Just like Provincetown, only on the other end of the Cape and a lot less campy.
Anyway, the summer months are so precious here (rents go up by a factor of 10x) that it’s tempting to rent your regular house for a few weeks and earn enough to pay the mortgage all winter. But then where do you go? For generations, people moved out to their boats for a few months but, back in the 1970s, locals got clever and started building cabins on rafts and the Woods Hole houseboat phenomena was born.
People take day trips from the Vineyard, Chatham and Nantucket to tour the harbor and look at the charming house boats (it helps that some of the best fishing on the east coast is right here as well).
Every spring, the drawbridge in Woods Hole is occupied with the migration of the houses from their winter gam in Eel Pond, a slow march out to their spectacular perches looking out over all of Woods Hole. Perilously close to the multi-million dollar houses of Penzance Point, these tiny house boats have some of the most spectacular views in town…plus no need for air conditioning as out on the water, it’s breezy and cool most days. The tides that rip through Woods Hole keep the water super clean (but don’t fall overboard after dark as the current could whisk you away). I think there are about 25 of them; new ones have been banned but the existing versions are grandfathered.
At the Woods Hole Inn, guests like to watch the house boats at sunset from our front deck. A pitcher of Cape Cod beer and a comfortable chair with this view? Add a lobster taco and now you are smiling. Pretty special.
We have even considered owning one and offering it as a watery room option. It’s a short row back to dinner at the Landfall or ahi-tuna burritos at Quicks Hole. In the morning, get your New York Times, hot coffee and a popover at Pie in the Sky? Would you like to stay out in water world? Can you handle the rush of the current and the wind swinging your oversized hammock over the bay? Can you live without wifi for a night or two?
Glamorous camping is called “glamping.” Are you up for it? Comments please…
If you live here you come to dread the relentless question — “How do I get to Martha’s Vineyard”? I’m told that a favorite Falmouth joke is to give directions to the bridge. You know, the bridge to Martha’s Vineyard? It’s right down there, near the house boats. You’ll find it, just keep looking:)
We have hosted countless bridal brunches, catered many bridesmaids luncheons and launched quite a number of rehearsal dinners. Offering the accommodations for the bridal party, or the extended family of the groom? Done that many times over. But with only room for about 70 guests in the waterview terrace, I will be the first to admit that the Woods Hole Inn was a wedding ceremony virgin.
All that changed this Friday with the glorious nuptials of Kim and Jason.
It rained all week, cloudy, foggy, overcast and no glimmer of sunshine recorded in the three day advance forecast. Oh dear, I thought, we should have insisted on a tent! But I knew that tenting the garden would ruin that feeling of endless sky, and mute the Cape light to something diffused and ordinary. Kim and Jason agreed, and they were willing to risk cramming everyone inside in case of a downpour. Amazingly, and despite all prognostications, the day emerged with only a light fog shimmering on the harbor, melting off the Passage with an early morning sun. By afternoon, it was the first hot day of the spring. It was also the weekend of the much publicized “Rapture.” When we made it to late afternoon Friday with no rain, I thought, there is a God.
Kim and Jason were staying in room 5, with friends and family surrounding them in every room of the house. Sara baked all day to prepare special wedding breakfasts and the smells of fresh baked pound cake mingled with the bacon and roasted asparagus for the over-stuffed quiches. We scrubbed and strategized, weeded the garden and swept the back corners of all the porches, even dusted off our radio kits to make sure communication would be seamless during the ceremony. Extra valets were on hand, and a team of extra servers from Quicks Hole to assure that every detail went off without a hitch.
At the appointed hour, all the guests hushed and gathered in front of the harbor, with Jason waiting for her in his signature green pants, Kim peeked out of room 6, giggled with the flower girls and kissed her father. Gripping his arm, they walked down the driveway to emerge in the late afternoon Cape light. She seemed to glide across the sandy terrace, up onto a modest platform where they embraced tenderly, a ferry boat headed to the Vineyard pulling out of the slip as if on cue as the ceremony commenced. I was hiding in the back with my camera and captured their altar embrace, his eyes closed, lips pressed to her forehead.
Guests squeezed each others hands as vows were exchanged, a harpist perched in the shade on the deck punctuating the moment with her soft plucking. The best man expressed his love for the couple along with prayers for a wonderful long life together. And then it was done!
Champagne and freshly shucked local oysters, fresh lobster crostini with sweet pea garnish and snow peas piped with herbed cream cheese appeared on platters. Pitchers of cool Cape Cod beer, the IPA and the Blonde. Glasses of Chardonnay to toast the newlyweds, extra bottled water for the little ones.
All in all, a wonderful afternoon for the Woods Hole Inn — wedding virgins no more! A special thanks to Kim and Jason for sharing their big day with us. May the blessings of a sunny day on Cape Cod be in their hearts forever.
I will be the first to admit…a few months ago I did not really “get” Twitter. What was that crazy feed of posts and who were all these people posting? What was with the “#’s” all over the place and why were people so comfortable with the outrageous statement? It all seemed totally crazy to me.
Then, I got hooked. Hooked on the chance to cross all social and geopolitical boundaries to find people with like interests — like the thousands who adore “#CapeCod” many of whom might visit just once, or come only once a year. Hooked on the connections I made with real Cape Codders, twitter moms, foodies, locavores and news junkies who were living their lives in quiet obscurity just like me.
Last month, I decided to cross an invisible boundary and organize a tweetup. A tweetup is an opportunity for people on Twitter to meet each other face-to-face, to turn anonymous social media relationships into real friendships. Since Twitter is populated with early adopters, many of whom (like me!) live for social connections with others, the opportunity to deepen that relationship by putting a face to the funny series of 140 character tweets that you have come to admire is enticing. Add free lobster crostini at Quicks Hole on the first warm Friday in spring, intriguing. Silver Still (fabulous local folk du0) playing on the water-view deck with no cover? Sold!
I will admit that I fretted — will anyone come? I tweeted and tweeted like a veritable red breasted robin in springtime in hopes of getting the word out. I re-tweeted the clever posts of my new found #capecod friends. I created a hashtag to mark my tweets, #wohotweetup, and entered a dialogue with several other twitterers who were committed to coming to the event. I got name tags at Staples, checked on the lobster crostini, double checked the free wifi in the restaurant and then I waited for the party to start.
What a pleasant surprise awaited me. Tweeps from Hyannis mingling with Twerps from Martha’s Vineyard as the sun set over Woods Hole harbor and the Cape Cod draft beer flowed from the tap in pitchers… Incredible. See, despite all the people who pass through here, Woods Hole is not thought of by Cape Codders as a destination. I mean, for people to drive from Centerville or take the ferry back from Martha’s Vineyard for a pitcher of beer and a great sunset…well it is unusual because each of those places has its own incredible decks from which you can enjoy the very same sunset.
There were some highlights. I met Paula @CapeProducer who organizes the annual “Geek Girl Camp” and recently did a great job re-launching the Falmouth Bed and Breakfast Association website. I met Todd and Beth Marcus (@CapeCodBeer), Alecia Lebeda (@AleciaLebeda) the mind behind the magic of FCTV, Jason Peringer, the sassiest massage therapist on Martha’s Vineyard (@MVmassage) and Mike Nunez (@mike_nunez) a cool guy who commutes onto MV.
Tweetup conversation can get a little technical and ahh, OK… geeky. Mike and Alicia had a long conversation about bar code scanners and then mixed it up a little as they compete against each other as the “Mayor” of the Bourne Bridge on FourSquare. These are advanced topics. If you don’t know what I am talking about, don’t worry, you will soon enough. I am just glad I got to be there to witness all the fun. Thanks to the crew at Quicks Hole for making it happen and giving us such a great spot to hang out. Comments below encouraged — if you give me your twitter name you will get a personal invitation from me for the next one… And if you are coming to the Woods Hole Inn on a Friday afternoon, look forward to more hangouts at Quicks Hole all summer long.
At the Woods Hole Inn, we often spend a lot of time on the “table” part of farm-to-table but today I got to head out into the field and see one of the farms that we source food from in the summer.
Coonamessett Farm was founded over 30 years ago by Ron Smolovitz, who along with his wife had a passion to save a piece of open land slated for development. On their 2o plus acres, Ron farms everything from lettuce to turkey. His rolling meadows with their vineyards and neat rows of lettuce, tomato, zucchini and summer squash are quite the summer destination for everything from weddings to the passionate members of his CSA.
Spring is the time to visit if you want to see where all that bounty comes from, so I headed over there yesterday in the pouring rain with a list of the produce we consume weekly to supply our breakfast kitchen and Quicks Hole — for example, 50 lbs of fresh tomatoes a week to make our signature pico de gallo fresh daily! Try over 20 dozen eggs a week for the Woods Hole Inn’s fresh baked breakfasts? Yeah, it all adds up.
It was pouring anew when Ron and I zipped into his rain covered golf cart and sped across the meadow to the growing cluster of greenhouses. Ron put in a windmill a few years back and he explained that running the farm vehicles on electricity rather than gas helps keep down the price of vegetables.
We met with Stan Ingram, field boss at Coonamessett, who was literally ankle deep in mud transplanting rows of baby plants to larger containers (those are his amazing hands in the photo above). The long low plastic roof of the greenhouse cast the most gorgeous diffused light and the drum of rain on the roof was soporific. A lovely tiger cat leapt to greet me with a deep purr. What a peaceful place, I thought. “Earlier today when it was really coming down, we could not have held a conversation in here,” Stan remarked with a wry smile.
We talked about when they expect certain crops to come in, why they can’t grow tomatoes earlier (heating the greenhouses to 55 degrees costs too much money) and the logistics of getting relatively small batches of produce down to Woods Hole two or three times per week. Their crispy arugula is essential for our “Wicked Fresh” salad — a best seller at Quicks Hole — but at the end of the day, it’s all about logistics. Stan offered to plant more basil and cilantro to meet our weekly demand. He also cautioned me against holding him to any dates. I guess the plants mature when they feel like it, not just for our Quicks Hole opening day (which is May 6th this year, by the way).
Another exciting development is the local cultivation of oysters which Ron is going to distribute. I signed Quicks Hole up for weekly delivery of the new “Sippewissett” which is out in Buzzards Bay fattening up right now from the cold winter. Ron says the first of them will be ready by mid May. Yum.
I left with a list of wholesale prices, an order form… and a greater sense of purpose. It’s not easier to source this way, actually it’s much, much harder. But the sense of satisfaction in knowing my little business can be a part of keeping this meadow open for Ron and his golf cart? Yeah, that feels good.
Hopefully it tastes good too. Come check it out this summer at Quicks Hole, 6 Luscombe Ave in Woods Hole. More info and our menu at www.quicksholewickedfresh.com.
I woke up to Facebook messages about historic snow in Los Angeles, then looked out my window and saw that we had a wonderful dusting of our own here in Woods Hole. Since we just relocated here from LA, it struck me as pretty ironic that it would have snowed in both places!
Add to that irony that Steph, our chef for Quicks Hole, is in LA this weekend trying all the cool food spots that inspire the Quicks Hole menu (La Lotteria, Ammo, Wahoo’s Fish Tacos, Clementine and much more). The hope was that she would get some good eats and a little sunny R&R, well deserved vacation in warm tropical Los Angeles. Ha.
So I scarfed my tea and toast to get out quick enough before it all melted. Here are some of the photo observations:
So I keep hearing about this Chilifest thing, like “Ooh, you are living here now? You HAVE to go to Chilifest…” and I am like, what is Chilifest? Well, as I learned last weekend, the Martha’s Vineyard Chilifest is an INSTITUTION. And it’s a whole lot of fun, so let me take you on my little initiation journey.
It all started days before actually, when we began testing chili recipes and trying on costumes. We settled on “Fire in the Hole” – a spicy braised short rib chili with a hint of Mexican chocolate. Steph really knocked herself out on this one and after a few sample batches I agreed, this is the one! We cooked and prepped all Thursday and Friday — smoking fresh peppers and chilis in our outdoor grill, shaving Mexican chocolate, braising an enormous pile of short ribs.
I braved snow and ice to drive to the Costume Company in Arlington (thank you Jeannie!) to rent a huge pile of Revolutionary War costumes — Fire in the Hole, like Woods Hole, get it? I lived at Staples printing banners, menus, handouts. I hired an actress to help hand them out. Yes, I am really committed to making this a big event for Quicks Hole, our groovy casual farm-to-table taco stand on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn.
Finally, the actual day dawned and I was up early walking from my house in the village to the Inn. The light in the early morning in Woods Hole was so stunning (I’m not out of my house this early usually!) that I wore my camera around my neck and snapped a few pictures:
Guests of the Woods Hole Inn were happily dining in the front room and I dashed through the office to grab costumes, menus, signs and more. Steph and Jay lugged gallons of cold chili in covered buckets across the street to the ferry. Amy and I followed shortly thereafter. The ferry was so packed with people, they asked 45 people to get off! Volunteers, they said. No one budged. The girl next to me snickered — she had just poured four shots of peppermint schnapps into her Dunkin Donuts extra large. She was NOT getting off and neither were we.
Once we arrived at the vast tent at the Portugese American Club, we warmed up and tried a few of the other chilis — there were 40 contestants there and more than 2000 tasters. The Corona beer was flowing freely, plenty of limes, and a great Jimmy Buffet style band was playing all your island favorites.
The place was packed by noon and we handed out a ton of our Chili to consistently good feedback. The security guy standing next to our table was moonlighting from his day job as a warden in the MV jail. He kept noticing people who had come into the jail drunk and disorderly — not a bad guy, he would say, but let’s just say We Know Him Well.
Well, we lined right up and passed out thousands of little cups of our chili. The Chilifest is a fundraiser for the Red Stocking Fund, a really great island charity. WMVY the local radio station supports it, helps judge and sells all the tickets with their promotions. We met a bunch of the DJs and so many other locals, it was really cool. Here we are as we got ready to serve the crowd:
There were regular people, drunk people, people in outrageous costumes, TV personalities, official tasters from WMVY, lots of our friends and business associates from Woods Hole and so, so much more. A picture is worth 1,000 words so here is the rest of the day in photos:
In the end, all ten gallons of our chili was handed out with a smile. We won nothing more than the joy of spending the day on Martha’s Vineyard listening to good music and laughing with new friends. We were tired, oh so very tired, but it was worth it! A great day. See you all there next year — 364 days and counting.
The not-so-sleepy town of Woods Hole kicks off the Fourth of July every year with a town parade sponsored by the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. The event showcases the summer lab students who convert their knowledge of the local marine life into festive water-themed floats.
Quicks Hole, an eco-friendly newbie to the Hole, joined in on the fun and passed out 300 Melville’s Olde Tyme handmade lobster pops to the crowd along Water Street on Sunday that included a coupon for a free bruschetta bite.
“We’re a restaurant that’s all about our community,” said Beth Colt, owner of the restaurant and Woods Hole Inn. “We are a Cape Cod loving establishment that only sources local seafood and produce. We love the locals and we jump at any chance to interact with them.”
Quicks Hole is a casual dining experience that offers Baja themed cuisine located at 6 Luscombe Ave., just a block away from the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard.
Everything is genuinely wicked fresh and prepared daily by a chef who knows the water. Raised by a commercial fishing family, Stephanie Mikolazyk from Rhode Island can attest to the positive influence that Quicks is having on the community.
“The demand is fresh and we are ready and able to provide that,” she said. “That being said, we’ve got to give back to our oceans. People notice what we’re doing: most of our dishware is compostable, we recycle everything we can and support efforts to keep everything local. It’s a great feeling to be giving back everyday.”
The restaurant has only been in business since the summer of 2007 but is quickly becoming a staple stop in Woods Hole. It now includes a fresh market that is restocked daily with local eggs, free-range organic honey, produce, grab-and-go lunch items, milk and specialty cheeses. Quick and convenient are at the top of their list at Quicks, but above all, they strive for providing a unique dining experience with friendly service and of course, wicked fresh seafood.
Woods Hole is filled with marine biologists, wooden boat builders and fisherman. If you ask a Woods Hole local, most will tell you that they do not own a TV. The movie theater is at least a half hour from here and dvd rentals are slow at the “Coffee O.” Woods Hole is a place where pop culture is not much of a priority.
So when Steve Carell and his family drop in for a lobster taco at Quicks Hole restaurant, NOBODY RECOGNIZES HIM! That’s right, it’s seems most Woods Holies have never seen “The Office” or “The 40 Year Old Virgin” or “Little Miss Sunshine.” So, Steve just wanders around, orders what he likes, sits and enjoys a cold brew — whateva. No paparazzi, no autograph seekers, no lookie-loos.
Little known fact about most celebrities — they like being ignored. It’s a break from their public lives. Add to that the chance to nosh great local fare and boat in some of the world’s best waters and you have catnip for the fabulous and famous. Steve and entourage wandered across Vineyard Sound from their family compound near Tashmoo, swam on a sandbar, toured Woods Hole Harbor and ate at Quicks Hole.
It was a fabulous and famous Woods Hole day.
Lobster Tacos are a sublime idea. Cold succulent lobster lightly dressed. Fresh cut red cabbage, a touch of lime on a hot corn taco?? Incredible.
New to Woods Hole this summer, the lobster taco is an inspired fusion of traditional Cape Cod with a dash of innovation from the surf shacks of Baha California.
Don’t miss this treat, and much more at the all new Quicks Hole restaurant. Its on the ground floor of the Woods Hole Inn, right next to the t-shirt shop and facing the Martha’s Vineyard ferry hides the hottest new joint in town. Word is leaking out about this place, and while it opens at 10 for lunch there is often a line of impatient ferry-goers at the door, jonesing for their fix that will be bagged and consumed on the the ferry. What’s better than the upper deck of the “Island Home” with a lobster taco, a 360 degree view of the Sound and the gulls circling jealously overhead?
Also on the menu — amazing local salads served in a fried tortilla bowl, rare yellowfin tuna burritos, sweet potato fries, hot chips with fresh salsas, made-to-order quacamole…see where we are going here?
Woods Hole Inn guests get a discount at Quicks Hole at check in.
See you soon!
Quick’s Hole is known for its wicked fresh lobster roll, burritos and tacos. The newest restaurant entry in busy Woods Hole, this spot is committed to serving great food made with local ingredients — seasonal, family-farmed, fresh from local waters, all natural, healthy and green.
Park your bike at the end of the Shining Sea bike path and enjoy a Cape Cod burrito and beer combo. Come at night for our seasonally-inspired Tapas menu paired with organic wines selected by our award-winning chef. Grab a Yellowfin Tuna BLT burrito with a sangria and homemade pico de gallo with hot chips. Sit on the deck and watch the sunset over Woods Hole harbor.
We opened late last season as it took longer than expected to make the changes we planned to the old “Naked Lobster.” This year we flew in the face of the recession and expanded again, adding room for actual tables. We will be open starting next weekend for the summer season.
What does “wicked fresh” mean to us? Live, Love, Laugh and Eat Local! Learn more at www.quicksholewickedfresh.com.