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.
Spring is in the air, with daffodils popping and the bike path cluttered with dusty bikes out for the first ride of the summer. Wandering just a few minutes from the front door of the Inn brings you to Stoney Beach Woods Hole, affectionately called “Stoney” (as in “see you at Stoney“) by locals.
This stretch of sand facing Buzzards Bay is hidden away in a small residential neighborhood, close to all the laboratories (MBL, WHOI and others) and very popular come summertime. Summer people will be stunned to see I found it empty earlier this week, light waves blowing in and huge puffy clouds racing by for my eyes only.
Now there are many advantages to a swim at Stoney — the prevailing wind from the southwest puts the beach in the lea, so it is often warmer than other beaches in Falmouth. There are two stone jetties from which you can look back and enjoy the beach scape dotted with charming Cape Cod waterfront cottages. Then there is the Gulf Stream water, which on the bay side seems even warmer and delicious in summertime.
Popular with families and children because the sand extends shallow for quite a ways out from the beach, I have always wondered why it is so-named when it is clearly sandy. My pet suspicion is that the clever scientists that discovered this corner of Cape Cod before the turn of the century named it “Stoney” to keep out the riff raff.
Here the hermit crabs frolic, kids dance in the waves and wind-surfers learn to get up on their boards. The older generation likes to swim laps across the bay in their flowered swim caps. Come the late afternoon, someone always seems to be water-skiing or tubing in the distance. Porta-potties, a fresh water shower area and lifeguards make this a very comfortable place to spend a summer afternoon.
Parking is limited, but beach passes from Falmouth will get you in, if you are lucky. Most guests at the Woods Hole Inn choose to walk over, it’s about a half mile or ten minute walk (with your complimentary beach towel from the front desk). You will see plenty of other neighbors doing the same, in fact the back streets of Woods Hole are awash in half-clad beach goers. It is the ritual of summer, walking through town, grabbing something at the Woods Hole Market then settling on the beach with an ice-cold soda.
Woods Hole summer. Yes, it is right around the corner.