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.
Spring is in the air, and despite a three day storm where Old Mother Nature huffed and puffed and tried to blow our house down, the crocuses are popping with longer sunnier days reminding me that summer is right around the corner.
I guess that blooming witch hazel in an inch of snow, followed by crazy high tides from our most recent two storms are pretty normal for March on Cape Cod, but sometimes the schizophrenia of season-shifting leaves me scratching my head and wondering … what coat should I wear? Slushy rain, followed by freezing rain, followed by plain old rain, followed by plenty of mud is about how I would describe it from my shoes point of view.
I am enjoying getting out of the house on long walks with my “Weekend Wellness” guests — customers who bought a two night package including power walks and a wellness seminar. This weekend, I walked three hours with people from the Inn, showing them all over Woods Hole from Penzance Point to Nobska Lighthouse. I love the oohs and aahs of newcomers to the dinghy-cluttered yards in town, the massive lawns on the outskirts, and everywhere the vistas with ferries coming and going like toy boats out to entertain us. Views + fresh air = a clear mind. Add a camera in my hand and I am particularly happy.
Here is a photo essay of the many facets of weather I have seen just in the last two weeks. I hope you enjoy it, and maybe consider joining us some day in the fabulously quiet off-season.
from Guest Blogger Megan Jensen
Every summer prior to this one has been a Midwest summer – long days filled with senseless humidity, mosquitos, lakeside bar-b-cues, and countless county fairs.
When I loaded up my car three weeks ago and drove across the country from Minneapolis to Cape Cod I had no idea what to expect of the summer to come.
I’ve traveled all across the US, and having just returned from a year abroad in Denmark, I was excited to once again pack up my bags and explore somewhere new.
Being on the east coast and particularly the Cape has been very different, surprising and refreshing from what I grew up with.
When I had heard about this internship from former intern Caroline Matthews, who I met while studying PR and Design abroad in Copenhagen, I knew very little about Cape Cod. I imagined Woods Hole — which sounded like a storybook village — would be a quiet, sleepy town.
However, when I got to the Cape I knew I had made the right choice. Far from sleepy, Woods Hole is a busy place with plenty to do. Filled with restaurants, an active harbor and a friendly local community – Woods Hole knows how to keep you busy.
Most mornings I wake up early to the sounds of the ships in the harbor. Walk outside my front door and the ocean is there, the smell of the sea and a beautiful view of the water.
I’ve come to love Woods Hole and feel at home here – I can’t walk down Main Street or go out for dinner without running into someone I know.
I don’t miss being landlocked at all, and the beaches here are perfect for swimming day and night. When I’m not working, one of my favorite things is to hop on one of the inn’s beach cruisers and bike to nearby Nobska or Stoney beach or take a small cruise on the Shining Sea Bike Path.
I’m looking forward to what the rest of the summer will bring and hope to share some of my experiences, discoveries and “Midwest” take on the Cape with you.
Loving life and lobster barley-pops on the Fourth of July in Woods Hole.
All in a day’s work for Girl Friday Megan Jensen, behind the scenes at the Woods Hole Inn.
Summer in Woods Hole. Long evenings where the light lingers past 9 p.m. Steady ocean breeze from the Southwest. Cocktails on the stern of a wooden boat in seersucker suits and floppy hats. That’s what it looked like to me from the glossy magazines.
In my 22 years of relentless travel, somehow I had never made it to this corner of the world. I’m from Texas and like to explore with not much more than a backpack, a Lonely Planet guide and my Nikon D80.
Needless to say, I jumped at an offer to come to Woods Hole for the summer and explore. They told me they needed “marketing advice” which is fine since I just earned a BA in PR and journalism. But what I really came for is the chance to do a little more urban archeology: What makes this place tick? Why do people return here year after year? What is the real Cape Cod?
In my first week I spent a majority of my time wandered the village of Woods Hole. Two words: absolutely stunning. There’s a surplus of great seafood just waiting for a dash of cocktail sauce. The people are so unbelievably friendly— I certainly have made a friend for life with one of the locals who grew up North of here in Chatham.
My favorite thing to do so far is to borrow a bike and head down to Stoney Beach for some amazing sun set shots. Nothing makes me happier than to feel the weight of my camera in my left hand as the shutter closes in and out. In a blink of a second, I’ve got it— a moment that I will remember forever.
Even though Woods Hole is technically a village, there certainly isn’t anything sleepy about it. The nightlife is great. There’s awesome live music almost every night and tons of people to meet, even out on the streets. The ferry horns sometimes get me right up at 7 a.m., but I certainly don’t mind. It just means I start my day with a swim and a bike ride. There’s just nothing like that.
I may only be here for six weeks, but I look forward to sharing my perspective with you.