Happy Holidays from the Woods Hole Inn! We hope everyone is having a lovely holiday season. Here on Cape Cod, we are experiencing some unusually warm weather, and without the giveaway of bare tree tops, you would think spring is here.
Despite the lack of fresh snow and blistery winter wind, there is no shortage of festive cheer. Our decorations are in full swing throughout the Inn…
We are certainly getting in the spirit with a sparkly blue nutcracker and brightly glowing Christmas tree.
Outside our doors, Woods Hole is adorned with lights, wreaths, and candle-lit windows. Children pop into Pie in the Sky after school for a hot chocolate, and Trivia returns to The Fish Monger as a fun winter event.
Down the road, Quicks Hole Tavern gets bathed in warm sunlight during the lunch rush…
And just the other weekend, the town of Falmouth put on their annual Holiday parade:
We hope everyone is having a joyous and spirited Holiday Season!
If you’re looking for local flavor, there’s nothing quite like wandering around the local farmers market. The Falmouth Farmers Market (just up the road from the Woods Hole Inn in Woods Hole, MA on Cape Cod) has a long standing tradition of attracting farmers and artisans from all over eastern Massachusetts to sell local produce and share rich, unique stories. Boasting a new waterfront location this season (at Marine Park adjacent to the harbor), the Falmouth Farmers Market now has abundant free parking, cool sea breezes and great water views.
The farm to table movement has blossomed on Cape Cod in recent years, with the Falmouth Farmer’s Market leading the charge. Many local restaurants and chefs avail themselves of this wonderful weekly tradition, starting at noon on Thursdays in summertime. How lucky are we to have access to berries picked earlier that morning, fine artisan breads baked right on the Cape, sweet corn ripened at the peak of summer, farm fresh eggs still warm from the nest?
On a recent visit, I was inspired by the passion and generosity that exists within this community of people. As my brother and I strolled from booth to booth, we were greeted with smiles, free samples and an education about the energy and love that goes into creating this delightful array of goods. I never thought I could be so entertained learning about artisan Balsamic Vinegar. No joke! You have to stop by Tony Melli’s tables and hear about his craft firsthand.
Each booth overflowed with hand made, organically grown, and fresh baked goods, on which I easily could have blown all of last week’s paycheck. I’ll be back for the all natural herbal bath and beauty products from Thyme After Thyme, hand made soaps from Woods Hole Soapworks, homemade salad dressings from DD’s Dressing, artisan olive oil and balsamic vinegar from Olio di Melli, craft wines from Westport Rivers Winery, and loads of gorgeous, fresh produce from Allen, Silverbrook, Pariah Dog Farms just to name a few.
The Falmouth Farmer’s Market convenes every Thursday from noon until 6 p.m from spring though fall. It’s a 10 minute drive to Falmouth Harbor from Woods Hole (which is a village of the town of Falmouth). This farmers market is a must see for any one interested in communing with the locals and tasting the unique flavors of Cape Cod. You will find us there procuring herbs and inspiration for the weekend’s breakfasts at the Woods Hole Inn.
— from guest blogger Sam Frawley
Come watch family friendly movies projected over Peg Noonan Park each Wednesday, in the historic downtown Falmouth area. Grab dinner and some ice cream, and sit back to relax in the festive main street atmosphere. Chairs or blankets recommended. Begins at dusk.
Feast on a fine Jamaican buffet of locally produced food, in the Cape Cod night air, while listening to the upbeat sounds of steel drum music by Vernon. Explore the beautiful grounds of Coonamessett Farm complete with Alpacas and countless rows of delicious veggies.
Wednesday Evenings through September 16th
5 – 8 pm
From-the-grill: Jerk Chicken and Pork with fresh fruit salsa
There’s certainly no shortage of places to sit down and enjoy Cape Cod cocktails in Woods Hole. However, given so many good options it can be a daunting task to choose the right beverage for you. Don’t fear! This past week, a couple friends joined me for a Cape Cod cocktail tour and we did the “work” for you. Below you will find our favorite drinks at each of the seven waterfront restaurants we visited – all of which are walking distance from each other. Hope you enjoy and remember to read responsibly.
Drink of choice: Bloody Mary
Secret house recipe served with Spanish olives and celery.
Notes: If you’re waiting for the afternoon ferry and you need something to tide you over before dinner the Landfall is the place to go. Their Bloody Mary is the best around and its zesty, savory, and spicy flavors will keep your mouth entertained until the very last drop. It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere!
Drink of Choice: The Tarpaulin Brothel
House-made Privateer Spiced Rum, Angostura Bitters, Rinse of Absinthe, twist of orange
Notes: This drink is an adventure in a glass. If you’re feeling the winds of good fortune at your back and the call of the open seas then you’ve got to dive in. This bold drink from a watering hole that’s a self described “pirate bar” features Captain Kidd’s special house-made spiced rum and a dash of absinthe. Before long, it will have you wanting to chase buried treasure and hoist the main sail. If you’re looking for a drink to get you in touch with your inner Jack Sparrow then this drink is the “X” that marks the spot on Captain Kidd’s menu.
QUICKS HOLE TAVERN
Drink of Choice: Little Harbor Lavender
Muddled Raspberry, lavender infused Grey Goose, St Germain, and fresh lemon
Notes: Fresh, sweet, and modern like the new restaurant that serves it, this drink has a pleasing and relaxed flavor. Quicks Hole Tavern opened it’s doors last year and has quickly become a favorite with an innovative and imaginative menu. Looking to view the harbor as if from the prow of a ship? Sip your Little Harbor Lavender and watch your ship come in with the best view of the Martha’s Vineyard ferry in Woods Hole.
QUICKS HOLE TAQUERIA
Drink of Choice: House-made Sangria
Secret blend of red and white wines, fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice
Notes: One of my very favorite things to do in Woods Hole is to grab some friends and post up at the Quicks Hole Taqueria for some chips and salsa and their fantastic house-made sangria. They sell it by the pitcher and it’s the perfect complement to kicking back on a sunny afternoon and people-watching in the heart of Woods Hole. If you swing by on a Friday or Sunday evening, you can even catch one of the fantastic local bands that perform for free in the parking lot next to the restaurant.
Drink of Choice: Ruby Red Crush
Absolut Ruby Red Vodka, fresh mint, Combier Pamplemousse Grapefruit Liqueur, fresh lemon.
Notes: As this restaurant’s name would lead to you to believe, Phusion’s menu consistently presents interesting blends of different international flavors and styles. This French-influenced beverage features imported grapefruit liqueur and fresh mint that was picked from the restaurant’s in-house herb garden moments before it was added to our drink. The Ruby Red Crush is a light and refreshing drink that will have you crushing on summer and saying “au revior” to all your troubles.
Drink of Choice: Mongerita
Tequila, Cranberry Juice, Triple Sec, Fresh Lime juice, Agave Nectar
Notes: This drink is the Fishmonger’s Cape Cod twist on a classic margarita. The addition of cranberry juice fills this cocktail with the tart refreshment you need on a warm summer day. Also, if you happen to be in Woods Hole on a Thursday evening, Fishmonger is a must – thanks to their Thirsty Thursday free appetizer special and great selection of draft beers.
Drink of Choice: Shucker’s Smash
Vodka, Dark Rum, fresh squeezed orange juice, pineapple juice, lemon, and Grenadine.
Notes: In addition to recently being featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, Shuckers boasts a world famous raw bar, sushi and a great waterfront location. We asked for something summery and I think they found a way to fit summer into a mason jar. This drink was just the right amount sweet with a fresh squeezed citrus twist to keep you feeling like you’re sippin’ on sunshine, Cape Cod cocktail style.
The Woods Hole Theater Company will present the musical “Godspell” at the Woods Hole Community Hall
June 11-27, Thursday to Saturday, at 8:00 PM
Sunday June 21 at 2:00 PM
The Woods Hole Theater Company will present the musical “Godspell” at the Woods Hole Community Hall
June 11-27, Thursday to Saturday, at 8:00 PM
Sunday June 21 at 2:00 PM
The NLPS provides public tours of Nauset Lighthouse and the oil house on Sundays May through late October and also on Wednesdays during July and August. Educational groups can arrange special tours of the lighthouse at any time of the year by emailing NLPS or calling our message service. Volunteers provide the historic background of the lighthouse station and conduct tours to the top of the tower. Tours are free and open to the public (donations accepted).
The tower will be open for tours in 2015 every Sunday from May 10 through October 25 as well as Wednesdays in July and August. Our annual moonlight Full Moon Tour will close our season on Tuesday, October 27.
Be among the first to hear Nth Degree, Cape Symphony’s new force in chamber music. Jae Cosmos Lee, our Concertmaster, directs this exciting new group which features our incredibly talented Principals and some special guest artists we can’t wait for you to meet. Each concert in this four-part series brings you a different piece from three undisputable geniuses: Mozart, Beethoven and Brahms. Playing the music of the Titans is like stepping inside a Rolex watch, a world of precision, intrigue and beauty.The repertoire we’ve chosen for this series is purposely eclectic. Some pieces were commissioned. Several had a muse in mind. Many were genuine works of inspiration. Each one shows another facet of the composers’ brilliance through different instrumental configurations. Each one exposes the talent and range of the Symphony musicians in a way you’ve never heard before. Each one has a story to tell. That’s why we’ve chosen the setting as carefully as the music. Intimate. So we can talk, share and really get to know the music – and each other – before, during and after the concert. Interesting pairings. Interesting people. All the ingredients for a very entertaining evening. Come play with us.
Beethoven Serenade for String Trio, op. 8
Jae Cosmos Lee, Violin
Bo Ericsson, Cello
Mozart Piano Trio in B-flat major
Jae Cosmos Lee, Violin
Bo Ericsson, Cello
Donald Enos, Piano
Brahms Piano Quartet in G minor, op. 25
Jae Cosmos Lee, Violin
Bo Ericsson, Cello
Donald Enos, Piano
Ticket Price – $35 General Admission
Held at –
7 Highfield Drive
Falmouth, MA 02540
The Woods Hole Inn has been selected as a luxury bed and breakfast to be featured on the Wheel of Fortune during the show’s “Bed & Breakfast Week” in early December. It is among only five luxury bed and breakfasts prize packages, averaging $7,000 each, offered by BedandBreakfast.com, the most comprehensive global site for inspiring, planning and booking bed and breakfast properties.
“We are honored to be included among the prize packages for ‘Bed & Breakfast Week’ on the Wheel of Fortune, the most successful syndicated program ever,” says Beth Colt, owner of the Woods Hole Inn. “We hope the guests who have stayed with us as well as our friends in the community will watch the show to see if any contestants win this special luxury getaway at the Woods Hole Inn.”
During “Bed & Breakfast Week,” airing December 1-5, Wheel of Fortune contestants have the opportunity to win B&B vacations, with airfare and ground transportation provided by BedandBreakfast.com, to five locations around the world:
- Agriturismo Marciano, Tuscany, Italy
- Woods Hole Inn, Woods Hole, MA, USA (Diamond)
- Marcels Creative Exchange, Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Inn of the Patriots, Grover, NC
- Abbeymoore Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn, Victoria, BC, Canada (Diamond)
They also have a chance to win a $1,000 BedandBreakfast.com Getaway Gift Card®, which never expires or declines in value and has no blackout dates.
“BedandBreakfast.com is delighted to, once again, provide luxury B&B vacations as special prizes on the Wheel of Fortune,” says Matt Laessig, general manager of BedandBreakfast.com. “The more than 9 million people who watch Wheel of Fortune per show will see the unquestionable beauty and luxury features of these amazing bed and breakfasts all over the world.”
Woods Hole Inn is one of two of the featured inns which are part of the BedandBreakfast.com Diamond Collection™, an exclusive group of professionally inspected and guest-reviewed luxury inns that offer 24-hour access to service or staff, free Internet, flexible check-in or guaranteed late arrival, and maintain a 4.0 or higher out of 5.0 consumer review rating on BedandBreakfast.com.
Boston and Cape Cod viewers should tune in to WBZ-TV Channel 4 on Wednesday Dec. 3rd at 7 pm to see the Woods Hole Inn featured on this famous show. Others, please check your local listings.
Did you know that “Wheel of Fortune” is one of the most watched programs on television with an average of 11 million viewers per day?
Here is a clip from the show when it first aired December 3, 2014. Thank you “Wheel of Fortune”!
As of today, we have received our 500th review on TripAdvisor Cape Cod. Six years in business, 500 reviews, 96% of which are four or five stars. Wow, I am grateful for all those guests who shared their experiences with the world. Sometimes I feel like Sally Fields at the 1984 Academy Awards: You like me, you really like me. But the online review system is not just an echo chamber of positives for us.
We use TripAdvisor as a way to listen to our customers, and most of the time they tell us they are happy. But every once in a while, well ergh, four times since we opened six years ago (but who is counting), they really let us have it. A “terrible” review can leave me sleepless for more than a few nights, brainstorming about the details and trying to fix every single one of the highlighted issues. I read a book once called “Every Complaint is A Gift” and the title really says it all (now you don’t have to read the book:) By studying the meta message in each negative, I know we can consistently improve.
As the old saying goes, the customer is always right. In this day and age of online transparency, the customer is more than that: our guests are a lifeline to growth and continued business. So we listen very carefully.
Thank you to each and every customer who took the time to write us a review on TripAdvisor Cape Cod — good, mixed or bad. We truly appreciate it. We know that your vacation days are precious, your business travel important. We care about the details of making your journey special.
One of the most gratifying thing about this zen-like focus on customer satisfaction is that we have a robust list of repeat guests, people who cherish us as much as we cherish them. They come back, time and again, and bring their friends. So we thank you all, and we hope to see you soon at the Woods Hole Inn, located in the small fishing village of Woods Hole, part of the town of Falmouth on Cape Cod.
Girls just want to have fun or so my father likes to remind me. Although I am a serious college student during the rest of the year, I am an unabashed pleasure-seeker in the summer. And this summer at the Woods Hole Inn, my work and my play mingled most affably.
One might think that having grown up in Woods Hole, I’d be tired of the tourist scene. But for me, the bustling street life, the teeming beaches, and even the long lines for my double iced soy latte are all part of summer, and, seeing it all from the perspective of a Woods Hole Inn guest and blogger, I totally understand why our guests keep coming back.
Thanks to the Woods Hole Inn, I explored (and savored!) the restaurants, historic tours, and local museums and events through the eyes of a visitor and couldn’t have been more delighted. Early morning donuts at the Black Dog in Vineyard Haven, an afternoon lesson on Walsh roses at the Woods Hole Historical Museum, and one of the best sunsets over Eel Pond “on assignment”; who wouldn’t want to be a tourist or a guest blogger!
As my summer comes to an end, I would like to thank the pleasant and helpful staff at the Woods Hole Inn for giving me the chance to simultaneously work hard, learn tons, and play local traveler. It was a fantastic summer in Woods Hole!
–Guest Blogger, Gwen Martin
Woods Hole is a village of the town of Falmouth, MA on Cape Cod, and Historic Highfield Hall and Gardens is three miles up the road. Highfield Hall is a restored house surrounded by gardens and now used for art exhibits, cultural gatherings and events. The Woods Hole Inn is a perfect jumping off point for your Falmouth, MA lodging to explore Highfield Hall and the arts on Cape Cod.
This season at Highfield Hall, don’t miss the exhibit called “Portals and Passageways.” As you drive up Highfield Drive, you will see trees that have been “yarn bombed” with brightly colored knitting. This fabulous burst of color turns an everyday forest into a gaggle of well-dressed statues, anthropomorphizing trees into stately ladies on a stroll from the Hall. What a perfect welcome, a cheeky hello if you like, to this unusual exhibit.
The guided walk starts with “Fragment House,” a glass sculpture by Danielle Krcmar made with sea-glass suspended from wire and steel. Stepping in this little cubicle, you look back up at the main house and reflect on the nature of habitats, the joy of windows, and the wonder of scale. Poetry is carved on glass panels, the light glints on the fragments, and the summer wind breezes past you for a magical effect. You know what they say about people in glass houses…
As you wander the paths around the gardens, you will find other wonders from local artists — a series of mirrors installed in thin strips like trees in the woods (Andrea Thompson), a mossy path leading to a beautiful copper beech tree (Wendy Bagley), a geodesic peat moss hut called “Pan’s Portico” (Ben Silva), a felt covered sign inviting you to explore “Hither and Yon” (Salley Mavor) and much more. These sculptures and installations remind us of our relationship to the wild, of the nature of man’s need to build shelter, of the beauty of the dappled sunlight in the forest, of how lucky we are to have such skilled artists and craftsmen living on Cape Cod.
Great credit for the very existence of this resource in town goes to a group of dedicated preservationists who reclaimed Highfield Hall from the jaws of the wrecking ball and turned it into one of the best arts resources on Cape Cod. Special thanks to Jim and Ruth Clark, and others, for leading the charge. Our town is a better place for their generosity. One visit to Historic Highfield Hall will convince you, and if you are looking for the perfect lodging Falmouth, MA, please check out the rooms at the Woods Hole Inn, just three miles down Woods Hole Road from this cool spot.
From Guest Blogger Gwen Martin: Ever wondered what a New England seaside village looked like in the early 1900s? A walking tour of Woods Hole opened my eyes to what life was like here over a hundred years ago. Although the village is now home to four major scientific institutions with their laboratories and offices, back then only the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and National Marine Fisheries were in operation and only in the summer months, and they had fewer than 5 year-round employees each. And people think that Woods Hole is quiet during the winter now, ha!
During those early years, however, there was a thriving industry in Woods Hole that I would never have imagined. Its products were totally trendy and shipped worldwide. Any guesses? Roses. Walsh Roses to be specific. After years of experimenting while a gardener at the Fay Estate, Michael Walsh developed several strands of low-maintenance, beautiful, and unique Cape Cod roses. The Fays even hired an additional gardener, so Walsh could concentrate solely on developing his roses. The Fays wagered wisely, the Walsh rose did become world-renowned.
The Woods Hole Historical Museum’s tour guide noted that Walsh was an astute horticulturist. He repeatedly sent roses across the Atlantic to Paris flower shows, and, without fail, the roses were in full bloom upon their arrival two weeks later. And his Woods Hole rose grew to be one of the most famous exports of Cape Cod, known to travelers around the world for it’s distinctive color and simple bloom.
Although the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution now owns the land where Walsh’s roses grew, his Cape Cod roses also grow throughout the village alongside shuttered 18th century cottages, quaint churches, and treasures like the exquisite stone Bell Tower and the gorgeous stone building which is home to the Woods Hole Public Library, adjacent to Walsh Cottage at the Museum.
The Woods Hole Historical Museum has created a map of the main rose locations, and they hope that visitors and locals will take the time to walk around and see this remarkable living history, a wonderful activity while staying at the Woods Hole Inn.
– Gwen Martin, guest blogger
Moving from Los Angeles — arguably the sushi capital of America — four years ago, I was somewhat stunned to discover that there was not much sushi on Cape Cod, and none in Woods Hole despite our twelve lovely water view restaurants. Raw bar, yes. Ahi tuna on salad, yes. Ahi tuna in a burrito, yes. But authentic sushi wrapped in rice and nori sprinkled with a little sesame seed? Nope.
As of this week, all that has changed! I am so excited to announce that Shuckers Raw Bar & Cafe on Water Street — just short stroll down the block from the front door of the Woods Hole Inn — now offers this sublime treat in summertime.
I was there last week and can tell you that the sushi chef is really talented and they have all your favorite items — fresh seaweed salad, edamame, lobster roll with mango and avocado, tuna sushi and sashimi and more. Platters were attractively plated and loaded high with fresh pink ginger, pert piles of green wasabi.
To sit on the famous Eel Pond overlooking the marina and enjoy roasted eel? Come on, who does not want to give “sushi Cape Cod” a try?
Photos that follow are from a lovely outdoor evening at Shuckers, our neighbors here in Woods Hole, a village of Falmouth on the Upper Cape Cod. Oh, how we are grateful for this new Cape Cod sushi option!
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.
I love a good snow day, and this one started early with a phone call from Charlene (our breakfast chef) letting me know there was no way she was going to be able to drive in due to the blizzard. I considered driving myself, but one look at the snow mound that covered my car I decided it would be easier to walk. In daybreak’s grey light, I trudged thru the swirling snow to the Woods Hole Inn, stopping several times to attempt to capture the look of this gorgeous Cape Cod blizzard (see photos below or more on my Facebook page).
Inside, the Inn felt remarkably cozy and warm. I quickly dug out the front steps and fired up the first pot of hot coffee for our sleeping guests. The New York Times delivery guy handed me the paper as I was shoveling. Thanks, I said — Appreciated!
Something about the smell of hot coffee and guests started trickling out of their rooms, happy winter vacationers enjoying a respite from everyday life with a visit to wintery Cape Cod. I produced our usual breakfast spread — fresh cut fruit, Greek yoghurt, house made granola, cinnamon rolls, sausage quiche and slices of Charlene’s spiced cranberry pumpkin loaf. I think they enjoyed experiencing the Cape Cod blizzard in their slippers with a great meal to start the day.
While guests watched the snow swirling from the warm breakfast room, I headed back for more shoveling. The drifts were incredible, and with the wind still roaring it was possible to toss each shovelful into the wind and watch the snow burst away. I managed to get the driveway and sidewalk cleared by about 9 am, although it was still snowing and I was sure it would need another pass.
Back into the house to begin the cleaning for the day, clearing up breakfast, washing the floors of the salt and sand that follows everyone inside in winter. Cape Cod blizzards are fun for guests, but lots of extra work for innkeepers. For me, finding pleasure in the small things that fill each day is the secret to happiness. That and taking pictures to share with you all.
Here are some photos of the rest of this glorious day. If you enjoy this blog, please consider sharing the link with friends. And thanks so much for all your support — we are deeply grateful to all our friends and customers for their help spreading the word about beautiful Woods Hole.
One of my favorite parts of running the Woods Hole Inn is building a team of people who come together to deliver a fantastic guest experience. I am particularly blessed this summer with a great group who have worked seamlessly together all summer. As we approach the dog days of August, I reflect on how lucky I am to work with such a talented, committed, knowledgeable and thoughtful crew.
Thank you to each and every one of you who made and is making summer 2013 memorable for all our guests. You make it look easy!
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.
Meet Phil Stanton, a friend of mine and local fisherman extraordinaire. Phil has won more fishing derbies than most people have collected parking tickets, is renowned for having re-located a raft of eider ducks from Maine to Penikese Island (not to mention being a world-expert on the species), and is a dedicated participant in all elements of the Woods Hole community from auctioneer to fishing guide to horse wrangler to deer hunter to welcome wagon. It’s not an exaggeration to say Phil is the ultimate renaissance man, Woods Hole style.
Phil took my son fishing last summer and showed him a secret spot where the squid gather in the Woods Hole current at certain tides. “Cast right in there,” he said, pointing to a swirl near the rocks about 10 feet in diameter. Ten minutes and several large Stripers later, the fishing trip was over and my twelve-year-old came home with a huge catch and a huger smile on his face. Phil’s generosity and knowledge inculcated another young convert to the secret joy of fishing.
Last winter, Phil offered to build a stone bench to honor his mother on the side of the Community Hall. There has been much hoopla in town about the new Rachel Carson statue, and tongues wagging about a new MBL whale-tail sculpture that is possibly dangerous for climbing children. But to date I have seen no notice of this wonderful bench Phil financed which might be the best addition to town in decades, perched as it is on the edge of the channel into Eel Pond at just the right spot to catch both the view and the breeze. (Of course, Phil would know that!)
With a stunning view out toward Nonamesset Island, this bench is the perfect place to watch the drawbridge go up and down, with boats large and small flowing in and out of our protected harbor. You will enjoy the view, the constant southwesterly breeze… and if you are patient, you will see Phil heading out in his boat, as he goes fishing most everyday.
Woods Hole has the most distinctive Fourth of July parade in America. Organized by the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), this gathering of young scientists celebrating our nations birth is filled with costumes, dancers, and balloons. Representing things like cell reproduction, neurobiology, marine resources and much more, student laugh and dance their way down a spectator-packed Water Street.
Tossing candy along the path, the parade takes starts at noon every year and takes about fifteen minutes. One fun tradition is that after students cross the drawbridge, they break into a serious water-balloon fight, a nice respite from a hot Cape Cod day.
On the porch of the Woods Hole Inn, we offer cool lemonade, iced tea and Charlene’s fresh baked cookies to as many people who will fit. It’s a great birds-eye view of the whole event.
Half hour later, the streets are empty as people dash back to the beach. Ahh, Cape Cod summah.
Hope to see you there next year! Happy Fourth.
But they could never have imagined that baby Noelle, born at Mass General Hospital yesterday on 12.12.12 at 12 minutes past 12 noon would end up on yesterday’s TV news and splashed all over the local papers with happy Mom proudly wearing her Woods Hole Inn t-shirt in every shot!
When guests check out of the inn, we encourage them to enter our annual photo contest and say “Wear it in an interesting or unusual location and the most interesting will win a two night stay at the Inn.” You can see photos from prior years here.
Last year’s winner was on top of a mountain near McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Another group of happy guests wore their t-shirts on the Times Square Jumbotron for their 15 seconds of fame — inventive, we thought and they received a prize.
Wow! The Klingers have taken our contest to a whole new level. Game on! We are still accepting entries, and will do so until end of March 2013. Keep the photos coming people, or check this link out to vote. It’s not over til it’s over…
We are sending our very best to the Klinker family as they settle into their lives with this gorgeous new baby.
What a joyous way to ring in the holidays!
Everyday, interesting people walk in the front door of the Inn — people from all over the world, coming to get a glimpse of the New England seashore, or experience first hand the heady smell of salty marsh air that comes up off the beach at low tide, or walk in the footsteps of Presidents by touring the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
Sometimes they make plans to come a year in advance, and other times they just walk in the door in the late afternoon looking for a place for the night. In late September, a couple “walked in” (to use the innkeepers jargon) from upstate, New York. They had been touring the area and taking their chances…we were happy to have one room left, which they booked.
As they wandered around the inn, they saw an antique kerosine lantern that sits on an old metal safe in one of our living rooms and they asked me a bunch of questions about it. This lantern actually came out of my grandfather’s barn. My grandparents lived most of their long lives on a farm in coastal Massachusetts, and they kept a herd of dairy cows there from the 1930s through the late 1960s.
My grandfather bred the cows, and had pictures of his winners hanging on the walls of his 1700’s-era house. I remember the one called “Larches Pat” posing with her handler, all curried and groomed to perfection with a big ribbon on her halter at the Topsfield Fair. My grandfather was committed to these cows, he really loved them, and he always said one of the saddest days of his life was in the late 1960’s after the milk distributor stopped coming (“you’re too small to warrant a stop,” they told him); after months of pouring the milk onto the fields, he realized he had to sell his prized herd.
When the barn was cleared out after his death (at the age of 97!), this lantern moved into my mother’s basement. I liberated it a few years ago and it sits in one of the dining rooms at the Woods Hole Inn, reminding me of my wonderful grandparents and their beautiful farm, where I was lucky enough to spend holidays my whole childhood.
Now enter my walk in guests! (I bet you were wondering when I might get back to that:) No one has ever asked me about this lantern before, but these guests were very curious, remarking on it’s size and style. Very unusual, they said. Don’t see them that large, they said. Well, there were tons of them in my grandfather’s barn before it was wired for electricity, so they were common at some point, I explained.
Honestly did not think much more about this interaction until this week when this cool Trainman’s Lantern arrived in the mail, one for me and one for Amanda. It came with a thank you letter from the above-mentioned lantern-curious guests, who it turns out own a lantern company in upstate New York. The letter tells me that the Dietz Company went out of business many years ago (maker of my grandfather’s lanterns), but their company Star Headlight and Lanterns, has been around for 123 years and is still going strong. In fact, the owner (our guest) is the fourth generation of his family to run this business!!
Here are some highlights from this delightful letter:
“Anne and I really loved staying at your lovely place. It was the end of a memorable trip. Your MapQuest got us perfectly to our sons house, where we saw our grand kids, then flew home. The enclosed lanterns are used daily by all railroads. Put one next to your Deitz. Please see Amanda gets one, she was most helpful. We look forward to seeing you again sometime.”
Well, so do we!! These lanterns are sure to be useful in a winter storm when the lights go out! This is the fun of inn-keeping, meeting interesting people and continually learning things about our fascinating world. And creating this dialogue between new people, and returning guests, where they can share with us the important things in their lives, while we can offer a restful place to return, hopefully year after year, to find peace and tranquility from the crazy buzz of modern life.
So thank you so much, David and Anne (and all the nice people at Star Headlight and Lanterns), — we hope to see you soon.