Perched right on the edge of the Atlantic with french doors across the front, the Landfall Restaurant sits like a dock on the cusp of Woods Hole harbor. From here, the ferries come and go like stately matrons marching back and forth across Vineyard Sound. Watch the gulls, hear the tinkle of a child’s laughter as the boat pulls away, sit back with a cold brew as the crowds fight their way onto the Vineyard.
You see, the locals know that there is no rush to get out there. That half the fun is the process and if you miss this boat, another one leaves in a half hour so why not enjoy the breeze for a few extra minutes? The room is littered with lobster pots hung from the rafters and staffed by the college kid you wish you once were — bright-eyed, optimistic and efficient.
The Landfall Restaurant is such an institution that they hold reunions of their summer staff each year and scores of former employees now masters-of-the-universe show up for one more Cape Codder on the edge of the world. This is one of the few spots on the East Coast where the sun sets over the water (think about it, setting in the west usually means over land if you are on the Atlantic).
When hurricanes come, the owners just take the french doors off, clear everything out and wait for the tidal surge to wash through the restaurant. That’s how close this place is to the water.
There is a webcam at the end of the dock here, looking out at Nonamesset Island. In the spring there’s a banner announcing the restaurant’s opening day. I like to log on just to see if it’s raining, or if the ferry is pulling out. Or some brave spring fisherman is heading out from the Eel Pond. Or a new vessel has docked at WHOI. For me it’s a rite of spring to start thinking about what is happening in WoHo, who is there, what’s going on and when will I get to the Landfall for the baked scrod and a pinot grigio?
Somehow, I suspect, I am not the only one who counts on this webcam to bridge me to the actual summer. Check it out on www.woodshole.com. The Landfall Restaurant is across the street from the Woods Hole Inn.