Phone:508-495-0248
Phone:508-495-0248

Category Archives: Travel

Valentine’s Day at the Woods Hole Inn

January 31, 2017 by Beth Colt

Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or absolutely loathe it, the holiday is the perfect opportunity (or excuse!) to get away. This year, we’re doing something special, with steep discounts on all the rooms and too-good-to-pass-up add ons. Join us for two nights and you’ll have a bottle of chilled Prosecco waiting when you arrive, 12 Washburn Island Oysters to enjoy during our “Happy Hour,” a hearty breakfast to start the day in our sunny reading room, and a box of our favorite local chocolates. Plus, we’ll let you decide which weekend is better for you — the one before or the one after — Valentine’s Day. 

So, pack your bags, bring your loved one, and enjoy the peace and quiet of Cape Cod in the winter! Woods Hole Inn is across the street from the Martha’s Vineyard ferry terminal, so adventurous souls need not feel restless. Other options: the best pastries on Cape Cod at Maison Villatte (we recommend the chocolate chip cookies, chocolate almond croissants and olive cheese bread), a picturesque sunset walk on the Knob, or a day trip to the National Seashore. 

For those of you inclined to stay inside, we’ve got you covered with 600 thread count sheets and all the rom coms you could ever want. 🙂

See pricing details here, and call (508) 495-0248 to book today! 

Middle image via Falmouth Bed and Breakfast Association

Take a Break from Exams with a Getaway to Cape Cod

October 7, 2016 by Beth Colt

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With exams quickly approaching, we wanted to do something for all of the hard-working graduate students who pour their energy into research and learning. Something that would offer a beacon of hope amidst the all-nighters and endless hours at the library. So, we came up with our “Grad School Special.”

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That’s right: take a step away from your busy life and join us in our quiet, restorative seaside village of Woods Hole. Studies have shown the psychological benefits of both gazing upon an ocean’s horizon (which we have plenty of here in Woods Hole) and feasting on a pizza (which we will offer as part of your package), so there is no reason to skip this awesome special which will be available for a limited time!

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Beat the exam blues with this quick escape to the Cape, or, bring your study materials with you and enjoy the quiet peacefulness of your surroundings while you prepare for your tests. Either way, it will be a well-deserved night or two (or three!) away before the end of semester and kick off of the holidays.

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Online booking is available here (with pricing details) or feel free to call the inn at (508) 495-0248 for more information.

Note: this special will be available Sunday-Thursday nights. 

Our “Same Time Next Year” Special

August 28, 2016 by Beth Colt

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With the years flying by faster than ever, it gets harder and harder to find the time for a pause, no matter how brief. At the Woods Hole Inn, we want you to be able to treasure your stay as much as possible, so we’ve created our “Same Time Next Year” special with that in mind; just ask for a piece of our beautiful custom paper, find a quiet reading spot at the Inn (or settle into one of our Adirondack chairs on the deck) and write a letter to your future self. We’ll keep it tucked away for safe keeping until you return. And by booking your next year’s stay now, we’ll honor the current rate, plus take 10% off. Consider it the best gift you could give your future self, and a well-earned moment of reflection.

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We love being your letter’s safe haven, but the the best part by far is seeing all your smiles as you pass them over!

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5 Best Honeymoon Destinations on the Upper Cape

July 18, 2016 by Beth Colt

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Planning a honeymoon on Cape Cod? With its sandy beaches, fresh squeezed summer cocktails, and picturesque bike paths, the Cape has always been high on the list for newly-weds looking for a romantic and restorative honeymoon. Below, we’ve rounded up our five favorite lodging options for the Upper Cape, your honeymoon Cape Cod dream locale. Starting with…

The Captain’s Manor Inn

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Conveniently located just steps from Falmouth’s Main Street, this upscale Bed & Breakfast has a classic, 1950’s elegance — with rooms that will make you feel both comfortable and special. Breakfast can be enjoyed on the expansive veranda overlooking the grounds and gorgeous greenery. We recommend their made daily and in-house blueberry scones, perfect destination for your honeymoon Cape Cod style.

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The Nobnocket Boutique Inn

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Want something a little more modern? The Nobnocket Inn, newly restored with a contemporary, British flare, is Vineyard Haven’s best new Bed & Breakfast, and the perfect excuse for the forty-five minute ferry ride over. You won’t want to leave once you arrive, and owners Simon and Annabelle will instantly make you feel at home. Spend your honeymoon window shopping the adorable (Obama approved!) shops in Vineyard Haven, or take a day trip down island for a chance to enjoy the many picture-perfect beaches. See our complete tour of the Inn here.

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The Belfry Inn and Bistro

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At the Belfry Inn & Bistro in Sandwich, every room is different. Once a Catholic church with high, vaulted ceilings, you’ll have a chance to sleep in a king bed below a magnificent stained glass window! Gold Winner of Cape Cod Life’s best Bed & Breakfast — the Inn also houses one of the Cape’s finest restaurants, where an evolving menu offers a fresh and seasonal take on American cuisine. Try the local burrata with eggplant Caponata, or the Belfry burger with tomato jam and crispy Prosciutto.

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Camping on Sippewissett Campgrounds

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Sticking to a budget, or more of the outdoors-y types? Rent a tipi at Sippewissett Campgrounds, which offers 100 sites equipped with picnic tables and fire pits — and even a laundromat. Take advantage of the campground’s free daily shuttle to the beach and ferry, or rent bikes for a scenic trip into Woods Hole for hot coffee and Popovers at Pie in the Sky. A honeymoon Cape Cod complete with s’mores and catching fireflies in a jar could be yours!

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Woods Hole Inn

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And last but not least — the Woods Hole Inn. We could go on and on about the romantic charm of this bustling port town — from the waterfront restaurants to the sweet seals at the aquarium to the best lobster tacos on Cape Cod — all just walking distance from the Inn. Take a trip to the Vineyard (the Inn is just steps from the Steamship Authority ferry terminal), or keep it local with lots of beaches, a bike path that hugs the shore, and evenings sipping champagne on our private water-facing deck. We can guarantee you’ll fall in love with this place we call home.

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Daytrip to Provincetown from the Woods Hole Inn

June 14, 2016 by Julia Pearl

Everyone says, a Cape Cod summer is not complete without a daytrip to Provincetown,  known for its beaches, arts, and fabulous gay community.  Even though I have only been in Woods Hole a few weeks, I put a day visit to P-Town at the top of my summer bucket list and headed off with my friend John early Saturday morning.

Welcome to Provincetown

The drive from the Woods Hole Inn was about an hour and a half with no traffic, which I am told is record time for the 100-mile journey. We took Route 28 up to Harwich for the scenery,  then cut onto Route 6 from there. Once past Wellfleet, the view from Route 6 between Truro and Provincetown was incredible, with the sea on both sides, sand dunes rolling alongside — it made me feel like I was out west again.

Commercial street P-town

A warm June day, just a bit over cast, was perfect for our walk along Commercial Street, the central destination for shopping, people watching, and finding a bite to eat. The street was full of art galleries of all styles, historic buildings decorated with flair and unique shops filled with one of a kind items.  There was also every sort of food imaginable, from super cute bakeries and coffee shops, to a huge range of fine dining including fresh steamed lobster, sushi and raw bars, Italian and much more.

Sushi Boats in P-Town

With so many choices, we finally decided to sit up on the balcony at a sushi bar called Saki so we could continue to watch the parade of interesting people strolling through town.  Overlooking Commercial Street, we both enjoyed the sushi and drinks.  Saki is the perfect spot to fuel up for a beach exploration, and we loved the energetic, fun vibe.

The Purple Feather

Of course, we also had to tame our sweet tooth at one of the many ice cream parlors/bakeries lining the street. After much consideration, we were sucked in by the aroma from a crowded place called ‘Purple Feather.’  With a great selection of decadent pastries, fudge and gelato, we felt we made the right choice.

The Salt Water Marsh

Well fueled for further exploration in our epic daytrip to Provincetown, we drove to the tippy top of Cape Cod, where we discovered a gorgeous view of the salt marshes and estuaries.  From there we continued on to the open expanses of Race Point Beach, the northernmost tip of the Cape Cod peninsula.  This beach is known for it’s proximity to Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary and whale breeding ground, so it is not unusual to see whales swimming close to shore here, but we were not so lucky.

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While rain clouds rolled in, nothing could stop us from putting our toes in the warm Gulf Stream waters of Cape Cod while also experiencing the vast, dramatic beauty of this preserved land called the “National Seashore” and taking a moment to thank to President John Kennedy for giving us this legacy.

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A visit to this divine beach was the perfect counterpoint to the hustle and bustle of Commercial Street Provincetown, it’s harbor packed with fishing boats and ferries from Boston (only an 1-1/2 hr ferry ride across Cape Cod Bay and Boston Harbor).  This point-counterpoint is perhaps the secret to Provincetown’s unique draw — a place of extraordinary physical beauty at the end of a long road.

Provincetown Fishing Boats

Our daytrip to Provincetown was a great success, and I would definitely suggest the unique experience to any traveler to Cape Cod. Judging from the crowds, this journey is once made and many times repeated as it’s a village at the edge of the world filled with fun personalities, artsy funk and a vast stretch of beach whose beauty simply has to be seen to be believed.  Visiting Provincetown on Cape Cod is one of many great day trips from the Woods Hole Inn, located on the water in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, a part of New England, USA.

Barnstable Harbor Cape Cod Ecotour

June 16, 2015 by Beth Colt

Cape Cod has so many great places to explore, but my friend Bonny and I were looking for something that could be described as a Cape Cod ecotour — you know, a fun day in the sun with a little learning and an eco twist.

Enter Captain Joe, who along with his staff at Barnstable Harbor Eco-Tours, offers a leisurely cruise around the harbor aboard a charming pontoon boat called The Horseshoe Crab.  Packed with a wealth of interesting information about the history of the harbor and natural life, the tour was guided by expert naturalist Phil Kyle. Bonny and I really enjoyed Phil’s enthusiasm for history, especially his tales about the Prohibition-era rum running from this storied harbor.

Sam and Bonny ready for the tour aboard the Horseshoe Crab

Barnstable Harbor itself is gorgeous, well worth the trip. On one side it is bordered by the white gold dunes of Sandy Neck Beach, a six mile long barrier beach, and on another there is a large field of marshland which draws myriad species of shorebirds which we learned about from Phil.  Sandy Neck Light

Might not sound much like a Cape Cod ecotour, but the best of the day was views of the Cottage Colony at the very end of Sandy Neck Beach. The Cottage Colony is home to a collection of beautiful beach cottages as well as Sandy Neck Light – a picturesque lighthouse marking the end of the peninsula. The cottages are in the historic district of the peninsula and most are more than 100 years old. As the boat neared the Colony it appeared we were visiting an idyllic little seaside kingdom, best captured from a boat.

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There were many opportunities to take photos of the harbor and I couldn’t help snapping a couple gorgeous shots for my Instagram, and I thought about coming back another day and exploring Sandy Neck on foot to see more of this stunning harbor and unique ecosystem system from the land.  Well, there is always next year.

 

Buoy returning to Barnstable Harbor

Barnstable Harbor is approximately a 50 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn. Tours last about 2 hours and are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Woods Hole Inn concierge staff would be happy to assist guests in scheduling a day like this one on Barnstable Harbor.  Or call Captain Joe @ 508.221.6162 for more information or to schedule your Cape Cod ecotour – what a great way to spend the day exploring Cape Cod!  — from guest blogger Sam Frawley

Captain Joe, Phil Kyle, and the Horseshoe Crab

Snow Photos 2015 from Woods Hole, Cape Cod

February 28, 2015 by Beth Colt

view of Stoney Beach winter 2015 with open water and hashtag snowThis winter brought more snow than usual with the month of February racking up over 100 inches in Boston, breaking snowfall records all over the region.  Our snow photos always intrigue summer visitors who only see Cape Cod at 80 degrees.  It’s hard to imagine Coast Guard ice cutters crisscrossing the Hole, intrepid explorers out seventy five feet on Buzzards Bay, MBL scientists enjoying pick-up hockey on Eel Pond, ferries dodging ice cakes clogging the Passage, massive navigational buoys drifting like toy boats.

My quest for snow photos typically involves rushing out the minute it starts, as the snow always seems to melt within a few minutes.  Not so much for snow photos 2015.  We have been covered in a decent blanket since the first blizzard hit in late January.  Since then, I have lost count of how many more days it snowed, although I remember Valentine’s Day — soft quiet accumulation all night with a dramatic blizzard slamming like a hangover in the morning.  These winter storms had romantic names like Neptune and Juno, Greek reminders of god-like forces greater than us.

In addition to the relentless snow fall, cold air blasted us for most of the month.  We now have significant sea ice formed all along our shores rendering the landscape at water’s edge into something otherworldly, arctic.  If you have not seen satellite photos of this phenomena, check this out, as it appears to be frozen at least half way across Buzzards Bay.

To keep the harbor open, the US Coast Guard sent ice cutters to maintain the ferry system connecting us to Martha’s Vineyard.  Out on Nantucket, a local photographer captured slushy waves that made the New York Times, while here in Woods Hole we watched, mesmerized, as the ice floes and some of the buoys moved through the currents of the Woods Hole passage.

When the Eel Pond froze over earlier this week, the first intrepid explorers were scientists from our local labs in special suits designed to prevent drowning.  But once it was proven solid, lots of Woods Hole lemmings (including me) rushed out to experience the feeling of walking and skating in the middle of the village.

I particularly love this birds-eye-view film shot by my neighbor Brian Switzer (a wonderful director and inspired teacher in our local public schools) of Woods Hole in these extraordinary conditions.  I think you will enjoy it, and perhaps the snow photos 2015 in my photo essay that follows.  For daily photos, check out my Facebook page #WoodsHoleColors.

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The Woods Hole Film Festival

July 28, 2014 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole Film FestivalIf variety is the spice of life, Woods Hole and its film festival are hot! The village is home to world-renowned scientific institutions and historic buildings and a plethora of delightful eating establishments, beaches, and cultural events like contra dancing, jazz and folk concert series, art shows, and the Woods Hole Film Festival. And the film festival is a delectable mix of feature length narrative films, documentaries, animation, and “shorts,” and the content and settings of these mostly independent films are wildly diverse.

A few unconventional and intriguing ones that I plan to catch this year include Wicker Kittens, Marmato, and Antarctica. Just the title, Wicker Kittens, is enough to awaken curiosity, but an annual jigsaw puzzle competition in Minnesota – that’s a must see phenomenon! More seriously, Marmato, set in a 500 year old mining town in Columbia, is a film described as “a canvas of magic realism and the confrontation with globalized mining.” Antarctica, on the other hand, captures the issues of data recording in the frozen tundra with limited time – should be a packed audience, so get your tickets early! There is lots of light-hearted fare as well, like on Kids’ Day. This year, this fun event features a movie inspired by the famous children’s series, “The Boxcar Children.”

Don’t miss what Movie Magazine calls “one of the 25 coolest film festivals in the world.” The Woods Hole Film Festival runs until Saturday, August 2nd, and, there is much more than films with music, parties, and filmmaker discussions to round out the week. Check out the full listing of movies and events at www.woodsholefilmfestival.org/. -from guest blogger Gwen Martin

 

 

Day Trip to Historic Sandwich Village from Woods Hole, nearby Sandwich MA lodging

July 24, 2014 by Beth Colt

Sandwich MA lodgingEver drive a distance for a scone? You will for fresh blueberry or ginger ones from the Brown Jug Café in Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod.  Although the memory of the scone with a dark roast coffee on the café’s secluded patio persuaded me to make the trip, Sandwich has other treasures that will satisfy your curiosity just as well as the scone will satisfy your hunger.  Sandwich is a short jaunt from the Woods Hole Inn, which is your perfect solution for Sandwich MA lodging.

 

 

 

 

lodging sandwich cape codA five minute walk from the Brown Jug are two marvelous Sandwich MA historical sites:  the Hoxie House and the Dexter Grist Mill. The Hoxie House is one of the oldest surviving houses in Massachusetts, dating back to 1675. Perched atop a knoll overlooking the Shawne Lake, the traditional saltbox house preserves the ambiance of a bygone era with massive open fireplaces, leaded windows, and wide-planked “windfall” floors. I almost expected Mr. Smith (the first owner) or Mr. Hoxie to walk in as the tour guides set the scene of the time. The guides’ enthusiasm was contagious and I left both amused and better informed about the history of the time.

 

 

Sandwich MA lodgingThe bubbling brook from Shawne Lake feeds the wooden water mill at the Grist Mill, and, although most of the mill machinery is not original, it is true to 18th century New England technology. The rushing water and hum of the grindstones set a fine backdrop to the subtle sweet aroma of the ground cornmeal spilling from the chute. (The cornmeal is available for purchase for those who want to have a taste of history — bring some back to the Woods Hole Inn and our private chef will bake it up into something delicious for you the next day!)

 

 

 

romantic getawayThe pleasant stroll whetted my appetite, and, as I walked along the tree-lined streets, I entertained my options, from sandwich joints (no pun intended, of course) to more upscale venues. The Belfry Bistro, a renovated church with a stately belfry and spacious patio seating set back from the street, drew me in and I was not disappointed! I feasted on the Bento box special, which featured yellow tomato gazpacho, ham and swiss panini, and summer greens salad. It was a delicious way to sample a few of the bistro’s specialties; my favorite type of meal.

 

 

 

Woods Hole Day TripsOn the drive back to Woods Hole, I dropped by the Thornton Burgess Society’s Green Briar Nature Center & Jam Kitchen on Route 6A. The center is a tribute to Burgess, author of the classic children’s tales of Peter Rabbit (and his friends) and long-time resident of Sandwich. Just as I remembered from my childhood, the fragrance of steaming blueberries permeated the bright and cheerful jam kitchen and the color of orange swamp lilies brightened the wildflower garden.

 

 

 

Other options in Sandwich for the historical minded are the Sandwich Glass Museum, the Heritage Museum and Gardens and the historic Sandwich Boardwalk.  Whatever you choose, Sandwich will bring you back in time and bring you back for more.  Visit Sandwich MA for the perfect day trip from the Woods Hole Inn, and a great place to find Sandwich MA lodging.  – from guest blogger Gwen Martin

 

Visiting Falmouth Main Street, Old World Shopping at Cape Cod’s Best Main St

June 28, 2014 by Beth Colt

Woods Hole is a village of Falmouth MA on Cape CodWoods Hole is a village of the town of Falmouth, and three miles up the road is the center of town which we call Falmouth Main Street.  Crowded with year-round restaurants, adorable shops, candy stores and ice cream parlors, Falmouth’s Main Street is a nice bike ride from the Woods Hole Inn, where we offer bicycles to our guests.  It’s also an easy drive, and Main Street Falmouth has plenty of parking with no meters.

If you choose to bike from the Woods Hole Inn, hop on the bike path in front of the Steamship Authority and enjoy the three mile journey with vistas towards Martha’s Vineyard and several good spots to stop for a swim.  Once in Falmouth, head off the bike path at Depot Avenue (you will see the Falmouth Bus Depot filled with green Peter Pan buses there) and ride past the Queens Byway onto Main Street.

There are dozens of locally-owned restaurants on this historic stretch which like Woods Hole has been protected and preserved as a historic district.  You can choose from Indian, Mexican, Italian, Traditional Cape Cod, fabulous French bakeries, brunch spots, delis and much more.  There really is something for everyone on Main Street Falmouth, MA.

Then of course, the shopping.  Fancy upscale stuff at Lily Pulitzer, Maxwell & Co, Pilgrim and others.  Great summer finds at Port Cargo, Green Eyed Daisy, Cape Chic Co and more.  Gift shopping too at Celebrations, Treasure Chest, Pink Polka Dot.  Real old time shopping from small vendors who know their customer — and that customer is you.

Don’t leave Main Street in Falmouth without a visit to one of the many patisseries, candy or ice cream shops.  Perhaps a taste test is in order?  There is Gelfi’s, Ben and Bill’s, Tisberry Yoghurt, Cupcapes of Cape Cod and the fancy French bakery called Maison Villatte for starters.  Don’t miss Coffee Obsession or Pies a la Mode, at either end of this long stretch of charming shops.  Main Street is really a great hang out for the sweet tooth in us all.

Enjoy your exploration of our quaint town.  Falmouth Main Street is famous for being one of the nicest shopping and dining experiences on Cape Cod.  Here are photos of some of my favorite Main Street Falmouth MA spots.  Or click here for more info and a map of the area.

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Hurricane Katrina

October 16, 2013 by Beth Colt

Sam and Marsha Smalley of Folsom, Louisiana share their sign recovered from Hurricane Katrina.When I bought the Woods Hole Inn, my attempts to purchase the web address woodsholeinn.com led me to Sam and Marsha Smalley of Folsom, Louisiana.    Yes, turns out there was another Woods Hole Inn, down in the bayou near New Orleans.

When I called in 2008, I discovered that the southern Woods Hole Inn had been wiped out by Hurricane Katrina (2005) and the memory of the disaster that ruined the Smalley’s quiet life was still very fresh.  Sam Smalley was kind enough to sell me the web address for a reasonable sum plus the promise that he and Marsha would visit as my guest one day.

Well, here we are five years later, and I am pleased to tell you that the Smalleys drove up this week — took them four days — and I was lucky enough to get a minute to hear more of their incredible story.

The Smalley’s bought their property in Folsom, opening a three-room inn in the late 1990’s.  Sam ran the place and Marsha kept her day job in real estate.  Things were going pretty well for them by 2005 – favorable reviews in Southern Living and plus Sam’s involvement in the local tourist bureau created a strong demand from New Orleans which was a scenic hour drive north across the longest bridge in the world, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.  Sam told me that he used to get bookings all the time that would end with, …and so how far is the drive from Boston?   Well, that’s quite a ways, he would drawl with a smile. 

As Hurricane Katrina approached, the Smalleys decided to tough the storm out.  One guest who was booked (a woman on dialysis) chose to remain home, thank goodness.  Another guest took one look at the swaying pine trees and drove north.  By nightfall of the first day of the storm, they were solo on their heavily wooded property.

What followed was the epic and now famous storm that hovered longer than expected and brought down over 40 trees in, on and around their house, cottage and garage.   Trees came up with their entire root balls intact, erupting the earth.   A tree crushed their garage.  A tree in their courtyard destroyed one side of the main house while they hid in the foyer hoping for the best.  As the storm cleared, the Smalleys realized they were lucky to be alive, but contacting worried family took another five days.  Their beloved property was damaged beyond repair.

As Sam told the sad story of how it all ended, both he and Marsha’s eyes pooled with tears.  And yet the Smalley’s have kept their good sense of humor and spirit of generosity.  They have six kids, scads of grandkids and they profess to love the northern Woods Hole Inn, talking about coming back for a family reunion and appreciative of the breakfast, the staff, the service. 

They brought me the sign that stood at the end of their front driveway, and I will hang this with pride.  Connections like this make inn-keeping special: living in hurricane country is scary, but the world is a better place when we share it with people like the Smalleys.

Tuesdays at Shuckers

July 19, 2013 by Beth Colt

Shuckers in Woods Hole

A short stroll from the Woods Hole Inn, the waterfront restaurant Shuckers offers a great spot to beat the summer heat and enjoy a delicious meal.  I wandered over there after work last week with my family for a great dining experience.

Love the raft they have set up so you can sit right on the water, with great views of Eel Pond and nice steady breeze.  The portions were huge — my older son enjoyed the rib eye, my younger son scarfed down his baked scrod, and my husband and I enjoyed fresh salads.   Mine was topped with blackened scallops that were fresh and yummy.

Summer is not complete without a trip to Shuckers, and on Tuesday nights they offer a boiled lobster special that is the best deal on Cape Cod — TWO boiled lobsters with steamers, mussels and corn on the cob for just $23.95.  Beat that!

Salads at Shuckers in Woods Hole Baked Scrod at Shuckers in Woods Hole Cobb Salad at Shuckers Waterfront Dining in Woods Hole Shuckers World Famous Raw Bar and Cafe

 

Marshfield Hills General Store

June 2, 2013 by Beth Colt

One of my favorite places to visit from Woods Hole is the historic village of Marshfield Hills, Mass.  Here, nestled in a blink-and-you-will-miss-it town center, you will find the charming Marshfield Hills General Store.

Who does not love the delights of a general store, half dedicated to US post boxes, the rest jam packed with everything from penny candy to milk, ice cream to t-shirts, jewelry to mugs, home-decor to a wine room.   Check out the DVD collection in one nook, and grab a bottle for the movie at home in another.  It’s the way shopping used to be — curated, simple, perfect.

Yankee Magazine named this spot one of the best in New England this year in their annual round up. No wonder as the place was saved from the wrecking ball by Steve Carell (“The Office”) and his wife Nancy.  Without their generous intervention, it is likely the Marshfield Hills General Store would no longer exist.  So kudos to good people who understand that preserving our small-town culture is the spirit of America.

Open year round, the store and surrounding Marshfield are well worth the 50 minute drive from Woods Hole.  Check it out!

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5 ways Woods Hole is just like PARIS…

April 8, 2013 by Beth Colt

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Last month, my family and I went on a week’s vacation in Paris.  That’s right, Paris, France, home of the Mona Lisa and birthplace of the croissant.   With its’ dramatic wide boulevards, miles of shops and restaurants, triumphant arches and epic churches, it’s fair to say that on the surface of things, Paris does not have much in common with our tiny fishing village on Cape Cod.

But scratch a little deeper and there are similarities, so many that I may start calling Woods Hole the Paris of Cape Cod.

So here we go, countdown style, starting with number five, the things Paris and Woods Hole have in common:

5) IT’S COLD, BUT NOT CROWDED IN MARCH.  Both Paris and Woods Hole are damp in March, prone to spring flurries of snow and dominated by people in rubber boots, blown backwards umbrellas and the scowl that comes from winter lasting longer than desired.  Endure the chilly weather, and visit both places without the crowds.  Here on Cape Cod that means empty beaches, crystal clear waters, open sky and views for miles.  In Paris, you can jostle into the Louvre in less than 10 minutes, and see the Mona Lisa with 100 people rather than 1,000.  Love it!

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4) KILLER PASTRY SHOPS.  OK, Paris has thousands of patisseries competing with each other for the finest tarte citron and mousse au chocolat.  But, here in Falmouth, we have Pie in the Sky bakery offering sweet treats all year long, and the new Maison Villatte, serving French delicacies like croissant au chocolat and palmiers.  Don your bakers hat and let the Parisian bake off begin!

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3) SCULPTURE GARDENS.  Sure, Paris boasts Rodin, Braque and Brancusi… but here in Woods Hole, we have a pretty cool collection of outdoor sculpture.  Check out the placement of simple mill stones in Spohr Gardens, which like the  famous Jardin des Tuileries, is not to be missed in spring plus the collection sprinkled around the MBL on Water and MBL Streets.   Coming soon?  A bronze of Rachel Carson, the famous environmentalist who wrote “Silent Spring,” expected in Waterfront Park.  Take that, Gay Paris!

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2) BIKES EVERYWHERE.  Paris has embraced the bicycle, offering municipal bike rental stations called velib, and creating bike lanes to green up the city.  This is also true here in Woods Hole, where the former train tracks into town have been converted to a dedicated bike path running along beaches, past cranberry bogs and though ancient forests.  Hear, hear to forward-thinking municipalities everywhere.

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Drumroll, please….The number one thing that Paris and Woods Hole have in common is:

1)   BATEAU MOUCHES.  The River Seine is packed with ferries and transport ships, called bateau mouches, some for tourists but many plying the river for trade as they have for eons.  Woods Hole is no different, with a deep water harbor that brought whaling ships here in the 18th century, scientific research vessels in the 19th and 20th.   Ferries also run constantly here, connecting Woods Hole like a tether to the island of Martha’s Vineyard.  The allure of pragmatic boat travel is central to both locales, and ties us to our sister city.

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So there you have it people… why Woods Hole is the Paris of Cape Cod.  If you are having trouble guessing which photo is which, you are not alone, because that is how similar the two places are!

What do you think?

Visiting Chez Panisse

January 20, 2013 by Beth Colt

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:)

 

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Better Way to Stay

November 12, 2012 by Beth Colt

fall foliage in best village on Cape Cod

Last spring, the Falmouth B&B Association gathered together and pooled our resources to shoot a video about how great our area is, and how cool it is to choose a bed and breakfast when you travel here.

Drumroll, please….

The “Falmouth Better Way to Stay” video, in which we show you all the fun things you will find to do in Falmouth, plus our gorgeous rooms, plus our fabulous breakfasts, has arrived on YouTube and your inbox!!

Although I coordinated the shoot, we did not actually shoot any of the footage at the Woods Hole Inn.

But if you look closely, you may find me in a shot or two, reviving my role as a featured extra, the very spot I started my acting career about (achem – edited so as not to shock you) let’s call it “so many moons ago” in LA.

Check it out here: http://bit.ly/Ukdq3B

Woods Hole is the best village of Falmouth

 

Visiting Beautiful Up-Island Martha’s Vineyard

August 16, 2012 by Beth Colt

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Blog Post by Megan Jensen

My early trips this summer to Martha’s Vineyard kept me close to the main island towns of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. Each town is unique and has plenty to offer for the casual journey to an offshore isle. But, for my last sojourn to the island before heading home, I decided I was up for something more adventurous – Up Island, as the locals call Menemsha, Chilmark and Aquinnah.

It was a rainy and cloudy day but I decided to brave the weather and optimistically bought a day pass for the bus hoping to see all of the up-island hotspots, from the Menemsha fish markets to the Gay Head lighthouse.

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Taking the bus is my absolute favorite way to get around the Vineyard and I love the helpful and informative bus drivers. They really are the true guides to the island. They’ll drop you off anywhere along their route, and make sure you get picked back up again. They can point out anything from Jackie Onassis’s property to the greatest breakfast stop, and will tell you the best and fastest route to get where you are going.

To head up island you will need to take the number 2 or 3 bus. I would recommend buying an all-day bus pass for $7, otherwise its $1-2 every time you get on and off the bus. When I took the bus I went to Menemsha first because I wanted to have lunch in the historic fishing village, but the bus driver told me it would have been much easier if I had first gone to Aquinnah and then worked my way back to Menemsha.

Menemsha

This tiny, historic fishing village offers visitors a chance to see and experience a different way of life. I was beyond excited to try the fresh seafood and it really was incredible, just-caught fresh and I found myself trying one of everything. The fish markets are little more than one room shacks and you have to eat your meal while sitting outside on lobster traps at makeshift tables. Menemsha Harbor offers a great public beach and beautiful sunsets. For five dollars, you can take the bike ferry across the water to the bike path that leads all the way to the Gay Head cliffs and lighthouse. If the scenery seems vaguely familiar to you, it might be because parts of the movie Jaws were filmed here. Give yourself a few hours here – and keep in mind the bus only comes once an hour.

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Chilmark

Chilmark offers a great in-between stop on your way from Menemsha to Aquinnah (or vice-versa). The Chilmark Store is sure to be busy, and here you can stock up on groceries, local produce and grab lunch – the pizzas are delicious and homemade. Down the street is the Chilmark Chocolate Shop known for a constant line out the door.  I found it to be a great place to relax and refuel before heading to Aquinnah.

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Aquinnah

Aquinnah may arguably be the most beautiful place on the Vineyard.  The name was changed from Gay Head in 1998 to reflect the year round Native American population that still lives there.  This town is known for its stunning clay cliffs, lighthouse and Jungle Beach.  Located near the lighthouse there are quaint rows of shops where you can buy beautifully crafted jewelry or have a bite to eat. Be sure to give yourself 2-3 hours here – there is plenty to see and do. Although if it is really rainy I’d come back a different day, as all activities are outdoors.

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Exploring this side of the Vineyard gave me a very different look at the island and personally I prefer the up-island area to the bustling towns. I love the remote feeling, the broad vistas and the sense of peace.  I hope you get a chance to visit this less-seen part of the Vineyard and find it as beautiful and memorable as I did!

A Day with the Whales

August 3, 2012 by Beth Colt

Guest Post by Blogger Megan Jensen

Last week I had the opportunity to go whale watching in Barnstable with Hyannis Whale Watching Cruises. Before coming to Cape Cod, I had heard about all the fantastic marine life off this unique spit of sand. During my first week here I was lucky enough to see Harbor Seals off of Race Point Beach in Provincetown. But I had yet to see any whales, and was excited to take to the high seas like a modern day Herman Melville.

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I got up early in the morning, hoping to catch the earlier of the two daily cruises. Hyannis Whale Watching recommend arriving a least an hour prior to the cruise departure time – and I recommend calling ahead of time concerning availability and precise cruise times.

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After a quick stop at Pie in the Sky for breakfast, I headed to Barnstable for the 9 am cruise (it’s about 50 minute drive from the Woods Hole Inn). Parking is an additional cost to tickets – around $15.00. I recommend arriving early so you can get good seats on the boat (but once the cruise begins everyone moves around and stands up).

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The first hour is informational, as you make your way out of the harbor with stunning views of Sandy Neck Lighthouse and Provincetown.  As you pass Provincetown, you head out towards the Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary for the whale sightings  – and the real excitement begins.

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I had not anticipated how great, and close, the sightings would be! I recommend sitting at the top (open to those over 18 years) since you can easily see all sides of the boat. We saw tons of Minke and Humpback whales, many with calves cavorting alongside them.  It was amazing to see the whales catch fish and truly beautiful to watch them dive, flip their tails and empty their blowholes.

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I highly recommend taking a whale watching cruise during your visit to Cape Cod.  I was worried it might be touristy, or the whales would be hard to see, but I was very impressed with both the cruise and the staff.  Don’t forget sunscreen, sunglasses and to dress in layers! The ship has tons of snack and drink options but feel free to bring your own as well.

After whale watching, I stopped by the Cape Cod Beer Micro Brewery that is just down the street for a quick tasting and to pick up a souvenir growler. Other nearby attractions includes the Oldest Wooden Jail in the United States, and the Coast Guard Museum. If you are looking for a bite to eat Osterville Fish Too is right next to the Whale Watching Cruise parking lot. I tried the XL lobster roll and it was delicious!

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I hope you get a chance to spend a day with the whales like I did – it was really unforgettable!

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