Many people flock to Cape Cod for sea and surf, but just as many think the holiday season is the most wonderful time of year! Make Woods Hole your home base to experience all the Cape and Islands have to offer for a quintessential Cape Cod holiday. The Falmouth Chamber of Commerce presents the Holidays by the Sea Weekend, this year from December 7-9, kicking off Friday night with caroling at historic Nobska Light. The fun continues on Saturday morning with the 6th Annual Jingle Jog 5K & Kid’s Elf Run, and the evening will feature an array of activities when Main Street closes to automobile traffic for the Holiday Stroll in Falmouth Village. The shops will be open for special evening hours prior to the Annual Lighting of the Green which features holiday music from the Falmouth Brass Band. Americana at its best!
Nothing says Christmas like an old-fashioned holiday bazaar, and the Renaissance Fair is Woods Hole’s one-of-a-kind version that doesn’t disappoint. This time-honored tradition will be held on Saturday, December 1 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Community Hall on Water Street, just steps from the Inn. Boasting an array of vendors and artisans offering hand-made wares such as pottery, apparel, jewelry, jams and jellies, and art of various media, the event also features singing, children’s games, lunch and baked goods, and a holiday wreath sale. Shop like a local while supporting the Cape Cod art community. Win-win. Take a trip to yesteryear and check out Holidays at Highfield at the 1878 restored estate of the Beebe family, which features a gift gallery and elaborate decorations, on weekends beginning November 30 through December 9. For something totally different, don’t miss the Brazen Belles Winter Spectacular right across the street at the Landfall Restaurant from December 19-21, featuring irreverent entertainment by Cape Cod’s premier burlesque group.
If you’re looking to venture beyond Falmouth, then be sure to check out Gardens Aglow at Heritage Museums & Gardens, located in Sandwich, Cape Cod’s oldest town. The expansive grounds are illuminated from November 23-December 30, and the tour also includes festive indoor holiday decor and numerous activities around the grounds and galleries. While you’re there, be sure to take in Sandwich Glass Museum’s 9th Annual Glassblower’s Christmas, which runs November 12- December 30. For an Island experience, head to the Steamship Authority Ferry Terminal just steps from the Inn, followed by a short boat ride for Christmas in Edgartown, December 6-8. Take a drive to Hyannis where you can pick up either the Steamship or the Hyline ferry for the Nantucket Christmas Stroll, which runs from November 30 – December 2. Contrary to popular belief, the Pilgrims first landed in Provincetown, and their 1620 arrival is celebrated each year starting Thanksgiving week with the annual Lighting of Pilgrim Monument, one of Provincetown’s most photographed landmarks. This year’s event will be held on November 21 from 5 to 7 PM, with the lighting at approximately 6. This iconic symbol of hope and new beginnings will be illuminated until early January.
Whatever you do, don’t miss the highlight of Falmouth’s Holidays by the Sea Weekend, the 55th Annual Christmas Parade, which steps off from Dillingham Avenue on Sunday, December 9 at noon. Known as Southeastern Massachusetts’ largest holiday parade, thousands of spectators pack the parade route each year to take in decorated floats, marching bands from all over the region, costumed characters, and majestic Clydesdales followed by Santa himself. This year’s theme is “Unwrap the Magic of Falmouth,” and is not to be missed! Join us in our seaside village as we celebrate the season with the perfect Cape Cod holiday celebrations.
“Wind’s from the North,” my friend Phil admonished, as we got in the boat to go fishing Saturday. “Don’t expect much. Fish don’t like that North wind.”
I was expecting nothing — based on years of failed attempts as a kid — but I thought: Who cares? Day like this on the water? Heaven with or without fish for dinner.
Now Phil is a pretty accomplished fisherman, and in certain circles he is downright notorious. Others stalk him with binoculars and generally scratch their heads about how he manages to catch mo’ bigger better than anyone else. He seems to know where the fish live. Call it a hunch, a sixth sense or just the Gladwell-ian 10,000 hours, but it’s fair to say fish should tremble when “Betty’s Boys” heads out past the drawbridge.
First stop was the currents of Woods Hole itself and there were others there already. Phil looked at one group with disdain, casting along shore near Mink Point: “Won’t get anything in there today,” he chuckled as he dropped his lure and started trolling. Now he swore me to secrecy so I can not tell you the direction we trolled, what that incredible lure looked like, or which patch of rocks we skirted but in the first FIVE MINUTES, I had a striped bass on the line which, with guidance, I reeled into the boat. A keeper!
Within a half hour, my son Charlie had hauled in an even bigger one, north of 20 lbs. Then Phil threw his hands up — “We’re outta here” — and whisked us west on Vineyard Sound to another one of his secret spots, “between the grey tote and the stairs to nowhere.” Along the way we passed about 30 other boats casting for false albacore (it’s derby time on Martha’s Vineyard as well); one of them spotted us and followed.
Coming in close to land, Phil cut the engine, his friend Lisa tossed an anchor. Then he broke out the live eels. Yes, I said eels, squirming and wiggling all over the place. Phil deftly hooked several through the head and and started casting. Genius. My son Sam landed another bass within a half hour, too small to keep but the fight was worth it and we got a nice picture.
Back in Woods Hole, we hauled our catch across town to weigh in for the Calcutta Fishing Derby sponsored by the Woods Hole Business Association. We will surely attend the October 14th award ceremony (at the Landfall) to see if we won and claim our free appetizer for entering. But it’s safe to say we are already winners with our fridge full and our deepening friendship with Phil.
Now this might sound like a great fish tale, but here are a few photos to prove it really happened. Thanks to Phil Stanton.