Why Woods Hole?
_Woods Hole (a village of Falmouth, Mass.) is on a peninsula, surrounded by water. It's the perfect little town for your ideal Cape Cod getaway.
The center of Woods Hole has the ferry to Martha's Vineyard (aka the Steamship Authority) making day trips to the island of celebrities -- like James Taylor, Carly Simon and Lady Gaga -- a snap. But there is plenty to do on vacation right in Woods Hole itself, a place people often refer to as "a village off the coast of Martha's Vineyard."
Woods Hole is a port town with an epic boating history that started with whaling back in the 1700's, but today it is dominated by several federally-funded institutions centered on ocean exploration and biological discovery. Think NASA meets MIT, but we call them WHOI and MBL.
A trip to Woods Hole offers the perfect opportunity to "explore planet ocean" with a visit to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) or to discover biology at the Marine Biological Laboratories (MBL) where over 5,000 scientists visit annually as part of summer courses and conferences. There is science everywhere you look in Woods Hole, including a wonderful free aquarium, an exhibit on the deep-sea exploration of the "Titanic," and the country's oldest summer day camp dedicated to kids exploration of science (the Children's School of Science).
There are two main commercial streets in this village of 900 year-round residents and on them in the summer you will find over a dozen great restaurants and hang-outs -- from water-front fine-dining places like the Landfall, Quicks Hole Tavern, Captain Kidd, and Phusion to more casual eateries like the Fishmonger, Quicks Hole Taqueria, Woods Hole Market and Jimmy's Sandwich Shop. There are two excellent coffee shops, both of which roast their own beans. Try the quiche at Coffee Obsession and leave room for a mouth-watering piece of bread pudding or a crunchy popover at Pie in the Sky. Kids line up at the old-fashioned penny candy store (Candy Go Nuts) and parents will fight over mint chocolate chip waffle cones at Jimmy's vs. coffee gelato back at what locals call "Coffee O."
If shopping is your thing, there are several artisan craft shops in Woods Hole for collectible and interesting jewelry, hand-thrown pottery from a raft of local potters and wonderful t-shirts (many hand made) at several cool t-shirt shops. Artists gather at "Handworks" which is a cooperative, and the Birkenstock crowd loads up on summer footwear in the eclectic "Under the Sun."
Looking for t-shirts, sweats or a new outfit, check out "Soft As A Grape" on the corner of Luscombe and Water, plus Liberty House and Howlingbird on Water Street. Another must stop is the newly renovated Woods Hole Market across the drawbridge (where you will also find milk, meats, a great deli and all you need to fire up the barbeque in the back yard.)
Annual events in the village include a model boat show (every other year in April), a fantastic Fourth of July parade, a great film festival (the Woods Hole Film Festival in August), the start of the Falmouth Road Race (August), the annual TV Writers Symposium (February), many MBL, WHOI and National Academy of Science conferences and much, much more.
For more info on what is happening in the area in the next few weeks, check out our calendar here.
...a vibrant and eclectic community
_In town, the old clapboard houses of fisherman, potters and scientists have lawns cluttered with lobster pots, wooden boats, day lilies and organic vegetable gardens. Pick your favorite Adirondack chair, for a lazy Sunday afternoon lemonade watching the Cape Cod knock-abouts race past you in the prevailing southwesterly breeze.
On the outskirts of the village you will find multi-million dollar private beach-front estates, and hedgerows that rival South Hampton. But don't expect the snooty crowd here. Woods Hole is rooted in the intellectualism of science, and the size of your house is not nearly as important as the number of PhD's you've earned. In fact, they say more than 90 Nobel Prize winners have spent time working here over the last century, so take close note of that guy hurrying from the labs -- he may be well on the way to curing cancer.
And leave your car behind. Every part of the village -- including its wonderful beaches -- is accessible either on foot or on bike.