Woods Hole

Before we moved to beautiful Tucson, we lived on Cape Cod for six years. Last week we visited friends on Cape Cod. It was wonderful seeing everyone again. We loved visiting our favorite haunts, especially Woods Hole.

Woods Hole is our favorite Cape Cod village for so many reasons:

1. It’s a working port, not a tourist attraction. It’s home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) (pronounced who-eee, if you want to say it like a native) and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) (pronounced Noah). It’s teeming with scientists and research vessels, dedicated to exploring the oceans from Iceland to the Antarctic and beyond. Yet it has several nice art galleries. Many artists call Woods Hole “home.” Our favorite art gallery is Woods Hole Handworks, located at 68 Water Street, right next to the drawbridge.

2. Woods Hole is located on one of the most beautiful scenic drives on Cape Cod. The shore road route takes you by Nobska Light which has magnificent views of Martha’s Vineyard, the Elizabeth Islands and Woods Hole Passage. You can park at the lighthouse and walk around to admire the views. The Martha’s Vineyard Ferry crosses back and forth in front of you from Woods Hole to Edgartown, MV.

3. The Shining Sea Bike Path ends in Woods Hole. While the National Seashore and its bike paths farther down the Cape get all the glory, the Shining Sea Bike Path is stunning. It begins at a parking lot on route 151 in Mashpee and travels through Falmouth to Woods Hole for approximately 12 miles. If you don’t have time to bike or walk the whole route, you can park at Old Dock Road in Falmouth for a shorter trip. Shorter still is the Depot Road parking lot in Falmouth. No matter which starting point you choose, you will be treated to a spectacular view of the Atlantic Ocean, a beautiful view of Martha’s Vineyard (located just six miles out to sea), a beautiful, hidden harbor which is home to a Coast Guard base, and, of course, the quaint port of Woods Hole.

4. Woods Hole has the cutest little drawbridge at the center of town which allows boats to enter the harbor. It is operated by an attendant who sits in a booth all day waiting for boaters to come and go.

5. Woods Hole is home to a spectacular hike called the Nob. It is located at Quisset Harbor, just outside of town. The Nob is a wooded peninsula with magnificent ocean views. It can be difficult to find and parking is limited. It is not to be missed.

6. The Woods Hole Aquarium is free and open to the public. Donations are requested but not required. There is a seal pool out front that is very entertaining. There are two seals that were rescued as pups and unable to be returned to the wild.

7. If all this hiking, biking and walking gets you hungry, there are a handful of restaurants and watering holes at the center of town. Our favorite is a bakery called, “Pie In The Sky.” “Maison Villatte” is a delicious French bakery on Main Street, Falmouth. It’s just a short drive out of Woods Hole. “Dana’s Kitchen” is also a great choice for breakfast or lunch. It was featured on Diners, Dives and Drive-thrus on the Food Channel and is located at 881 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth, MA.