On a blue sky day, with puffy clouds in the distance, we gathered on the beach in Woods Hole to enjoy a historic boat race -- the "Anything But A Boat" challenge pitting locals against one another in a hilarious romp around Woods Hole harbor in home-made vessels.
"Un-Boats" of all shapes and sizes found their way to Woods Hole for the race which was sponsored by local businesses and the entire science community.
The "Sons of Carpentry" had a particularly impressive vehicle -- no wonder as they all work in the carpentry shop at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Last time we raced like this was 2005, and there are photos of a similar extravaganza dating back to the 1920's. Part of the "Sea Around Us" weekend, the race was themed to honor the legacy of Rachel Carson who did much of her research while working right here in Woods Hole.
After the boat race, the party moved over to the Landfall Restaurant and Quicks Hole Taqueria for free music from local bands Crooked Coast and Brother's Rye.
It was truly fun for all ages with beach balls, corn hole and conversation in the warm September sunshine.
Special thanks was offered to the Long Trail Brewing Company who donated beer for the event, sold with 100% of the proceeds going to support Falmouth Water Stewards a local clean water group that is building re-usable water bottle filling stations all over town. #SeaAroundUs #SavetheOcean
Local chefs charred up loads of bratwurst on the shells out in front where Crooked Coast was playing. Mini lobster rolls, Quahog Chowder and lobster tacos were also crowd pleasers.
As the sun moved lower in the sky, Crooked Coast played their last set with an array of extra horns lending a wonderful accent to some of their best songs.
Rooster and Mary Anne Fricke of Nobska Farm fame were tearing up the rug on the shells as Brother's Rye finished up their last set of the afternoon.
If you missed the "Sea Around Us" weekend this year, never fear as the summer fun does not stop in Woods Hole until the leaves are full off the trees in late October. Just come on down and check out the unique waterfront dining scene. Or plan to join us next year on Cape Cod, because this celebration was simply too fun not to repeat.
Locals know that fall on Cape Cod is the best times to explore the region -- cranberry blogs aflame with color, summer crowds back at school, leaves turning over inky black kettle ponds, summer's harvest in local farmers markets and on the plate at myriad farm-to-table restaurants. Fall is marked with fishing derbys and craft fairs, antique shops and deep end-of-season discounts. There is so much to do on fall Cape Cod, but here are our top five local secrets.
5. Find a Kettle Hole
Cape Cod was formed by the advance and retreat of the last continental ice sheet, creating our sandy hooked arm extending perilously, boldly out into the Atlantic. As the ice retreated, large chunks left behind melted into deep holes which became what we call "kettle ponds." It's estimated that there are over 1,000 ponds like this on the Cape, and in Falmouth we have quite a few with even great names -- check out the "Punch Bowl" or "Ice House Pond" in Beebe Woods, for example.
LOCAL SECRET - The closest kettle pond from Treehouse Lodge is on the walk down to Stoney Beach where you will find the small Mill Pond (pictured above). Grab a hot popover from Pie in the Sky Bakery Cafe on your walk over. You found it! Now sit a spell.
4. Fall Sunsets
What makes sunsets sweeter in the fall? Perhaps the waning days, cool crisp in the air, smell of wood smoke as fires are lit to take the chill off a breeze in from the north, gulls crying in the distance, feet aching from a long walk on the beach. Cape Cod fall is not complete without a chance to sit and watch the sun set, each night delightfully different, preferably over the water.
LOCAL SECRET - We recommend Landfall Restaurant for the serene sunsets over the water. Watch the ferries to Martha's Vineyard ply the harbor while you enjoy your Dark & Stormy with a side of freshly steamed lobster. Don't forget your bib!
3. Great Eats
Speaking of lobster, fall is a good time for an authentic Cape Cod meal on the waterfront. The region is experiencing a foodie revolution with scores of new sea-to-table restaurants capitalizing on the proximity to the fishery.
LOCAL SECRET - For a great meal during your stay, we recommend Quicks Hole Tavern in Woods Hole, an easy stroll from Treehouse Lodge. Try their new waterfront brunch with Chicken and Waffles or Crabcakes Benedict, and don't leave without tasting the Pig Candy, a delightfully sweet, deeply roasted side of thick cut bacon served on a delicate puree and garnished with microgreens.
2. Ride a Bike
After brunch, hop on one of the free bikes offed at Treehouse Lodge and explore the Shining Sea Bike path which was built on abandoned railroad tracks and named for Falmouth's most famous daughter Katherine Lee Bates (who penned America the Beautiful). You will admire the same shining sea that inspired her song as you explore this eleven mile journey, especially charming in fall as the leaves start to turn. Expect to see migrating birds, fish hawks circling, epic vistas over the sea, vast marshlands dotted with egret and great blue heron ... and many fewer people than in summer.
LOCAL SECRET - In West Falmouth, (six miles from where you started in Woods Hole) take a detour off the path to visit Chappy Beach where you will catch the kite surfers enjoying the strong onshore breeze. Swing by West Falmouth Market for a hot coffee and delicious snack before you pedal home.
1. Shop the Craft Fairs
Cape Cod has a rich history of local craftsmanship with artists choosing to live here perhaps inspired by the flinty self reliance of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who along with his good friend Thoreau frequently visited Cape Cod and remarking on it's unusual beauty. The peninsula is packed with artisans who make all sorts of amazing handcrafted goods, and this is the perfect spot to find unique gifts and support this authentic movement with everything from handmade soaps to funky jewelry, from fine oil paintings to giclee watercolor, from incredible hand crafted pottery to tie-dye shibori and so much more.
LOCAL SECRET - In Woods Hole don't miss the gift shop Inlet, an easy walk from Treehouse Lodge. Or drive three miles up the road to Falmouth, where you will enjoy a visit to Brick Kiln Farm (pictured below) for unique locally crafted house and garden gifts.
This blog was designed to introduce you to Falmouth, Woods Hole, Martha's Vineyard and all that the new Treehouse Lodge has to offer for family fun in the sun on Cape Cod.