Spring is a great time to step away from everyday life and travel to Cape Cod. With the lengthening days come bright green grass, a magical pop of color from the cherry trees and the distinctive sound of peepers croaking from the bogs.
Spring is a well kept secret in Woods Hole, where there are so many fun things to do when you escape the city with your kids. Here is our countdown to the top five!
5. Study nature, not books
Scientist Louis Agassiz's famous quote ("study nature, not books") is a great place to start when traveling with kids. Legions of young scientists have convened here in Woods Hole to investigate the dunes, chase butterflies across the marsh or corral hermit crabs into imaginary cages on the tidal flats.
Lean back against a warm rock and watch your child glow from within as they experience the freedom of a day of Cape Cod scampering. Enjoy their confidant smile as they climb a broad limb tree? We recommend the lawn in front of Pie in the Sky Bakery (best popovers in town) or Waterfront Park for meeting up with playmates and identifying specimen, both a short walk from Treehouse Lodge in Woods Hole.
I know what your thinking -- my kids need more structure than that! Read on.
4. Bike the Shining Sea bike path
OK you've had enough tree climbing. Toss the bikes in the trunk and hop on the rail-trail Shining Sea Bike Path, one of Falmouth's treasures. Leaving Woods Hole, even the littlest ones will enjoy meandering along the beach on this safe path, far from the road, plenty of room for that "I just learned to ride" wobble. And if you are feeling ambitious, the Shining Sea Bike Path goes eleven miles from Woods Hole to North Falmouth, the perfect place to run that eight year old energy right into an early bedtime.
Want to swim? No problem -- stop along Surf Drive for a quick dip then air dry to Main Street Falmouth for lunch. We recommend the Bog Salad at the Pickle Jar (best salads Falmouth), or the "CAB" (chicken, avocado & bacon) sandwich at Parkside Market before winding your way home as the sun sets.
An adventure like this one makes memories for a lifetime. But if biking is not really your thing, well how about boating?
3. Ferry to the Vineyard
Everyone dreams of a great boat ride, maybe one day on your very own vessel. But why wait when the deck of the ferry to Martha's Vineyard is a stroll away? Walk down the hill from Treehouse Lodge to the Steamship Authority ferry terminal.
Watch the other suckers struggle on shuttle buses from satellite parking, while you get your freshly roasted hot coffee from Pie in the Sky Bakery Cafe (our favorite Cape Cod bakery) before ambling aboard.
Kids love the views from the outer decks, and that scrap of leftover bear claw will delight the seagulls following the ferry. It's a forty five minute ride over to Vineyard Haven, where you might hop the bus to explore the Island Alpaca Company (an easy ten minute ride from town and the best kid friendly attraction on Martha's Vineyard). Who doesn't want a selfie with an Alpaca?
Hungry yet? Ditch the stale diaper bag crackers and visit Vineyard Haven for lunch. If you are feeling healthy, check out the curried chickpeas and fresh island salads at Waterside Market (top ratings on TripAdvisor).
You've been so good so far, diet be damned. Do not get back on the ferry without a visit to Mad Martha's ice cream, a great way to get the littles to nap on the ferry ride home.
But the day is not over yet, there is still time to eat out on the waterfront back in Woods Hole.
2. Dine on the water
There are twelve waterfront restaurants to choose from in Woods Hole. Want a fresh squeezed juice cocktail dockside? Try the Landfall -- owned by the same family for 75 years, the Estes brothers really know how to make a great Cape Cod cocktail.
Or perhaps you prefer sitting out on a dock where the kids can scamper a bit while you all enjoy a traditional Cape Cod lobster boil? Shuckers World Famous Raw Bar offers two for one lobster night on Tuesdays. Guy Fiore of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives was here last year, so it really is world famous.
Thinking about something quick with the kids? How about lobster tacos and a pitcher of sangria? Try Quicks Hole Taqueria, or for a more upscale farm-to-table vibe, grab a table at Quicks Hole Tavern where you will try the Pig Candy along with one of twelve local beers on tap.
It's been a long day, but there is always tomorrow where you will ...
1. Jump in
That's right. Jump in a pond, leap off a pier, scramble across the sand, or dash into the water to make your Cape Cod weekend complete.
With the fresh spring air in your face, you and the kids will not leave Cape Cod without a real chillax -- a few hours with the salt, sand and sea. With the whoosh of the waves, the whiff of beach plum in the air, perhaps a chilled beverage buried under ice in the cooler, you will lean back into your beach chair and take several deep, deep breaths.
Yes, this is called being in the moment. You deserve the chance to renew your spirit, and Cape Cod is here for you.
What a great opportunity to teach your mini me to appreciate down time, and to share your love of the sea.