Cape Cod : Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard and More

Beach at Falmouth

The Beach at Falmouth

It’s time to re-visit my summer holiday and go right back to the first week and a half that we spent on Cape Cod. We had marvellous weather and it’s strange to us but after Labor Day (the first Monday in September) many places close down and the locals more or less have the place to themselves again. It’s the way we like it. The weather is still good but you can find a table at a restaurant without queuing, the roads and beaches are almost empty but most of the local shops are still open.

Estuary Fairhaven

The Estuary at Fairhaven

We don’t usually travel far from our digs but we always make one excursion out of our Cape Cod Comfort Zone and that is to visit my online book group friend sherry who lives in Marion, Massachusetts on the other side of Buzzards Bay. This time our excursion included a new activity as my husband has taken up sailing and as it was impossible for us to find a sailing school open on the Cape he signed up for 16 hours tuition over two days (and including a one hour written exam at the end) at Sail Buzzards Bay  (Fair Winds and We’ll See You on the Water!) based in Fairhaven, Mass. just a few miles from Marion.

101 Main St Fairhaven

Sail Buzzards Bay HQ, Main Street, Fairhaven

Preparation for sailing

Preparation for Sailing School

Needless to say the watery theme continued throughout the trip. One day we took the ferry to nearby Martha’s Vineyard. The ferry from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard takes just 35 minutes and during the autumn season there are just two sailings in each direction each day (Monday to Thursday – more sailings at the weekend). We understood that it was worth taking the bus to Edgartown where we had lunch, watched the three vehicle five minute journey Chappaquidick Ferry and had a wander around the compact centre of town.

Main St Edgartown

The Main Street, Edgartown, MV

Here’s how the tourist leaflet describes Edgartown :

“One of New England’s most elegant communities, Edgartown was the Island’s first colonial settlement and it has been the county seat since 1642. The stately white Greek Revival houses built by the whaling captains have been carefully maintained. They make the town a museum-piece community, a seaport village preserved from the early 19th century.”

Chappaquidick Ferry

The Tiny Chappaquidick Ferry

Daniel Fisher House

The Grand Daniel Fisher House (1840)

I’d hoped to visit the Whaling Church but it was included on an organised tour from the museum (which also included a visit to Daniel Fisher House) and we just didn’t have time before taking the bus back to Oak Bluffs for our return to the mainland.

MV Museum

The Very Old Vincent House Museum

Whaling Church Edgartown

The Impressive Whaling Church

On several days we would drive down to Woods Hole the village attached to the extensive Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute that dominates the area. There are some good seafood restaurants with docks onto the marina – all very nautical.

Woods Hole Marina


Dining at Woods Hole Marina

We also called in to see the displays at the WHOI Visitor Centre. The main exhibition highlight is the 1985-1986 discovery and exploration of the wreck of the Titanic.

Titanic 1


Titanic 2


Titanic 3

“This 1/570 scale model of the Titanic stern is on loan to WHOI from Roy Mengot of Plano, TX. Roy’s model is based on WHOI data and imagery and is among the best representations of the Titanic wreck as it was found during the 1985 and 1986 WHOI expeditions. The completed bow and stern models took 3,000 hours to build.”

Titanic 4

In addition to the Oceanographic Institute Woods Hole is also home to The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), The National Marine Fisheries Service, the Sea Education Association, The United States Geological Survey and the Woods Hole Research Center. Wow! That’s home to a lot of eggheads.

There’s a memorial statue to Rachel Carson author the far-reaching text “The Silent Spring”.

“I had my first prolonged contact with the sea at Woods Hole. I never tired of watching the tidal currents pouring through the Hole – that wonderful place of whirlpools, and eddies and swiftly racing water” Rachel Carson, author of  The Sea Around Us; The Edge of the Sea; Under the Sea Wind; Silent Spring. Scientist, writer and colleague at MBL, NOAA and WHOI 1907-1964

Rachel Carson on the hot seat

Rachel Carson on the hot seat!

Finally, I still haven’t got round to reading it but maybe I should read this first :

Moby Dick Book



2 comments on “Cape Cod : Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard and More

  1. sherry says:

    It seems like such a long time ago, doesn’t it?

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