Cape Cod Day Trip: Woods Hole
Home to world-renowned marine research labs and no shortage of colorful characters, Woods Hole is a magnet for scientists and sailors, bikers and beach bums. Families will appreciate the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ocean Science Exhibit Center for a fun yet educational taste of the village’s main industries, oceanography and fisheries science.
Heading to the Vineyard? Come early and enjoy a stroll down Water Street and around Eel Pond before hopping on the Steamship Authority ferry. With metered, paid, and permit-only parking everywhere, it’s best to bike or take the WHOOSH trolley from Falmouth. That way, you can walk to extremely popular Stoney Beach (on Buzzards Bay) or Nobska Beach, with views of Nobska Lighthouse and Martha’s Vineyard.
Woods Hole abounds with eateries, so getting a meal—even with the summer crowds—is as easy as watching the drawbridge go up every half hour. Whether you want a sea-to-table dining experience or prefer to bring the table to the sea, Woods Hole is the perfect destination for fine dining, an outdoor picnic, and everything in between.
Pie in the Sky is a mecca for comfort food fans. Freshly baked croissants, popovers, and breads are delicious any time of day, plain or stuffed with deli delights as a sandwich (try the spinach-feta croissant with egg and tomato). The homemade soups make a meal, but be sure to save room for dessert. The pastries, bars, and cookies are so big that you’ll plan to share—but so good that you won’t want to. Pies and quiches are available by the slice or whole—and a nice option for bringing to a picnic or dinner party. Coffee afficianados will be pleased by the in-house roaster, cranking out the freshest roasts possible for your pour-over Kona, espresso drinks, or regular brew. Not fresh enough? Buy some of your own green coffee to roast at home! If caffeine isn’t your thing, choose from a huge variety of teas, soft drinks, and fruit smoothies made to order. More than just a bakery, Pie in the Sky also runs a pop-up raw bar and barbeque smoker on weekend evenings during the summer and a popular open mic night on Mondays. Sample some of the freshest and tastiest oysters from Washburn Island, littlenecks, and shrimp while taking in the sights and smells from the outdoor patio or hillside park across the street. Pro tip: BYOB is allowed on premises—just pop over to the Old Barn Liquor Store on Luscombe Ave.
Coffee Obsession also serves up a delicious variety of caffeinated beverages, iced or hot teas, and specialty drinks. Chef Charro Zuck delivers breakfast and lunch specials and baked goods from a newly installed kitchen. Featuring local produce and eggs, the menu changes daily, but revolves around egg and vegetable “hash nests” or breakfast sandwiches on your choice of bagel, croissant or English muffin—be sure to try the house-made hot sauces. Lunch choices include Hale & Hearty soups (with a vegetarian option) and creatively healthy wraps that feature house-made hummus, veggie burgers, or curried chicken. Or just savor an espresso and gelato on the front porch as you watch the parade of tourists and scientists go by.
Luscombe Ave might need to change its name to Quicks Hole Ave, with the Quicks Hole Taqueria at one end and Quick’s Hole Tavern on the other. Named for the passage between two of the Elizabeth Islands off of Woods Hole, both Quicks Hole establishments put have Woods Hole on the map for fresh, locally-oriented food (produce is delivered from area farms, including Morning Glory Farm on the Vineyard and hot peppers from Nobska Farms). Serving up Baja-style burritos, salad bowls and tacos, the taqueria is open seasonally (May-September). Time your visit on a Thursday or Sunday evening and enjoy a lobster taco and sangria while listening to live music and enjoying the all-ages crowd gathered in the street as the sun sets.
From April to Christmas, locals flock to The Landfall, a waterfront restaurant and watering hole. Take a drink out to the front patio to watch the passersby or back deck for a glimpse of the ferries coming and going while the sun sets or, take your boat right up to the dock. Fish bites and chicken wings are popular bar menu items (and ring in at 40 cents a piece Monday-Thursday from 4 to 6 pm), but the clam chowder and the fresh raw oysters from Washburn Island Oysters (Waquoit) are a better bet. The menu offers traditional Cape Cod fare, including lobsters and fried clams, but what you’ll remember most is the fresh-squeezed grapefruit cocktail and sunset views. During the summer, The Landfall transforms into a rock club after 11 PM on Fridays, with acoustic music during happy hour on Tuesdays.
Since opening in mid-May, the Water Street Kitchen & Public House has transformed the restaurant formerly known as the Fishmonger. Locally-sourced, in-season produce and seafood make it a locavore’s paradise, sitting comfortably alongside casual noshers enjoying a craft cocktail and a small plate or a beer and burger. All are sure to enjoy incomparable water and drawbridge views in this casually tasteful setting. Open for dinner from 5 PM, Tuesday through Sunday.
With so many bar/restaurant options, including the Captain Kidd, which recently began sourcing produce from Tony Andrews Farm (East Falmouth), it might be tempting to just grab some snacks and head to the beach for sunset. Woods Hole Market is just the place to do that. Featuring a full-service deli, bakery and pizza oven, this little market has all the ingredients to please the whole family. Try a gourmet burrito or pizza—in our opinion, the best taste and value in town! You can also get a “take and bake” pie to cook at home. But our choice would be to head upstairs to the deck overlooking Eel Pond, perhaps with a BYOB libation or a soft drink from the market, and enjoy the freedom of self-service.
Captain Kidd, 77 Water Street
The Landfall, 9 Luscombe Avenue
Pie in the Sky Bakery & Café, 10 Water Street
Quicks Hole Taqueria, 6 Luscombe Avenue
Quicks Hole Tavern, 29 Railroad Avenue
The Steamship Authority, 1 Cowdry Road
Woods Hole Oceanographic Ocean Science Center, 15 School Street
Woods Hole Science Aquarium, 166 Water Street