Monday, January 22, 2018

Woods Hole

October 5, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 


Falmouth, Massachusetts is located at the southeastern corner of Cape Cod. It’s filled with beaches, cedar shingle homes, and summer tourists riding bicycles. While it’s a lovely town, many go to Falmouth specifically to visit Woods Hole, a bustling area filled with shops, restaurants, and bars. It’s also where the ferry leaves to take vacationers to the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

IMG_1071 (1)The currents in Woods Hole Passage can be quite swift, so plan your trip accordingly and be sure to have good navigational aids. Woods Hole Marina, as well as the Woods Hole Yacht Club, offer transient space.

Include a trip to  in your visit — you’ll get a fantastic lesson on the history of the area. Nestled in the back of a gravel driveway, the unassuming building looks like it could be just another cape house. As soon as you walk in and see the large timeline outlining all the important and fun facts about the history of Woods Hole, you’ll realize this early 19th century building is anything but ordinary.

There are three galleries to visit, featuring businesses that have operated out of the village throughout its history, ice harvesting, and a panorama featuring Woods Hole in 1895.

Throughout the museum are countless photographs and videos showing the town’s unique history and a view of the buildings that still stand today. Outside is a boat shed where visitors can view old boats and boat building equipment. Across from it, there is an 1892 workshop that was moved from a Victorian home in town.

The museum is open to the public from June through the end of September; its hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There is no admission fee but donations are accepted. Along with the exhibits and displays, it gives walking tours, classes, and family-friendly programs.

IMG_1074 (1)The museum is a stone’s throw from the restaurants and shops in Woods Hole and is accessible by boat. Once docked in Woods Hole, the entire village is within walking distance. Some great places to eat are Captain Kidd’s at 77 Water Street, The Landfall at 9 Luscombe Avenue, and the Fishmonger Cafe at 56 Water Street.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is also open to visitors. The Ocean Science Exhibit Center is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. It’s located at 15 School Street.

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium at 166 Water Street is another great spot. The aquarium is open from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, Tuesday through Saturday all year. On most days, visitors can watch staff feed the seals at 11:00 am and 4:00 pm!

To reserve dock space in Woods Hole, boaters can call Woods Hole Marine at (508) 540-2402. For more information on the Woods Hole Historical Museum visit or call 508-548-7270.

By Erica Dumont

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More information and history

IMG_1075 (1)Woods Hole is well-known for scientific organizations. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute,, is the largest independent oceanographic research institute in the country, and was founded in the area in the 1930s. The Marine Biological Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center and the Woods Hole Research Center can also be found in this section of town.

During the 20th century, Woods Hole became a hub of scientific research and has emerged as a tourist destination.

Woods Hole has a remarkable history. In 1602, Bartholomew Gosnold is believed to have landed in Woods Hole from England as he explored the Massachusetts coastline. However, the area wasn’t completely settled by Europeans until 1677. After that, it was primarily a fishing area, but there was also a sheep breeding industry.

In the early 19th century, Woods Hole became involved in the whaling industry. Along with Nantucket and New Bedford, Falmouth became one hub of whaling in Massachusetts. Several whaling captains called the town home. Shortly after the industry took hold in Woods Hole, the large stone building on Water Street was built. Called the Candle House, the building was once used to make candles using part of the sperm whale. Now, the building houses the Marine Biological Laboratory.

In the late 19th century, the area was home to the Pacific Guano Works, a company that processed guano (bird poop) brought back from the Pacific by Boston merchants. It was used to make fertilizer, and the plant dominated the area for the majority of the second half of the 19th century.

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