Town of Falmouth

With the most coastline of any town in Massachusetts, Falmouth access to beautiful beaches and boating is readily available. Looking to take a trip to Martha’s Vineyard? The Steamship Authority runs daily ferries out of Woods Hole, just be sure to call for reservations. Woods Hole is also home to the Oceanographic Institute, Research Center and Marine Biological Laboratory.

Falmouth

Villages: Falmouth, East Falmouth, North Falmouth, Silver Beach, Teaticket, Waquoit, Woods Hole, Falmouth Heights, Hatchville, Maravista, Quisset, Sippewisset

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Falmouth History and Information

In 1660, Quaker sympathizers settled in the area, which was to become Falmouth. By 1686, there were enough settlers of all types in the area that it was incorporated as the town of Suckanessett. The name is preserved on the town seal. The town takes its name from Falmouth, England, the homeport of Bartholomew Gosnold, believed to be the first European to arrive in the area. By the 1800′s Falmouth was a busy little port serving packet ships in the import-export trade, and whalers chasing the mighty sperm whale. It was a big-money business, this whaling. A pound of ambergis from a sperm whale could fetch $300 in the 1800s. Commerce was slightly interrupted during the War of 1812. A pesky British brig, HMS Nimrod, undertook to cannonade the town in 1812. Some of the historic houses and buildings in Falmouth boast the odd shattered timber or other evidence of a cannonball hit from this bombardment.

Falmouth has grown rapidly in recent years. However, the town has made a concerted effort to preserve its remaining open spaces. Multi-use trails can be found in Goodwill Park off Route 28, the Ashumet Holly and Wildlife Sanctuary off Route 151 in East Falmouth, and Washburn Island on Waquoit Bay. The 3.3-mile Shining Sea Bikeway begins at Woods Hole Rd. and runs all the way to the Steamship Authority parking lot in Woods Hole. It winds through sections of marshland, forests, lakes and cranberry bogs. Woods Hole, a village of Falmouth, is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) (est. 1930), the largest independent oceanographic research institution in the country. Also located here is the National Marine Fisheries Service Aquarium, featuring hands-on displays of crabs, starfish, snails, lobsters and other sea creatures for children. In the summer, the facility also operates an outdoor harbor seal pool. During the summer, Woods Hole overflows with scientists and graduate students from around the world. Tourists also flock to experience this village’s unpretentious seaside charm.

Points of Interest

1 Woods Hole and WHOI – Woods Hole has a college feel to it, much due to the research facilities located at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI). Along with a bookstore, the village also has craft galleries, restaurants and taverns. WHOI is the one of the most recognized and prestigious marine research facilities in the world. Follow the signs from Route 28 in Falmouth.

2 National Marine Fisheries Aquarium – This aquarium was founded to protect native Cape Cod sea life. The facility contains 16 display tanks of local ocean life from lobsters to seals. Located on Water Street.

3 Spohr’s Garden – Botanicals and lush greens abound in this three-acre estate. Wide paths wind throughout the area, allowing visitors to intimately enjoy its various flora. Located on Oyster Pond Rd.

4 Nobska Light – This lighthouse sits at the easternmost side of Wood’s Hole Harbor. The nearby Elizabeth Islands and Martha’s Vineyard are well within view of the stone-surrounded landmark. Built in 1828, it is now operated by the Coast Guard.

5 St. Joseph‘s Bell Tower/St. Mary’s Garden – This large bell tower rings three times a day: 7 AM, noon, and 6 PM. The garden features a myriad of flowers and other plant life. Located on Millford Street in Woods Hole.

6 The Knob – A narrow outcropping squeezed between a wooded bird sanctuary and rocky overlook of Buzzards Bay. Until now a locals’ secret, this spot has just recently caught on with tourists. Located on Quissett Harbor Road.

7 Ashumet Holly Reservation – A showcase for foliage, flowers and wildlife. This 45-acre Audubon Society Reservation is home to numerous bird species including cardinals, robins and orioles. Located on Ashumet Road off Route 151.

8 Bates House Museum – Katharine Lee Bates wrote the popular patriotic hymn ‘America the Beautiful’ in this house. The two-story colonial structure is now home to a Victorian parlor full of vintage books, photos and historically significant documents. Located on Route 28.

9 Friends’ Meetinghouse – Constructed at the beginning of the 1800s, Quakers fleeing religious persecution in Barnstable built this structure. After first moving to Sandwich, they relocated to this final spot. The church is open to the public every Sunday for worship. Located on Route 28 headed towards Woods Hole.

10 Candle House – This stone block structure, built in 1836, stores candle wax, wicks and scented aromas. It also commemorates the booming whaling industry of years ago with a plaque and historical literature. Located on Water Road.

Beaches – Beach stickers are available at the Surf Drive bathhouse, or, call the Falmouth Beach Committee. Ph# (508) 548-8623

  • Bristol Beach
  • Great Silver Beach- Great family beach located on Buzzards Bay. This warm water beach is divided in two, one side is a public beach, the other is private.
  • Chapoquoit Beach
  • Falmouth Beach
  • Falmouth Heights Beach- Nice warm water beach overlooking Vineyard Sound and Martha’s Vineyard.
  • Grew’s Pond Beach
  • Megansett Beach
  • Menahunt Road Beach
  • Old Silver Beach
  • Stony Beach
  • Surf Drive Beach
  • Wood Neck Beach- This warm water beach is found at the mouth of a saltwater lake (Little Sippewissett Lake)

Golf Courses
Ballymeade Country Club 508-540-4005
Cape Cod Country Club 508-563-9842
Falmouth Country Club 508-548-3211
Paul Harney Golf Club 508-563-3454
Woodbriar Golf Course 508-540-1600
Woods Hole Golf Club 508-548-0880

 

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