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Woods Hole is a small village on the southwestern coast of Cape Cod, the closest port to the island of Martha's VIneyard and home to many important science institutions. The village is dominated by the water front, a huge swooping harbor with many great viewpoints including Waterfront Park and the Steamship Authority Docks.
The main road into Woods Hole is called Woods Hole Road. It is three miles from the center of Falmouth MA. Woods Hole is a village of the town of Falmouth.
At the end of Woods Hole Road, ferry traffic bears left onto Cowdry Rd and into the Steamship Authority staging area for boarding the ship. People arrive early for the ferry, park their cars in the lot and walk to several nearby businesses for food, coffee, beer and free wifi. Popular locations near the ferry parking include Pie in the Sky bakery and internet cafe (house roasted coffee, excellent baked goods), Coffee Obsession (another coffee shop with more seating), Jimmys (a pizza and sandwich shop open in summer only), Old Barn Liquor Store (nips, candy and lottery tickets), Quicks Hole Tavern (bar and eatery on the waterfront), Woods Hole Market (great deli sandwiches, pizza) and Fishmonger Cafe (casual waterfront dining). In summer, there is also Landfall ($$$), Phusion ($$$), Captain Kidd and Shuckers a few steps farther. Almost every restaurant in Woods Hole has a view of the water.
There are two central streets in Woods Hole. Water Street starts at the top of the hill where Woods Hole Road ends. On Water Street you will find the WCAI radio station, Bank of Woods Hole (ATM), Pie in the Sky bakery, a post office, Under the Sun gift shop, Local Colors gallery, Woods Hole Inn, Coffee Obsession, Fishmonger Cafe, the drawbridge to Eel Pond, Phusion, Community Hall, Handworks gallery, Captain Kidd restaurant and bar, Shuckers, several marinas, Woods Hole Market (ATM), Howlingbird t-shirts, Liberty dress shop, the WHOI information office, the Marine Biological Laboratory admin building, WHOI docks with limited access, MBL gift shop and Waterfront Park (great views of the harbor with sculpture garden).
At the very end of Water Street, turn right onto Albatross for the NOAA Woods Hole Aquarium, which is small but free. The seals are kept in a pool out front and they are fed daily at 11 am and 4 pm. This is a fun "show" for small children. There is metered parking on Water Street -- bring plenty of quarters as the meter maid is vigilant.
The other main road in Woods Hole is Luscombe Avenue which connects Water Street to the Steamship Authority docks. On Luscombe Ave you will find Soft As A Grape t-shirts, Quicks Hole Tavern & Taqueria, Coffee Obsession, Landfall and Buzzards Bay Coalition touch tanks and water exhibit.
Finally, if you head down School Street, you can visit the WHOI Exhibit Center and learn all about the exploration of the Titanic and other exciting marine science. For a nice walk in Woods Hole, continue down School Street, left on Millfield, left again on Albatross past the aquarium, left on Water Street and you are back where you started. This is a scenic tour of the Eel Pond, and enclosed harbor only accessible to larger vessels with a working drawbridge. The road opens up like a tin can to let boats in and out about once an hour all summer long and is a fun thing to watch, especially for kids.
There are over 100 metered spaces in Woods Hole, but NO PARKING for visitors to Martha's Vineyard. The Steamship maintains several satelite lots for pedestrian travelers to Martha's Vineyard, with free shuttle service from the parking lot. Look for signs on the way in from Route 28 as to which lot to use. On the weekends in summer, the Woods Hole Business Assn maintains several $3 lots for visitors to Woods Hole (max three hours). Also, many Falmouth residents choose to ride bikes down the charming Shining Sea Bike Path (eleven miles of dedicated path where the railroad track used to be) from North Falmouth to Woods Hole.