With its rich nautical history, miles of pristine coastline and its charming sea-village allure, Falmouth offers abundant activities for natives and tourists alike. We’ve put together an alphabetized list of our favorite things about this coastal town for you to enjoy.By Jordan Hitchcock and Colby Radomski
Seals, lobsters and crabs, oh my!
These are just a few of the 140 species of sea creatures you’ll find swimming in the tanks at Woods Hole Science Aquarium (aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov) and the Buzzards Bay Discovery Center (savebuzzardsbay.org), both located in Woods Hole.
Falmouth is an epicenter of the Cape’s lively arts and culture scene, with year-round festivals, events and other opportunities to channel your inner artist. Celebrate the work of over 50 artisans and crafters at the annual Arts Alive Festival (artsfalmouth.org), a free, three-day arts extravaganza that takes place every summer. Need a creative night out? Pick up a brush at Paint It! (paintitfalmouth.com), an art bar where you can sip your favorite cocktail and paint like Picasso. For those who just want a little artful sightseeing, there are plenty of galleries to meander through, including the Osborn & Rugh Gallery (osbornandrughgallery.com), owned by husband and wife Doug Rugh and Hillary Osborn.
With more than 68 miles of coastline—the most on Cape Cod—Falmouth is just the place to enjoy a day at the beach. Find the perfect piece of sandy real estate in our Beach Guide on page 136.
Check out what’s brewing at Pie in the Sky Bakery and Café, whose claim to fame includes a giant locomotive-like machine that owner Eric Gura uses to expertly roast coffee beans each evening. With a tantalizing array of fresh-baked treats and artisanal drinks, it’s easy to see—and taste—why this quaint café is hailed as one of the best places on the Cape to grab breakfast and a cup of joe. pieintheskywoodshole.com
Want to fill up on fresh air? Spend a night outdoors at family-friendly Sippewissett Campground. While you won’t exactly rough it (the campground has modern amenities), there are plenty of opportunities for you to become “one with nature.” Check out the campground’s most unique accommodations—tipis. sippewissett.com
DINERS AND DOGS
The origin of diners dates to the late 1800s when restaurants shaped as railroad cars became exceedingly popular. Although this trend seems to be a thing of the past, two popular spots, Betsy’s Diner and Boxcar’s Diner, maintain an authentic diner atmosphere and serve up comfort-food favorites like banana pancakes and homestyle meatloaf. Looking for some real down-home grub? The hearty portions at Doggz & Hoggz (doggzhoggz.com) are sure to satisfy. You can’t go wrong with a rack of their expertly smoked ribs, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, or one of their creatively constructed jumbo hot dogs.
Saddle up a horse at Haland Stable and take a trail ride through Falmouth’s picturesque woodlands, salt marshes and cranberry bogs. Expand your knowledge of horsemanship while bonding with an equine friend. halandstable.com
Locavores will love the selection of fresh-off-the-vine fruits and vegetables at the Falmouth Farmers Market at Peg Noonan Park. Browse tables piled high with artisanal breads and cheeses, seafood and lobsters caught right off Falmouth’s shores, homemade pies and other unique products. Every Thursday. Noon – 6 p.m. falmouthfarmersmarket.org
As the sport’s greatest amateur Bobby Jones once said, “The best practice for a golfer is golfing.” Boasting lush and flat fairways, 27-holes, and open year-round to the public, the Falmouth Country Club is definitely a hole-in-one in our book. falmouthcountryclub.com
Cast a line into the calm waters or sport-fish in the choppy seas of the sound. Patriot Party Boats (patriotpartyboats.com) and Bluefin Charters (bluefin-charters.com) specialize in striped bass and bluefin fishing so those aboard can reel in a “keeper.”
Just a mere seven miles from the mainland on Falmouth Harbor, Martha’s Vineyard is home to a number of award-winning restaurants, shops, beaches and activities to enjoy both indoors and out. It’s a perfect getaway for an extended stay or just the day. steamshipauthority.com
Celebrate all-things jazz at Falmouth’s largest musical event of the year, where fiery and soulful notes waft through the streets of downtown. Keep an eye out for some famous faces as Jazz Fest regularly hosts prestigious performers. Last year’s lineup included Grammy-award winning artists Catherine Russell and Alan Broadbent. Check online for a detailed schedule of events. jazzfestfalmouth.org
With plenty of access to fresh and saltwater, Falmouth is an idyllic place to launch a kayak. Paddle your way through the shallow and calm waters of Waquoit Bay, a narrow expanse of water that is suited to kayakers of all levels and leads to Washburn Island, a 300-acre island off the coast of Falmouth. Don’t have a kayak? No problem! There are plenty of spots to rent one in town.
Your search for the perfect “lobstah” roll is over. Reputed as one of the tastiest in New England, the Barking Claw lobster roll comes with a heaping, 4-ounce pile of knuckle and claw meat that’s packed into a butter-toasted split-top roll. facebook.com/thebarkingclaw
Discover the days of old at the Falmouth Museums on the Green (www.museumsonthegreen.org) or the Woods Hole Historical Museum (www.woodsholemuseum.org), which offer diverse exhibits rich in history for people of all interests.
It’s known as the town’s most picturesque landmark, and to see it is to believe it! Built in 1829, Nobska Lighthouse boasts arguably the best panoramic views of Vineyard Sound and beyond. newenglandlighthouses.net/nobska
Applaud the dramatic and vocal talent of students from across the country at College Light Opera, an educational theater that produces extraordinary musicals and operettas suitable for audiences of all ages. collegelightoperacompany.com
Grab a set of wheels and pedal your way along Falmouth’s well-liked bike trail, Shining Sea Bikeway, aptly named after for Katharine Lee Bates’ famous song. The 10.7 miles extend from North Falmouth all the way to Woods Hole, winding through beautiful scenery of marshes, cranberry bogs and beaches. capecodbikeguide.com/shiningseabikeway.asp
Feeling a little nostalgic? Take a trip down memory lane at Blast from the Past and peruse through their collection of hard-to-find vintage items, including Coca-Cola signs, Star Wars figurines and original Beatles memorabilia. blastfromthepastma.com
You might be gasping for breath yourself as you cheer on runners in the annual Falmouth Road Race. The famous 7.3-mile course, held each year in August, travels along the town’s scenic drives and draws more than 12,000 athletes from around the world as well as a lively throng of spectators. falmouthroadrace.com
With its mix of little shops and trendy boutiques, downtown Falmouth is a perfect shopping destination for fickle fashionistas and retail therapy junkies. Check out our shopping guide starting on Page 72 for a walking guide of downtown Falmouth’s boutiques.
“Ready, set, action!” Local thespians and national acting troupes wow crowds at a handful of theatrical venues in town: Woods Hole Theater Company (woodsholetheater.org), Cape Cod Theatre Project (capecodtheatreproject.org) and the Falmouth Theatre Guild (falmouththeatreguild.org).
Get the full grape-to-glass experience at Cape Cod Winery. Take a tour through the vines, learn about the viniculture process and, best of all, sip and savor the local whites, reds and Cranberry Blush. capecodwinery.com
No summer day is complete without a trip to the local ice cream shop. The sinfully indulgent and toothsome flavors at Smitty’s Ice Cream (smittysic.com) will linger even after your sweet treat has melted away.
Make sure you’ve got your sea legs when you hop aboard the Liberté Schooner. Take a daytime or sunset cruise on Vineyard Sound for jaw-dropping views and fun camaraderie. theliberte.com
“X” MARKS THE SPOT
Arghhh-uably one of the most entertaining events of the summer, the Raw Bar’s annual Pirate Party, held this year on August 9, is a great way to spend the day listening to live bands, jumping in moon bounces and getting your face painted. This festive family event is fun for people of all ages. falmouthrawbar.com
Falmouth is in full glory during the warmer months, but there are plenty of things to do throughout the fall and winter. Check out our calendar on pages 138-142.
Get up close and personal with the furry critters at Coonamessett Farm. Home to alpacas, goats, lambs and donkeys, the farm is a delight for all ages, with pick-your-own vegetables and a café, too. coonamessettfarm.com