11 town treasures you won’t want to missText and photography by Lannan M. O’Brien
HAVE A HEARTY BREAKFAST AT MOONAKIS CAFE
You might glance at the menu and think, “Eggs Benedict sounds good,” or “I might get a side of the homemade corned beef hash.” Instead, we strongly suggest using these insider code words: Eggs Benedict Hash. You can’t find it on the menu, but we promise that it’s a combination made in heaven and the waitress will know what you mean. Tip: A painting behind the counter shows the former* owner working behind the same counter when she was a waitress.
460 Waquoit Highway (Route 28), East Falmouth; 508-457-9630
SIP MORNING BREW AT COFFEE OBSESSION
If nothing else, three things are true about the ever-charming Coffee O’ (so called by regular customers): the baristas are always sunny, regardless of the weather; the coffee is always delicious; and the mismatching chairs seldom change, making a return trip to this hangout spot feel like coming home. We’d trust anything on their coffee menu, which changes frequently, and the house brew is a great go-to for less adventurous types. Tip: It’s worth the wait to settle into one of their few comfy, albeit well-worn armchairs.
110 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth; 508-540-2233
38 Water Street, Woods Hole; 508-540-8130
GO GIFT SHOPPING ON MAIN STREET
Before you give up on finding the perfect birthday gift or souvenir for that hardest-to-buy-for friend, walk down Main Street and explore the many stores. Inside Twigs much of the merchandise, from women’s clothing and jewelry to handmade candles and soaps, comes from small Cape and Massachusetts-based businesses. Tip: Look for “stone people” art by Ellen’s Designs. These small wood blocks feature the figures of couples, families and even pets made from beach stones, driftwood and other sea treasures.
Main Street, Falmouth
BROWSE THE EIGHT COUSINS BOOKSHELVES
While many small, independent bookstores have been lost to the Internet age, Eight Cousins continues to thrive, playing a special role in the Falmouth community for over 30 years. Maybe it’s the knowledgeable staff, the diverse selection for young readers or the distinctive, arched storefront windows that draw people inside (the same windows that are depicted in the business logo, symbolizing books illuminating ideas and views of the world). Most likely, it’s all of the above that make this the best place to indulge your inner bookworm. Tip: You’ll find a nice selection of titles for grown-ups too. Check the website for a list of new book releases.
189 Main Street, Falmouth; 508-548-5548
EXPLORE HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS
Originally owned by the Beebe family, this 1878 estate was saved from the wrecking ball in the ’90s and restored as a museum. Art exhibits inside change throughout the year, as do the colors in the gardens and wooded paths that surround the building. Not the museum type? Put on your sneakers and follow the foot trails and old carriage roads of Beebe Woods. Tip: Find the ice house outside, which was once used to store ice from nearby Shivericks Pond.
56 Highfield Drive, Falmouth; 508-495-1878
WANDER THE SALT POND NATURE TRAILS
Just off the Shining Sea Bikeway, there’s a 41-acre parcel of land with walking trails open to the public. Transferred from Mass Audubon to the Salt Pond Area Bird Sanctuaries in the 1960s, this wooded area is beautiful year-round and offers views of Salt Pond flanked by Elm Road, Mill Road and Surf Drive. You can find parking at the corner of Mill Road and Surf Drive on Elm Road near the intersection of the bike path and off Pondlet Place. Tip: Download a trail map before you go at 300committee.org.
SAVOR QUALITY SEAFOOD–AND BEER–AT QUAHOG REPUBLIC
If you’re looking for that off-the-beaten-path, greasy spoon-style place to grab a bite, this is it. On any given day, regular customers occupy the stools at this self-described dive bar. The house brew—a light, hoppy beer called Quahog Grog—pairs perfectly with the Crunchy Cod Fish n’ Chips (it’s worth the upcharge to substitute Truffled Parmesan Fries for traditional fries). Tip: It’s pronounced “co-hog,” not “quay-hog.”
97 Spring Bars Road, Falmouth; 508-540-4111
GET THE LOCAL SCOOP AT BEN & BILL’S
A small family-owned chain, Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium is a chocolate lover’s paradise. Step inside to browse a dazzling array of handmade chocolates, candies and hard-serve ice cream flavors. When it comes to ice cream, we’re partial to the triple chocolate, but it’s really all delicious. Tip: It’s a mortal sin to leave without a box of the sea salted caramel chocolates. We mean it. And go early, because they sell out fast.
209 Main Street, Falmouth; 508-548-7878
RELAX WITH A MARGARITA ON ANEJO’S PATIO
Sometimes you need a change in perspective. After spending much of the day walking Main Street, there’s something sweetly refreshing about watching passersby—an experience enhanced only by a warm summer evening and an expertly crafted margarita in your hand. Anejo can make it all happen (minus the weather). We recommend their namesake margarita, made with Hornitos Anejo tequila, Torres Orange Liqueur, organic sugar cane, squeezed lime and cucumber. Tip: The food is as amazing as the cocktails. You can’t go wrong with the Verde Chicken Chimichanga or Baja fish tacos.
188 Main Street, Falmouth; 508-388-7631
CHECK OUT THE LOCAL MUSIC SCENE AT GRUMPY’S
Rumor has it that during prohibition, this building was a carriage house where men would drink, while women would visit a teahouse out front. What exists now is the diviest bar in town and local music hub. Even after gaining national attention, Cape-formed alternative band Crooked Coast continues to play here, occasionally with up-and-coming alternative band Diamond Guts. “Whiskey & Stout” is an opportunity for musicians who haven’t been scheduled to show up and play. Perhaps most unique to this spot is the mixed crowd. As bartender Chris Stone says, “You could come in and sit down next to a painting contractor, an investment banker, a lawyer or a doctor.” Tip: There’s typically a $5 cover, but you can get in free with passes from Coffee Obsession. Limited number available.
29 Locust Street, Falmouth; 508-540-3930
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WATCH THE SUNSET AT THE KNOB
It’s worth the hike to see this natural landmark, a hidden gem accessible only by wooded trails from Quissett Harbor Road. Jutting out into the ocean from a thin stretch of land, The Knob offers clear, open views of Quissett Harbor and Buzzards Bay. Trek to the tip of the landform itself or dig your toes in the soft sand of nearby Crescent Beach—a small beach also reached via the main trail—to end your day on a peaceful note. As the sun disappears below the horizon, listen to the waves crash and reflect on all you’ve seen and done. Tip: Only a few parking spaces are available. Especially in the summer, try to get there as early as possible or find alternatives to parking your car.
Off Quissett Harbor Road, Woods Hole
*A previous version of this story (and the 2017 print issue) referred to the subject of the painting as the current owner.