Woods Hole, Massachusetts - Cape Cod's marine science epicenter
Sitting on the southwest tip of the town of Falmouth, the village of Woods Hole is a small, yet important, locality on Cape Cod.
The community has a population of fewer than 800 people. Still, there is a great deal packed into this tiny geographical area, including some of the country's most renowned marine science institutions.
Woods Hole also has historical significance as one of only two natural harbors on the south side of the Cape and as the location of the Woods Hole passage, which links Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound without having to go around the Elizabeth Islands.
When looking to buy a home on Cape Cod, Woods Hole is an excellent option because it's quiet and scenic, yet with a bustling dining scene and a position that is only minutes from the Bourne Bridge. In short, Woods Hole has all of the benefits of Cape Cod, while enjoying an easily commutable location.
A history of Woods Hole, Massachusetts
The village of Woods Hole is named after the Woods Hole passage, which is a name that dates to the 17th century. While the exact origin of the name is a mystery, it's believed to come from the anglicized name of a Wampanoag person who lived in the region. It's also possible that the passage was named after a colonist who explored the area in the early days of European settlement.
Woods Hole's documented records start on December 30, 1679, when 14 settlers officially purchased the land from the Wampanoag people. These settlers quickly turned the region into a fishing and farming community, but even over 100 years after the purchase, the town's population was only 74.
That changed between 1828 and 1864, though, as Woods Hole's natural harbor made the community a hotspot for the whaling industry, increasing the population to about 200 people.
Further changes occurred in 1863, when Pacific Guano Company, a fertilizer producer, opened up a factory in Woods Hole, immediately becoming the town's largest employer. It didn't last long, however, as, by 1889, Pacific Guano was gone, and locals no longer had any reason to stick around.
Seeing opportunity in Woods Hole, groups of elites from New York and Boston started buying up properties, building large homes and turning the village into a vacation resort.
Many of these large homes remain in Woods Hole to this day but tend to sell quickly when they hit the market.
Neighborhoods in Woods Hole
Despite its small size, there are some distinct neighborhoods in the village of Woods Hole.
One of the more desirable locations in Woods Hole is Penzance Point, which features land on the south side of Great Harbor. Many of the properties in this area have private beach and dock access.
Northeast of Penzance Point is downtown Woods Hole, which features residential properties around Eel Pond and extending north up the coastline. This suburban section continues north all the way to Gansett Point, which overlooks Buzzards Bay.
There is another residential area southeast of downtown near Nobska Beach, which extends north to Trunk River Beach. The Shining Sea Bikeway runs through this neighborhood, and most of the houses sit in dense tree cover.
A final popular neighborhood in Woods Hole is called The Knob, which is a peninsula that sits on Quissett Harbor. While the actual peninsula isn't inhabited, the area on the east side of the harbor is mostly residential.
Activities in Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Despite its small size, you'll find plenty of activities in Woods Hole. For starters, the village is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, one of the world's leading marine science establishments. There is a discovery center at the facility, which you can visit to learn more about local marine life, and the organization hosts events throughout the year.
Just down the street from the Oceanographic Institution is the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, which has a variety of live exhibits that allow you to interact with marine life and learn about whales, sharks, and other large marine mammals.
Downtown Woods Hole also has a theater, numerous restaurants, and multiple marinas, making it a place you'll want to spend some time once you buy a home here.
The beaches in Woods Hole are also an attraction, as Stony Beach sits near the downtown area, while Nobska and Truck River are also popular. There's a beach on The Knob, as well, but you'll have to hike to it, as it doesn't have road access.
If you want to stay active, the Woods Hole Golf Club offers a challenging 18-hole course, while Woods Hole Park has tennis courts, a playground, beach volleyball facilities, and a baseball diamond for public use.
Buying a home in Woods Hole, MA
Woods Hole is one of the more desirable places to live on Cape Cod because it has the beaches, trails, and restaurants for which the region is famous while being perhaps the most isolated spot on the Upper Cape.
If you're interested in buying a home in Woods Hole, an accessible, yet quiet village on Cape Cod, contact Kinlin Grover Real Estate today to go over your options.