Friday, June 10, 2011

Exploring Falmouth

Part of our continuing series on Cape Towns

Traveling to the ferries to get to the Vineyard or Nantucket, visitors often overlook one of the gems of the Cape - Falmouth.  Besides being home of the world renowned Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Falmouth offers wonderful theatre programs, beautiful historic buildings and museums, as well as some fantastic outdoor recreation areas.

"From sea to shining sea . . ." The creator of those famous words Katharine Lee Bates was born and lived the first 12 years of her life in Falmouth.  I wonder if the shores of her childhood home was one her mind when she penned America the Beautiful.  You can learn about her life along with learning about pre-Civil War medicine and 18th Century whaling at Falmouth Museums on the Green.  The Falmouth Historical society sponsors both walking tours and "Fridays for Families" weekly during the summer.

The College Light Opera Company (CLOC) began in 1969 and is a non-profit educational summer stock theatre, producing musical theatre every summer at Highfield Theatre.  The performers are selected each year from colleges and universities across the country.  They are scheduled to do nine productions this summer including the classic "Oklahoma!"  One word of warning, they only take cash so go prepared.

Historic Highfield Hall is a grand stroll back to the days of Victorian well-heeled families "summering" on the Cape to escape the heat of the city.  Recently restored, this lovely building is now home to a myriad of cultural and fun activities for all ages and interests.  Cooking classes and food lectures, classes for children, and art exhibitions fill the schedule all summer.  Beebe Woods is also connected to Highfield Hall and offers walking trails as well as guided nature walks.  This year the main summer focus at Highfield Hall is on the gardens which is undergoing landscape planning and preservation.  "Glories of the Garden" includes talks and lectures to fill any gardener's heart with delight and includes a keynote presentation by This Old House and Ask This Old House's master landscaper Roger Cook on July 24.

We can't talk about Falmouth in the summer without talking about the Barnstable County Fair which runs July 16 though 23 this year.   If you have never been to a classic county fair or have not been to one since you were a kid, this is a great opportunity to enjoy some of the simpler joys of summer living - corn dogs, fresh lemonade, cotton candy, carnival games and of course the rides designed to thrill and amuse.  But the true country feel of this fair lies in the 4-H presentations, including the members' prize cows, chickens, pigs, etc.  Rest your feet after walking around for a while and watch the horse and oxen pulls and the riding events.  Of course the evening performances, included in your ticket cost, are the most anticipated part of the fair.  This year's headliners include: Gin Blossoms, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Thompson Square.  This summer the Barnstable County Agricultural Society's grounds are also going to be home to a farmers market every Tuesday afternoon (except the week of the fair of course).

Falmouth has both "Sound side" and "Bay side" beaches, and all the seaside beauty you think of when you think of the Cape.  Check out the Cape Cod Winery in East Falmouth,where they grow their own grapes as well as bottle some really wonderful wines.  There is also the world famous Falmouth Road Race on August 10.  So why not stay in Falmouth for a few days before heading the the Islands or better yet - stay there your whole vacation.  Looking for a wonderful place to stay?  Check out our friends at the Captain Tom Lawrence House Inn or any of the other great places listed on's Falmouth Lodging section.

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