19. Find sanctuary in Falmouth
Few, if any, signs in Woods Hole direct you to the Knob, the neck of land that encloses Quissett Harbor, one of the Cape’s snuggest, on the northern outskirts of the village. You can’t blame locals for wanting to keep it secret. The Knob is one of those unusual landscapes – a public space where the harbor meets the woods meets the open sea. The 13-acre preserve, also known as the Cornelia Carey Sanctuary, is treasured for its walking trails and bird life, its sunset views, and, in summer, its somewhat secluded Crescent Beach. Getting to that beach, a slightly rocky spot that faces Buzzards Bay, is half the adventure. (In high season, it starts by finding a parking space in the small public lot that fills up fast.) Follow the Harbor Cliff Trail, which hugs the harbor’s shoreline and offers views of the old-money mansions across the way. The less intrepid, or families with little ones, sometimes set up camp right there on a lush sandy beach on the inner harbor. But you’re wise to push on, as the path cuts inland, winding through bayberry bushes and a grove of cedars and oaks. Stone steps lead up to the Knob Lookout, where, on a clear day, you can see New Bedford. On this outermost point, you’re nearly surrounded by water. Here, you might be forgiven for imagining, for just a moment, that you are Kate or Leonardo on the bow of the Titanic. Go ahead and do your best imitation. No one’s watching. – B.J. Roche
From Falmouth, follow the Woods Hole Road toward Woods Hole for about 3 miles; at the four-way stoplight, turn right onto Quissett Harbor Road and follow it until its end; the public parking lot is on the right, and to the left, you’ll see a large sign directing you to the trail.