Beth Colt has seen the signs and bumper stickers that still hang in garages and shops in Woods Hole as a marvelous reminder of the power of community – and the people in it. “Keep Woods Hole Franchise Free,” say the signs, those words hanging in our memories as simple but powerful reminders of a time when Ronald McDonald came to town, and was met and stopped at the border by a well-organized and passionate citizenry. Beth is equally passionate about the village in her adopted hometown where she summered her whole life, and speaks lovingly about the time when the idea of a burger franchise in one of Falmouth’s truly special locales had people “marching in the streets.”
I remember it well. The late (and most certainly great) Hank Jonah, an unforgettable and adventurous mainstay of the village, who transformed his dad’s seaside watering hole into one of the iconic buildings in the heart of Woods Hole, struck a deal with McDonald’s to lease space overlooking the Steamship Authority terminal. The Zoning Board of Appeals ruled, as a matter of law, that the proposal was appropriate. The Planning Board disagreed. The Board of Selectmen provided leadership and cash, and approved funding for the Planners and the Zoners to fight it out in court. The Zoners won, and it appeared that two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and a sesame seed bun were all headed to the village.
Then Maggie Crowley stepped in. As the matriarch of one of Woods Hole’s first families of restaurants and owner of the Captain Kidd, Maggie worked out a deal with Hank to purchase the Leeside and the building, and along with her dedicated and capable sons, helped keep that pulse in the heart of the Woods Hole village beating for another generation of residents and visitors. Their commitment to the Falmouth community – and generosity in preserving the character of the village - will have an impact on the charm and appeal of this seaside hamlet for decades to come.
And now, it’s Beth’s turn to continue that erstwhile local tradition by taking over the house that Hank built (and the Crowleys saved) and expanding her success down the street a bit by making the Leeside into the Quick’s Hole Tavern. She is no stranger to transforming a village tradition into a village success. As the current owner of the Woods Hole Inn and the popular Quick’s Hole Taqueria just around the corner from the former Leeside, Beth is already on the winning end of a self-proclaimed “long shot” that continues to pay dividends for her family and her community. By moving her family here from L.A. and taking over the Inn made almost-famous by another Falmouth legend, Bob Schneider, Beth took a risk. However, she believed in the strength and character of Woods Hole and the wider Falmouth community. Her risk paid off. The Quick’s Hole Taqueria is a fun, delicious, and eclectic choice on Woods Hole’s restaurant row. She brings that same eye for success, talent and belief to the Quick’s Hole Tavern, offering such fun and delightful offerings as homemade potato chips and award winning chowder.
“I’m standing on the shoulders of some Woods Hole greats,” she said to me as we chatted about this new endeavor and the village vicissitude she is leading, noting that she too is passionate about the history and character that gives the southwest corner of our town in a special status in our hearts. She noted that, as the construction progressed to transform the Leeside into the Quick’s Hole Tavern, she found widespread support throughout the town. Even the contractor, Arthur Vidal, who built the original three story pillar of the village in the 1980’s, is on board for this new phase, and is bringing his meticulous approach to Beth’s excellent adventure and the tavern’s sweeping views of the Woods Hole Passage. “I love how the people work together, not just in Woods Hole but in all of Falmouth,” said this enthusiastic and creative credit to the community. “There’s lots of support. The passion for the village is palpable,” she continued. The wonderful irony of her statement is that her enthusiasm and passion are contagious and are teaching us all ongoing lessons on the power of positive thinking.
The Quick’s Hole Tavern carries on the tradition, as their website says, “seven days a week – ‘till the last ferry.” Stop in and see the passion, say hello to Beth, and see a restaurant renaissance unfold.