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Running around Falmouth

August 21st, 2016 marks the 44th running of the Falmouth Road Race. The race attracts 12,000 runners from around the globe, including many elite runners who among are the best in the world. The 7-mile race starts near the drawbridge on Water Street in Woods Hole and finishes at Falmouth Heights Beach. If you happen to be on Cape Cod on the 21st, be sure to make your way to Falmouth to cheer on and support the runners and take in all the excitement!

Falmouth Road Race - Finish Line
Falmouth Road Race - Finish Line

Although the road race is world famous, there are also other aspects of Falmouth that make it a famously wonderful place to visit. Here are 7 additional spots to check out when visiting Falmouth. Don't worry, this is not a timed event, and feel free to choose your own course. Heck, you can even wear flip-flops for this event. On your mark, get set, go!

Checkpoint 1 - Highfield Hall is a completely restored estate that is home to magnificent gardens as well as a multitude of cultural events ranging from cooking demonstrations to art exhibits to live music on the lawn. There is something for everyone at Highfield Hall.

Checkpoint 2 - The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute is the largest private, non-profit, ocean research facility in the world. Visit their Ocean Science Exhibit Center to learn about the current research being conducted as well as the vessels used to conduct this underwater research. And don't miss the nearby Woods Hole Science Aquarium! Created in 1885, the WHSA is the oldest marine aquarium in the country. Admission is free(donations welcome), and the Aquarium is open 11 AM to 4 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, year-round.

Nobska Lighthouse - Falmouth, Cape Cod
Nobska Lighthouse - Falmouth, Cape Cod

Checkpoint 3 - Ashumet Holly Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses 45 acres and is home to an eight-acre coastal pond, 1.5 miles of trails, over 1000 holly trees, 30 species of dragonflies, four vernal ponds, 130 species of birds, a multitude of rare wildflowers, and, to top it all off, beautiful vistas. Leave plenty of time to explore this Falmouth treasure.

Checkpoint 4 - Nobska Light - This 42 foot tall landmark is a functioning light that flashes every 6 seconds and can be seen by ships as far as 17 miles out to sea. The current light was built in 1876 and had a human lightkeeper until it was automated in 1985. Limited tours will be available during the 2015 summer.

Checkpoint 5 - Shining Sea Bikeway - Named for a line in "America the Beautiful," which was written by Falmouth native, Katharine Lee Bates, it follows the route of a former railroad line. The Bikeway runs 10.7 miles, much of it along scenic coastline from North Falmouth to Woods Hole.

Checkpoint 6 - The Barnstable County Fair, held the third week in July each year, is a fun, family-friendly event. With rides, carnival games, live music, petting zoo, livestock exhibits, and of course plenty of food, there is no better place to be on a summer day or evening.

Falmouth Heights - Cape Cod
Falmouth Heights - Cape Cod

Checkpoint 7 - Explore six acres of gardens at Spohr Gardens, home to abundant daffodils in the spring and azaleas and rhododendrons in the early summer. Whether sitting by Oyster Pond, or traveling the many paths that wind through the property, one can appreciate the tranquility and beauty of the gardens, as well as the nature and wildlife that surround them.

After crossing the finish line, it's time to get off your feet and relax. What better way than to hit the beach, kayak, drink some wine, and eat some food!

Menauhant Beach - Falmouth, Cape Cod
Menauhant Beach - Falmouth, Cape Cod

Falmouth beaches have so much variety to offer. One can spend a day on the calm shores of Grews Pond, or play in the waves of Old Silver Beach on warm Buzzard's Bay, or head to Menauhunt Beach, which offers smooth waters on the pond on one side of the beach and light surf in the Sound on the other side. With multiple beaches, there are plenty of places to enjoy the sand, surf and sun.

Kayaking the waterways is a unique and fun way to experience Cape Cod. Either bring your own kayak or rent and head to the water. A few favorite places to kayak include Wild Harbor, West Falmouth Harbor, Childs River, and Waquiot Bay. If new to the area or the sport, consider going out with a local guide company.

Founded in 1994, the Cape Cod Winery is home to vinifera grapes, and the local vineyard has been compared to those found in the area of southern France and northern Italy. With the abundance of cranberries on Cape Cod, it is no surprise that the Cape Cod Winery produces a cranberry blush as well as a cranberry chardonnay. Looking for a nice red? The Nobska Red, with its hints of raspberries, cherries, and black currants, is a popular choice. With these, as well as other wine selections to choose from, be sure to stop by for a tasting.

Downtown Falmouth, Cape Cod
Downtown Falmouth, Cape Cod

A stop at Liam McGuire's, which was named one of the top 10 best Irish pubs in New England or to Chapoquoit Grill for gourmet pizza, is sure to satisfy. Coonamessett Farm offers the unique experience of a family farm dinner. A buffet of locally produced farm food combined with music from local performers is a great way to spend a Friday evening. Of course, when on Cape Cod, dining on seafood is a must. The Falmouth Raw Bar, overlooking Falmouth Harbor, is home to fresh oysters on the half shell, homemade clam chowder, and the popular "Monsta Lobsta Roll." Got a sweet tooth? Then swing by Ben and Bills Chocolate Emporium or Ghelfi's Candies. Both spots have delicious, sweet treats.

See more places to dine in Falmouth.

If a marathon shopping experience is what you're looking for, then be sure to stroll (or jog, run, or sprint) the streets of Falmouth, which offers antiques stores, art galleries, bookstores, unique gift shops, and clothing stores.

See more places to shop in Falmouth.

Falmouth has so much to explore and experience. Race to the Falmouth vacation rentals page on WeNeedaVacaiton.com, and pick from over 150 winning Falmouth vacation rental homes.

About Susan Hutchins

About Susan Hutchins: I joined the WeNeedaVacation team in 2012 and write website and blog content as well as promote WeNeedaVacation.com through social media. Having grown up spending summers on Nantucket, I have a strong connection to Cape Cod and the Islands. I now live in New Hampshire with my husband, two children, and golden retriever, and we are frequent visitors to the Cape. I love running local road races, the Brewster in Bloom 5K being a favorite. My family enjoys biking on the Cape Cod Rail Trail, hiking in Nickerson State Park, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches (usually a dog friendly one!).