Now that you’ve been all caught up, I can move on to what that last post was really supposed to be about: our trip to Martha’s Vineyard.
I wanted to go somewhere for my birthday, so I gave Frank a few ideas: Southern Vermont, New Orleans or Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. The B&B I had my eye on in S. Vermont was full, and flights to NOLA were overpriced. So off to Edgartown we went. Neither Frank nor I had been to “The Vineyard” before, so we were both excited to see what all the hype’s about. Of course we had our pre-conceptions: prepster men wearing “Nantucket red” pants (you know, the pink ones?), Vineyard Vines stores, old homes, a mix of fancy and/or beachy restaurants with great seafood….
A short drive + ferry + taxi ride later, we arrived at The Harbor View Inn.
So cute. It overlooked the water and the lighthouse. We set off to explore Edgartown, a small colonial town in the southwest part of the island. The place is picturesque. All the houses are made of that gray shingle stuff, or old white wood.
We were right about the restaurants being pricey, but many of them weren’t open yet because the season hadn’t officially begun. Although the majority of the businesses were closed, we managed to meander around and check out a few spots around town. First stop was Atlantic, a restaurant right on the water, where we enjoyed local oysters and a drink: glass a wine for me, ol’ fashion for Frank.. They only offered one type of oyster, which I liked but Frank didn’t. The bread and butter was outstanding. Three varieties in the basket: whole wheat with raisins and nuts (my fav!), garlicy crisps, and good ol’ white baguette. I love bread. Frank loves bread even more than I do. He goes with the 1:1 butter/bread ratio. Don’t knock it til you try it. The view overlooking the water and the docks and the boats was delightful, as was my handsome company : )
But the maitre d, with his pompous directions to the bar and smug attitude, was off-putting. We decided to move on, and not give this place any more business. Friendly staff and friendly smiles = returning customers. That’s what I’d like to tell that maitre de. Although I’d deal with their rudeness again for some of that bread. And we did get some mini bottles of Tabasco out of the deal, which Frank convinced me to smuggle out in my purse. Next stop, we took a roundabout way to Chesca’s, passing the Old Whalers Church and an Italian place where we debated on settling. At Chesca’s we started by ordering drinks: a glass of wine for me, an island rum drink with a cocktail umbrella for Frank (he insisted I have an umbrella too), lobster sliders and a salad.
Our food was good, and the food around us looked great, but we were getting full so decided not to order more. Off to The Newes from America, a colonial style pub across the street from Chesca’s. The taxi driver suggested we check it out. I’m glad he did. There was a lively crowd and a duo of musicians in the small pub. Frank and I both liked the atmosphere and the waitresses were as friendly as could be. Atlantic could take some advice from this place but I’m sure they’d scoff at the idea that a pub has better service that their fine dining establishment. I ordered calamari which came with fried jalapenos. I love when calamari comes with peppers! The wine wasn’t bad for a pub, and Frank didn’t have any complaints about the straight vodkas on ice + lemon. About 11:00 things died down a bit and we headed home. Not a whole lot going on yet in Edgartown this time’a year. Fine by me!
Despite my sleepless night (not sure why…?) Saturday was ideal. Well, the ideal portion of it doesn’t come til a bit later, but here’s what the morning was like: I tried to watch the sunrise, but due to the fog, all I saw was fog. I woke Frank up and we found the only place open for breakfast at that hour (7:00), a diner down by the water. It looked really cute. Frank said I’d probably like it because it resembled a Waffle House, which excited me. But this place didn’t have anything on Waffle House. The bland coffee was served in paper cups (apparently ordering out is a common occurrence in Martha’s vineyard), the bacon was thin and flavorless and the eggs were mediocre at best. Luckily for Frank I had the Tabasco in my purse. But pickins were slim this early on a virtually uninhabited island, so we eat and left.
We moseyed on to a coffee shop, Espresso Love, that Frank had read about, and that my friend had recommended. We needed some real tasty caffeine after our bland blend from the diner. This hit the spot, but didn’t exactly do it’s job because we went back to the hotel and crashed until 10:00. This is where the real joy began. We woke up better rested and walked the 10 or so minutes into town to rent bikes. After telling the stoner bike store attendant that we wanted to head to Menemsha, a fishing village to the west, he nonchalantly directed us, assuring us there were no hilly areas because “I mean, this is an island. There aren’t any hills.” Instead of sending us the scenic route through the old towns and sprawling farms, he sent us the quick way: past the waste management plant and the landfill. Thanks a lot stoner dude. About 10 miles of bike path and a few hours later, we arrived at Alley’s General Store for some much needed hydration. I went with water and a Kombucha. Frank, hating water, went with his favorite: Coke. Not wanting to bike the rest of the way to Menemsha, we loaded our bikes on the front of a bus and hopped on. We got to Menemsha just in time for lunch, and we had certainly worked up an appetite. We had heard that Menemsha had fresh seafood right off the boat. We were excited to find the Menemsha Fish Market open, and were not disappointed by the food. Clam steamers, lobster bisque 9in a paper cup) and a fish sandwich (microwaved to order, but nonetheless delish) rounded out the perfect seaside lunch. And the owners couldn’t have been nicer.
Finishing with a creamsicle and fudge bar from the tiny Texaco gas station next door, we were fat and happy.
After a quick, windy stroll on the rocks near the beach, we hopped back on our bikes and rode to Chillmark, where we were gonna catch the bus back up and over to Edgartown. But when we got there, we were 50 minutes early for the bus, so we decided to ride the remaining couple of miles back up to Alley’s. That ended up being a hell of a challenge. Back to that bike store attendant. Turns out he couldn’t have been more wrong about the absence of hills on Martha’s Vineyard.. Guess he’d never been to Menemsha, or out of Edgartown for that matter. Up and down, up and down, up and down, up up up up up up up up we went. I hate to admit it but we even had to get off and walk our bikes up one of the hills. By the time we got back to Alley’s, we were both spent. What a workout! As tough as it was, it felt good.
When the bus came, he notified us that he could only take us as far as the airport, which was still a few miles from Edgartown, then we’d have to bike the rest of the way. At this point, that wasn’t an option so we decided to ride with him all the way to Oaks Bluff, hang out there for a bit while we rested our legs, then ride home. There was some stuff we wanted to do in Oaks Bluff anyway. First thing was the Flying Horses carousel, the oldest carousel in the US, which my friend recommended we go see. It’s indoors and dark, so this is the best picture I could get.
We took it a step further and actually rode it. They added an extra component to carousel riding: grabbing as many gold rings from a stationary pole as the ponies went round….. I didn’t quite get the idea behind it, but that didn’t stop me from grabbing!
Next stop, these little bitty gingerbread cottages that were once part of some Protestant revival or something… That’s not very informative, but look ’em up if you want. It was like a whole village of quaint, colorful, little people houses. There were hundreds of them!
Then we needed a beer, so we stopped at the Offshore Ale Company. It’s one of those places where you crack and eat peanuts, then throw the shells on the floor. That is not a pleasure reserved for children. It’s fun to throw waste on the ground! Frank felt bad doing it since we were outside, so he piled up his shells on the table : ) Isn’t that cute?
Then off we went, on bike, about 5 miles to Edgartown. Ugh, by the time we got back, wind blown and exhausted, we’d ridden a marathon’s worth of miles on the bike. looong day. but fun! We rested, then ate at the hotel bar, Henry’s, which was pretty good, not great. I got a salad, which I thoroughly enjoyed after a day of no vegetables, not a single one! And the scallops. Frank got a salad and the fish and chips. The little bar was full, and the atmosphere was dark and comfortable. It was perfect after a long busy day. We went to get our bikes after dinner to return them to the designated spot in town, but much to our surprise, they’d been taken!! We thought someone had stolen them, but when we went to report it to the front desk, she said they’d come to get the bikes earlier…? okay. works for us. We walked into town to peek in the window for our bikes to be sure, and were satisfied that we spotted them. Again, not a whole lot was going on in town. Even The Newes of America was empty, so we walked home and fell asleep.
Waking up early again the next morning, we ate at a little cafe, Among the Flowers, which our taxi driver also recommended.
It was an adorable little restaurant with outdoor seating, but the food was just okay. Fresh fruit, coffee, a cali omelet with tomatoes, avocados and onions, and french toast. Then we did a few last things we (I) wanted to see before heading out: 1. the old ginkgo tree, supposedly the biggest on this continent, but Frank wondered if they just meant the biggest on the island. 2. The oldest house on Martha’s Vineyard, built in 1672
and 3. the Old Whaler’s Church, which was closed (on a Sunday?)
Around 11:00, we packed up and rocked on the rocking chairs on the front porch while waiting for our taxi. Right before boarding the ferry, we got some to-go fried clams and a lobster roll from another highly recommended fish market, The Net Result in Vineyard Haven. Thanks for the recs LG! The clams were almost as good as Long John’s, but I guess I’m a little bias. only kidding.
We were back in Boston in no time. Such an easy trip! Thanks for the wonderful birthday weekend Frank. Next time let’s take a picture or two of us : )
Next stop: Omaha.