With the day off of work and the forecast promising sun and warmth, I took advantage of the great conditions Wednesday to check a place off from my long list that’s been there for quite sometime now. Even though I’m a Masshole by birth (and at heart, probably), I’ve never been to either Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket. Ironically, now that I live in Rhode Island, it’s much more convenient to drive to the ferries for both islands and I’ve made it my mission to visit them this summer. After kicking off my morning with an Iced Robin at Coastal, I was off to Woods Hole to catch the Martha’s Vineyard ferry with Amy Poehler keeping me company reading her audio book Yes Please (side note: audiobooks are the way to go for trips when you’re driving alone or with friends who share your taste in reading).
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect all day, meaning I had the right conditions to form a first impression of the island, and I was impressed. I made it to Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown but would like to revisit and see Chilmark and the West Tisbury Farmers Market. Compared to Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard is more commercialized, in that there are streets lined with plenty of local shops in the three towns I visited, and it’s harder to get around. I spent a decent part of the day hopping around on the VTA bus and would’ve liked to bike around instead, although I didn’t know how feasible it would be, being my first time visiting. At any rate, here are some highlights from my visit.
1.) Cottages in Oak Bluffs–I’d seen pictures of MV’s Gingerbread cottages before. In fact, the deck of cards we’d play Spoons or Kemps with while I was working as a camp counselor featured the Pink Cottage. The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association is filled with row upon row of these small cottages, each with different colors and names. To learn a little about what these cottages were all about, I went to the Cottage Museum ($2, a quick visit and informative). These cottages were originally tents where Methodists would stay during religious vacations in which they’d spend hours in worship a day. Today, the Camp Meeting still fosters this sense of community and puts on 100 community events throughout July.
2.) People watching at Memorial Wharf–Another highlight of the day was overwhelmingly simple. After exploring a bit of Edgartown (see below), I ended up at Memorial Wharf and sat atop a widow’s walk for a while. I sat in the sun, watched as people came and went and snapped pictures, and got to enjoy the passing sailboats and ferries as they went about their business. Although what I saw of the island had a bustling small-town feel, it wasn’t too crowded anywhere I went, and this was an ideal spot to bask in the relaxed atmosphere and write in my journal for a bit.
3.) Shopping in Edgartown–While I enjoyed the shops of Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, something about Edgartown’s appealed more to me. League of Gentlemen sells vintage t-shirts, hats, and other cool knick-kancks and products. Edgartown Books is a cute shop, though I actually preferred Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven. Behind it is a good coffee shop aptly named Behind the Bookstore, though I likely won’t show my face there again after asking too many questions about their cold brew and then gently suggesting when there was nobody else in line that they correct their spelling of macchiato. It was a moment of weakness, BUT I HAD TO DO IT!!
Coffee freakout aside, Edgartown has plenty of shops which are worth popping into. In Vineyard Haven, I stopped by a few as well, including Carly Simon’s store and the iconic Black Dog.
4.) Sweets–Wednesday may have been an indulgent one, but there’s too much to pass up in a coastal town like the ones I visited. I’d read about Back Door Donuts while researching for my day trip, but didn’t go at the right time to get one while they were fresh. Their chocolate glazed didn’t blow my mind, but I have faith that if I’d gotten it hot out of the oven it would’ve been a different story.
Mad Martha’s had good, though pricy, ice cream which went well with a view of the ocean. Finally Mocha Mott’s makes a good iced mocha latte, though I found the focus to be more on their dark chocolate than on the espresso. What was most enjoyable about my visit to their Vineyard Haven location was waiting behind a couple from Milan and striking up conversation with them in Italian about their East Coast vacation.
5.) The weather–When visiting a spot which relies so heavily on being outdoors, like Newport, Block Island, or Martha’s Vineyard, the weather can determine how your visit goes. I couldn’t have asked for a sunnier and more comfortable day to visit, so this was a wonderful way to ring in the summer.
Have you ever been to Martha’s Vineyard or another similar summer getaway spot? Do you have any favorite things to do there or traditions?