Category Archives: Travel

Island visitor guide from one newbie to another, part I

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Hello August-tanned-and-ready-for-school-supplies-shopping babes! It’s my midweek day off and I’m on the tail end of having a week of visitors here. I almost don’t even know what to do with myself without waking up to thoughts of “which breakfast place shall we go to?” or “which beach will provide max relaxation to this visitor???” I want to share my take on having visitors when you yourself are technically still somewhat of a visitor. This island has enough to do , but sometimes it’s hard to gauge which activities one visitor might like as compared to another.

When you live on an island and don’t have a car, transportation and figuring out transportation becomes in and of itself part of the adventure 🙂 I have loved that my family and friends that visited have embraced this little saying that my wise soccer coach preached….”The journey is the reward” (Dad are you CRYING with joy that I just used this phrase?) in some of our transportation adventures. It can also be difficult to find inexpensive things to do on an island where it costs $6 for a pound of tomatoes from a farm stand and a whopping $3 for an avocado at some grocery stores. Here’s my take on visits to Martha’s Vineyard. Please note that the perspective here is from a food-obsessed, sweets-loving, stationary-store-craved, fan of the sun. I have some specifics for people with different tastes and must-visits for everyone in your crew. This is just part I!!

First stop – the necessary breakfast joint:

It doesn’t get more important than this if you ask me. I am SO pumped for a good breakfast place and as it so happens, so are some of the close people in my life!! I have to say that visiting the Art Cliff Diner in Vineyard Haven is an absolute must for breakfast. The catch is, you HAVE to get there before 8 am to beat the line, and sometimes the owners decide to close for the day whenever they feel like it. It’s one of those places where you get giddy looking at the menu options and the feeling of indecision takes over as you see the amazingness of the Specials board. I love that there is the hustley-bustley noise of coffee-pour, moving dishes, and sizzling bacon, and that every single thing that comes out of that kitchen has you thinking, “ugh, I should have ordered THAT piece of heaven.”

So far, I have eaten the blueberry pancakes and the Green Monster (pictured below). My mother had a delicious omelette when she came and my boyfriend had this big ole brioche BLT (pictured below).

The green monster, soooo yummy/crispy/cheesy

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The patriotic BLT (had to be snapchatted, of course)

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Okay, so if you’re not going to Art Cliff, here’s other breakfast suggestions

If you want a place with easy parking, good service, healthy options, and you’re in Tisbury…..Little House

If you are staying in Edgartown/Katama, want a nice view, like rolling fields and don’t mind waiting……Right Fork Diner. There’s an airfield here where you can watch people take biplane rides.

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Other places I’m dying to try…Dock Street Coffee Shop, Lucky Hanks, 7a’s breakfast menu, Linda Jeans, and Biscuits.

A trip to West Tisbury

I have managed to bring a few different guests to “downtown” West Tisbury, a teeny little town thingy with a town hall, general store, art gallery, food, and conveniently the location of our Wednesday and Saturday markets. I think that if you’re staying down island you may wonder what you can spend an afternoon doing down here, but there’s a good bit to explore if you like to wander. It’s not difficult to get to by bus, or you can visit via moped!!

For everyone….

The West Tis Farmer’s Market!! I have loved getting to show my visitors our adorbs Pie Chicks booth at the farmer’s market at the Grange Hall in West Tis. In addition to showing them our beautiful pies and buying a scone, it’s always fun to show people the other farm stands and listen to the band play. It’s a small market, but we have diverse stands. There’s a woman who sells egg rolls, a dairy farm that makes it’s own lassis,  a number of produce farmers, and beeauuuutiful flower options. You must come pick up a Pie Chicks pie for your dinner guests, or have a scone or piece of pie right then and there! If you’re headed to the beach, pick up some granola or pie bites (little cinnamon-sugar crusted pie-crust pieces) to snack on.

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Where to go next in West Tis…

For your New Yorker father or any meat-loving, sandwich appreciator….

The Liz Lemon at 7a foods. 7a is a delicious little sandwich deli in West Tisbury where I took both my dad and my boyfriend. They have this sandwich called the Liz Lemon which has housemade pastrami, turkey, Russian dressing, and slaw with potato chips on top!! As soon as I took a bite of this sammie, I knew I had to bring dad. Also buy an iced cocoa hazelnut coffee…sooooo good.

For the art-lover….

The Field Gallery. There’s this open gallery across from 7a where they have interesting sculptures and beautiful paintings from local artists. I am not the most knowledgeable about art, but I loved reading the little bios about each of the artists and seeing paintings of places on island I hadn’t seen. My mom loved this place.

For exploring…

If you’re already up in this neck of the woods, I recommend heading out to Great Rock Bight for a beach visit, or taking the bus down to Menemsha. I brought two groups of visitors to Great Rock because I love it’s remote, naturey feel and the less populated beach. The hard part is, the parking is really limited, so either bike here if you’re staying close or try to take the bus. Spencer and I took a moped (apparently frowned upon by locals) which is also a viable option. If you have no car, biking or walking around Middle Road in West Tisbury is also incredibly beautiful. The windy road is lined with quaint, quiet farms with stone fence-bordery-things, sunflowers, and trees. Then you can just walk back to town whenever you feel like it and catch a bus back.

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A moped adventure through West Tis

My sister and cousin visiting at Great Rock 🙂

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And then there’s Menemsha….the cutest little fishing village where you feel like wearing a worn-out sweater, cuddling up on the beach and saying hello to the fishies with a warm cup of chowda on a cloudy day. Well, if you’re a girl. If you’re a guy, my take is that you’re thinking, ” I feel very Ernest Hemingway and want to get away from the world, buy a beat-up boat, and fish here until the end of eternity”

This town is really small, but there’s two great fish markets where you can get great lobster rolls and fresh fish as well as a few places to eat. You can also peek into some of the boats docked here and dream about which boat you’d want for yourself. If you feel like spending the whole day down here, there’s a nice beach which apparently has the best sunset in town!

 

Phew, I thought I could write about all my visiting spots in one post, but I’m going to have to split this up!! Here’s some pics from my journeys in the meantime…

Sleepy lil beach in Menemsha

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The Menemsha docks

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The Galley (below) is a lil beach shack where you can get soft serve and burgers

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Getting to know Martha’s Vineyard

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First weekend in MV…my backyard!image

If there’s one thing I would recommend before spending 3 months in a new place, it’s to truly understand where in the world you are actually going before you get there. By this I mean, let’s say you’re spending time on an island, maybe figure out that there’s no way to get there other than boat before you arrive.

I can say that in my starry-eyed, butter-desiring quest for adventure, I literally thought I’d be skipping over a bridge with my suitcase in hand, singing Fraulein Maria style of course,  straight from the plane in Boston to MV,

In reality, Martha’s Vineyard is quite a secluded island, which is 2 hours by bus plus 45 minutes by ferry if you come from Boston. There’s an airport on the island which actually has good flight deals locally, but for the most part, you’re getting here by boat. While it can be frustrating since I’m used to jumping in the car to get somewhere, it’s a pretty cool feeling to arrive to the island on a boat, seeing all the sailboats out in the Vineyard Haven harbor at their moorings (new word I learned, such an island girl right?) and getting welcomed by the beautiful shingled houses lining the shore.

The people here love the distance from “real America,” deciding to forego stoplights and street lamps for roundabouts and really dark, bumpy roads at night. I have to say, the lack of streetlights in most areas can be pretty scary for getting home at night, but the stars out here are absolutely incredible. It’s interesting to live in a vacation town, where most activity happens 2 months out of the year. When I ask the locals about being here in the off-season, they all really love the slow pace, picking up new hobbies, driving with no traffic, and appreciating the wildlife around them. I’m leaving here in September, but I often wonder if I would be “good” at relaxing in the quiet of the off-season island, or if it would be lonely.

When I arrived mid-June, I was surprised to find out that June isn’t even high season for MV. In the south, Memorial Day sparks the beginning of summer, but up here, kids don’t even get out of school until end of June. Just as an example, when Spencer and his dad came to visit in the later half of June, the BEST ice cream place wasn’t even open yet!!! How can this even be a place to vacation without its best post-beach treat place open!?

Adjusting to my new schedule wasn’t terribly difficult, but I did have some growing pains adjusting to a much more physical job. Waking up early for the 6:30 am clock-in was not too hard, but biking to work when you have no upper body strength IS in fact incredibly difficult at 6 am. One strange thing I haven’t gotten used to is observing ALL THE PEOPLE out and about at the RIPE hour of 6:15 am. Weekday or weekend, whenever I bike to work, the parking spots are full in front of Mocha Motts, our coffee place, and people are strolling around Main street. A) I get that waking up early on vacation is nice, but really, 6 am? and B) one more time, SIX AM??

When I don’t get a ride to work, biking or walking is my main mode of transportation. I wind through this little back road, sometimes waiting for a wild turkey to cross the road, and trying to get my body to wake up to bake! It took probably a month or so for my back and my arms to be able to lift our big mixer bowl full of pie dough and transfer to mixing bowls. I’m still working on not throwing out my back picking up the large sacks of flour!!

The day I really knew this experience instilled real change in me happened two days ago. For all of you people out there who have had to deal with me asking waiters if they have almond or soy milk when ordering coffee or granola/oatmeal when out to eat, I’m sorry. Since I’ve been working at Pie Chicks, I’ve been using our extra whole milk in my coffee or in my granola as a mid-morning (lol midmorning is like 8 am at a bakery) snack. The other day, I remembered to bring my almond milk in to work, and within tasting my first bite of granola with almond milk, I knew the baker in me was fully formed (potentially exaggerating here a bit). I’m here to say that whole milk is best milk. To all of you out there thinking “are you kidding me that’s like drinking heavy cream”, hate to break it to you babe, but you.are.wrong. You need to come out to the Vineyard, buy some Pie Chick’s granola and pour a healthy serving of whole milk over the top.

I’m off to go pick flowers at Morning Glory farm, hit up Net Result to get fresh seafood for my dinner tonight, and clean the house!! #dayoff

Here’s a few more snapshots in the meantime!

Another view of Taste the Vineyard….we were strategically placed right behind a cutie serving amazzinnnggg ceviche samples. Sooo good. I’ve never seen so much Vineyard Vines clothing in my life!! We served our Salted Toffee and Chocolate chip cookies, along with Blueberry, Apple Peach, Strawberry Rhubarb and Gluten Free pies 🙂

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A meal of epic proportions…Spencer and Mr. Mitchell came to visit and we had a feast at Seafood Shanty in Edgartown. It was absolutely necessary to have two lobster rolls and an entire fried seafood platter. Keep in mind we had Backdoor donuts after this…

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West chop is approximately 2 miles from my house. How pretty is this view? There is this tennis club/summer camp/country club looking thing at the lookout, and I think I once interrupted a wedding while biking through here in my bathing suit :/

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Hello road to work! This is the woodsy gnome-filled (just kidding) road to the kitchen!

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Some pretty views of the outside of my church. It’s no coincidence that it’s within walking distance of my house! (Grandma, another reason you should be reading my blog….I AM going to Mass up here 🙂 )

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Mornings I love. A slice of pie and a cup of coffee, whilst watching the Food Network

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Beetsmesumma on the Vineyard

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Hello from Martha’s Vineyard, summer babes! I’m currently donning a bright yellow rain slicker, waiting for the sailboat captain to get to the right spot for our lobster fishing adventure today. Just kidding, that’s just how I imagined my Martha’s Vineyard experience before coming up here.

So, why am I 1,000 miles from home on an island off the coast of Massachusetts? To bake ALL the pies, scones, cookies, and granola for 3 months straight, obviously! I wanted to do it all day everyday to learn more about baking and get to know the scoop on working/owning a kitchen. I’m a little delayed in telling you about this because I had to make sure I had some good experiences to share. Here I am, almost 6 weeks into my summer adventure, having the time of my life.

I live  in a house with three other women, right on the lagoon where we have a motley crew of animal friends. Looking out my back window, I can observe a swan family, several ducks, an occasional deer, our two cats, and our 14 year old dog Bubba. The most frequented family to our yard is a group of WILD TURKEYS. YES, TURKEYS. The other day, I came home with my bike and almost ran into the lil turkey chicas darting around our yard!! It’s so bizarre walking down the road and confronting a large turkey. Takes geese crossing to a whole new level.

I’m working at this amazing wholesale bakery called (cue fun girly The Cranberries or Sara Evans song) ….”Pie Chicks.” There’s seven chicks this summer. Our days start at 6:30 am on a normal day, usually to the sounds of John Mayer or Bruce Springsteen Spotify playlists. If you visit Martha’s Vineyard, you can find our pies at local grocery stores, farm stands, restaurants, and the West Tisbury farmers market. Every day, I’m in there, baking and doing a whooollleee lot of cleaning.

This island is incredibly gorgeous, and much more rural than I anticipated. In addition to sandy beaches and calm waters, there are many farms to explore, artisans to get to know, and hiking trails. My house has a CSA share at a farm where you can pick your own flowers !!!!

There’s so many things I have to tell you about this place and adventure and all the people and swanlings and pies.

I’ll start with a few snapshots. Last week, one of my tasks at work was to walk around with a frozen piece of key lime pie on a popsicle stick, eating it in the sun while trying to figure out how long someone could walk around outside before it would melt. #workworkworkworkwork ?!? I also was able to visit the West Tisbury farmers market a few weeks ago and I’m still wondering why in the world I did not buy a lassi from Mermaid Farm. We’ve been getting all sorts of fresh fruits delivered for our fresh fruit tarts with lemon pastry cream. One of the most fun parts of the day is watching these things come together, as our pastry chefs slice up plums, nectarines, strawberries, or peaches and carefully make pretty spirals on the gorgeous tarts.

Okay, with that glimpse in mind, here are some pics of MV!!!

Here is a pic of the little swanling who lives somewhere near the lagoon? He used to come through our backyard a lot but maybe we scared him off :/ Any thoughts on what his/her name should be?

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On my first week, I got to work this event called Taste the Vineyard and we set up our pies all cute like this !!

imageWelcome to Chez Pie Chicks! It’s actually a commercial kitchen in a residential neighborhood. Kinda cool. I think there’s also some sort of camp nearby because as I was walking to work one day I think I saw an archery range. During the day, you can smell fancy butter, bubbling fruit pies , and the sinful smells of oats, chocolate, and brown sugar wafting from our doors.

imageHere’s our sweet shed. You can find me in here lifting big boxes of frozen fruit, attempting to carry big A bags of flour over to the kitchen, or playing tetris with boxes of scones and cookie dough in our freezer trying to get them all to fit.

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And here’s my stylish bike that my awesome boss found me for the summer! It’s a little cruiser and it has ventured all the way out to West Tis and even Edgartown on my leisurely days off.

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Now for the pieeeee

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Below is the lighthouse out at west chop…so pretty! Can I live here and be in a Wes Anderson movie?

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Edgartown on the 4th of July! This isn’t what all of MV looks like, but this is what I thought the whole island would be like before I got here.

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Last, this is the beach closest to my house. It’s great to bike to after work for a lil walk or just a nice view.

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Off to bed , tomorrow we bake some more!!