When Labor Day approached, our rhubarb started waving its goodbyes and the fall leaf pie decoration starting trumping the flower. Then, as the mornings got chillier and the air started smelling bonfire-y, my ticking summer adventure clock reached midnight and I returned home from the Vineyard. My body was all of a sudden tired of checking for ticks every night and screamed, “gimme air conditioning and my bed at home!!” While I was sad to leave, I’m so happy to be home with my family and friends.
Now that I’m back and missing all my places, I must tell you about visiting the rest of the island. The good thing is, it’s still a great time to go visit the Vineyard given that the tourists are mostly gone but the weather will be nice. So, if you read this and have some extra vacay days, visit ye ole Vineyahd! Last time, we talked pastrami sammies, a lil fishing village and my favorite breakfast spots. Today I want to share Edgartown, Katama and OB with you.
For all you ath-a-letes or outside-junkies…
My number-one activity for you to do as a family or group is to bike State Beach. Because I didn’t have a car, it was a bit harder to figure out transportation to and from each town when people came to visit. I figured out you could make a whole day activity out of biking from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown by going on the State Beach route. If you have a car, it is a 7 mile drive, but the scenic bike route ends up being closer to 8-9 miles.
If you’re willing to take the longer route, I’m telling you it’s a great 1-2 hour adventure depending upon how many times you stop and enjoy the views. Starting in Vineyard Haven, you can bike over Beach road, flanked by water on both sides and even a small beach (Eastville) if you’re interested. When my soul sistah Christine came to visit, we explored a new path and biked the East Chop loop around to Oak Bluffs’ town center.
This East Chop loop is a great way for you to feel completely obsessed with finding some way to live in one of these beachfront cottages with by far the prettiest sunset you may ever see on the East coast. That being said, proceed with caution. Zillow stalking is a REAL problem. Once you get into Oak Bluffs, you’ll see sooo many people and wonder how this much of civilization managed to cram onto an island with no stoplights and enough parking for about 1/10 of its visitors.
Stop at Nancy’s, have a cocktail to ease those tight glutes, or visit the Donut shop in the little town square for some delicciouuuusss donuts or apple fritters. As you continue along through OB and get to State Beach, you get to pass one of those fancy golf courses and then stumble upon the “Jaws Bridge.” I’m telling you, I still have not seen Jaws so I’m not sure where this actually shows up in the movie, but apparently it’s a thing. For most adrenaline-seekers, jumping off the Jaws Bridge is a MUST for all summer residents. If you ask me the MUSTS for a summer resident, eating a donut from Back Door donuts is much more important than visiting this bridge.
Here’s Mom on the other side of the Jaws Bridge
Riding along State Beach might be my absolute favorite thing about Martha’s Vineyard, to be honest with you. On one side, you see blue waters and beach for miles. On the other side, a serene lagoon with inlet-nestled homes offers calmer waters for kayakers, windsurfers, and slower boats. Also, according to my Google search as of 2 seconds ago, the rumor (that I started) that one of the houses lining State Beach was in Wedding Crashers is completely false. Ugh, failed the tour guide test
Anyways, if you think you’ve felt the letters V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N slowly start to form a different aura around your being when you go to the beach, you haven’t felt anything yet. Get on your bike, get up to State Beach, and get on this bike ride. It’s freeing, beautiful, serene, sunny, just warm enough, and there are sweets and ice cream at the end of your ride.
I like to end the bike ride in classic Edgartown. As much as I didn’t want to like Edgartown, with its expensive restaurants, art galleries, and manicured homes, I couldn’t stop coming back. Though the air is a bit haughty, Edgartown is what you came to Martha’s Vineyard to see. You came to see those shingled houses, white painted fences, waterfront views, blue blazers, and Vineyard Vines pastels. And here it is 🙂
When the bike ride is over, it’s off to Rosewater market, the cutest lil deli shop with all those cutesy cards you want to write your bestie along with lunch and expensive seltzer water. When my sister and I came here, we had some delicious BBQ and brussels sprouts. With Spencer, it was a massive strawberry cupcake. And Christine and I had a classic cold brew. When you’re ready for ice cream, I’m a tried and true Scoops girl, right across from the Seafood Shanty. Don’t make the same mistake as The Mitchell men and myself – we visited Scoops before END OF JUNE and apparently in Martha’s Vineyard it’s not ice cream time until END OF JUNE??? Bring your ice cream up to the second-floor dock that overlooks the Chappy ferry. Laugh at the ferry that carries literally 3 cars about 100 yards from Edgartown to Chappaquidick. Then, sit, and breathe. Close your eyes and listen to the breeze. To the sounds of boats entering the harbor, kids running for ice cream, and smile REALLY BIG. Sitting here on my bed back at home, I feel like the image of the those boats dotting the harbor in Chappy is one carved so permanently in my mind. My dad even did his pushup challenge up on the dock!!
An afternoon in Edgartown requires a walk down Water Street to look at all the white houses, shiny red painted doors, Mercedes Benzs, and to peek in at the intricately carved staircases inside these homes. If you’re lucky, you might hit happy hour when one of these houses with the lush green grass backyards is hosting a cocktail party. Hint: follow a chic older lady who is hooking arms with a dapper older man, blue-blazer or polo clad strolling up Water Street…Either way, if you’ve got your bathing suit, you can go relax for a bit down by the Edgartown lighthouse. My sweet momma and I went down here after a long afternoon of biking. It’s amazing that with all the touristyness of Edgartown, going down by the lighthouse feels almost remote. It’s a nice quiet place to take your Rosewater sammy or a couple drinks to watch the sun go down
(view above is looking back to water street from the Edgartown dock)
Don’t think I forgot about dinner. All of you who have been to MV to visit me know that there’s only one place I ever want to go…..The Port Hunter. My dearest friend Raquel introduced me to this place. After our first round of drinks and dinner, I brought all my visitors there!! I must say, it worked out well for the baker’s schedule – we liked to be in bed by 9, so we would get there right when it opened for dinner (5:30 or 6). Getting to the Port Hunter early is essential, since there is a line out the door before it even opens.
I highly recommend sitting at the bar, drinking their cucumber-y lime cocktail or this spicy margarita that has Mezcal !!! There’s absolutely no question that you have to get the fried brussels sprouts with buffalo sauce and blue cheese dip. YUP, THAT IS a thing. Other great dishes include this harissa grilled chicky sammich that Christine enjoyed, their calamari, whole roasted fish, seafood chowder, fish tacos, and the chicken livers. And don’t forget why Raquel and I went there in the first place….for the FRIES!! My mom and I had a lovely girls night with Raquel and also ordered this amazing roasted chicken all loaded with herbs. Ugh, I could go back there every night, fresh off work from the bakery, loaded with french fries and in bed at 9. An IDEAL summer night 🙂
Goodness, I thought I was going to get all my recommendations out to you but looks like I’m going to have to extend this share-an-entire-summer-in-a-few-internet-writing-bursts a bit more!!
Here are a few more snaps from when I walked through this fancy tennis/polo-y club neighborhood and imagined my future life as a person with a very manicured lawn: