It was about a month ago now that I went to Martha’s Vineyard for a mini vacation with my family, but I still feel compelled to write a post about if for no other reason than to relive those few days through pictures. Martha’s Vineyard is easily one of my favorite places in the entire world, I’ve been going almost yearly for as long as I remember, and it holds such a special place in my heart. It’s always been a family trip we take together, but this year I was fortunate enough to get to bring Kevin along, which was such a treat for me because it meant that all of the most important people in my life were with me 24/7 for four days straight.
Every time we visit the island, there are a few places we always go (mostly related to food, of course), and there are others that we’ll visit one trip and then not see again for a few years. We arrived mid-day on a Saturday and the weather was unusually warm, so we immediately parked the car in Oak Bluffs and started walking. In Oak Bluffs, there is a community of tiny little houses, ornately decorated and brightly colored. I’ve seen them so many times it’s just a place of comfort for me, but since it was Kevin’s first visit to the island we wanted to show him everything. Lucky for us, lots of the houses were decked out for Halloween! We took a leisurely walk through the neighborhood before heading out towards the water.
As you can see from the pictures, it was GORGEOUS outside. So we walked, and we walked, and eventually made it out to the Oak Bluffs lightouse. It’s one of my favorite lighthouses on the island because the walk to get there is all along the water, and it’s just so breathtaking.
We sat at the lighthouse for a few minutes to relax and take it all in, but realized quickly the sun was strong and we were probably burning up, so we headed back into town to grab some water and then head to our hotel. We were staying in Edgartown, a short drive from Oak Bluffs, so once we got our things settled there, we ventured back out to further enjoy the day.
One of my very favorite sights in all of Martha’s Vineyard is the sunset at Menemsha, a small fishing community pretty much out in the middle of nowhere. It’s arguably the best and most beautiful place to take in the sunset on the Island, so it’s always busy. We were visiting just off-season, so it was quieter than it gets in the summer, but since the weather was so nice it seemed a lot of people were in for the weekend. We grabbed a bunch of dips and crackers from the local seafood store, and settled onto the beach to watch the sunset.
The next morning, Kevin and I went for a run out around Edgartown, through this little conservation area that I found a few years ago that is my favorite secret spot, and then headed to Espresso Love for breakfast. Espresso Love just opened a new location in Boston, but it’s roots are on the Island, and it’s a favorite amongst locals and visitors alike. They have great coffee (and lattes, which is important for me!) as well as awesome breakfast sandwiches and daily muffins and coffee cakes. I had a bagel sandwich with avocado, egg, lettuce and tomato, and Kevin and I shared a Pumpkin Cranberry muffin. Delish.
I’m pretty sure we hit the beach or went our walking afterwards, and then a few hours later… we were eating again! This time at Humphrey’s, a deli with locations in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven. We were out in Vineyard Haven and stopped in to get some of their gigantic sandwiches made on their homemade oatmeal bread. The one below is called the Gobbler, a turkey feast on a sandwich… maybe the largest sandwich I have ever encountered, and it is so darn delicious.
Kevin got a vegetarian sandwich (who IS he?!) but added turkey and it was actually pretty delicious. Also quite huge, but that’s how they make ‘em.
I had the chicken salad sandwich, which I split with my mom, and it was the perfect balance of chunky and creamy and salty and fantastic. I rarely order chicken or tuna salad out because of all the mayo that’s in it, but this sandwich was totally worth the indulgence.
After we got those sandwiches, we headed back to Oak Bluffs for some more walking, shopping for me and my mom, and time at the bar for Kevin, my dad, and my brother to watch the Patriots game. Even though we were on a beautiful island, experiencing unseasonably warm and spectacular weather, the guys still insisted on watching the game indoors, so into the bar they went, and about an hour later my mom and I followed. The bar was inside the new Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, which opened this past July. It was our first time there but we all really loved it. There we had a couple of drinks, shared a couple of tasty appetizers (clam chowder fritters and General Chow’s orange chicken nuggets), and enjoyed the game (Pats won!).
My first (and favorite) drink at the bar was this one, and of course I can’t remember what it was. It had cucumber vodka and simply syrup, and some sort of citrus, but beyond that I’m completely at a loss. I remember reciting the ingredients to my mom later that evening so we could try to recreate it at home, but they mustn’t have stuck. Maybe she’ll remember? Otherwise I guess I’ll just have to go back to find out!
Later that evening we went to a phenomenal new restaurant also in Oak Bluffs called Ken N’ Beck for one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long, long time. The guys all got fried chicken, my mom got amazing pork enchiladas, and I got an oyster po’boy, which was served with fresh cut kettle chips. It’s a farm to table restaurant, so everything was exceedingly fresh and totally soul-satisfying. We left completely stuffed, but all raving about our meals.
And just in case all of that food wasn’t enough, we went to Back Door Donuts for dessert! Back Door Donuts operates out of the back door of a popular bakery. When they begin baking for the next day, they open up their back door and sell their goods fresh out of the oven, and literally through a screen in their back door. On that particular night the line was the longest I’ve ever seen it – we probably waited for about 40 minutes, but it was SO worth it. We got a couple of apple fritters to share, which are each about the size of a small tire, so after a few bites we couldn’t have any more, but they were as good as always, maybe even better. Sometimes I wish I could hop on the ferry just to go over for a couple of fritters, but certainly having them only once a year is a serious treat for me, and I love that.
The next day began the same – convening at Espresso Love after mornings walks/runs for coffee and breakfast, before venturing out to other parts of the island. We headed up-island to go to the beaches, but on our way stopped at Morning Glory Farm for some fall photos and for a peek at their produce. Mostly everything they sell is either grown on their farm or made locally, so it’s a place I always love to support. Plus, they’re always decked out in the best fall has to offer, so it’s pretty and a great spot for photos.
Then we visited the beach! This particular beach is called Lucy Vincent, and is usually guarded and for residents only in-season, but since it was off-season the guards were gone, and we were free to drive in. Clearly, another beautiful day.
We wandered down the beach for a while, and at one point found a cave! Apparently it is an old Native American burial ground that has been erroding for years, and now frequently expels artifacts and remnants of that life that used toi inhabit the area. It seemed to go pretty far back into the earth, but I just popped into the very opening for a quick picture.
After stopping at Lucy Vincent we headed up to Aquinnah, a remote but scenic town located at one of the very tips of the island. We’d packed a picnic lunch, so we settled at a table with good views, and went to town on our snacks.
Easily one of the most beautiful views on the entire island.
When we’d finished our lunch, we walked down to the beach in Aquinnah, and did some more adventuring. The beach there is very beautiful and unique, with tall and colorful clay cliffs. We came upon some very creative rock sculptures built upon the rocks, so we stopped and each made our own. Mine is the one below!
Afterwards we went in search of another great sunset-viewing place we’d been tipped off to be friends we’d bumped into at breakfast. It wasn’t quite as pretty as sunsets in Menemsha, but we were the ONLY people on the beach, which was a solid 10-15 minute hike through the woods. It was quiet and peaceful and serene, and a really lovely last evening on the island.
In the morning, we got up, did our usual morning thing, stopped briefly in Vineyard Haven before sitting down to a delicious breakfast at the famed Black Dog Tavern, and then headed for the boat home in Oak Bluffs.
Just another wonderful year on the island. I bought a round trip boat ticket since we were one short on the way there, and they never took them from me, so I think I’ll go back… sooner rather than later. Can’t ever get enough.
Have you ever been to Martha’s Vineyard? If so, what’s your favorite activity when you’re there?