One of the things that I love about Martha’s Vineyard in the summer is the quality and variety of activities and events from which to choose – many not normally available in such a small community. Evening events are naturally geared more toward “grown-ups,” however (when the wee ones are in bed). But being a mother of 4, I understand the need to entertain the WHOLE family at any given time of the day; so I have come up with a couple of suggestions for those long summer nights…
To be honest, my favorite “family night out” is not very original… but it’s always relaxing and a hit with the entire family. My husband is strongly opposed to anything involving crowds (which eliminates a lot in July & August), so our family beach time involves a picnic dinner and an evening dip in the ocean. Regardless of the number of folks on the beach during the day, if you wait until after 6pm, you are sure to find your own sandy spot of solitude. We normally head to State Beach because we never have to walk far from our car (you know there’s always lots to lug w/kids), and if there are a lot of cars in one area, we can keep going until we find an unclaimed stretch of beach. The water is warm from the day’s heat; and with the volume of fun (and fights) that ensues when my family arrives, “the crowds” are very happy that we avoided them!
Then there is the obligatory evening out in Oak Bluffs. Oak Bluffs is always a swarm of activity in the summer (as well as a lot of fun)… so I suggest leaving the claustrophobic members of the family at home (Yes, you guessed it… hubby stays home!). A great place to start your evening is Nancy’s on the harbor (or another favorite haunt for fast, casual waterfront fare), and then take time to meander along the harbor and across New York Ave… with ice cream in hand, of course! Or wait to grab a cotton candy at The Flying Horses Carousel. The carousel is the nation’s oldest operating platform carousel and a National Historic Landmark. They are open until 10pm every evening in the summer and a ride is only $1.50. After the Flying Horses, you can continue up Circuit Ave. to the Game Room which is open until midnight. Plenty of time to spend all of your quarters!
If you crave something different after a day at the beach, I recommend the Cinema Circus, put on by The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival every Wednesday in July and August at the Chilmark Community Center. The mission of the Cinema Circus is “to produce family events that engage children with films, discussion, and activities that promote media literacy and community interaction” and they’re FUN! The doors open at 5pm with acrobats, jugglers, and face painting as well as activities and discussions around the film(s) being screened. And then there is always the pizza and popcorn… Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for kids.
The Island Cove Mini Golf is another sure hit for a family evening out! Located on State Rd. (across from Cronig’s grocery store), they are open until 10pm daily during the summer. They offer an adventure themed mini golf course and a 24ft high outdoor climbing wall with three levels of difficulty to accommodate (almost) everyone in the family. Their grill is open for lunch and dinner with relatively inexpensive, casual fare so it is a “one stop shop” for the night… and don’t forget to leave room for the ice cream!
If your kids still crave action at the end of a busy day… check out the Family Dance-O-Rama at Nectar’s on Tuesday nights (they are located at the airport in the old Outerlands location). They have music from 5:30-7:30, so the younger set can boogie and blow off some steam… hopefully winding up very tired and ready for bed! Admission is complimentary, and food is sold there, so it’s another “one stop shop” for dinner and fun (ya gotta love it when they make it that easy!).
Do you have other evening activities that are part of you island summer traditions? Please make a comment. We would love to hear your ideas.
Image courtesy of owlhere.