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Felix Neck

As I write this I am looking out on a beautifully sunny spring day – I know we are all harping on about how nice spring on Martha’s Vineyard is this year but please understand – we don’t get this beautiful spring weather every year!  I’m glad it is here though, as there are lots of great outdoor events going on this weekend that I’m sure you’ll want to get involved in if you are on Island.

Painted Lady by OlibacFirst off there is the Work for Wildlife Volunteer Day at Felix Neck Sanctuary.  If you are a regular reader of our blog, you have already heard a little about this beautiful Mass Audubon property in Edgartown.  This Saturday, from 9 til noon, gives everyone an opportunity to help maintain this wonderful 250 acre sanctuary by helping with the butterfly gardens. There will be benches to be built, weeding and clearing to be done and other tasks to be assigned – dress appropriately and roll up your sleeves for the hardwork!

Orino Alpaca by Cliff1066Once you have given up some sweat for a good cause, head on up Edgartown – Vineyard Haven Road to The Island Alpaca Farm for their annual Sheering Day and Open House.  Check out these amazing animals and learn about this beautiful herd. As well as watching the sheering, there will be lots of other activites for all ages and don’t forget to check out the farm store for yarns and knit items produced from last years fleece.

Clouds at sunset smI think any Island outdoor day should be topped off with a picnic dinner and sunset. There are lots of great food options – you have already heard some of our favorites herehereherehereand here. Then it’s a ‘where to see sunset?’ decision. The beauty of this time of year (and I might get in trouble for this tip but here goes), is all of those ‘town’ beaches that you can’t enjoy in the summer because you don’t have the right sticker on your car window.  Well, there’s no one there to check the stickers just now so head up Island and check out some of those very special spots.  Lucy Vincent and  Lobsterville are 2 of my favorites but don’t forget about Lamberts Cove beach (and it’s much closer to the ‘down Island’ towns) for a spectacular sunset. Then all you have to do is sit back and enjoy some more of the beauty of Nature on Martha’s Vineyard.

What are you doing this weekend?

Photo Credits:

Painted Lady by Olibac

Orino Alpaca by Cliff 1066

Sunset by Joanne Sardini 🙂

Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown
Where to Get the Best Lunch in Edgartown
Go Exploring with the Best Martha’s Vineyard Tours
Treat Yourself to Fine Dining at the Top Edgartown Spots

Purple Spring Flower by NoahqI walked out of my house the other day and my daughter said “It smells like spring!”  She was right… spring has arrived and it’s amusing to see the excitement that a sunny day can bring to our Martha’s Vineyard community after a long, cold and gray winter.  The enthusiasm in the air is contagious!  Personally, being a southerner by upbringing, my joy is unmatched to once again feel the sun’s warmth.  Having lived in New England for more years than I need to share, I have learned that I can’t watch the calendar and hold my breath for this annual occurrence.  Some years we experience the joy of warming weather and burgeoning spring blossoms in March, and other years we seem to skip spring entirely and blast right into summer in late June.

Thankfully, this year seems to be following the first path and we are all relishing the early emergence of this celebrated season.  What does one do on the island in spring?  Ahhhh, I was hoping you would ask!  The answers are as varied as the population, but here are some family friendly highlights:

My family’s favorite spring ritual is to head to South Beach to “chase waves”.  This is a spring tradition because it is too cold and windy in the winter when the kids inevitably get wet (my 8 year old usually ends up looking like he has been swimming…) I usually find very few other people on the beach in the spring, and having an expanse of beach and ocean all to yourself is a very peaceful feeling…  as long as you cant hear my kids yelling at the waves!  I also appreciate the spring at South Beach because the kids (other than the 8 year old) are not tempted to go swimming.  The surf and current can be very strong, so I avoid South Beach for the warmer, swimming expeditions; but for wave chasing, it’s perfect!

One sign of spring that may be unique for Martha’s Vineyard is the much anticipated opening of Edgartown’s Dairy Queen.  This year’s opening day saw a line wrapped around the porch and into the parking lot!  I personally do not think it is the quality of their soft serve that draws this kind of crowd (although it’s yummy).  It may be the general absence of fast food or chain stores on the island, or the fact that they were closed all winter.  The Dairy Queen is one of the first seasonal operations to reopen, and it is a sure sign of spring!  Being a crank in crowds, I avoid “opening day”, but we did make our first obligatory spring pilgrimage to Martha’s Vineyard’s Dairy Queen the following weekend.  Although there was a little chill in the air, we ate our ice cream at their picnic tables in the sunshine, and enjoyed every minute of it!

Another anticipated spring opening is the Flying Horse Carousel.  My children are getting older, but I think a visit to the Carousel will continue to be an annual spring tradition until they have kids of their own to put on those beautiful antique horses!  This year the Flying Horses opened on Easter weekend for weekends, and will be open all week during the April school vacation week April 19-23.   As I confessed earlier that I try to avoid crowds, you can probably guess why I like to visit the Flying Horses in the spring.  A spring visit usually buys me a “pass” with the kids during the more popular summer months…  I always have a strategy!

A pilgrimage to Felix Neck is another spring tradition.  Felix Neck is an Audubon Sanctuary and open year round; but as I am a wimp in the cold Southerner at heart, I tend to avoid outdoor activities in January and February.  Spring is a great time to explore their four miles of nature trails and look for signs of new life.  Along the way, some of us enjoy the impressive views of woodlands, meadows, and ponds, as well as the salt marsh and barrier beach.  I say some of us, because my 8 year old doesn’t slow down from chasing wildlife long enough to enjoy the scenery.  But everyone enjoys the peace after he is worn out!  I am sure that some of the other parents out there can relate!  The Nature Center and Discovery Room at Felix Neck is also worth a visit.  They now have an “owl cam” to see barn owls nesting in their barn dormer.

If that’s not enough reasons to come for a visit this spring, The Colonial Inn is offering really attractive spring rates that are sure to convince you that you shouldn’t wait to come explore Martha’s Vineyard!  What are your favorite spring time traditions?  I’d love to hear your ideas and hope to see you spending some fun family time on Martha’s Vineyard soon!

Photo by Noahg

 

Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown
Where to Get the Best Lunch in Edgartown
Go Exploring with the Best Martha’s Vineyard Tours
Treat Yourself to Fine Dining at the Top Edgartown Spots

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It is the Holiday Season again, and with Thanksgiving behind us, the next big event on Martha’s Vineyard is “Christmas in Edgartown”.

Let me say up front that I am…less than enthusiastic, shall we say…of the Christmas season. I have an incredible dislike of commercial jingles, (did they start in mid-October this year? Curses…), smarmy holiday TV specials infuriate me and flamboyant decorating drives me nuts. I like a holiday of quiet reflection in keeping with my faith; I enjoy quality time with family without all the madness of shopping and messages of greed that assault us. I never achieve this, so I become a GrinchTM.

I know where this comes from. My mother is a very religious woman and every year, she vows to organize herself with her holiday crafts and gift ideas well beforetime and every year plans more than she can possibly accomplish. She wants so much to have a quiet holiday that every misstep in the schedule causes frustration and anxiety. Therefore, she cancels it.

From when I was maybe eight or nine years old until…well…two or three years ago, actually, my Mom cancels Christmas. All of Christmas, mind you. No half measures here. Dinners, cookies, trees lights, gifts…you name it, she’s done with it. This starts anywhere from the end of September and last until two days before Christmas. We always HAVE Christmas, but the three months of ranting cancellations have perpetually dampened my Holiday Cheer.

Genetically, I tend toward this pattern, but I have an almost two-year old girl-baby. She loves Christmas. The photo shows her at the Wharf Pub last year at the Breakfast with Santa event. She doesn’t look very enthused about it, but THIS year…well, from talking with her, she’s ready this time. (Video evidence of this years trip to the Christmas Loft store tends to make me doubt this claim…but we will see!)

(If your browser won’t display this video, click here to open a new window.)

Kate’s enthusiasm for Christmas this year and participating in last Christmas in Edgartown events last year are slowly chipping away at my Fortress of Grinchitude.

Edgartown is beautiful in so many ways, throughout the entire year, but during the ‘Christmas’ weekend December 11th – 13th, the town becomes truly magical.

The Edgartown Board of Trade organizes the weekends schedule the weekend, and posts aCalendar of Events. So many Inns and shops participate that there are very few places where there is no sparkly-wonderment to be found.

The excitement for that weekend is evident. Reservations requests for available Suites to rent for that weekend have been coming for months. The Edgartown Residence Club is participating in the Inns of Edgartown Tour on Friday and Saturday from 2-4PM.

From the lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse to hayrides from Main Street to the end of Water Street, there are free events that are great fun for all ages. (Even I enjoyed seeing Santa cruise into town on a fire engine during the Saturday morning parade down Main Street.)

Several events, like the Felix Neck gingerbread cookie decorating or Donaroma’s wreath making workshop, have a fee charged for the cost of the materials.

Some events have entry fees that support the organization’s event. The Minniesinger’s concerts on Friday and Saturday are a longstanding tradition on the island, and the kids put a lot of hard work into each production. A Holiday Soiree at the Daniel Fisher House benefits the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.

For those of you who are bold advocates of a particular charitable organization now is your chance to call the shots! All you have to do is win the 4th Annual Cookie Tasting event at Espresso Love. The event proceeds go to the winner’s choice.

The Dickens Village display at the Point Way Inn from 11AM to 5PM and the Faith Community Church’s Live Nativity on the steps of the Old Whaling Church on Saturday will immerse passersby in scenes of Christmas tradition.

There is too much going on that weekend to pass it by.

My GrinchyTM heart may not end up two sizes too small that weekend.

 

Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown
Where to Get the Best Lunch in Edgartown
Go Exploring with the Best Martha’s Vineyard Tours
Treat Yourself to Fine Dining at the Top Edgartown Spots

When I say that Martha’s Vineyard is too “City-fied” for me, people laugh.

squirrel2Here is my perspective: I came to the Vineyard after living for ten years in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I lived in a condominium where bears came through the parking lot to the dumpsters on a regular basis and if I took a wrong turn out of the back yard, I could be lost for hours in the deep woods. THAT is a walk in the woods for me!

The Island is rural, but I like ‘the wilds’ so yes… “City-fied” is the word I use.

There ARE places on the Vineyard that come close enough to solitude to suit me. Okay, July and August there is NO seclusion to be had, but most of the time I can find a short trail with a decent level of quiet.

Felix Neck is great. We have taken several long walks through the Sanctuary over the years and it is full of gorgeous birds and plants.

Its location is also very nice. It lies well off the Vineyard Haven / Edgartown road and looks out across the State Beach area on the far end of the Sanctuary. As there is the wide expanse of water between the Felix Neck property and the Beach Road to Oak Bluffs, it feels more secluded than it really is.

I also enjoy it for the rabbits and squirrels. Most people would not suspect it to look at me, but I am a ‘squirrel-talker’. I can chirp and call red and gray squirrels from the trees to within several feet of me. They will chatter back at me as well. I also had a rare black squirrel accost me aggressively in my own yard once…pretty cheeky of him, but as I have no idea what I said first to him, I guess I have to overlook it.

I can’t wait to teach my daughter the ways of the ‘Squirrel-Talker’, but I digress!

The Colonial Inn is on the Felix Neck e-mailing list so ask at the Front Desk for a run-down on events. They have various guided tours and special events of different styles throughout the summer: Down By The Shore, Creature Feature and Coastal Water bird Walk all occur before July 4th but there is a daily guided tour that is free of charge Monday through Friday.

A recurring event throughout the summer is the Felix Neck Kayak Quest from the increasingly popular treasure hunt series for children. $40 per boat for non-Audubon Society members will provide boat, paddles (always helpful), lifejackets and the Quest materials. You work at your own pace and self-guide through the Sengekontacket Pond and the Quest book clues will lead your band of adventurers to the hidden Box.

That just has fun slathered all over it!

Tell the squirrels I said ‘Hey!’

Image courtesy of John Morgan

 

Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown
Where to Get the Best Lunch in Edgartown
Go Exploring with the Best Martha’s Vineyard Tours
Treat Yourself to Fine Dining at the Top Edgartown Spots