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Larson's Fish Market

March-May 2010 078-resized-600

Fall is digging in its heels here on Martha’s Vineyard. The weather has cooled, pumpkins abound, and many stores and restaurants have started to cut back their hours. One of my favorite island past times is still going strong for a couple more weeks, though. According to many, the best restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard is on the back docks at Larsen’s in Menemsha. They have no crystal or linens, and service is limited to someone yelling your name out of the back window. Sometimes it’s even a little buggy and smelly; but they have an abundance of fresh air, delicious fresh seafood that tastes twice as good when eaten with the fingers, delightful people to meet and get to know, stunning sunsets, and always a certain amount of “entertainment”.

For instance, one evening this summer, a friend and I patiently watched, for 15 or 20 minutes, a young man with an impressive camera arrange and then rearrange his lobster dinner on the edge of the dock until he got just the shot he was looking for. When he noticed our interest in his activities, he explained he was a freelance photographer who would shoot food photos and send them into culinary publications in hopes they would buy his work.

Another afternoon, a group of Karate enthusiasts, all decked out in their white robes and black belts, lined up single file on the dock, their lobsters placed in front of them, and asked me to take a group picture. It was great.

Most recently, with the Derby winding down, a very confident man unfolded a chair on the edge of the dock right in front of us and cast his line out into the harbor. His wife and travelling companions explained that a few years ago this fisherman had caught a record-breaking bass from that very spot and was determined that it could happen again. This time, not only didn’t he hook anything, but every time he would cast out his line, an equally determined seagull would swoop down and steal his bait right off it. He had a lot of fun though, and so did we.

Although the sunsets are bigger and longer and more vibrantly glorious than ever, it is getting a bit chilly on the Menemsha docks.  Last week, my steamers were cold before I could finish them, but it didn’t dampen the experience, and I will be faithful to Larsen’s until the door is closed and locked, then count the days until next spring when they unlock and the thought of fresh lobster and steamers beckons me to the docks again.

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
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

lobster-picnicThis post is the fourth and last in a series of posts that highlight some of the less expensive options for eating out on Martha’s Vineyard.  We (meaning the Vineyard) have gotten a lot of national and even world wide press lately, thanks to the First Family’s visit last week.  A lot of the press wrongly implies that this is a very “high end”, expensive place to vacation.  I have to agree that it CAN be, but you can vacation here at any price point.  If you missed the posts on eating out on a budget in EdgartownOak Bluffs, andVineyard Haven please check them out and add your favorite eateries to the comments.  I know there are other great Martha’s Vineyard restaurants that I’ve missed!  Now, it’s time to turn our focus to the beautiful scenery and delicious food options found “up-island”.

First, I should probably elaborate on the Island jargon.  Down-island is the term used to refer to the more populated and accessible towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven.  I use the term “up-island” to refer to everything else – i.e. the beautiful, smaller, and more remote areas of West Tisbury, Chilmark, Menemsha, and Aquinnah.  Officially, I suppose West Tisbury is more “mid-island”, but you get the idea!  Please keep in mind that once you have left the “down island” areas, there are less options and consequently slightly more expensive.  That being said there are definitely a few take-out style restaurants that I feel the need to highlight for your up-island enjoyment.

If you are looking for a place to stop along the way to “break up” the ride up-island, there are 2 great options along State Rd. for a quick coffee and pastry.  The Scottish Bake House and Fellas (across from the W.Tisbury Firehouse) are both popular stops with locals and known for their yummy offerings.  Fellas also has great sandwiches, so if you are in the neighborhood around lunchtime or planning ahead for a picnic you should keep them in mind!  If you find yourself driving up the West Tisbury Rd. instead, Garcias Bakery (behind Alley’s General Store) also has a great selection of sandwiches and is a convenient stop along the way.

Any trip “up island” should include a visit to Aquinnah to view the beautiful Gay Head clay cliffs & lighthouse.  If you crave nourishment while there, plan to stop by Dream Catcher for the most reasonably priced sandwiches and quick friendly service.

The quaint fishing village of Menemsha is a fashionable spot to go for beach picnics and a beautiful sunset.  Luckily, the small village has several options for great seafood take out (always less expensive than eating in).  As you enter Menemsha, you will see the popularHomeport restaurant on the water.  They offer a take out menu that includes the full selection of items for a New England clambake…  lobster, stuffed quahogs, clam chowder, corn on the cobb… you get the idea!  If you prefer your seafood fried, there is a fry shack on the way to the beach called The Bite that is the place to stop.  I have heard from several different sources that they have the “best fried clams on the island”.  As you wander down to the beach area, you will see Larsons Fish market on the harbor.  Since 1969, the Larson family has been serving fresh seafood (frequently right off the boat) and offering take-out seafood cooked to order (not to mention awesome clam chowder).   You can grab your favorite delicacies and enjoy them while sitting on the pier watching the fishing boats come and go.  It just doesn’t get any more “quintessential New England”!  One word of caution… if you don’t like seafood, you may have to go hungry!

Well those are my top recommendations for affordable dining up-island…   do you have an up-island favorite that I missed?

Image courtesy of tuppus.

 

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
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