vineyard-hero
Home-Slider4-K1-20180605-VSH-EmilyOBrienPhoto-294-Edit_LUXONEBEDLOCKOFF_LIVINGRM_FACINGBALCONY2
Home-Slider3-20180605-VSH-EmilyOBrienPhoto-1353-Edit_BREAKFAST_FOODDETAIL_FROMABOVE2
Home-Slider5-20180605-VSH-EmilyOBrienPhoto-934-Edit_FRONTPORCH_GUESTS2

Marthas Vineyard Family Friendly Events

Memorial day by the US ArmySo here it comes again – the official kick off for the summer on Martha’s Vineyard – Memorial Day weekend.  If you believe what “they” say, we can now wear our white clothes and sandals with pride as we enter what promises to be another fun filled summer season.

It is already shaping up to be a busy weekend with lots of great events going on.  If you enjoy browsing the many wonderful galleries the Island has to offer, then you are in luck – a number of galleries are having shows to kick off the season.  TheEisenhauer Gallery here at the Colonial Inn will be featuring some new artists at their show on Saturday evening. As an extra treat favorite Island band, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will be playing at the show, so stop by, say hi and get your groove on!

Up-Island, both the Grange Hall and the New Ag Hall are hosts to much anticipated annual shows. The Grange Hall plays host the 12th Annual Vineyard Artisans Memorial Day Showon Saturday and Sunday.  This is the kick off to the Vineyard Artisans summer season which sees them at the same location every Sunday in June and Thursdays and Sundays in July and August.  This show features arts, crafts and jewelry from many renowned local artists.

The New Ag Hall is hosting the Friends of Family Planning’s annual art show.  If you are in town early and would like to support this cause, their Gala Preview Party is on Thursday evening.  The show itself runs Friday to Sunday from 10-6.

If you get to Martha’s Vineyard early enough on Friday you can see a touching tribute to the holiday and a great reminder as to why many of you have the day off work on Monday.  The March to the Sea by the children of Tisbury school is a lovely tribute to the memory of all of those we have lost.  See the kids, waving their flags as they march from Tisbury School to Owen Park starting at noon.

This is just a sampling of the many fun and interesting events that are going on, not to mention all the new stores opening, old stores re-opening, restaurants old and new and much more besides.

How will you be spending your holiday 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

Chocolate eggs by sister72

Chocolate.  The mere word conjures up all manner of sensations: images, scents – even moods.  But most of all tastes.  It is part of our diet and part of our culture.  Consider the phrases that have entered the vox populi:

When the going gets tough, the tough get chocolate.
Chocolate: It’s not just for breakfast anymore.
Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.
All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt!

It’s bad for your waistline but a good source of anti-oxidants. And it tastes like heaven.  We rationalize and take the oh-so-good with the bad.

So what does all this have to do with Martha’s Vineyard?  Well, MV is a chocolate lover’s dream, with several places to go to meet one’s Recommended Daily Allowance of Brown Gold.  (Sorry, but the white stuff simply isn’t chocolate.)  Below, find a brief compendium of chocolate oriented destinations:

In Edgartown, the Ice Cream and Candy Bazaar reigns, partly for its selection of yummy chocolate treats but also for its location: right on the harbor.  (See my post from July for a paean to that place.)  Added bonuses are the ice cream and fun penny candy… none of which costs a penny. This is the Vineyard, after all!

Oak Bluffs holds a treasure in Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium.  One of four locations – the others being Falmouth, Northampton, MA and Bar Harbor – this place has a huge variety of chocolate and chocolate-covered delights, from truffles to turtles.  My daughter swears by the chocolate-covered gummy bears.  I’ll take her word for it since I am not gummiverous.  Ice cream is offered at the Circuit Avenue location as well.  That alone is worth the trip.

Finally, there’s Chilmark Chocolates.  As the name would suggest, this is a chocolate store.  No ice cream, no drinks, no penny candy, no web site, no scenic seating area, no room to move.  This place is all about the chocolate.  Period.  But it doesn’t need anything else.  The delicacies are all hand made or hand-dipped and they are all delicious.

One thing I love about Chilmark Chocolates is that they know we need them more than they need us.  They make that clear through a variety of means:  First of all, they are never open.  OK, that’s an exaggeration, but not much of one.  They are only open a few days a week, a few hours a day.  And they invariably close during the busiest week of the summer! (A side effect of the limited availability is the often unlimited lines.)  Second, their location up island is relatively remote compared to the likes of Circuit Ave., Upper Main Street, or Five Corners.  Finally, the store is really just a short corridor. Walk in one side and out the other.  There is nowhere else to go.

But there is nowhere else you need to go, because along that corridor is a glass enclosed display of the finest chocolate treats you are likely to find anywhere.  And they are surprisingly reasonably priced.

Finally, know that when you patronize Chilmark Chocolates, you are supporting a business that was created to (and still does) employ disabled workers.  What could be better than buying and eating the world’s best chocolate as your good deed for the day?

 

Where do you get your chocolate fix?

Photo by sister72

 

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

lanterns

…Ah, now that I’ve caught my breath, on with August events. It is those of you that spend the last two weeks of the month with us who are the most adventurous and inexhaustible. I decided long ago that you all must go home and have another week of vacation to recuperate before returning to regular life and obligations.

The events that dominate the end of the season are three of the most family-friendly fun times you can imagine. Wednesday, August 19th, is the 137th annual Grand Illumination Night in Oak Bluffs. The tradition of Grand Illumination began in 1869 in honor of Governor’s Day. This year, start the night with an early dinner of lobster and fried clams on the harbor, then wander over to the Tabernacle in the campground by 7 to enjoy the Community Sing and the Vineyard Haven Band Concert that precedes the Illumination. Really, when was the last time you and the kids sang “Oh, Suzanna” together? As the evening grows dimmer, the tension and expectation mounts. The miracle occurs when it’s finally dark. In perfect synchronization, hundreds of Chinese paper lanterns light up the night, creating an absolutely magical spectacle. Outfit the kids with glow sticks to add to the magic, stroll the campground, compare the lanterns (many antique and unique), and chat with the owners of these incredible, colorful gingerbread cottages. Some residents even dress in period costume for you, and most have colorful tales to share. It’s a night you’ll never forget.

If you’re ready for more activity on Thursday the 20th, hop in the car or on the bus and head to West Tisbury for the opening of the 148th annual Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair. It gets underway at 10 AM. (If you’re totally done in from the night before, don’t despair. The Fair continues through Sunday.) They don’t make country fairs like this anymore. Ride the rides, watch the horse pull and woodsmen competition, join the contests (don’t forget everyone’s favorite – the skillet toss), view the blue-ribbon livestock and luscious home-baked goods, and eat local delicacies until you burst. Hint to those who love the fair, but have a difficult time with crowds: go on Friday night when the rest of the island is at the fireworks.

The fireworks: the grand finale of the Vineyard summer season. Sponsored and skillfully executed by the Oak Bluffs Fireman’s Civic Association, this event is a must for young and old. Bring your picnic baskets to Ocean Park on Friday the 21st and claim your spot for a spectacular display. Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is some small town, low budget offering. I’d match it against Boston any day. Of course, some of us remember the year it had been rain-dated twice, eventually taking place on a night when the cloud cover was so low, you couldn’t see anything bursting above it. We figure it can’t happen twice in the same place. The Vineyard Haven Band entertains from the gazebo, starting at 8 PM, and the main show goes on at about 9. You won’t be sorry.

You may be tired after all of this, though, so I’m happy to inform you that that is the end of a very busy week. The summer goes out with a bang! So head home, relax, laugh and reminisce about your 2009 August adventures, and rest up for 2010’s, because after experiencing them once, you’ll be hooked forever.

Image courtesy of Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Assoc.

 

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
4th-of-July-by-CitySteph
4th of July by City Steph

You can’t come to Martha’s Vineyard without noticing the vast number of different accents you encounter in your day – the girl at the coffee shop is Russian, the guy who drives the cab is from Bulgaria, your housekeeper is Jamaican and thishotel manager is Scottish. To many, it’s part of what makes the Vineyard so special – almost everyone is from somewhere else and bring with them their own traditions and perspectives while adopting a good measure of the local culture.

This weekend will be my 11th July 4th celebration – 10th on Martha’s Vineyard. In Scotland, holidays are still mostly the old Christian calendar holidays with a couple of ‘Bank Holidays’ thrown in (basically an administrative day off for the whole country), so I have come to love my American holidays – Memorial Day to celebrate those who protect and have protected, Labor Day for the workers, Thanksgiving reminds us all how lucky we are, but my favorite of all has to be 4th of July!

On my 1st July 4th on Martha’s Vineyard I was lucky enough to be swept up by my American colleague, “Let me show you all the fun of a real July 4th!” Well, I’m pretty game for an adventure, so I put myself in her hands and boy am I glad that I did!

The 1st stop was the lawn of the Old Whaling Church for a good old fashioned BBQ. Burgers, dogs with all the fixins’, kids screaming and laughing, parents chasing, grandparents sitting back and enjoying – good old family fun!

Down to North Water Street next for ice cream from my favorite spot, Mad Martha’s – voted the Best of the Vineyard for several years, and in the Top 10 in the USA Today a few years ago – it really is a fantastic place – cones, cups, sundaes, toppings – everything a dessert lover could wish for.

So, ice cream in one hand and flag in the other, we found a perch on the steps of theColonial Inn courtyard to watch the parade – and oh, what a parade it is! Having never seen a big city parade, my frame of reference is limited, but I am assured it is small town Americana at its best. The parade starts at 5ish (remember – you’re on Vineyard Time) and confuses many by looping through town in the opposite direction to the usual traffic flow. It starts at Edgartown Elementary School, takes a Left at Pease Point Way and loops behind the town center to head along North Water Street in the ‘opposite’ direction and then UP Main Street.

The Selectmen from all the towns lead off in antique vehicles, many local businesses decorate floats with many varied themes, lots of kids sports teams and other non-profits have tons of fun entertaining the crowds – skaters, dancers, musicians, gymnasts and many others besides. The towns’ fire trucks are decked out, the Island Veterans always get a huge cheer and imagine my surprise when a group of men in kilts and ladies in tartan processed by followed by a Bagpipe Band – did they do this just to make me feel a part of the fun? Alas no, it’s the local Scottish Society (although it sure did make it all feel a bit more familiar).

After the fun of the parade we took a break, enjoyed the great atmosphere in town and then headed up to Lighthouse Beach to stake out our spot for the fireworks. They are set off from a barge just off-shore of the Lighthouse, in the outer harbor, so the beach is really the best vantage point, although you can see them from other locations a bit farther out. They usually start around 8.30 – 9pm (once it’s dark enough) and the show never disappoints.

Who wouldn’t love this holiday!! The events continue this year, in the same way they did on my 1st year here – will we see you? What are you doing for the 4th?

 

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