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Martha's Vineyard Food

Evelyn

Walk around the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs and see the Gingerbread Cottages but be sure to look for Eleanor.  She’s well past ninety, a wealth of Martha’s Vineyard info, and she may even ask you to sign her visitor’s book.  She will be on her porch waiting for you to come by.

Oak Bluffs is a nice bike ride from Vineyard Square Hotel in Edgartown

Michael

Pack some snacks in Edgartown then drive, bike or bus up to Chilmark and explore the Great Rock Bight Preserve. (Top left hand corner, mouse over the #34 for info and directions.) After a hike, swim out to the Great Rock. (Bring some water-shoes! The barnacles are sharp!)

Vincent

Take the 13 bus up to Oak Bluffs and grab a slice of pizza from Giordano’s. Now take that delicious slice to Ocean Park, grab a bench, and enjoy your lunch; and one of the best views on the island.

Lane

To truly relax on your Martha’s Vineyard vacation, walk around the Lagoon, from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven and back, at low tide. (There’s no beach at high tide!) No crowds, and the peaceful sound of the waves lapping on the sand is better than an hour of meditation.

Joanne

Stroll down the street from our Martha’s Vineyard hotel and hop on the harbor launch for a half hour ride around Edgartown harbor – “It’s only an island if you look at it from the water” (small fee)

Janice

Looking for a great Edgartown restaurant for seafood? Look no further than the Square Rigger Restaurant which has the best lobster in town. You can hop onto the #11 Park and Ride from Mayhew Lane at no cost and don’t have to worry about drinking too much for dinner.

Rob

I love going to the bar at Détente for an early dinner. Between 5:30 and 6:00 everything on the menu is half price. They have an often changing and always interesting selection of wines by the glass. This is one of the best deals on the Island.

CJ

Grab a lobster roll at Grace Church on Friday afternoon (voted “best lobster roll” on the island in “Best of the Vineyard” past five years) and head to your favorite Martha’s Vineyard beach for a picnic.  Evenings are a great time of day to enjoy the beach and cool off without the crowds!

 

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

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.

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

As a writer, I love hyperbole. It grabs the reader’s attention, making the point and then some – stretching the truth for good purpose. The title of this post is a great example.Sharky’s Cantina may not be the Greatest Place to Eat in the Whole Wide World, but if it isn’t, it’s darn close. Seriously, given the choices out there, I think I’d just as soon eat at Sharky’s as any other place. Why? I’m glad I asked.

First and second, it’s funky and fun. Third, fourth, and fifth, the food is great, the selection wide, and the prices reasonable.

I first came to an awareness of Sharky’s when there was just the Oak Bluffs location, a cozy little spot that they’ve occupied since 2003. It was great, but a bit crowded. (More hyperbole. Think: squeezing the New England Patriots defensive line into a Smart Car.) The place was consistently bursting at the seams with people stuffing their faces with tacos, chimichangas, and burritos, all the while washing them down with sangria and margaritas.

An added attraction, if the mob scene wasn’t enough to draw you in, was the requirement to visit “The Shark Tank” next door if you had to (how shall I put this delicately?) deal with all those drinks you’d been downing. As a guy, there’s something distinctly unsettling about doing my business in a facility called “The Shark Tank”.

Note that none of this kept me away. The pluses far outweighed the downsides. My family went there at every opportunity. Still, it was clear that they needed more space. In 2005, the much-needed larger Edgartown location opened. It can almost handle the crowds who continue to flock there. The outside seating under the lights helps a great deal in the good weather. (Yet another benefit: Sharky’s is open year-round. No unrequited hankering for tacos in the dead of January!)

Truth be told, Mexican food would not be my first choice of cuisine. Much of it I can take or leave. That’s OK. My family is heavily (no pun intended) into it and I like enough of it to appreciate the place. Just the awesome freshly-made chips and pico de gallo are enough to sate my appetite. I have two burrito-devotee daughters who swear by that selection. My wife considers the veggie tacos to be unsurpassed.

The funny thing is that I don’t order Mexican from their menu anymore. Not because it’s not good. It is! However, I’ve discovered the Sharky’s Special Sauce Burger. I know it’s not a burger joint, but this is one of the best burgers on the planet. Between the burger and the excellent fries, I rarely find a need to stray from that selection. Look, if I ate there thee times a week – and I might if I could – I’d mix in the tacos, fajitas, and quesadillas. Unfortunately, I only get there a few times a year. Thus, it’s generally the burger for me.

If there’s any room after the chips and pico de gallo, that is.

Image courtesy of roolrool.

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

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