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Oak Bluffs

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!

 

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

Guitar Fingers by vl8189-resized-600

“What do you do here in the winter?” – It’s a question that almost every year-round resident has been asked by a wide eyed tourist in the height of August business.  The answer on the tip of the tongue for me is, “Enjoy the peace and quiet” but that’s not to say that there is nothing to do!  Open the calendar section of the MV Times and you will be amazed at the number and variety of events we have to choose from on any given week – Salsa Classes anyone? A Moonrise Meander thru Felix Neck Sanctuary? Movie nights, book clubs, fundraisers and pot luck suppers abound but the thing that amazes many winter visitors is the abundance of live music on the Vineyard in the dead of winter.
It will amaze most of you to know that, even in January, you can hear live music at least 5 nights a week on Martha’s Vineyard!  OK, on some nights there may be just one option, not the multiple choices of August but what we lack in quantity we certainly make up for in quality – most of those summer favorites are year round Vineyarders, strumming and crooning all winter long.

Let’s start the week on Tuesday (Sunday and Monday seem to be musician ‘weekend’ on MV), with jazz at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs. Join well known Island favorites Eric Johnson and Jeremy Berlin for a set as smooth as the beers they accompany.

Return to Offshore on Wednesday night for Irish music – always a well attended and fun evening in this cozy atmosphere.

Thursday night takes us to Season Pub in Oak Bluffs for a night with the Mike Benjamin Band.  If you have been at the Colonial Inn on a Thursday evening in summer, you will be familiar with Mike and his crew.  They can really get the crowd hopping with their mix of covers from across the musical spectrum.

The latest addition to the ‘scene’ is Friday nights ‘In the Window’ at the Wharf pub in Edgartown with local favorites Don Groover and Kevin Keady.  With Kevin’s gravelly vocals and Don’s amazing guitar skills, you could easily think you had been transported to a smoky club in a big city, not quiet little Edgartown in January!

On Saturdays the Ritz Café in OB has live music from a variety of Island musicians throughout the winter.  They really liven up the sleepy winter months for us!

This selection is just the tip of the musical iceberg and doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the special events, fundraisers and the like that have their musical accompaniment on any given week.

So, do you still think there’s nothing to do on Martha’s Vineyard in winter?

Do you have a favorite Island artist? Who are your ‘must hear’ musicians? What is your favorite music venue on the Vineyard?

Photo Credit: vl8189

 

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

alison-shaw2-300x300

Time to move our gallery stroll to Oak Bluffs. First, my apologies to all of the wonderful galleries I do not include in my ruminations. I know there are many, but I am trying to keep my selection to a literal stroll. Perhaps, in the future, I will blog about the notable artistic destinations that require transportation. For now, we’ll stick to Oak Bluffs on foot.

We’ll start by leaving the crowds on Circuit Avenue and wind our way through the peaceful, colorful campgrounds to Dukes County Avenue where, for a number of years, a group of talented and enterprising people have slowly been building up an expanding community called the Arts District. Begin at the newly renovated old firehouse, now theAlison Shaw Gallery.  I don’t know a soul who doesn’t catch his or her breath the first time they see Alison’s colorful photography. Her prints of everything from the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market to a peaceful dawn on Oak Bluffs Harbor are just the reminders of the Vineyard that you’ll want to take home.

Cross the street and check out the Dragonfly Gallery. Under new management this year, it is still an intimate and inviting venue for an eclectic collection of island paintings, photographs, and sculptures.

Next, turn right outside the door and walk two doors down to PIK NIK, a treasure trove of delights for the eyes. In the main building, you’ll find contemporary art, accessories, jewelry, and apparel. A great place to find unusual gifts! The Studio Annex in the back displays the exciting work of emerging new artists. Plan to spending a little time here.

Now, let’s wander back to busy Circuit Avenue. Notice how the light and shadows have changed in the campground since you walked through earlier. Doesn’t it make you want to take out your camera and give Alison Shaw a run for her money? There is unlimited inspiration for artists on Martha’s Vineyard.

Make a right turn on Circuit Ave. for a short walk to one of Oak Bluffs’ most prized institutions, the Cousen Rose Gallery, now in its 30th year. The bright and charming, pink gingerbread style building holds a wonderful offering of original art, one of a kind jewelry, and gift items.

If you have time for one more and want something completely different, walk just a little further on upper Circuit and turn left onto Uncas Avenue to the brand new NYE Gallery, where you’ll feel like you’ve just been beamed to Soho. The atmosphere and artwork is contemporary, fun, and refreshing.

Speaking of refreshing, it’s now probably time to rest your feet by the harbor and refresh yourself with something tall and cold. Watch the boats drift in and out and prepare yourself for another delightful, artistic adventure in Vineyard Haven.

Image courtesy of Alison Shaw

 

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

ice-cream1Okay, yes. We are Newbie parents. We kept as much sugar our of our baby girl’s life as possible during the first year. I have already received mockery from friends and family for this (no TV either. How shocking…) so no taunting the blog-guy!

Now, however, we have discovered the joys of “Icey Creeem” as Kate calls it. We can no longer share a cone with her. She seizes the cone and burrows into it. She can spot an ice cream shop at a hundred yards it seems and gives us a look that says: “So where’s my cone?”

Therefore, our quest for the Best Cone Ever began. So let me review the Shoppes we have purchased our bits ‘o freezy goodness from so far. I will list them from my least favorite to my most. Although I bear no ill will to any…someone has to be last! Remember: I am evaluating by Travelling-With-Toddler criteria. My main concerns are: how hard is it to keep track of Kiddo in this shop and how expensive will this child’s new outfit moistening snack be, since she will wear most of it (not to mention anoint us as well).

Mad Martha’s- This is a popular spot on North Water Street and has a wide array of sundaes and frappes available as well. It shares the space with a sandwich shop so it is usually crowded. The ice cream is great but a tad pricey. (Okay it is the Island so everything is a little more expensive than other places, but I dislike waiting in a crowded shop to pay quite a bit more for ice cream.) They also have no kid’s cone option.

Scoops- They have a great location on the corner of Main and South Water Streets and are a lot roomier inside as you enter. They have a great selection of flavors but not as wide an array of non-cone choices, but that’s okay. They are called “Scoops”. They have a great price on a kid’s sized cone. The only problem I have with their cones is this: they are always super melty. The freezers are open topped and are open all the time and when we buy a cone, it is a race against time to consume any of it before it has liquefied and is dripping off my hands. Maybe the ice cream staying softer prevents the full-time scooping staff from strained wrists or something. (I am not a big fan of sticky mess, as anyone who knows me can attest. Okay…it is ice cream and summer and that combination is never a good combo for anti-sticky lobbyists, but I feel that having to perform bottom-of-the-cone melt control slurps before you have stepped away from the building is asking a bit much of me.)

Carousel- I don’t often get to Oak Bluffs in the summer, but we made a special trip one Sunday afternoon and had a delightful time at Carousel. The kid’s cone was a good size for a great price, the flavors were numerous and the shop was big enough not to seem too crowded. The person who served us was what made us enjoy our “icey creeem” the most. He was more than happy to let us try a few different flavors as samples before we committed to a full cone of that flavor and was more that willing to sell al three of us kid sized cones. Some places have to be cajoled into that deal. (Let’s face facts. I am a large, round man. I don’t NEED three whole scoops of ice milk and sugar in my system…the less I have the better, frankly. A small scoop is treat enough for me). When we said we had experienced reluctance from other shops about small cones he grinned and said “Come on! It’s ice cream! They shouldn’t be so serious. I love this job!”

It was a refreshing bit of friendliness during the busy middle of the summer doldrums and it made us instant fans. So many servers and clerks reach that tired point that it felt good to smile at his enthusiasm. He made our day!

So there you have my findings thus far, from least favorite to most.

“There’s one more,” he says in a whisper, casting furtive glances over his shoulder. “The Quarterdeck has a small soft-serve, $2.50 street value. Perfect for when the kid needs her ‘icey creeem’ fix and yer short of cash. It’s our secret vice! Tell them Kiddo sent ya!”

Image courtesy of tedkirwin

 

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
Great-Rock-Bight-300x225
Great Rock by Joanne Sardini

I already covered most of the Edgartown area beaches in an earlier post, so now to venture a little further afield…
I mentioned in my last post how fun State Beach is – lots of kids, lots of fun, great swimming. If you continue on Beach road to Oak Bluffs you will come across Inkwell Beach, just minutes from the downtown area. You will see lots of people swimming ‘laps’ between the 2 breakwaters every morning and it’s a great spot if you don’t have a car as it is easily accessible on the VTA bus route 13.

Between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, next to the drawbridge, is Eastville Beach. A small parking lot can take about 30 cars so it’s always pretty quiet and I love to sit and watch the ferries and other boats coming in and out of Vineyard Haven harbor – sometimes you can be lucky enough to see one of the Black Dog Tall Ships, the Shenandoah or the Alabama, in full sail – spectacular! You can take a ride on one of these beautiful ships, or just sit back and admire.

Head ‘Up-Island’ to the more rural areas of Martha’s Vineyard and public beaches are a little scarcer. Many of the beaches in this area are private or restricted access, so be careful not to wander where you may not be welcome. With that said, there are a few gems that cannot be left out…One of my favorite hidden gems is Great Rock Bight. Not the easiest beach to find, it is about 3.8 miles along North Road from the intersection with State Road. Parking is very limited so be prepared to get there early. The property is managed by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and has a lovely walking trail which winds through scenic woodlands to the beach. Be aware that the stairs to the beach are very steep – it can be a tough climb back, so pack light! When you get to the beach you can’t miss the Great Rock about 20 feet off shore. Relax on the sandy stretch near the stairs, or wander along the rocky stretch to your left and discover rock ponds and hidden coves.

Another ‘Up-Island’ gem is Moshup Trail – featured on the Travel Channel as America’s best walking beach – this is another Land Bank property. Less than half a mile from the public parking and bus stop at Aquinnah, this stretch of Atlantic beach sits in the shadow of the Aquinnah Cliffs and Gay Head lighthouse. It takes a little effort to get to this out of the way location, but it is definitely worth it! Just don’t climb on the cliffs, they are a Nationally Protected Landmark and it is a Federal offence to climb on them or take a piece home. Enjoy the surf, the sand and have a roll in the clay mud – it is said to have restorative powers.

There are lots of other great spots – which one is your favorite?

 

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