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Written by CJ

New Year Resolutions Clock by husin.saniI have never been a fan of new year “resolutions”; there is way too much guilt and disappointment going on, come February when resolves aren’t as strong!  This is a great time of year to reflect on the good, bad, and ugly of the past, however; as well as organizing and making plans for all of the good things ahead…  so, are you with me?!

Here at the Colonial InnEdgartown Residence Club, we are thankful for all of our friends (old and new) who made the time to visit Martha’s Vineyard this past year, and included us in their plans.  We feel very lucky to not only live in such a magical place, but to have a part in creating treasured memories for so many visitors.  We are looking forward to creating more value for our guest’s in 2011 with some exciting new room renovations and the creation of a new and improved salon and day spa within our complex…  more on all of that in coming months!

On a more personal note, I am making plans and committing to spending more time & enjoying the island with my family (read: doing housework doesn’t count for quality time!).  I was suprised and am a bit embarrassed to report that when we took our kids to Aquinnah last summer, they didn’t remember ever having been there before!  They were all four born on Martha’s Vineyard, so yes, it is as bad as it sounds…  The point is, how many of us live in a place that we fail to fully enjoy? I live on an island, work a block from Edgartown harbor, and yet go weeks sometimes without really looking at the water!  Similarly, how many of you visit Martha’s Vineyard and fail to explore beyond the closest beach and town?

My plan for the coming year (and challenge for all of you) is to make more time every week to spend with family and friends.  While at it, we are going to enjoy more of the wonderful activities & venues on Martha’s Vineyard!  What about you?  When you are next on the island, can you explore someplace you haven’t been in a while?  What about in your own hometown?  Do visitors frequently enjoy more of it than you do?

If your travels bring you back to the Vineyard in the coming year, I hope you will include a stay at our Martha’s Vineyard hotel in your plans.  Come and challenge us to think of something new for you to do during your next visit!  And please, share your experiences with us when you venture out to explore!

Best wishes for a healthy and adventurous 2011!!  What are your plans for the new year?

Image courtesy of husin.sani

 

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

This week is the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I believe the act has opened doors for all of us since its inception in 1990; not only the disabled.  Even on a small island such as Martha’s Vineyard, our community is becoming “richer” as more doors are opening for everyone.  The mainstreaming of the disabled into our society is a gift, as our children not only learn acceptance of differences, but develop compassion, comfort and appreciation for those of varying abilities.

 

Martha’s Vineyard has a reputation with some as being an “elitist” playground of the rich.  I believe this is an unearned criticism by folks that have never been here or just don’t know it well.   What I see is a diverse community and a variety of people coming to the island throughout the year to enjoy all that this beautiful resort has to offer.  Visitors and “Islanders” of all different ages, abilities, and income levels share this space and (for the most part) manage to get along; and yes, appreciate each other’s differences.

 

Camp Jabberwocky Bus-resized-600

 

In writing about disabilities and acceptance, I have to mention one of the most well-loved summer institutions on Martha’s Vineyard — Camp Jabberwocky.  If you have seen a 4thof July parade on the Island, you will be familiar with them.   The enthusiasm and joy for life of the campers and volunteer staff is an inspiration!   Camp Jabberwocky is the oldest running sleepover camp for people with disabilities in the United States.  Started 55 years ago as a Cerebral Palsy Camp, Camp Jabberwocky now welcomes 100 children and adults of varying disabilities to Martha’s Vineyard every summer. And the Vineyard community looks forward to welcoming them!  Another loved “institution” that is active in the disabled community is Chilmark Chocolates.  They have an amazingly delicious product and employ many disabled adults year round.  If you have never sampled their product, you really should!

 

As an interesting aside, embracing people with disabilities is a long standing tradition on Martha’s Vineyard.  During the late 17th to early 20th centuries, the majority of the inhabitants of Chilmark (“up-island” on Martha’s Vineyard) all knew sign language because of the large number of community members that were hearing impaired.  According to historical accounts, the hearing impaired members were not seen as disabled because everyone knew sign language and could therefore communicate with each other.   Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language later merged with some others to become what is now American Sign Language.

 

As a hotel operator for the past 25 years, I have lived through some of the operational challenges to businesses since the ADA was first rolled out.  Trying to figure out how to retro fit old buildings with ramps and widen doorways to accommodate wheelchairs was just the beginning…  Did you ever wonder how to get a wheelchair onto the beach?  Several of our beaches now have board walkways to make them accessible to wheelchairs.  Small communities with older buildings and narrow streets will continue to have accessibility challenges as needed improvements persist; but much progress has been made in the past 20 years, which has benefited all of us.  I hope in the next 20 years all of our communities will evolve into what Chilmark used to be; and no one will be seen as disabled!  Do you have a memory of the ADA creation or the way it has affected you or your time on Martha’s Vineyard?

 

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

Edgartown Memorial Day 022-1

The new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital opened last month, with the space to double it’s capacity.  Some people speculate that this was necessary purely due to the transportation related accidents that grace the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s emergency room every season…  please don’t be one of the statistics!  Read on to be aware and safe, and if you missed our prior article on general vacation safety, please check it out.

Pedestrian Safety – Do you remember being taught to look both ways before crossing the street?  I am fairly certain that it is a safety concept still being taught today, but it is not regularly practiced in the downtown areas of Martha’s Vineyard.  I mention this not to embarrass anyone, because we can all be distracted…  did you just hear that horn beep?  WHAT is that man wearing?!…   Oh, sorry, where was I?  Oh yes, I was mentioning this so that if you happen to be driving on Martha’s Vineyard, you won’t ASSUME that the basic safety rules are being followed by the pedestrians.  Please go extra slowly when driving through our towns, and don’t assume that everyone will wait for a crosswalk before walking in front of your car…

If you are a pedestrian, please follow these simple but important guidelines:

  • Look both ways before crossing the streets and use cross walks whenever possible.
  • Be aware of cars in downtown areas.  Even though everyone else is walking down the middle of the street, it is probably not closed to traffic.
  • Stay to the right on bicycle paths.
  • Do not come from behind a car, and cross in front of it unless you know that the driver has seen you.

Bicycle Safety – Martha’s Vineyard has miles of lovely bike paths to explore, all over the island; but the roads are narrow, with sandy and narrow shoulders… and similar to elsewhere, many of the drivers are extremely impatient in the summer.  Be careful!  Remember these basic safety rules to ensure that your visit is accident free.

  • Always use a bike path when one is available.
  • When biking on the road, always ride with traffic.
  • On the multi-use paths, stay to the right and announce yourself when passing on the left.
  • Use caution when crossing in front of driveways or across roads – don’t assume that drivers see you, even if you have the right of way.
  • Don’t forget to wear a helmet!

Mopeds – Every year there are several serious moped accidents on Martha’s Vineyard.  Regardless of the moped driver’s skill level, there are many impatient “city drivers” on our roads in the summer.  This doesn’t bode well for a slow moped on a 2 lane road, with a sandy and narrow shoulder.  If you need a way to see the entire island, consider taking an island tour.  It has the added benefit of a historical narrative being included, along with being able to see most of the island (minus the tour of the new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital accident room).  We also have an excellent public transportation system if you would like to explore the island independently.

What’s your favorite mode of transportation when exploring the area?  Do you have any examples of distracted visitors to share for our general safety awareness?

 

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

Sunscreen by Scott Donovan

Over the past 17 years that I have been on the Vineyard, I have repeatedly been astounded at least once or twice every season by the carelessness of a visitor.  I don’t think that this is a unique phenomenon to Martha’s Vineyard, but is common in vacation destinations around the world.  I used to work with a Director of Security who gave a unique introduction of the island to our new hires each year:  “This is not Fantasy Island” he would warn (remember that show?!), and he had a point.  Martha’s Vineyard is a beautiful and relatively safe, relaxed community; but it is not advisable (anywhere!) to completely let your guard down and assume that anything goes because you are on vacation.  For example, it is not a good idea to allow your six year old to wander down the street (or into it), without you while you window shop.  OK, I know that’s an extreme example, but I’ve seen it happen…

Safety and security are awkward topics for me as a hotelier to address, because someone might wrongly extrapolate from this that Martha’s Vineyard is not a safe place to visit.  I care about the experience that all of our guests have, however, and want everyone’s memories of Martha’s Vineyard to be positive.  If a few safety reminders can ensure that your vacation is safe and accident free, I will take my chances here.  Of course, if you are reading this, you are probably not one of those “careless visitors”; but please read on so that “the carless ones” do not take you unaware.

General security – Although the island is relatively safe, remember that ANYONE can come across on the boat.  We don’t screen out the ones with criminal records…  Similar to any vacation destination, you should remember to:

  • Shut your room door all the way, and bolt it at night
  • Do not give your room number out to strangers (or friends in front of strangers)
  • Lock cars and bicycles when not in use
  • Do not leave valuables in your car, or your room
  • Use a safe deposit box to store valuables
  • Don’t leave valuables on your beach blanket when you go for a walk or swim
  • Don’t allow young children to wander off because it’s a safe place (they can still step in front of a car with a distracted driver).

General safety – During the summer the two most common obstacles to our summer fun are the sun (we love to see it, but getting too much is never a good time!) and ticks.  Similar to the rest of the northeastern seaboard, Martha’s Vineyard has a healthy three season tick population of which everyone should be aware.  Please keep the following tips in mind this summer:

  • Wear sunscreen, and reapply regularly
  • Don’t forget hats, long sleeve shirts, etc. to block the sun when you’ve had too much, so you can stay outside.
  • Check for ticks after being out in fields or at the beach
  • If possible when hiking, wear long pants, long sleeves, and tuck pants in socks (a real fashion statement!)
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated

Everyone is familiar with the hazards of over exposure to the sun (so don’t do it – you could miss out on days of your vacation); but for more information on tick bourn disease prevention, you can refer to the Martha’s Vineyard Lyme Disease Association website.

I know that all of this seems like common sense, so thank you for bearing with me.  No one needs to be paranoid about safety in this beautiful island community, but it is advisable to just be aware.  The most alarming lack of safety awareness that I have seen, however, is summarized under the transportation category…   another post in and of itself, so please watch this space.

So what are your safety tips when travelling?  Keep in mind, you can always drink the water here on Martha’s Vineyard!  Although… I don’t really recommend it if you are swimming.  It’s a bit salty!

 

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