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Written by Lane

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

halloweenkidsSo there you are back in what we affectionately call “the real world”. There are errands to do, kids to transport, work and obligations to fill your every hour. A pleasant fleeting memory of summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard may flicker through your mind only to be overpowered by whatever task is presently before you. You wish you could still be here, but nothing happens on Martha’s Vineyard after Labor Day anyway, right? Wrong! So, so wrong.

Get in the car, bus, or plane and get yourself back here for a fall weekend of delightful activity (or non-activity). Or even better, come midweek when the best Martha’s Vineyard hotel deals are available!  Anyone who lives here will tell you September and October are the best months to be on the island. For instance, the MV International Film Festival wraps up on September 12. Tivoli Day, celebrated in Oak Bluffs, takes place September 18, rain date September 19. The increasingly popular Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival is October 15 and 16. And the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby is ongoing now through October 16. Come test your casting skills and win a prize!

Besides the special events, so many of the best summer activities live on through the fall. Some of the things you can still enjoy are the Artisan’s Festival in West Tisbury, the Speaker Series at the Aquinnah Town Hall, bird walks, Felix Neck Treks and Guided Kayak and Marine Discovery Tours, artists’ receptions at all the galleries, and the Vineyard Playhouse productions. If those don’t entice you, how about fall sales in all the stores? All the goodies you talked yourself out of in August, because they were too expensive, start taking a dive. And I’ve saved the best for last: Friday night lobster rolls continue to roll out of Grace Church in Vineyard Haven until October 1!

Oops! My phone is ringing. Must be another “fall on the Vineyard lover” calling to make a reservation. Hope to see you soon!

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

Whaling Church1-resized-196Have the kids not come up with a theme for “What I Did on my Summer Vacation”, or are you just not up to another day at the beach? The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, in partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, have come up with a solution to not only these dilemmas, but many others as well. Grab the family or a friend, buy a $15 ticket for entrance to their Edgartown properties, and spend an educational and fun day soaking in some of Martha’s Vineyard’s past and present.

The pass will get you into The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, where you could easily spend the entire day making your way through the historical objects, documents, books, photographs, paintings and exhibits.

You can also enjoy The Old Whaling Church on Main Street. It is a magnificent Greek Revival structure, originally built for the Methodist whaling captains and which now serves a perfect venue for weddings, concerts, and lectures.

Next to the church, stop in at The Dr. Daniel Fisher House, an elegant1840 Federal style residence, now used for private parties, and many of the receptions for the church’s weddings.

Stroll through the manicured, vast grounds back to The Vincent House, the Island’s oldest residence, which has been restored to its original beauty with period antiques that represent life on Martha’s Vineyard during the last four centuries.

Now make your way to the harbor and peruse the exquisite art of Island artists at The Old Sculpin Gallery, which is also a museum and historic property. In other lives it has been a sail loft, a grain store, a whale oil factory, and a boat builder’s shed. Sounds like a haven for interesting and talented ghosts to me!

Finish your tour by following the harbor down North Water Street, past all the stately old whaling captain’s homes, to The Edgartown Lighthouse, built in 1881 to safely guide the whalers back home. It’s a delightfully peaceful spot to end and reflect on your new appreciation of Martha’s Vineyard history and lore.

Editor’s Note: The Colonial Inn is offerring a Martha’s Vineyard History Package for fall that combines all of the above with 2 nights room accomodations for 2, continental breakfast, and a 2 1/2 hour narrated bus tour of the entire island.  It’s a great value!

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

ping pong by ZimpenfishSo many of our friends and repeat guests already know so much about Martha’s Vineyard, that I sometimes find when I’m wearing my concierge hat, that it’s difficult to come up with new suggestions for them. The beaches, nature walks, author’s talks, concerts, theater, etc. run off my tongue with ease, and they are always good things to do again and again.

But what about some of the more unusual activities on the island? Did you know, for example, that on Mondays and Thursdays you can play Table Tennis at the West Tisbury School? It all happens between 6:30 and 9 PM, is for all levels, and instruction is available.

A little less strenuous is Duplicate Bridge every Tuesday at Stone Church in Vineyard Haven.

For those who prefer to be outdoors, try Croquet at 9 AM behind the Edgartown School on Saturdays. Lessons for those who wish to perfect their skills here too.

On Fridays and Saturdays, from 8:30 AM until 4PM, join the volunteer builders at Habitat for Humanity. No need for lessons for this one, as no experience is necessary, only a generous spirit.

Are you so happy to be away from the city that you have an overpowering desire to get your hands in the soil? On Fridays, go to the Farm Institute in Edgartown for Farmers-In-Training. It’s from 3:30 to 5:30, for ages 11 and up, and requires pre-registration.

So the next time you’re spending time with us, instead of riding your bike to whichever lighthouse or beach destination, consider some of the more diverse activities our great island has to offer.

Image courtesy of Zempenfish.

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

Hello to friends of the Colonial Inn and Martha’s Vineyard. I’m happy to be back at work and in the loop after a quiet winter away from everyone. The Vineyard is bustling with spring activity. All of the busy little worker ants are scurrying about getting the island ready for our 2010 visitors. Restaurants and stores are opening their doors at record speed. As usual, you will find much the same, as well as some changes.

MV Bridge by cdsessumsTo follow up on the island doings I discussed in my last blog, let me start with the bridges along State Beach between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. As I mentioned then, they will be only half finished for this upcoming season, but you will certainly be impressed with the progress. From what I can tell, as I peek through all the work equipment as I drive by, both bridges will now arch a bit in the center, making the jump from Big Bridge a bit more challenging for all you aquatic daredevils. The railing is now going up, and it is an architectural delight.

Another work of art awaits you at the dock in Oak Bluffs. The new ferry terminal accomplishes what few new structures can. It is not only stunning and functional, but looks like it belongs to the scenery it inhabits. In addition to the impressive new building itself, the walkway down the Steamship Authority terminal dock is now much sturdier and completely covered to protect you when you happen to arrive on one of our infrequent stormy days. Just across the street, new road construction will keep the traffic flowing far better than ever before.

On the way into Vineyard Haven, check out our fantastic new hospital. Don’t hesitate to stop in and visit the long awaited, state of the art facility. Travelling on, you’ll find the now completed, temporary Lagoon drawbridge. The old bridge has finally disappeared into thin air, or at least to some salvage yard, and the area is greatly improved. The only thing you might find disconcerting is that there is now a bend in the road as you both approach and leave the bridge. Take special heed of this especially if you are dining in Vineyard Haven, whose residents have just agreed to allow beer and wine sales in restaurants. (That’s right folks. No more BYOB!) After all, we would hate to see you miss the curve and end up several feet beyond in the new hospital.

All in all, the Vineyard is mightily spruced up and waiting for you. Come see us soon.

Photos Credit: cdsessums

 

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