Editor’s Note: As promised, here’s my archived second trip to Martha’s Vineyard from August 2015. Hoping we’ll make it to the island for many long weekends over the next few years while we’re living in Boston. 🙂
Entry No. 55: Martha’s Vineyard
If you follow me on Instagram (@classic_bride), you already know that my husband and I spent a week in early August roadtripping through New England to Martha’s Vineyard following our move to Charlottesville, Va. (btw guys, we are LOVING it here in Virginia!). I thought I’d share a peek at our adventure as I would highly recommend the Vineyard (Vinyud!) as a perfect honeymoon/babymoon/anniversarymoon – it’s just the best! This was my second time on the island and J&I are already planning a return trip to rent a gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs. 🙂
The first time I visited MV was with my BFF and we stayed at the Pequot Hotel in Oak Bluffs. We had such a great experience that I decided to book the hotel again for J’s first pilgrimage to the island. It was the perfect choice – almost every afternoon, we would return to the long porch and sip ice tea on the swing and enjoy freshly baked cookies while chatting about anything and everything. I honestly can’t remember a more relaxing vacation than this one.
One day, we headed out to the tiny fishing village/harbor of Menemsha. We bypassed the packed Larsen’s Fish Market and went into a nondescript shop next door to get some fresh lobstah rolls. We enjoyed them while sitting on the dock out back and watching fishermen haul in their catches. We even saw a little boy proudly bring over a bucket filled with baby crabs. While I know the sunset is supposed to be insanely glorious in Menemsha, we were a few hours too early and didn’t feel like baking in the sun on the beach so we headed back to Oak Bluffs instead. There’s always next time!
Another day, I stuck to a Vineyard tradition and we biked the coastal route from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown. It’s a beautiful and easy (read: flat!) ride. We made sure to stop and watch swimmers take the plunge from Jaw’s Bridge for a bit.
A Rhode Island staple – Del’s lemonade – was the perfect treat after our bike ride on a hot day! Okay, a bloody mary at The Boathouse Club also hit the spot! It’s important to replenish your fluids after working out. 😉
Attention donut lovers! You *must* head to Backdoor Donuts in Oak Bluffs! What hooked me on this spot was that they stay open late into summer nights and literally sell donuts from their back door. We headed the few blocks over one night but when we saw the ~200 people-deep-line, we opted to get a late night slice of pizza around the corner with no line (and it was delicious, too). But don’t worry, we headed back for a donut in the morning when there was no line. Obviously, this was a super health-conscious vacation. 😉
Another night, we headed over to Vineyard Haven to catch a local play, 77%, at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse. It only had three cast members and very minimal sets but the acting was superb and we really enjoyed it. I know we’d definitely go back. It was also fun to look through the donors in the playbook and spot all the famous names. 🙂
A trip to New England isn’t complete without gorging on fresh lobstah and we definitely did just that! Even though The Black Dog Tavern is notorious for being a tourist trap, I still have to give it to them – they make an ahhhmaazing lobster roll. J loved it so much, we re-visited when some friends came to the island to visit us.
We also spent a few nights in Rhode Island and Connecticut and explored Newport, Tiverton, Mystic and Noank:
Ready for a back story? My Dad’s parents met and fell in love one summer in Rhode Island and I grew up hearing about how they’d go for icecream at Gray’s in Tiverton Four Corners. Years ago, my family visited these spots and had icecream and went antique shopping in the tiny town of Tiverton and since J&I were so close, I decided to make it a tradition. So we enjoyed a heaping cone (mine is ginger and raspberry chip – YUM) and a little antiquing once again.
A trip to Mystic wouldn’t be a trip to Mystic without stopping at the famed pizza parlor so after walking around the picturesque town, we stopped in for dinner and were treated to a waitress who was totally channeling Julia Roberts – it was awesome! The pizza wasn’t really knocking my socks off but the experience was fun and I’m glad we went.
Last but not least, we stopped at Abbot’s Lobster in the Rough in Noank, Conn. I had read that this place was a mecca for tasty lobster rolls and that the line is usually super long. Well, the line was definitely long and while the oceanside view was gorgeous … we didn’t think the rolls lived up to their hype. They were good but I’m not sure they deserve all the accolades they seem to garner. Just my humble opinion. 😉
CB’s Top Tips for Martha’s Vineyard
- Lodging. We stayed at the Pequot Hotel in Oak Bluffs once again and had a wonderful stay. It’s tucked away on a quiet residential street. And, as I mentioned, the afternoon refreshments on the porch are really lovely. Take time to slow down and enjoy the little things like that and you’ll start to get a sense of what the island is all about.
- Check out the calendar of events at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse in Vineyard Haven to see if there’s anything that catches your interest. I think it’s always nice to check out and support local artistic talent and we were very impressed with the production we saw here.
- Plan a late afternoon trip to Menemsha to enjoy a fresh lobster roll on the dock and then stay for the sunset. I’ve heard everyone claps as the sun sinks.
- I’d suggest checking out the cliffs of Aquinnah (Gay Head) on the same afternoon as Menemsha since they are rather close to each other.
- Bike routes. You’ll probably want to bike while you’re on MV and I would highly recommend the coastal route that links Oak Bluffs and Edgartown – it was scenic and lovely and an easy ride which is what most people want when they’re on vaca. The year before, I biked from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven which is also a really easy route but it’s not quite as scenic. We also biked from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown and I would not recommend that route … simply put, it’s long and boring. It cuts through an 8-mile stretch of rural road without much scenery. If you have the time and are just looking for a relaxing bike ride, go for it but otherwise I’d recommend the other two.
- Getting to the island. We took the Rhode Island Fast Ferry out of Quonset and it was perfect. I definitely recommend leaving the island right before sunset so your ride is as pretty as possible. 🙂
For more tips, check out my first travel guide to Martha’s Vineyard – it’s loaded with travel gems and also includes Nantucket!
If you have any tips, insights, suggestions or comments, I’d love to hear them! Did you miss the other entries of CB’s Travel Journal? Click here to catch up!
Images by moi.