My crazy travel schedule took me to Martha’s Vineyard after New Orleans. From New Orleans I flew straight to Boston, stayed the night at a friends and boarded a bus to the Woods Hole ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. My friend Peter works for a Christian youth organization called FOCUS and their summer camp is on the Vineyard. They needed volunteers to help with the kitchen, in turn you had a place to sleep, all your meals (if you wanted), access to a private beach, and bikes and cars to get you around during your free time. I have always wanted to go to the Vineyard and was excited to have the chance to do so with out spending a lot of money. Plus, I wanted to see Peter one more time before I left the east coast and this was perfect opportunity, so I signed up.
I was there from Tuesday afternoon through Saturday morning and saw so much. One of the camp staff, Mallory, was running the kitchen during dinner shift when I was helping out. Her sister, Sarah, was in town visiting until Friday, so I ended up going with them in the mornings to do some site seeing. The Vineyard is much bigger than I thought, they do have a bus for public transportation, but having a car is really the way to go. You could also bike, but if you want to see the cliffs on the far west side, it’s at least 20 miles, and they are not flat ones. You could easily bike between the three main towns on the east side of the island, Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.
Mallory took us to Aquinnah, the far southwest point of the island where the beautiful Gay Head Cliffs meet the ocean Wednesday morning. Due to erosion and other forces, we are not allowed down on the cliffs anymore, but the view is spectacular. We spent the rest of the morning on the west side. First we stopped in Lobsterville at the course beach to search for shells. We found a lot of unbroken half oyster shells and some really beautiful smaller ones. Then we went just across the inlet to Menemsha, which is like 100 yards away, but takes a half hour to drive to and its beach is sandy. We fueled up on some much needed coffee and lobster rolls. Before heading into the kitchen to prep for dinner, we went to down to Seth’s Pond at camp for a swim in the wonderful afternoon sun.
The next day was a bit cloudy and went into Edgartown to look around and do some shopping. It was M & S’s last day, so they were picking up suveneries and such. I was was looking for interesting things to take home and ended up with way to much. The town felt a bit like Newport, RI or the Hamptons, so there were a bunch of little shops, clothing, accessories, prints, books, coffee, ice cream, restaurants, lining the narrow streets. The Black Dog was one of my favorites and so was Blackwater. After going back and finishing some prep for the evening dinner, we headed back to Vineyard Haven to look around and picked up some fudge for gifts and ice cream for us. Delicious stuff.
Friday morning, the kids had a “sleep in” so breakfast was an hour later. Peter and I went in to Vineyard Haven for breakfast at Art Cliff Diner and did some catching up since we hadn’t much time earlier in the week to do so. This was one of his favorite spots and was really good, I had some delicious breakfast tacos. After we ate we went into Oak Bluffs just down the road. The town is known for its little colorful gingerbread cottages. They are one of the first planned communities in the US and started because of a yearly pilgrimage to the area. The houses radiate out from a central park where the gatherings were held and replaced the tent cities that popped up. It is adorable.
After that I hopped on a bike and spent the rest of my day on the beach at Lambert’s Cove. The camp has access to the private beach there which is awesome. Fine sand, clear water and a killer spot to watch the sunset, which I did see after getting the dinner out. Then I went in to Edgartown and after a stressful time circling, looking for parking, had dinner at Newes from America. The restaurant and bar is in one of the oldest structures and you can still see it. The food was pretty good too.
Saturday was our departure date, after breakfast we loaded up in vans and headed to the ferry. From the ferry you could see the Black Dog ships and this massive yacht with a helicopter on the deck, just in case you forgot some thing. I was able to catch a ride all the way to New York on a charter bus with camp kids returning to the city. It was so much better than a double bus transfer, going back to Boston to catch another bus or train. I can’t thank them enough for letting me go that way. It was a stress free ending to a wonderful relaxing week before heading in the unknown the past month has brought me.