If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from my reader surveys over the years, it’s that you guys really don’t love my Martha’s Vineyard posts. I admit there are an abundance of them — after all, my mom live there part-time and I visit every year (though, in a move that makes me cringe, my summer 2017 posts are going up before my summer 2016 posts, since I’m trying to blog in real time for the moment and catch up when I have time in the fall.)
But what can I say? I love this little island and I didn’t even consider skipping recounting my summer adventures there this year — even if I’m the only one that reads them, on a day when I’m feeling wistful or nostalgic. If any of you, too, decide to take a peek, I think I’ve got some fun stories and adventures to share.
It was a far more low-key summer than many before it, on Martha’s Vineyard. I went just once, fairly unusual for me, though did stay for a whole uninterrupted thirteen nights, a total treat in a chaotic and travel-heavy summer. That said, it flew by in the blink of an eye.
Those two weeks were a revolving door of various groups filling the bedrooms of my mom’s cute little cottage — first, just Ian and I, reunited for the first time since I’d left Thailand. Next, my mom arrived, and soon after her fiancé, and briefly, her book editor from Australia. Then, for July Fourth weekend, a whole crew including my sister and four of our friends — but more on that part later.
First, it was just Ian and I and the last ferry of the night into Oak Bluffs, and catching a welcoming sunset — the perfect release on the pressure valve that had been the stress of running around New York and Albany and getting ourselves over to The Vineyard.
Normally, Ian and I plan a pretty crazy itinerary of beaches and restaurants and beyond when we come here. But this trip, we really just wanted to take it easy. I was still recovering from my big trip to Florida and to Tennessee and was looking forward to plenty of quality time with my boyfriend — and my laptop. We spent many hours just lazing around the house, Ian with a good book, and I working on blog posts, our only interruption being Ian’s home-cooked meals.
It was bliss.
Of course, we did eventually leave the house, especially once more people starting piling into the house and construction on the new addition fired up again. My favorite activity of the week was so special it really deserves its own post, but here’s a little hint:
Since we were doing long hours of work — eventually Ian joined in with the construction team — we really tried to be good at remembering to take breaks and enjoy the beautiful place we were in. Ian is a voracious reader and I am trying to get back to holding a book instead of an iPhone, on occasion. So we took a few “reading breaks” throughout the week where we’d head to the beach or the harbor for ninety minutes to just simply sit and read.
A big beach day can be a commitment, and easy to shrug off when your to-do list is insane. So it was kind of freeing to just say, “we can do this — we’re only going for an hour.” We have two lovely beaches within ten minutes walking distance of my mom’s house, Inkwell Beach and East Chop Beach, so we are pretty dang spoiled.
Kind of a detour here, but something that has been on my mind — a while back, I posted a photo from this day on Instagram and went pretty deep on my current struggles with body positivity and acceptance. My friend Steph pointed out to me that there’s so much inspiration out there for women who are either mega-fit or plus-size, but there’s not so much out there for girls in-between, which is the category I think I fit into.
And that has encouraged me to try to present a more realistic perspective of what I look like today — not photoshopped, not heavily edited, not deleted because my laser eyes detected a roll I don’t like the look of. I’m working hard to get to a place where I’m back to feeling fit and healthy, but I don’t want to misrepresent myself in the meantime.
We mostly ate at home through the week, primarily because Ian is such a phenomenal chef, but also to save money and because of that whole “getting healthy” thing. We did have a few notable meals out, however — Martha’s Vineyard has so many amazing restaurants, we’d be crazy not to try a few new ones.
The menu I was most excited to try happened to be at beloved local dive bar The Ritz. The chef at my favorite restaurant on the island, Red Cat Kitchen, recently took over the kitchen at The Ritz, and we were itching to try his famous food at dive bar prices. We ended up coming here both for brunch and then again later in the week with my mom for dinner — both were fabulously good, though if you come for dinner, try to time it so you pay your check when the live music starts, or you won’t be able to have a conversation.
I was a little wary of eating in a dark bar for brunch on a beautiful day, but it was worth it. The Ritz is year-round, so it’s also a killer place to come in the off-season or whenever you hit bad weather.
We also made it to two movies throughout the week, one of our shared loves as a couple. Unfortunately, neither left us raving. The first was Song to Song, which we caught at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center, and was so bad it was the first movie I’ve ever considered walking out of entirely — Ian wanting to see it through was literally the only reason I stayed. It was so bad I basically never wanted to see another movie ever again in my life. If you too have been traumatized by the movie Song to Song, please let me know in the comments so we can support each other through this dark time.
Thankfully, I got back on the horse just a few nights later, this time with 47 Meters Down at Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven. You can read my thoughts on the movie here — it wasn’t great, but it felt like an Oscar winner compared to Song to Song — but the real excitement was checking out this cute one-screen theater for the first time ever. It was adorable and I will definitely be adding it to my regular rotation!
I’ve now officially been to every single movie theater on Martha’s Vineyard — I mean, there are only four, but still. Surely I must get a badge or something for this?
On Ian’s last day on the island, I was feeling a little guilty that we had spent so much time working and relaxing and not much else. And so I planned a day of Ian Adventures, which was fun because not only did we get some fun in before another goodbye, we also did a ton of stuff that, well, wouldn’t necessarily have been on my own to-do list.
Starting with a brewery tour!
As a non-beer drinker, I’d never had much interest in the tour or offerings at Offshore Ale Company. While I knew they were also a popular restaurant, I’ve had a lifelong aversion to eating in dimly lit dining rooms– seriously, I have a problem — that kept me from ever checking the place out.
Am I ever glad I made an exception! (My second one in a week, considering the low-wattage situation at The Ritz.) Lunch at Offshore Ale Company was insanely good — I’ll definitely be back again in the future, though I may take advantage of their limited outdoor seating if I’m craving a side of Vitamin D.
Our brewery tour was nice and small — some of the spaces you go through are so small, I can see why they limit them to six people! — and led by Ian’s island doppelgänger, right down to the long hair and the tattoos and the t-shirt, which cracked me right up. After a brief tasting, we were led around a tour of the tight facilities, and finally given a glass to take home as a souvenir. The tour is $5 for non-drinkers and $10 with the tasting — not a bad deal at all! Advance reservations are recommended.
Next, we made our way over to Martha’s Vineyard’s second and only other brewery, Bad Martha, for a pre-dinner cheese plate with my mom and Miller. I’ve raved about their offerings in the past, so we couldn’t help but laugh at the rather dinky one we were delivered out on the deck. Oh well, hopefully just a blip.
And then, Ian and I were off to dinner at The Covington, a new Edgartown restaurant that opened last summer. With a few exceptions, Edgartown isn’t usually my favorite town to eat in — overall, the restaurants are a little stuffy for me. The Covington is a major exception. Not that I should be surprised — it’s the sister restaurant to The Port Hunter, one of my favorite restaurants on the island.
To be totally honest, the food was a bit sophisticated and seafood heavy for my fairly simple palate, however the space was so beautiful and the atmosphere so buzzing, I’ll be back to give it another try someday — even if only for a cocktail and appetizer or dessert. Ian, a much better menu judge than I, raved about it.
A brewery tour, two new restaurants, a few quick beach sessions with a good book, and a whole lot of home cooked meals. Sounds like a perfect week on my own perfect island.
Next up — adventures in goat yoga!