“What are we going to do for 11 hours on Martha’s Vineyard? What if we don’t like it?” I said.
“I’m sure we’ll love it,” Michael said.
“It could get ugly if we don’t.”
They liked the ferry. What a relief. Our kids had never been on a boat of any size before. Weirdos, we are. We live on an island.
The ferry to Martha’s Vineyard out of Woods Hole departed around 10am and the next return reservation wasn’t until 9:45pm. If you remember, we’d been to Nantucket the previous year just the two of us, and we loved it. Martha’s Vineyard would be the same, no?
First stop: Oak Bluffs
It’s a funky, colorful town. If you’re the buttoned-up type who’s unlikely to put dreadlocks in your hair, this may not be your ideal place to hang out. But the town does have a certain anything-goes charm of it’s own.
We cruised along Beach Road until stopping to strip down to our bare butts and squirm into our swimsuits along the roadside. I don’t think anyone saw. It was cool how you could just pull over near any of the boardwalked paths, stroll over the dunes and plop down for a day at the beach.
Seashells and pebbles covered the sand. Luke hated that but Madeleine saw it as a huge opportunity to collect every shell and rock she could wrap her tiny hands around. Michael collapsed onto a towel and soaked up the sun. The kids played. The waves were calm and you could walk out pretty far and still only be waist-deep. It felt as though we were slipping into vacation mode.
Eventually we were hungry.
Next stop: Edgartown
L-O-V-E. Edgartown is my perfect place. So charming! Enticing restaurants, beautiful homes lining the streets, great shops for browsing. And it was one of the locations for the film JAWS. That’s my favorite movie of all time.
Didn’t I ever mention that?
We had lunch at this cute outdoor café called Among the Flowers. Casual, delicious food, friendly service.
We were stuffed but how could we not sample at least one of the ice cream shops on the island? Mad Martha’s hit the spot. Madeleine’s patience was waning as she grilled the young man behind the counter to see if he could come up with grape ice cream. Michael was doing that thing he does when the kids make him crazy. He puts both hands on his head and tightens his lips. Father and daughter were about to have twin meltdowns when I spotted black raspberry in the case between the peanut butter and vanilla fudge. It was purple. We’ll take it!
“Can she have a cone with grape ice cream?” I asked, winking at the now mentally exhausted and confused young man.
At this point the kids were getting irritable and restless and we didn’t really have a plan. Katama Farm, which offers tours and the kids could probably man-handle some of the animals, wasn’t too far away. Then the sky grew overcast and it began to drizzle. Madeleine fell asleep. Luke zoned out. We drove and drove and drove some more.
Who knew Martha’s Vineyard was so big?
With a snoozing 4-year old we stopped briefly in Menemsha (yet another film site for JAWS) and persuaded Luke to take a picture of his parents by way of additional iPad time. By the way, unknowingly we passed right by Sengekontacket Pond (the spot where Chief Brody’s son Michael was traumatized when the shark swims right by him). How could I drop the ball like that!
Once the kids came back to reality we decided to take them back to Oak Bluffs to enjoy the Flying Horses Carousel and the adjoining arcade. They had a blast. It was hot and stuffy inside the building and, from a parent’s perspective, a huge money vacuum with all those games you can’t possibly win. But that’s what vacation is all about, right? I also got to try out Zoltar. Finally! I’d only been waiting since 1988 when Big came out.
As the sun began to set we enjoyed dinner at Chesca’s in Edgartown. Afterward, the kids shoveled goodies into paper bags from the nearby candy shop, Candy Bazaar. Their eyes grew wide as they gazed at the gummy worms, lollipops, caramels and tootsie rolls in the bins lining the walls.
The four of us sat together happily on a bench overlooking the harbor as it grew dark and enjoyed that certain magic that only happens on vacation.