In my last blog, we just finished celebrating my birthday at The Terrace at Charlotte Inn in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard. With five more days of vacation ahead of us, we decided to take a break from going out to restaurants, and instead, grill on the deck of our rented cottage. Earlier that Wednesday morning, we bought a couple of rib-eyes from Katama Organic Farms where they raise organic grass-fed cattle and sheep and several types of produce.
Our beach plans for the day took us to Menemsha Bay (photo above) on the island’s West coast. In so doing, we passed the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market just as they were closing at noon. So we quickly hopped out of the car, found a vendor selling fresh-picked corn on the cob and purple scallions, threw them in our iced cooler and continued on our merry way.
Menemsha Bay is in Chilmark, which in 2005 was confirmed to have the highest average property value of any city or town in Massachusetts. The public beach is quite small and pebbly, but shallow so a great place for young kids. The parking is a bit of a nightmare due to several seafood restaurants and take-out facilities with people always coming and going. Before we departed, Russ stopped in at Larsen’s Seafood (which was beyond packed) and bought some just-caught clams and shrimp for our evening BBQ.
Sitting on the deck under a canopy of bright stars we enjoyed a fabulous grilled dinner of organic and local ingredients.
Thursday rolled around and our evening plans included a return to Chilmark to visit Barb Berté, Russ’s secretary from his previous job at Main Line Health. Barb often visits her sister Ann Marie, who’s family has owned a large vacation home in Chilmark since 1991. Having arrived the previous evening, the sisters made arrangements for our visit at the house to enjoy wine and cheese before our dinner reservations at Home Port.
Since 1930, The Home Port Restaurant has been serving traditional seafood fare in the 300-year-old fishing port. Known for its world famous sunsets, lobster dinners and famed clam chowder, this waterfront restaurant is truly an iconic landmark. Singing it’s praises, Ann Marie and Barb eat here often when on the island. Our cottage owner, Rita, had recommended that we stop at their “Back Door” for some of that clam chowder when we beached it the day before—although given the parking predicament, we never got around to doing so.
Therefore, Russ had every intention of beginning his meal with that famous New England Clam Chowder, while the sisters enjoyed oysters and littleneck and cherrystone clams. I refrained from a starter this time around.
Here’s a shocker! I ordered the Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon on a bed of purple sticky rice, baby bok choy, and glazed with a coconut-ginger sauce. Tonite’s “Just Caught” Grilled Fish was Sea Bass—both the sister’s choice—and was accompanied by quinoa salad, heirloom tomatoes and a balsamic reduction. Mr. Russ zeroed in on the Pan Seared Sea Scallops with a cauliflower puree, sweet corn succotash and balsamic reduction. This was the only restaurant we patronized that was a BYOB, luckily we knew ahead of time to tote a bottle of wine with us.
The South Beach where we spent a few hours the past couple of days was so windy on Thursday that Russ was shivering under his umbrella—and to think temps were near 100 back home! Rita informed us that the prevailing winds are usually from the Southwest which would account for the strong winds at this location. Based on that fact, we decided to try the John Sylvia State Beach, approximately two miles long, between the towns of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs along the Nantucket Sound shoreline and Sengekontacket Pond. It’s a very popular beach for families because there is a gradual slope into deeper water and the waves are usually small (which they were on Friday, but not so much on Saturday.) On a hot summer day, parking places along the paved parking lane adjacent to the road are mostly full by 10 am, but we managed to score a spot both days around the noontime hour.
In our drives around town, we often passed a local hang out called Sharkey’s Cantina, where “portion sizes are big and the Mexican eats are excellent and prepared to order by pleasant staffers.” It was also a departure from the more serene establishments we were patronizing. If you like noise, TVs and large portions, this could be right up your alley—and while not necessarily our “cup of tea,” it was our destination on Friday night.
It’s no surprise I gravitated to the spicy Mango Habanero Chicken Wings (boneless in this case.) We split a dozen of them and they were lip-smacking delicious! However, it didn’t leave me much room for the Chicken Jalapeño Quesadilla that I ordered, which mostly came home with me for another time.
Russ made a good dent in his Super Tacos Plato, but alas, was also unable to finish his meal. Time to go back to the cottage and do some star gazing on the deck…
Our final meal of the vacation was on Saturday night at the Seafood Shanty overlooking the water in Edgartown, one of the best waterfront views on the entire island, where they “got it all,” from shanty-style mussels, peel-and-eat shrimp, to the island’s best and biggest Lobster Roll–which we both had! It’s a best seller—tender chunks of delicious hard shell lobster meat mixed with mayo and just a bit of celery—served with a tossed salad.
Departure Sunday morning (made easier by the cool and rainy weather) was on the 11:00 Governor Ferry out of Vineyard Haven. The oldest of the MV ferries, the Governor’s life began in 1954, running from San Diego to Coronado; carries up to 256 persons (including passengers and crew) and accommodates up to 42 vehicles—faster than our trip over on the Martha’s Vineyard with triple decks carrying 1,024 persons and accommodating 54 vehicles.
The car trip home was about 7 hours both coming and going. If we could just eliminate the traffic nightmares in the entire state of Connecticut, it wouldn’t be a bad ride at all!
PS—Oh, I forgot to mention in Blog 1 that on the car ride up listening to Sirius XM radio, it was serrendipitous that many of the tunes were by Carly Simon and James Taylor, both of whom spent many years on Martha’s Vineyard. Carly still owns the 5,000-square-foot home in Tisbury.