The Magic of Martha’s

We just got back from a two-night stay on Martha’s Vineyard (which sounds SO crazy to say out loud by the way!) and I have to recap it before reality sets back in.   We knew we wanted to go to “Cape Cod” and we decided on Martha’s Vineyard because my parents have been recently on Dad’s business and raved about it.  We took the ferry over on Sunday morning, planning to return the next day, and immediately decided to tack on an extra night.  It was just too gorgeous to rush through in a day and a half!  We checked in to the Nashua Hotel in Oak Bluffs and then caught the transit to the next town over, Vineyard Haven, for the afternoon.  Our first stop was The Net Result for seafood.  I got the much-anticipated lobster roll (seen below) and Charlie got a shrimp wrap.  Eating fresh seafood right across from the docks was great!

We looked through the shops in Vineyard Haven, then found our way down to the harbor where we sat on the pier and enjoyed watching the boats in the unbelievable silence.  One wonderful thing about being on the island in the off season is how quiet it is!

It was a beautiful day, with the fluffy clouds holding back the sun’s heat but no rain.  We wandered around some more and really enjoyed stopping in VH’s cemetery (not as creepy as it sounds).  Every other headstone was for a captain and his family.  Martha’s Vineyard has a storied whaling history, and several markers went back to pre-revolutionary times.  It was so interesting to think about these families living on this same land, kissing husbands about to go to sea, building churches to worship in, and laying the foundations for the community we were enjoying that moment.

After a gigantic “cookiewich” at Mad Martha’s (two scoops of Reese’s ice cream between two homemade chocolate chip cookies)…

…we caught the transit to a small village on the other side of the island.  After a 30 minute ride through green fields dotted with sheep held back by low stone walls, we came to a bend in the road with more fishing boats than buildings.  And thus began our love affair with Menemsha.

Menemsha is known for its incredible sunsets (it’s situated near the western tip of the island) and is also where Jaws was filmed.  By total chance, we arrived a couple of hours before the sun set and were able to enjoy the stillness before the photographers started arriving to catch the action.  We watched fishermen unload the day’s catch (including a man with a pitchfork unloading a barrel of skates) and felt the freezing water on our toes.  Mainly we just sat on the dock and enjoyed being two of only a handful of people for miles.  As the sun started to drop, we moved to the jetty to watch the fly fisherman end their day.

Then, God began to repaint the sky before our eyes.  Just when you thought the sunset had reached a peak, the colors deepened or changed completely and suddenly it was a whole different scene altogether.  I truly think that for the rest of my life, every day in the late afternoon, I will wonder what the sun is doing at Menemsha.

As if that couldn’t be beat, this is the sunrise as seen from our balcony the next morning:

So….I think Martha’s Vineyard wins the award for most spectacular skies!  But I’m getting ahead of myself!  Our Sunday night recap would not be complete without Back Door Donuts.  A bakery across the street from our hotel is famous for selling donuts out of their back screen door late at night.  They bake them in the eveningt to sell in the storefront the next morning, and over the years the smell would lure people to the back door to purchase them straight out of the fryer.  It became a tradition, and the bakery eventually made it official.  We followed the sugary smell in the air around to an alley and got in line.  We ordered an apple fritter as big as a dinner plate for Charlie and a sprinkle donut for me.  (We may or may not have also done this the next night, upping the donut quantity, and we certainly did not also get these donuts for breakfast on Tuesday — that would just be ridiculous…)

On Monday, we took the transit to Edgartown and spent the day walking through the gorgeous, tree-lined streets and spending time in the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.  It was here that we learned more about what life was like on the island during the whaling years and through the Civil War.  Maybe we’re just nerds, but it was fascinating to see the boats people would have used and learned about what life would have been like.  The museum had several cool exhibits, including one where you could see what you would have looked like as a Civil War soldier.  While they had Yankee uniforms available to try on, Charlie off course honored our roots and held out hope that the South will indeed rise again!

The best part of the day was in the afternoon when we walked down to the Edgartown lighthouse.  It sits on a little peninsula at the edge of town, and we enjoyed sitting at the base of the lighthouse watching the boats (seeing a pattern here?)  We stayed out there for an hour at least, just dozing in the sun and enjoying the quiet (another trend of the trip!)

After a great seafood dinner at sunset on the upper deck of The Seafood Shanty overlooking Edgartown Harbor, it was back to the Nashua for bed. This morning (Tuesday), we woke up early to walk through Oak Bluffs before heading to the ferry.  Oak Bluffs was originally the site of a Methodist revival campground and is known for the gingerbread cottages built by the attendees.  Just a few steps from the main business street is a whole world of colorful homes encircling the main tabernacle area.  It was so cool to see the different designs and pick our favorite (which changed every few minutes as we saw new color combinations).  I could just imagine the women dressed in their long, high-collared Victorian dresses walking across the lawn to the Tabernacle and worshiping before spreading out their blankets to enjoy lunch together.

After waiting on the local ice cream shop to open so we could sample what was supposedly the best on the island (which held true even at 10 a.m. in the morning!), we reluctantly headed to the ferry to go home.  I could have spent months exploring the island, as there were still places we wanted to see.  However, it really hit us on this little trip how incredibly blessed we are to be on this adventure.  Just three weeks ago, we were in Auburn.  Then, suddenly, we are watching the sun set at Menemsha and turning out the light at our B&B on Martha’s Vineyard — a place I never would have imagined being able to go.  Then, in two weeks, we’ll hike the Appalachian Trail in Vermont and see the Lord’s artistry again as He repaints the leaves.  We are trying to be so intentional about using this time to grow closer to Him, and He is showing us His love in so many ways.  This weekend we were certainly reminded of God’s glory as Creator!



Filed under New England

2 responses to “The Magic of Martha’s

  1. Sheila

    How absolutely fantastic!! I’m thrilled that you are able to be on this adventure and are sharing the blessing with us.

    God bless!
    love to you both.

  2. Mark

    A great description of a beautiful, soulful place. I’m glad you found your way to Offshore Ale…


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