Archive for May, 2019

Day Tripping to Martha’s Vineyard

Thursday, May 30th, 2019

cape cod day trippingOnce the summer season kicks into high gear, we’re all work and no play, so we always try to take a day that’s all play and no work sometime beforehand. This year we decided on Martha’s Vineyard, and we’re so glad we did.

A midmorning Hy-Line ferry out of Hyannis Harbor got us into the docks at Oak Bluffs at around 10:30. We popped next door to A-A Island Auto Rental to pick up a convertible MINI Cooper we had reserved, and were on the road by 10:45. Ferry and car reservations were the only things we’d committed to. For everything else, we just let the day unfold.

day trips cape codFirst up were the famed clay cliffs at Aquinnah. Taking in the charming towns of West Tisbury and Chilmark – the rolling farmland, historic homes and ancient stone walls – makes a leisurely cruise up island a worthwhile endeavor in its own right. When done in a zippy little convertible with the top down on a sunny day, it’s even better. Add in the shockingly gorgeous cliffs at the end of the road and it’s day trip heaven.

The vineyard has just three large-ish towns: Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. Oak Bluffs is a little too Jersey Shore for our taste. Vineyard Haven is “dry” (meaning no alcohol is available… anywhere). Edgartown bound!

When searching for a great restaurant while traveling, trusting “those in the know” is our mantra. People who work in restaurants tend to be happy to recommend their neighborhood favorites. This also gives us an excuse to enjoy a pre-meal cocktail. The bartender at The Wharf, the longtime Main Street mainstay, immediately recommended 19 Raw Oyster Bar, a tiny little place tucked away on a side street. House-brewed craft beer and the best steak tartare we’d ever eaten had us patting ourselves on the back over our “those in the know” concept. It was that good.

cape cod vacations

Harbor View Hotel

After a leisurely lunch, there were still a solid two hours before we needed to make our way back to Oak Bluffs for the return trip. We had purchased a small watercolor by an island artist on a visit to the Vineyard 25 years ago. Just for fun, we tried to see if we could find the same gallery and buy another painting. Within half an hour, it was mission accomplished.

On that same trip, we fell in love with the Harbor View Hotel, a grand old Victorian-era resort overlooking Edgartown Light, so we headed out to the end of Water Street to take in the view of the hotel and walk out to the lighthouse.

By now, it was time to make our way back to Oak Bluffs. After returning the car, we still had about an hour before we needed to board the ferry. The famed gingerbread cottages and Tabernacle were within walking distance, so off we went.cape cod hotel

With just a few minutes to spare, we needed to use them wisely. Savoring a hot fudge sundae sitting on the dock was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

On the return sail to Hyannis, we were amazed at just how much we’d seen and done without ever once feeling rushed.