Our vacation is finally booked and we’re ready to go! Tom and I are headed to Martha’s Vineyard, MA. I’ve been there twice with my family while I was in high school and have always wanted to go back and take Tom.
It’s been over 30 years since I’ve been there. I loved Martha’s Vineyard. No, it’s definitely not anything like an island in the Caribbean, but it’s wonderful in completely different ways. I have so many fond memories and some things that are burned into my brain — I just have to see if those things are how I remembered them. We used to stay in Edgartown and could walk or ride our bikes to the town. I went everyday, riding to the pier and watching the ferry take travelers to the island of Chappaquiddick. I sometimes took my sketchbook and drew the big birds or the working fishing boats. Did you ever go somewhere that just felt so familiar — so safe and so much like home? Well, it was nothing like home, but it was so familiar.
One day, my brother, my sister, Aunt Mary and I took our bikes on the ferry to Chappaquiddick, and rode to the other side of the island to the bridge that Ted Kennedy drove his car off of. There was nothing there — nobody else but us. The bridge was closed and you couldn’t drive over it. I remember it was made from thick wooden planks with no rails and was about five or six feet in height from the water. We walked under the bridge — there was a lot of super smooth and brightly colored sea glass there. It’s hard to imagine that somebody actually drown there, because it wasn’t very deep — okay maybe a few feet deep right under the bridge — it’s hard to remember. We walked across the bridge through the dunes with tall grasses that opened up to a deserted beach. We carved our names in some driftwood along the beach. Here we were, on a deserted beach on the Atlantic Ocean. What an amazing moment in life! I have no idea where my parents were. It was just like going outside to play at home, because it was so familiar and so safe.
Edgartown has so many shops on Main Street. I remember I bought a pair of jelly shoes (who remembers those?), a water purse (a see through purse filled with water and glitter), and a whole bunch of “pop” beads. Pop beads were all the rage, and you could make bracelets and necklaces of all kinds of color combinations. I think we bought more beads everyday when we rode our bikes to town. We also rode our bikes to town to watch movies in their theater in the old court house. We saw “The Goonies” there.
Of course, the island was much bigger than Edgartown. There’s Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, Tidsbury, Chilmark and Gay Head, among other places. The photo above of the lighthouse with the red cliffs is the Gay Head Lighthouse. I remember that we could walk right up to the edge of the cliffs. I think there was a railing, but you could see everything. To get to the island you have to take a ferry at Woods Hole, MA and come into either Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. We’re coming into Oak Bluffs, because that is closer to where we’re staying.
We’re staying at a newer place — the Winnetu Oceanside Resort at South Beach, Edgartown. All of the places that we can afford are more Bed & Breakfasts, which we don’t like. There aren’t many hotels on the island. This place is nice — every room has a full kitchenette — it’s supposed to be the best of both worlds — like living at home with the conveniences of a hotel. We did look online through a website called Airbnb — where people rent their homes on the island. There were some great options for us, but I didn’t find this site until we had booked the other. We plan on driving to some of these locations while we’re there and considering this option next time we go. We are taking my SUV, but the plan is to rent scooters for the week as you can easily get around with those or bikes. It will take us two days to drive there and two days to get home, so I’ve booked hotels along the way. We are all set!
Tom’s birthday was yesterday. I think it’s the one day that Tom most looks forward to all year long, even more so than Christmas. This year I bought him clothes suitable for cooler summer weather. And each gift was wrapped in bright yellow paper with a photo of Martha’s Vineyard on the outside, telling him where he would be using whatever was inside. It was a fun gift to open and get excited about the trip.
So as the snow continues to fall outside and pile on top of all the other snow we have, I am dreaming of a road trip to the East coast with lots of sunshine. What a great way to kick off the summer!
Always B E L I E V E !