First....the inn. We stayed at The Crocker House Inn. I selected it because it was within walking distance to town, you could see the water while sitting on the front porch, and it had a 'story.' It's run by a mom, dad, and their two children, and you can read their story if you click on the inn's link I've posted. They've been doing it for more than 10 years already, and in the innkeeping business, that is quite rare, so it was of interest to me to see how they were doing it and what kept them going. I've stayed in MANY inns.....again, I'm not a travel agent or professional 'reviewer'. Each inn-vacation is a learning for me. I'm a member of PAII (a professional association of innkeepers), I've attended an aspiring innkeeper's class, and I participate in state conferences with other innkeepers. This is my calling, so I take each trip very seriously. Crocker House Inn is a lovely old house. Its rooms are relatively small but it's neat and cozy and the bed and linens were very comfortable. We did choose, however, one of the smaller rooms, so that part was our choice. The innkeepers are lovely people who have lots of insightful advice on what to see and do around Martha's Vineyard. Breakfast both mornings was delicious. Jeff made some breakfast burritos that were the best I've ever had. There was also an egg 'mc-sandwich' with onions that I just loved! Both of their suggestions for dinner were spot on--we had scrumptious and hearty food on both occasions.
Best of all, the sun was shining, the skies were blue, and we were headed out for a full day of fun! Those dark dreary skies were far behind us.....somewhere back in Massachusetts mainland.
|Some of the sights around the island....|
|One of the homes in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard|
|I LOVE the name of this little shop: Wicked Martha's!|
|Definitely has Mainstreet USA feel- Vineyard Haven|
Most of the shops on Main St are white- they've been there awhile and they just OOZE cuteness! There are stores that sell such lovely items!! I had a few favorites, which I'll be talking about, but I want to give you a photographic overview first.
|The blue & white striped awning just add to the vintage flavor|
|Bramhall & Dunn: This was one of those 'favorites'......|
|Black Dog stores & restaurants are EVERYWHERE on the island|
|If you like black dogs, this is THE PLACE|
|Home made ice cream shops were everywhere!|
On our first day, we drove past hundreds of darling homes, each different and unique. What was different between these homes and the homes on mainland New England was something most 'islanders' don't even realize. Because many of the homes on MV are owned by people who only spend their summers there, the Fall decorations were not as evident. Homes were lovingly maintained, yards were manicured, flowers were everywhere, but porch steps weren't as decorated with pumpkins, front doors were not as graced with Fall wreaths, and it still looked 'summery' on the island, even though it was the beginning of the 2nd week of October. That was quite a surprise to me! Am I loving it! OH YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!
|The dressing 'room' of The Beach House|
|The Beach House front window with LOTS of Susan Branch goodies!|
|From pillows to notecards...this shop has it all!|
One of my first stops shopping was The Beach House. I actually went back twice, because it was too overwhelming for me the first time. Behind the little print 'curtain' in the above photograph, I tried on a half dozen little things and ended up with a sweet white eyelet smock-type top. I could just 'see' myself in it with my hair up, a pair of crisp jeans, making breakfast for my guests. Yes, I bought it. It was lightweight- I could make room in my suitcase for it....really, I could! The Beach House is awesome. The ladies in there are friendly and so helpful. Take a look at their website because you can order things online and have them shipped to you. Some of the things I love there: Natural Habitat Linens ( they have a LARGE selection and it's so fun to actually See and Feel the items!), Charlotte Watson, LeCadeaux Melamine, Vietri flatware, and of course, Susan Branch Home items. I CAN order these things online from other distributors, but it was incredible to see all these things there and YES, I did buy some things, but I had to ship them home. So, what did I buy? Well, they haven't arrived just yet, so maybe I'll just show you when they come! ( gotta keep 'ya interested, right? )
What we soon learned was that Back Door Donuts was literally BACK BEHIND the bakery, and at around 7:30 - 8:00 PM every night, the bakers come in and start to make donuts for the next day. If you walk around BEHIND the bakery in the alley behind, your nose will lead you to a small sign that says, 'back door donuts' where, if you ask politely, you can acquire a fresh warm donut to go......how's that for insider information!!!!
That night, we really wanted a great place for dinner, so Jynell, our innkeeper, suggested us going to a nearby 'town' called Oak Bluffs for our meal. It was incredible!! We went to The Offshore Ale Company. The town of Oak Bluffs is picturesque. Again, I'm not an expert, so if you're a historian, I suggest you reading about this village. It has quite a history. Many of the homes are restored vintage gingerbread cottages in every color imaginable! I won't even be able to explain it, but hopefully, some of my pictures later will capture some of its charm.
At the Offshore Ale Company, we had a seafood gumbo dish that was extraordinary and a baked chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh green beans. We were so full that we could not have any dessert, but we saw several coming out that looked amazing. They brew their own beers, oftentimes have live music, and you get a bowl of peanuts when you come in and yes, you throw the shells on the floor. It was full of locals who were loud and entertaining. The waitress was friendly and helpful, the warmth of the wooden barn was addictive, and we walked away full and so so happy.
|the front door that evening....|
|Inside the Offshore Ale Company that evening|
After dinner, we decided to go for a LONG WALK- we were so full and the crisp evening air was delightful. Many pubs were open, hotels and inns had lights on so that we could 'peak' in, and it felt great to be surrounded by the quaint charm of it all. We didn't have any dessert, but we could smell doughnuts in the air, but could NOT find a donut shop anywhere. There WAS a bakery.....but it was closed.
|read the BOTTOM of the sign......|
|Nashua House INN, near Offshore Ale Company|
|Peaking in the windows of Murdick's Fudge, famous on the island|
|The Lazy Frog: love the 'croaked' sign on the door!|
|An entryway to one of the shops in Oak Bluffs|
|Center of town had some pumpkins & cornstalks displayed|
|the 'square' or center of town close to where the ferry comes in|
Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard at night
October 7, 2010
We got back to our car and drove back to Vineyard Haven where our inn was located. We fixed ourselves a cup of tea and smiled.....so happy we finally made it to Martha's Vineyard! LOVING IT!!!
Stay tuned.....next up: farm markets, more shopping, a visit to a woolen farm & shop, and the homes of Edgartown and Oak Bluffs, and another great dinner before we leave this amazing place......