Friday, August 14, 2015

Bivalves and Boat Shoes: A Week in Edgartown

The Beloved Bivalve

When you step onto the tarmac at the postage stamp-sized airport at Martha’s Vineyard your mission has been established. You are there to have fun and relax. And you join the other 100,000 summer visitors who share this goal and the 30,000 locals who are there to support the effort. Let’s now follow the well worn tread of thousands of boat shoes.

My friend Judy and I stayed at the charming Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown. This fun-facilitating-facility is located on the Edgartown Harbor featuring a view of the Edgartown lighthouse and yachts dotting the harbor and just beyond, the island they lovingly call “Chappy.”

Edgartown Lighthouse

Our room had a front and center oceanfront view. We had a large suite with lots of windows that let the cool breezes and the sunshine (every day) pour in.
Harbor View Hotel-View with a Room

The Harbor View Hotel is like a camp for adults and children. The Kids' Activities sign in the lobby is packed: bingo, corn hole, ring toss, face painting, crabbing by the lighthouse. For the adults, yoga on the great lawn, fitness classes, massages by the pool, and Darlene, the magic concierge, who makes dreams come true. She can get you reservations at the best restaurants, she can line up a tour of the island, a fishing expedition, she can find an emergency dentist and knows where to get a broken computer repaired. She will gladly promote your son’s a Capella group Vineyard Sound and simultaneously plan a picnic at the beach. She’s a masterful juggler who uses time and ideas as her props.

The Vineyard Sound, an all male, college-derived a cappella group was our main draw. Because my son is in it. This 22-year island tradition has a popular following. They perform in four public concerts weekly (Chilmark, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown twice) and can be hired for private events. Ten college students with angelic voices and an amusing show. My son was singing for his supper so we just kept feeding him.
The Vineyard Sound (Peter Beiser solo)
Day one - Yoga at 8 a.m. on the great lawn, how fabulous is this?  Cool breezes, grass under your feet, the sun on your face. Only one other person in the class. By noon we were on a two-hour tour of the island that turned into five.  During our stop in Menemsha for lunch we are introduced to a local man with an enormous basket of steamers just plucked from the mud. It turned out to be Johnny Hoy, local heart-throb and lead singer of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish. Look up the schedule and go see them. Appearing on Tuesday nights at "The Ritz." For a five-dollar cover charge Johnny will sing his soul out and have the room dancing in their boat shoes.

Craig and Judy on Tour
With Craig at the wheel we went from one end of Martha's Vineyard to the other, pausing on the cliffs of Aquinnah and learning that Chilmark is the most desirable section because the island narrows down to a point where, with the right piece of land, you can see the ocean on both sides. We did some celebrity house spotting from the Jackie O estate to James Taylor to Art Buchwald to William Styron.  

Day two. No. I can’t sustain a daily rendition of what happened because time in Martha’s Vineyard warps quickly, true vacation style; you don’t know what day it is because you sleep as long as you want and eat what and when you want. You can lie by the pool in a cabana and be served Caesar salads and truffle fries; you can sit in a rocking chair on the wraparound porch and read The Boston Globe or the enchanting Vineyard Gazette, an old-fashioned broadsheet,
Local Broadsheet
while Moonlight Serenade is playing. You can have nap time every day and a guaranteed reservation for an excellent restaurant every night (Chesca's, Alchemy, The Grill on Main, Behind the Bookstore).

The “hamlet” of Edgartown is just a few minute walk from the Harbor View Hotel. We had Edgartown by the throat by the end of the week. We had facials at Arianna
Judy and Ron "Go" Getter
by Ron Getter (Judy renamed him “Go” because of his amazing ability to sell hundreds of dollars’ worth of Dead Sea products before you knew what had hit you). We enjoyed buying jewelry at the Nikii Sedacca gallery and clothes at Stina Sayre and ice cream at…well, everywhere (Mad Martha's, Scoops, DQ) We finally surrendered and started having ice cream for dinner.

Peter-Bluefish Sandwich at Behind the Bookstore 

At the Entertainment Cinemas 1 & 2 Edgartown on Main Street, Jaws has been showing for the past 40 years. They say that nearly everyone on the island had a role in that production. The floor has had so much Coke spilled on it that your feet stick. It’s the kind of place you go to see Ted 2 and Trainwreck, summer fare with laughs instead of laudits.

All week we asked people what they considered the secret to life. From the psychiatric nurse on our tour, to the woman at the jewelry store there was one answer: Let it go. Well, Ron from Israel had a slightly different take…he said when there is a problem you “eliminate” it. Which is another form of letting go, just a little more militant. Martha’s Vineyard is a perfect place to let it go. Just try not to take it back when you get to the mainland.