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Around this time in 1995 my daughter Deb and I went to MV for an autumn get-away.
We were supposed to leave NJ on Saturday. Due to the forecast of heavy rain we decided to leave Friday after Deb got home from work, and stay over night in Mystic, Ct. Deb got off from work early and we left around 3pm. Things were going smoothly for oh, at least an hour and then 7 or so miles before the dreaded Tappan Zee Bridge things came to a dead stop. We decided to get off at the next exit and wend our way through the smaller back highways and eventually rejoin good old route I-95. Sounded like a good plan. Actually a lot of motorists thought so too and before we knew it we were stuck in a worse traffic jam. And…. that rain that we were trying to avoid…well, it came early and it was heavy and oh, it was also getting dark ! Nine hours later at 11:30pm we arrived in Mystic, Ct… a drive that should have only taken 3 or 4 hours at the most. And so our adventure had begun.
The next morning we arrived in Woods Hole and got an earlier ferry to Martha’s Vineyard… we like when that happens.
We checked into the Victorian Inn which is one of our favorite places to stay. We spent the rest of the day walking and relaxing. After supper it began pouring, I half-kiddingly said we should take a walk in the rain and before I knew it that’s what we were doing. I never like walking in the rain, especially in the dark, but for some reason it just seemed the right thing to be doing and you know what, it was fun.
The following day after breakfast we rented bikes.
You can read about our fun and nerve wracking adventure further down the page.
The next day was spent driving around the Vineyard. Not too much walking was done due to the sore leg muscles one of us had… not mentioning names but I’m sure after reading about our bike trip that you can guess who it was ! Tuesday was also the most normal of our four day get away… a ploy perhaps to coax us into a false sense of security! That remains to be seen!
We sadly said good-bye to the Vineyard and headed off to our next adventure.
Our plan called for us to stay overnight in Newport, RI… a place Deb had never been to and I raved about.
We figured we’d check into the bed and breakfast and then go have lunch by the harbor. The best laid plans often go astray as we were finding out… this part of our trip was no different.
We pulled into the circular driveway of what once had been a gorgeous mansion. Once. The first thing we noticed was the roof being torn off and being tossed onto the driveway. OK, a little renovation is a good thing. There were no other cars in the driveway (an omen perhaps). The spider webs by the front door, not such a good thing, even if Halloween was only days away. The door was locked so we rang the bell. Lurch opened it. All right, it wasn’t Lurch, but this man was big and wore an eye patch and had a low gravely, grumbly voice. Maybe there wasn’t an eye patch but there should have been.
We walked into what at one time had surely been a showplace but was now drab, threadbare, and frankly creepy. The circular staircase was beautiful wood covered by the most horrible ugly, grimy green carpeting imagineable. We signed in and were lead us upstairs to our room (cue ominous music). Walked in… it was large, there was a queen size bed, a cot, bare floors, nothing matched, high ceilings with no lights, a moldy smell, everything was worn out looking. I didn’t want to put my suitcase down. Deb looked at me and I at her mumbling things like “I don’t know” “I don’t like it here” “this is spooky”. She asked if I wanted to go home? Indeed I did. We made a beeline down the stairs, mumbled a few words to the owner, flung open the locked and bolted front doors, okay maybe not locked and bolted but definitely hard to open. We threw our luggage in the car and high tailed it out of there as quickly as we could. Another slightly askew incident in our adventure.
We did however have one of the best lunches ever. We drove to the harbor and ate outside at the Mooring. The whole time we were eating we were laughing and talking about the weird bed and breakfast and the owners. At one point our waitress came over to ask the usual “how is everything” question and before I knew it I was telling her about our … um, episode at the b&b. She told us she’d heard some stories about the place that were on the weird side. We agreed we’d definitely made the right decision in leaving.
We left Newport with 3 minutes to spare on the parking meter and headed home to NJ. We called home to let my husband know we’d be home a day early. Meanwhile, at home he hadn’t bothered to listen to the messages and was completely surprised when we walked in.
Thus ended a slightly off kilter, lovely and very memorable trip.
It was crisp and beautiful that Monday morning in October 1995 and my daughter and I decided to rent bikes. Mind you it had been years since I’d been on a bike and I’d never used hand brakes… but how hard could they be !! Off we trotted to the bike shop by the harbor in Edgartown. After a few instructions … most of which I’d missed, we got on our bikes and headed out of the shop. Somehow I wound up not on the road but heading for a stone wall, before I knew what happened I had made contact with it… it was all in slow motion so it seemed like an eternity until I hit the ground. I laughed, the rental guy stood there shaking his head, my daughter though, after showing concern for my well being was convinced I’d want to turn in the bikes and forget about our ride. But no, I was determined to carry on after we’d gone back to the inn however so I could bandage my cuts and bruises. Back on the bike I got and we headed to the inn just a block or so away. I was doing pretty well until I turned into their driveway and sort of lost my balance and well, bumped into one of the cars in their lot. Got myself put together and once again we started off on our bikes… my daughter still wasn’t convinced we’d make it out of Edgartown. You’ll be happy to know that I was finally getting the hang of the hand brakes even though I automatically was using my feet too… sometimes dragging them on the ground as a back up maneuver.
The road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is 6 miles of scenic beauty… for most of the ride the ocean is on one side and Sengekontacket Pond is on the other… it’s one of the prettiest bike paths, or roads on MV. We stopped several times to take pictures and for me to catch my breath. At one point the bike path changes from one side of the road to the other… there are big signs telling you about this… I missed them. When I saw my daughter move to the other side of the road I figured I should follow her. I have a problem turning my neck and I didn’t see the truck that was coming down the road but I made it to the other side still not aware how close the truck had come. I do however remember the scared and horrified look on my daughter’s face and the reprimand she rightfully gave me. She claims to this day that I gave her several grey hairs… I say, turn about is fair play.
It was a fun day… the company, the weather, the experience of hand brakes… I’m glad we did it ……. once.
This is Katy (Katama) our Boykin Spaniel, she was our first dog to go to Martha’s Vineyard… actually our first dog to ever go on a vacation with us. Here she is on the Islander looking happy and eager to get on with her adventures.
She enjoyed her first dip in the ocean… running and barking and trying to catch an elusive wave or two.
A quiet morning at Edgartown lighthouse was nice after all the beach going, shopping and meeting people. Unfortunately it was Katy’s one and only trip to MV… a year later she was hit by a car and died at only 20 months old. She was a sweetheart and we miss her and still love her.
And then along came…
Chappy (Chappaquiddick) our second Boykin Spaniel and our first boy dog. His first vacation at age 10 months was of course to MV, he loves the beach too.
And Sengekontacket pond which is a little calmer then the ocean.
Relaxing at Vineyard Haven harbor is fun too… watching the ferries arriving and leaving and sometimes meeting an Island dog to chat with. This by the way is his mom’s favorite picture of him.
Chappy had to visit the place he was named after too so here he is with his mom on Chappaquiddick. Chappy has made seven trips so far to Martha’s Vineyard and looks forward to many more.
Bradys NESW and the Island Inn are two great places to stay with or without your pet. Chappy says two of his favorite places to shop are - Good Dog Goods in Oak Bluffs… the treats there are wonderful (especially the cheese ones and the peanut butter ones) and the people always remember him and sometimes get down on the floor to play with him. He also recommends the Black Dog for their dog biscuits… he says they’re droolicious.
Nice places to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there. I could however settle in nicely to any of the following.
Read about the school house below by CLICKING HERE
You can’t actually see the gingerbread cottage below but I really love this picture.
It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the Vineyard in the autumn. The foliage is starting to turn to rusts and yellows and the colors of the landscape are taking on subdued, hushed tones. In other words, the Vineyard is as beautiful as always.
My daughter Deb, her dog Chappy and I sailed on the ferry ‘Martha’s Vineyard’, landing at the new wharf in Oak Bluffs.
Chappy had a new companion this trip, Ramble the sheep who was adopted by us in Edgartown in 1984. You can CLICK HERE to read about his adventures on MV this week. CLICK HERE to read his regular blog about his travels around the US.
We had perfect weather, even the rain gods looked the other way except for a few drops one morning.
From Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown
to Menemsha and Aquinnah…
…we traveled from Down-Island to Up-Island and places in between. We met up with old friends, ate good food, did some shopping and enjoyed everything the Vineyard had to offer to us.
Here’s a guest post by my granddog Chappy ourBoykin Spaniel, to tell you about MV with pets. Take it away Chappy.
Hi, this is me in the car going to Martha’s Vineyard. I know I look all relaxed and eager to get there but in reality I’m a nervous mess. I don’t like car rides, especially the 1000 hours it takes to get there from NJ. OK, maybe not 1000, more like 6 but in dog hours it could be 1000.
I’ve stayed at two places on Martha’s Vineyard.
Bradys NESW in Oak Bluffs is one. Our room had a huge window with a window seat. Mom and Gram are nutsy over window seats for some reason but I got dibs on it first. I have to say it was pretty darn nice… sunshine, fluffy pillows, the only thing lacking were biscuits. Brady’s NESW is really nice, Brady is a friendly guy who knows a lot about the Vineyard and enjoys sharing his knowledge and helpful hints with his guests. His dog Amie was the first one to greet us and was eager to show us our room…she even stayed to make sure we got settled in nicely. She and I got along great, I even shared a biscuit with her.
The Island Inn also in Oak Bluffs is the other.
Once we arrive at the Island Inn I can stretch my legs, have a bite to eat and get settled in.
See, this is me very, very settled in… in fact I’m so settled I’m almost asleep.
The Island Inn is a great place to stay with your people… the rooms vary in sizes from 1 or 2 bedrooms to townhouse suites, they also have a 2 bedroom cottage. All the accommodations have kitchenettes in them… I love that, I think it’s very important to always have food nearby. The people there have their own dogs who help us 4 legged guests check in. Everyone is super friendly and nice.
I have to say that at first I thought the dogs and kids were a little aloof and then my mom explained to me that this is something called a sculpture. Wow, what a relief that was, I mean there wasn’t any scent I could pick up and it freaked me out.
I love walking around on the Vineyard, the scenery is so pretty… like here in Edgartown near the lighthouse. Even though I can’t see all the colors I’m still amazed at the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard.
And the shopping… the Vineyard is so dog friendly that I’m allowed just about everywhere. There are lots of good stores for dogs… I think my favorite one is Good Dog Goods in Oak Bluffs. The owner Kerry Scott and all her people who work there are so nice. They get right down on the floor and play with me, and offer me treats… I like that in a person. We always bring bags of treats home to NJ … I like that too. And I like this sticker.
The Black Dog is another good place to go … they have a great selection of biscuits and leashes etc… oh and their BD tee shirts are especially popular with people.
So let’s see… I’ve mentioned where we like to stay… and where I like to shop… and how dog friendly MV is… all that’s left is for you to experience MV yourself. Here’s more MV pet information.
This is me on the way home… I am so totally and happily exhaustatated that I’m actually sleeping.
… or, no one in at the inn !!!
About 15 or so years ago my husband and I decided to visit MV in the middle of March. Why? Because we’d tried in December, gotten as far as Woods Hole and a raging blizzard prevented us from getting any further. To quell my disappointment my husband said we’d try again in a couple of months. We knew the Island would be quiet in March but didn’t realize just how quiet it would be.
We chose to stay here at the Harborside Inn in Edgartown (this is a summer picture). The Harborside is a complex of several buildings, in the winter they would keep only one building open. The building we were in is the middle of the three pictured. We were in the middle room of the top floor.
Edgartown in the winter is quiet and solitary… ok, it’s pretty much deserted. A few restaurants are open, one or two B&B’s, a few stores and not much else. Some of the shops still have displays in their darkened windows, an unfair look at their tempting wares.
We checked in and were told that after 5pm no one would be at the desk. That we could make outgoing calls but incoming calls would go to their answering machine and those messages would be delivered in the morning. This was before cell phones… the dark ages, pre-personal electronic communication devices. And we were warned that if we lost our room keys we’d literally be out in the cold.
We settled in for our first night of quiet and solitude. It eventually occured to me that there was just a little too much quiet. There were no other human noises in the building, no lights on but ours… there was only the creaking of the floors and the eerie screams of the wind against the windows. Were we the only ones at the inn, the only ones in the entire complex? Yes we were, and suddenly the quiet was deafening and the solitude was ominous. Daylight couldn’t come soon enough.
Our first full day on MV we explored the beauty of the Island in winter.. or at least I did with my camera, my husband sought shelter in the car as often as possible. After a delicious dinner we headed back to the inn for the night. The weather forecast was for a winter storm with wind gusts over 60mph. I hoped that the power wouldn’t go out.
And then I heard voices… muffled at first and then clearer. A creak. A door being closed. Water running. A laugh. Could it be, were there other people in the building ! I felt relief. That night, despite the howling winds, I slept well knowing that we were not alone. I almost felt a bond to these other guests. But in the morning there was no sign of them… no noises from their room next to ours, no creaks or voices, no nothing. Did I dream them, were they real or perhaps visitors from across time and space that previously inhabited this former whaling captain’s home ! The mind runs wild sometimes on a blustery and stormy winter night especially on an Island with a history of hauntings… especially to a person with a vivid imagination.
This is Bradys NESW Bed & Breakfast in Oak Bluffs. Besides graciously welcoming two-legged guests, Bradys welcomes four-legged guests with open arms/paws. This charming Victorian home has been in Bradys family since the 1920′s.
Meet Amie, and she’s the official greeter and happily showed us to our room.
Our dog Chappy quickly settled onto the window seat.
The views from our room on the second floor were stunning.
I love how the sun came in every morning and illuminated this corner.
The staircase leading downstairs. It was a little tricky for Chappy’s paws but he mastered it in no time.
Bradys location is ideal. He’s located on a quiet street a half block from the beach and less than a mile to the center of Oak Bluffs.
Staying at Bradys is like staying at the home of a friend. There are charming displays of memorabilia in every room… and a story to go with almost everything. Brady is a wealth of Vineyard information, he can guide you with what to do and see and what not to miss. There are four rooms at Bradys. The West room (pictured in this post) has its own bath.
Bradys NESW is a good place to escape from stress and the constant barrage of today’s wired world. Read a book, watch a movie from Brady’s vast collection – listen to a CD of show tunes, jazz, folk, and classical selections – there’s a fireplace to curl up next to – there’s a cable TV in the living room - and a beautiful porch with comfy rocking chairs to relax on. There are no phones in the room but I’ve been told there is wifi access. If you’re looking to get away from it all this is the place for you.
We certainly enjoyed our stay there and will definitely return.
Check out BRADYS NESW B&B website by CLICKING HERE.
The toll free phone number is 1-888-693-9137 . You can also call 1-508-693-9137
Bradys NESW Bed & Breakfast
PO Box 197
10 Canonicus Ave
Oak Bluffs, MA 02557
Right in the middle of Edgartown, among the Greek Revival style whaling captains homes sits the ornately charming and gracefully beautiful Victorian Inn.
Built around 1820 by whaling Captain Lafayette Rowley it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The owners, Stephen and Karyn Caliri have turned it into one of the most highly rated bed and breakfasts on the Vineyard. I first visited in 1994 and have returned time and time again to enjoy myself there.
You step into a small foyer from the street and are immediately greeted by one of your hosts. Just beyond the foyer you can see into the breakfast room.
During the spring, summer and early fall, weather permitting, breakfast is served in the garden at the back of the inn. Not only is it nice to start your day in such pleasant surroundings but breakfast itself is quite a treat. Juice, grapefuit and coffee start you off and then Stephen appears with a basket of muffins and… homemade strawberry butter which is to die for. If that’s not enough you also get your choice of French toast, or omelettes or some other clever and delicious treat that Karyn has come up with. If you’re able to stand up after such a feast then wander over to the parlor and check out brochures of what adventures the Vineyard has to offer. Stephen and Karyn are also a wealth of Vineyard information and will make sure you enjoy your time on MV to the utmost.
On cold autumn afternoons or chilly spring evenings it’s nice to curl up in the parlor by the fireplace. In the afternoon tea and cookies are available to tease your taste buds.
There are 14 rooms at the Victorian Inn… from two small ones with twin beds on the first floor to large and airy ones on the third floor with balconies, you can find one to fit your taste.
This is a tree top view from the a third floor balcony looking at the center of Edgartown.
Over the years I’ve been intrigued by the inn… I was always taking pictures of it and wondering what it looked like inside. I got my chance when we first stayed there in 1994 and I wasn’t disappointed. Infact I was sort of startled ! For years I had dreams about a staircase… I didn’t know where it led to as I never got to the top… but when I walked out of our room on the second floor there in front of me was that very staircase that had been in my dreams!!! According to the book “Haunted Island” the home/inn had at one time been haunted by at least one spirit, he was known as the amorous ghost. Martha’s Vineyard and especially Edgartown has more then its share of spirits wandering about but whether one still resides at the Victorian Inn you’ll have to find out for yourself.
In the meantime enjoy the hospitality and friendliness of Karyn and Steve and Higgins their four-legged host.
Martha’s Vineyard is a great place for a family vacation.
Unlike big crowded theme parks, a trip to the Vineyard is a more laid back kind of vacation.
Being an Island the main attraction is the beach. The best kid friendly one is State Beach on the eastern side of MV between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. The water is mostly shallow and very calm. The beach is great for finding shells and stones and sometimes an elusive piece of sea glass.
Here at Aquinnah (Gay Head) on the western side of MV lying beneath the colorful clay cliffs, the beach is rougher and dotted with large and interesting rocks.
Bicycling is a terrific way to explore the Island. One of the prettiest bicycle paths is right along State Beach between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown… the Atlantic Ocean is on one side and Sengekontacket Pond on the other.
Along the way look for an Osprey’s nest.
Try miniature golf at Island Cove Mini Golf on State Rd just outside of Vineyard Haven, and also try their rock climbing wall.
Some other things to do on MV are. Nature walks and children’s programs at Felix Neck. Watch glass being blown at the Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks. Go ice skating at the MV Arena. Try horseback riding. Tour the lobster hatchery in Oak Bluffs. Spend a few hours at Beadniks in Vineyard Haven creating a one of a kind piece of jewelry.
No matter what your age you’ll want to ride on the Flying Horses.
The Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs are America’s oldest platform carousel dating back to 1884. They are listed on the National Register of Historical Places and belong to the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust. Take a ride on one of these beautifully restored horses rain or shine.
And rain does happen, so what do you do with kids to keep them happy.
Besides the Flying Horses and bookstores there’s always the movies. There are several theatres on MV.. the one pictured here is in Vineyard Haven… Oak Bluffs has two theatres and Edgartown does also.
If you take a jaunt over to the smaller island of Chappaquiddick, which is a three minute ferry ride from Edgartown, take time to stroll through Mytoi, the beautiful and peaceful Japanese garden. Also take a guided tour out to Cape Poge lighthouse.
If you’re on MV in the middle of August you can visit the Agricultural Fair It’s amazing to see what the Vineyarders have created… from quilts and homemade jams and jellies to raising livestock. There’s something for everyone, lots of good food, rides to go on, sheep shearing and interesting contests like skillet tossing… something I’ve been tempted to do in my kitchen at times.
So run, play, shop, go swimming and biking, ride on a flying horse or a real one, visit a farm or spend a week as a deck hand on a kids cruise on the Shenandoah or Alabama tall ships. Enjoy all that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer.
As for where to stay… my personal recommendations are. The Island Inn which is about a half mile outside Oak Bluffs on the road to Edgartown. Each unit, no matter the size has a kitchenette which is always great when traveling with kids. They have a playground and large lawns for romping and a nice pool.