This is my final week “on-island” in Martha’s Vineyard and what a week it’s been!
No sooner had I posted my last story about the wonderful and charming village of Menemsha, I got a call from some of the other girls in the cast who were visiting Menemsha saying one of the docks and a Coast Guard building were on fire — and they were watching it all happen (and our photo queen, Liz Palmer, snapped these pictures).
Thankfully, due to the fine work of the Coast Guard, a favorable wind and the quick response of every fire department on the island, the devastation was limited to 2 docks and a few boats. And most important, no one was hurt. The village of Menemsha & the Coast Guard have stated that the docks will be repaired by the end of the summer.
This week I also visited Edgartown.
Another lovely village with its own very distinct personality. Edgartown is considered to be “one of New England’s most elegant communities”.
It was the Island’s first colonial settlement (circa 1670) and the village has made a real effort to preserve and maintain the beautiful Greek revival style houses that were built by wealthy ship captains in the 1800’s — during the peak of the whaling industry. The village has very strict rules about the appearance of the historical houses that line the main streets. The facades cannot be changed….even while they’re being renovated. Check out this house (left) on Water Street. The whole house is gutted and with only framing left — but the front facade of the house must remain to maintain the appearance of the village…especially during high tourist season!
Edgartown also became famous many years later as the main location for the film “Jaws” — which changed everyone’s opinion of how much fun skinny dipping at night in the Atlantic Ocean could be. Ironically, I was here during the Fourth of July (which is when “Jaws” supposedly first attacked in the film) and that same week the headlines in the local papers warned of Great White Sharks being spotted in the area. Their unusual presence was explained by the new seal population here. Seals are Great White’s favorite treat. On a sunset visit to Katama Beach last week, I happened to see one of these adorable seals swimming along the shoreline. Needless to say, I didn’t stay in the water!
Joan told me to check out a restaurant or two while I was here. I asked our producer (and fellow cast member), Judy Belushi, for a suggestion of a great restaurant on the island and she said to try the Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant and that we should try to be there for sunset. My partner, Bonnie, had come to visit for a few days so we decided to make a reservation (not an easy thing to get).
The restaurant is located up on a hill above Menemsha (this was before the fire). We got there before our reservation time to make sure we saw the sunset. We were seated in a cocktail area outside near the actual outdoor dining area. Once again, this part of M.V. is “dry” so we needed to bring our own wine. (Unfortunately, the sunset ended up not happening due to some clouds moving in from the west.)
Except for the dismissive and seemingly exasperated dining room manager, the restaurant staff was charming. Unlike the rest of the island, however, most of the patrons here were not the accessible, friendly folks I’d gotten used to here on Martha’s Vineyard. Rude demands from “entitled” customers for outdoor tables (and then asking to be seated inside when the bugs started biting) felt surprisingly out of place. When a group of patrons at a table near us outside started laughing and talking about something amusing, many of the “regulars” seated at the other tables shot looks of disapproval…creating an atmosphere of stuffiness and pretentiousness that was unwarranted. Maybe we were there on a bad night but it made me feel uncomfortable and made the restaurant seem cold and inauthentic.
The food was good. The sweet corn vichyssoise was served cold and was very flavorful though there seemed to be hard bits of hulls in the soup; the salad made with greens from the local North Tabor Farms came with pears and pecans and a fig balsamic dressing that was delicious. My entree was local Katama Farm grilled chicken served with sauteed rainbow chard and yukon potatoes. Bonnie had the Pan Seared Hazelnut Crusted Sole with a Marsala buerre blanc, accompanied by roasted shallot mashed potatoes and haricots verts. Both dishes were beautifully prepared and presented — though honestly, the meal couldn’t hold a candle to the best of our restaurants in the Hudson Valley. It reminded us both how lucky we are to live where we do.
All in all, though I’ve loved being here on Martha’s Vineyard, I’ve got to say the only thing they have over us is — the ocean! That’s a hard one to beat but hey…that’s what vacations are for.
But for me, in the end….there’s still no place like home!
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