There once was a time that a Saturday during the summer was spent in cool AC watching cartoons and drinking Cokes. For some reason, as an adult, that just doesn’t cut it, and just this past Saturday, with the sun hot and the breeze cool, me, my mom and Miss Katie Poff decided to take a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, where the beach, big houses and bike trails awaited us!
Waking up at 6 a.m. isn’t exactly my cup of tea, especially when physical activity awaits me at the other end, but I knew the temperature on Martha’s Vineyard was going to be a strong 85, and I’ve been waiting all winter for some ocean views. We arrived at Woods Hole around 9 a.m., parked ourselves in the Gifford Street lot, and shuttled down to the waterfront ferry with two guys discussing the best squid to catch fluke with (one of which in a Harley Davidson leather jacket – so many things wrong there).
Now, I take the ferry from New London, CT to Orient Point, NY all. the. time. Like it’s my job. But there was something different about the Woods Hole-Oak Bluffs ferry – it’s quieter, smaller, a little more serene. Lots of families were on board with their children, as well as a few people dressed up in khakis and button downs, dresses and hats. Coming into Oak Bluffs, the houses just scream old New England, shipping town, beautiful. The Victorian homes in the square bring a different feel, but a separate beauty that’s all their own.
We walked off the ferry and literally onto our bikes, since Beau at the bike shop loved us and had everything ready to go. While we didn’t have the rough and tumble mountain bikes my mom was sure we needed, we did have low-maintenance bikes with baskets at the front. Completely Tour de France. Lucky for us, the bike shop was at the bottom of a hill, and while mom took off, not to be seen for the next 15 minutes, I walked my bike to the top, as to not embarrass myself in front of Beau and staff. Katie rode her bike right by my side, because she’s a good friend. Again, Mom was nowhere to be found.
It was six miles to Edgartown from Oak Bluffs, and it was flat and airy and beautiful the entire way down – water on at least one side the entire way, and somewhat-wide bike paths. It was very beginner-friendly. I have to admit, I skidded out a few times, only finding later that my gears were a little broken (taking my life in my hands people!), but the saying is cliché for a reason, it is “just like riding a bike.”
We used to vacation in Edgartown when I was little, right on the Harbor, and when we entered the village center, everything came rushing back to me. I wanted to go to the bookstore inside that old house, I wanted to get 11 heaps of ice cream at Mad Martha’s. I wanted to walk out to the lighthouse. Since we were on a health kick and couldn’t carry home the amount of books I wanted to buy, the lighthouse was the best option. It wasn’t five minutes after I told Katie that I definitely want to have a small wedding at the Edgartown lighthouse that bridesmaids and a beautiful bride were rushing past us down the sandy path, to be married on the lighthouse steps. Ahhh-mazing. Katie may or may not have cried (no she didn’t, I’m just teasing!).
We had lunch at the Atlantic, and walked around the neighborhood for a bit, staring at the old homes of ship captains, still in the same vein as they were 100 years ago (or more I’m guessing). And after a relaxing stroll, it was time to hop back on the bikes toward Vineyard Haven, a seven mile jaunt that would be easy, now that we were confident. Boy, were we wrong.
Edgartown Road cuts through the center of the island. No flat surfaces with water all around here. Just hills, upon hills, upon hills. And, since my gears weren’t working correctly, I was pretty much in five the entire way. This KILLED me. I will admit to you guys, I had to get off the bike and walk a hill, but one out of 20 isn’t bad, right?
By the time we got to Vineyard Haven, the three of us were shot. We went there to visit the Black Dog flagship store and return our bikes, and wound up blanking out on the entire village. Blame it on the bikes! Vineyard Haven was quiet, and not exactly how I remember it being way back when, but I do remember the cute skirt with the pink dogs on it that I got! That’s pretty much it.
Back in Oak Bluffs, I finally got some Mad Martha’s (coffee with rainbow sprinkles, the best!), and all three of us finally got our hands in the water, which is still a little cold since it’s not exactly prime beach weather just yet.
As the ferry pulled in and we boarded, smelling like dirt and sunblock and a little red all over, I got a little sad, because I knew this was one of those days that we aren’t going to be able to recreate. Sure, we’ll be able to bike ride around Martha’s Vineyard again, and maybe make it an annual thing (because Patti P. needs to come!), but it was also one of those Perfect Storms, where everything just meets at the same time, and the date, the time, the experience, will never come again.
I’m so glad Mom came up with the idea, I’m so glad Katie said “yes” to coming, and I’m so glad that I didn’t end up in my apartment with the AC on drinking Cokes all day. Here’s to Martha’s Vineyard. I can’t wait to go back.
To see more of our trip, mom’s hair or Katie’s visor, click here!