I have mentioned in other breakfast posts that I tend to be a bit of a traditionalist when I order breakfast. My eggs are usually over-easy, my meat selection is bacon, and my toast is white. Standard operating procedure. Having said that, I threw caution to the wind and ordered as off the map as I possibly could when I went to The Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant for breakfast. I’m not entirely sure what got into me. My only explanation is that everything at Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant was already off the beaten path, ordering a run of the mill breakfast would have seemed, I don’t know, inappropriate?
The Getting There
One of the things that makes Beach Plum so great is also what makes it a bit of a challenge. It’s in Menemsha. Now, I love Menemsha, I think I’ve covered that. That’s definitely why my characters always end up there in my mystery novels. Guaranteed, I will bring it up again in the future, but when I go to Menemsha Village, the bus drops me off and picks me up right at the entrance to the village. It’s easy. Beach Plum is a little bit out in the middle of nowhere.
Now, I’ve been told that I can tell the driver that I’m going to Beach Plum and he will drop me off and that I can just stand on the side of the road and the bus will collect me when it goes by if I flag him down, but my big city brain just cannot wrap its head around this fact. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “It’s the Vineyard!” and I agree. I also know that Canadians have the reputation of being wonderful, friendly people, but I have stories—as does every Torontonian—about taking the public transit that would make your hair curl. That is why I didn’t get out to Beach Plum as soon as I would have liked. I had to wait for the opportunity to present itself with a friend who had a car. It did. We went!
Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant
The entire time I was there, I wished my Mum was with me. She would love it. It’s exactly her kind of place. In fact, I later dreamt of being there with my Mum that’s how profound that feeling was. She has since said the same thing when she saw my photos. The place is beautiful. The name “Inn & Restaurant” almost comes across as a bit of a misnomer, though. Don’t get me wrong, that is indeed exactly what it is, but right from the time you get there, you feel like you have arrived on a farm—and you have!
I have never experienced a place quite like Beach Plum before. We parked the car in a parking lot surrounded by as bucolic a setting as you could ever hope to find. There is an enormous garden fronted by an impressive battalion of sunflowers to welcome you. When I went, the sun was shining and there were streaks of clouds in the sky. It was a true Vineyard morning.
The Inn is nestled up in The Menemsha Hills and when you walk through the front door, you enter a dining room that takes epic advantage of that fact. The glass walls look out over a patio filled with wooden tables and chairs that are appropriately weather beaten and completely comfortable. My table was beside a half-wall that afforded me a view looking out over Menemsha Harbor and across to Aquinnah. It is obvious why The Beach Plum Inn has a reputation for sunset suppers. I haven’t experienced one yet, but when I do, you’ll be the first to know!
Now, I told you that I threw off the breakfast shackles that I had forged in life, when I got to Beach Plum, and ordered outside of my comfort zone, and you can see why, right? From the time I stepped out of the car, I have felt like I was in a different world. Yes, I love my Black Dog breakfasts because they truly represent a Martha’s Vineyard experience that I find to be singular. The Black Dog is a traditional Vineyard vacation experience where you can watch the tall ships, and watch the ferries come in and go out. It’s in the heart of Vineyard Haven steps away from Bunch Of Grapes Bookstore, Mocha Mott’s, and classic Vineyard inns like 1720 House.
Beach Plum Inn surrounded me with a Vineyard experience of a very different kind: a farmhouse experience. The sounds were not only the wind through the trees, but the clucks of unseen chickens, and the crow of roosters. Sitting at my table overlooking Menemsha Harbor and Aquinnah, I knew I was on Martha’s Vineyard, but it was a Martha’s Vineyard that I had yet to know. I had to order something new—french toast made out of freshly baked zucchini bread, with sausage, and real maple syrup.
The food was fantastic. Truly. The zucchini bread had a density and texture that worked really well as french toast. There was just enough saltiness to the sausage to give a tang when they hit the syrup. I love french press coffee. I like a strong, rich flavoured coffee and this one passed the test with flying colours. Beach Plum has the reputation of having one of the best chefs on the Vineyard and from this experience, I certainly can’t argue. I can’t wait to go back for supper and a sunset!
After Breakfast, A Walk!
My server happily instructed me that there were paths and walkways all over the grounds. Patrons were not only welcome to walk them but encouraged! Seeing as I had my camera with me, I did not have to be asked twice to explore! I walked down the hill and ended up in a pasture. The cows—they have cows!—were either eating or hiding. Either way, I didn’t see any cows—just another reason to return. I did wander further into the trees and find the chicken coops though! That was cool. I love a path through the woods. I have since I was a little boy. It would be great to explore them after breakfast when I had more time.
Now that I have seen everything that Beach Plum has to offer, I will definitely make a point of heading out there on my own. Yes, it’s off the beaten path, but that is wha makes it so special. It would be good to go by myself to absorb its bucolic beauty at my own pace. I can be a nuisance with my camera. Sometimes, I dawdle. I can forget that people are waiting for me. The incredible menu options aside—asparagus, house lox, and fish cakes, just to name a few—the aesthetics of Beach Plum will keep me and my camera busy for hours. Will the bus collect me on the side of the road when I’m done like I’ve been promised? Who knows. Knowing me, I’ll end up walking down to Menemsha Village for a lobster roll and a swim anyway.