I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what my next post—better yet, next few posts—would be. I have written about some of my favourite breakfast places, my favourite lobster rolls, and some of my favourite days. I’ve written about JAWS, because it’s the best movie ever made, and coincidentally, it was made on Martha’s Vineyard. Did I mention that? I think so. Anyway… I’m still getting requests about things to do on the island from people going for the first time or even on their second or third trips just looking for suggestions. I love that. I think it’s totally cool. I gave some pointers about going for the first time, but maybe I need to focus on things to do in each town. What does the island virgin (not the Virgin Islands—that’s something totally different) do, when he or she steps off the bus in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, or Vineyard Haven? What do they look for? Well, I’ve decided to write a post for “Must Do’s of Edgartown”, “Must Do’s of Oak Bluffs”, and “Must Do’s of Vineyard Haven”. I think I can skip Aquinnah and Menemsha, because I already wrote about them fairly extensively, but we’ll see. This is the first of the series. I hope you enjoy it!
Finding a few good places to eat are definitely Edgartown must do’s. I covered Edgartown a little more extensively in ‘An Edgartown Kinda Day‘, because sometimes, you just have them. My friend Dave has them all the time. There are a lot of great places to eat, drink, and be merry in Edgartown. If you’re starting your day in Edgartown, you’ll find great breakfasts at Edgartown Diner (Tell Esther and Mavis that I said, ‘Hi!’), Dock St Coffee Shop (the linguica sausage is awesome), and Right Fork Diner (lobster benedict—that’s all I’m saying). There are more, but those are definitely my favourites.
Lunch will depend on the weather. First of all, never let the weather control your mood. Martha’s Vineyard is absolutely beautiful in the rain and/or fog. Okay, the weather did get to me once. It was a hurricane, my first hurricane, and I did not care for it. I think I’m entitled. So, if it’s a nice day, go somewhere with a great patio—take full advantage! Even though it’s covered, I love the small patio at The Atlantic. It’s right on the water and it has sufficient cover even if it is a bit drizzly out. Also, on a “blustery day” to quote Whinnie The Pooh, The Newes From America is the best pub in the world, in my opinion. Their French Onion Soup and chicken wings rock my world. The chowder at The Wharf is superb…actually, so is their swordfish.
If it’s a “True Vineyard Day” then get thee to The Seafood Shanty! I could sit there all day and watch the boats go by. Last, far from least, TacoMV is ultra-cool! If Mexican is your thing, these brothers have it down. Their hand-made tacos come with a broad range of delicious fillings. The place has a great vibe and the best guacamole. They also have a great patio. In the summer, I’m all about eating outside when I can. Right? TacoMV is definitely one of my favourite Edgartown must do’s.
Dinner opens up your options even more. I’m a big fan of Rockfish, Porthunter, and The Covington. Rockfish flatbreads are awesome and , when they’re in season, they have the best brussels sprouts that I have ever had in my life. A buddy and I go there fairly often and we always get our own orders because we refuse to share. Alchemy is a great place to go for fine dining or just a drink at the bar. I went there for a drink with friends one night after supper at The Atlantic and we had a great time. It’s a chill vibe which I love. The Covington is also a quieter vibe while Porthunter is much livelier. The two best fish meals of my life were at Porthunter…just sayin’. But if watching boats sail the harbour under the setting sun is more your speed, then I highly recommend The Seafood Shanty. It’s a very Vineyard thing to do.
If you’re snacking, Murdick’s Fudge has my favourite fudge and Behind The Bookstore has my favourite coffee.
There are a lot of shops that qualify as Edgartown must do’s. Probably more than you think. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, Edgartown has it. My favourite shop to get lost in would be Edgartown Books. As a writer, I’m naturally drawn to book stores as a general rule, but there is something very special about Edgartown Books. They devote a lot of shelf space to local authors and books about Vineyard history, which I really love. There’s also a whimsical, fun, and happy element to the store which I think a lot of stores, in particular book stores, have missed. Reading is fun. Books make me happy. The place where I buy them should make me happy too.
My favourite clothing store in Edgartown is Vineyard Vines. Ian and Shep Murray use the phrase, “Every Day Should Feel This Good” as there brand motto, and at Vineyard Vines, every day truly does. If there’s a more cheerful store, I have not been in it. I don’t know if they sell black clothing—there’s probably something—but it certainly isn’t the fixture that it is in every other clothing store in the western hemisphere. Their store is full of pastel pinks, blues, greens, and purples. They have navy and khaki and white. Every article of clothing can be thrown on and worn to the beach, or sailing, or dinner at the yacht club. Vineyard Vines screams summer. Mother Nature painted her birds with bright colours to attract mates. The most colourful are the most popular. Bright colours are intoxicating. They are youthful and vibrant.
A big Edgartown Must Do for me is perusing North Water Gallery. Their collection is everything Martha’s Vineyard is—elegant, soft, gentle, warm, funny, and creative. The people who work there are great too. That makes all the difference to me. Speaking of great people, I also love Chappy Happy! Check out their store in Nevin Square.
The obvious Edgartown Must Do’s to me are the outdoor experiences. The ways to spend time in Edgartown that you cannot do anywhere else. Of course, number one on my hit parade is Catboat Charters. Book a sail for up to six passengers on the immaculately maintained Tigress! If you’ve been to the island before, you”ll have seen her before. She’s the boat with the American Flag sail. Captain Kurt Peterson and his crew will take you out into inner and outer harbour. Kurt will share his knowledge of island history and he may even play the guitar—you just never know. Catboat Charters will leave you with memories of Martha’s Vineyard that will stay with you a life time.
Walk up North Water Street and stop into The Carnegie Museum. It’s a brand new museum that just opened last year. They did a beautiful job with it. Then, continue up Water Street to the Edgartown Lighthouse. I love the lighthouses and during the summer, the Edgartown Lighthouse is one of the lights that is open to the public! For a donation, you can climb to the top and look over the harbour. It’s an incredible view. You’ll also need to walk out to South Beach. South Beach is where the opening scenes of JAWS were filmed, well some of them anyway, and it’s a fantastic place for an exciting swim. Does jumping off the JAWS Bridge at State Beach count? I’m not entirely sure. I think the Jaws Bridge is kind of no-man’s land. between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Either way, go jump.
Edgartown Must Do’s
These are just the beginnings, just something to get you started. As you meander the streets you will find more and more great shops that will draw you in. I promise. Even as I sit here writing this conclusion, I am thinking of places that I didn’t talk about or wanted to put in. There are just too many. Hey, it’s the Vineyard!