I just got back from Martha’s Vineyard on May 13th and I’m gearing up to go back on June 6th. Of course, that’s a big day to be on the island because it’s The Best Of The Vineyard. The Best Of The Vineyard means a lot to me because it’s the day that the hard-working small business women and men are recognized for all of their hard work. We all love the fact that the island is not over-run by McDonalds (they did try, remember?), and The Gap. What if we cleared a big spot for a Wal-Mart on State Road? I shutter at the thought. In order to ensure that life on Martha’s Vineyard is the life that we know and love, a lot of people work long hours at their own shops. They are recognized at The Best Of The Vineyard. For me it is also the kick-off of the summer on Martha’s Vineyard.
I know that there will be a lot of disagreement on this point. A lot of people will say that the summer truly begins on Memorial Day Weekend. That’s when my buddy Captain Kurt starts the season for Catboat Charters. A lot of tourists start popping up, that’s for sure, but for me—it starts on June 6th.
The Best Of The Vineyard
I am sitting on my balcony in Toronto as I write this. It’s almost eighty degrees and it’s sunny. The wind is strong and warm. I’m surrounded by blue skies and full, white clouds that look like insulation that has just exploded from its casing; however, it’s not quite summer for me yet. On June 6th, I will get on a 6:55am Porter Airlines flight, and I will land in Boston at around 8:30am. Then I’ll get on the 9:30am Peter Pan Bus to Woods Hole. When I step off the bus, at the ferry terminal, summer will hit me square in the face and I will not stop smiling for about four months straight.
That night, I will attend The Best Of The Vineyard and cheer on all of my friends. I will be rooting for almost everyone. The entire evening is a celebration of being a business on Martha’s Vineyard. The evening takes place at Farm Neck Golf Club. It’s a beautiful spot. We had terrific weather last year. I hope we do again. Surrounded by friends on Martha’s Vineyard, I don’t let the weather get me down, but nice weather is nice weather—you know what I mean?
The food was great, and so was the music! I seem to remember enjoying the libations as well—which is rare for my friends and me. My friends at Catboat Charters won Best Sailing Charter last year and we were so grateful. Captain Kurt couldn’t have been more humbled or proud. Surrounded by friends and family, we all danced and laughed and carried on. Then we made our way over to The Ritz to extend the festivities. Okay, so maybe we felt less festive the next morning…Bahahaha! Not bad though.
Summer On Martha’s Vineyard
June on The Vineyard is always a time of hope and happiness. I love June on-island enough to set one of my Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries in June—I think it’s the third one. In June, the greenery is in full bloom as are the flowers. It’s still a bit early for hydrangeas, but they’ll be out soon. Rhododendrons are in fine form and they’re one of my favourites. Not to mention the wild roses on the island. I’m a big flower guy. A big part of summer on Martha’s Vineyard is flowers for me. If you didn’t see my piece, The Flowers of Martha’s Vineyard, and you’re a flower person, check it out.
The water is still a bit cold for me to go swimming. I did manage to get in once after a rain had warmed it up, but that was the only time. I do see other people swimming though, so maybe I’m just a wuss. That doesn’t mean that it’s too cold to walk on the beach. I’ll wade in the water and take as many photos as I can. My early morning walks are their best in June because the island isn’t quite populated with tourists like it is in August. The early mornings are all mine.
It’s also good to remember that June 21st is the longest day of the year. That means that the sunset will be late—extending all of your sunset suppers at The Seafood Shanty, The Lookout, Nancy’s Restaurant, and The Atlantic Fish and Chop House. No two sunsets are the same and every single one of them is a masterpiece. The swirling clouds of the North Atlantic mixed with the rich colours of the summer season always make for an astonishing experience. This of course, brings me to my favourite summer experience—sailing.
Sailing On Martha’s Vineyard
Sailing is a very new love of mine, but it does, indeed hold a very special place in my heart. I blame Catboat Charters. I went out with Catboat Charters for the first time on September 21st, 2016 and it was an experience that I will never forget. Actually, it really would be impossible to forget as Captain Kurt is now one of my best friends. The friendship aside, I did fall in love with the sailing. Sailing Edgartown Harbor with Kurt, and then sailing from The Cape to The Vineyard with my friend, Ryan. The latter really blew my mind. I was hooked. It’s really not too surprising. I grew up going to family cottages on the lake in Northern Ontario, Canada. We were in boats all the time. We were in motor boats on a lake though—not the same thing at all. I have always loved being out on the water.
Being on the ocean is invigorating. It’s powerful and soothing all at the same time. The North Atlantic in particular touches my soul in a way that I cannot explain. As much as I feel like I am at home on Martha’s Vineyard, when I am out on the waters surrounding her, in a sailboat, I am truly at peace. Do yourself a favour, book a charter with Catboat Charters. You will not regret it. People have even been married aboard Tigress which I think is awesome, but to quote the indomitable Mae West, “Marriage is a fine institution…I’m not ready for an institution.”
Martha’s Vineyard In June
I’m also relatively new to the hiking trails, but they’re quickly becoming a big part of my summer on Martha’s Vineyard. The island itself has a lot to offer. I have done the Menemsha Hills hiking trail a few times—I’ve even done it in winter. There are hiking trails for every level of hiker. Some of them are strictly walking trails. Don’t forget to get out and try the trails on Chappaquiddick as well. In fact, don’t forget to explore Chappaquiddick period! Chappaquiddick is the best kept secret on Martha’s Vineyard.
The Wildlife Sanctuary, the Cape Poge Lighthouse, Mytoi Gardens—these are all experiences that the island itself is waiting for you to enjoy. There are the obvious excitements of a tourist hot spot like the shops and restaurants—I love them and the people who work there—but don’t forget to recognize the island herself. She’s the reason people started coming in the first place. Before The Flying Horses, before The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, before The Black Dog Tavern, there was simply Martha’s Vineyard and she was, and is, beautiful.