Exploring New England – Martha’s Vineyard

A while back, my husband and I took a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and stayed at the Dockside Inn. With COVID restrictions slowly being lifted, we were anxious to get out of the house and stretch our legs, and what better way to do that than to go somewhere we’d never been before?

I should give a small disclaimer that as a relatively new resident to New England, it isn’t hard to find a place I’ve never been. And with family stretched across the United States, I have decided to share my discoveries on this platform both because it delights me to do so, and because it might help members of my family when they opt to make a trip this direction.

For you dear readers who visit my site for conversations on writing, I do promise to give a small writer’s insight to each place I go as well. Because I am a writer and my viewpoint is tinted through the lens of fiction 100% of the time.

First off, the trip to Martha’s Vineyard was amazingly fun. My husband does the freeway/highway driving in our partnership at the moment. I imagine one day he’ll grow tired of it and ask me to take a leg of the journey, but I’m content to let him keep that task for as long as he wants it. And really, the freeway/highway drive wasn’t the fun part.

The ferry was the fun part.

We opted to park our car on the mainland rather than cross in the belly of the ferry, seated in our car. COVID restrictions required you to remain in your car for the duration of the ferry ride, and that didn’t appeal to us.

I’ll admit to a small amount of claustrophobia dictating that decision. (Writerly Brain Moment #1 for the trip – I couldn’t help imagining catastrophe and the last place I wanted to be stuck if the ship went down was in its belly, squashed in my car, while seawater and sharks gushed in.)

We started the trip on deck, but ended in one of the cozy booths inside. We did have to wear masks (COVID and all) but we dealt with it just fine. There were relatively few people when we went because the restrictions had only just lifted and we were braving the new COVID world of travel, so there wasn’t a crowd to deal with.

There also weren’t refreshments unless you brought it on board with you.

Once on the island, we hailed an Uber – Yes! They have Uber people – and went straight to the Dockside Inn located in Oak Bluffs. Upon arrival, the owner of the establishment met us at the door and, after delivering our key and explaining where our room was, proceeded to take us on a tour of the Inn.

I cannot express how friendly this gentleman was. The little Inn had several rooms, a shed with complimentary beach supplies (umbrella’s and such) and a breakfast nook where you could snag some of the usual snacks. It also had a complimentary gumball machine thing, but it was full of malt-balls instead, which was fantastic.

Our host suggested several spots to go that were in walking distance and we did follow his guidance. Being fairly reserved people ourselves, it was refreshing to be greeted with such casual friendliness, and I recommend letting your host direct you to the best eats nearby.

The room was comfortable, our view on the second floor overlooked the harbor, and we were in walking distance of the beach. Which, I will add, the beach was not nearly as crowded as I anticipated, but again this was shortly after restrictions had been lifted so that might not be the experience now.

We rented a vehicle so that we could circle the whole island, but you wouldn’t have to do that if you brought your own car via the ferry. (AKA – risk a shark infested ferry belly.) We missed the Mytoi Japanese Garden in Edgartown but intend on going back to visit again. Instead, we made our way to Aquinnah, which houses a beautiful lighthouse and bluffs.

I am a sucker for lighthouses.

Fight me on it if you want, but if I see one, you’re going to see a picture of it.

Aquinnah is, according to some research, considered the center of culture, tradition, and pride for the Wampanoag tribe. Writerly Brain Moment #2 – I love history, so my writer’s brain is often hungry for knowing what happened in a place, who it happened to, and the stories the people who live there tell. Naturally, this means I had to research them.

Sadly, this often means I am cringing during that research as well. Suffice, the Wampanoag were the various tribes who first encountered pilgrims/colonists when they sailed to America. I would like to note that they were here for a good 10,000 years prior to those first settlers.

SO!

Back to Martha’s Vineyard and the trip. We had a lot of fun. We didn’t bring the kid, but we plan to next time so we can highlight some of the family friendly things to be done, and so we can visit the Japanese Garden there. But if you want a quiet, relaxing time as a couple, I highly recommend the Dockside Inn at Oak Bluffs and wandering the island for history and beautiful scenery.

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