Baby boomer Crispin Haskins of Toronto is a popular novelist who loves to write mysteries about Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. In this piece he has written for BoomerCafé, you’ll see why.
For me, my Martha’s Vineyard vacation doesn’t start on-island, but rather when I board the Steamship Authority ferry.
Every trip I take there, I am reminded that I can fly from Boston’s Logan Airport. It is explained to me that the plane from the airport is much faster than the bus and the ferry. But of course the fact that they are explaining this to me at all makes me question exactly what kind of vibe I’m sending out. Anyway, there is something about the ferry ride that is intrinsic to the whole Vineyard experience for me. I walk up the gangplank, then, on a sunny day, I find a seat on the forward deck, park my luggage, and head to the canteen to order two Bad Martha’s beer. I drink my beer, take photographs, listen to Carly Simon on my headphones, and enjoy the forty-minute journey. You can see why my vacation starts before I ever hit the island itself.
I always time my trip so that I’m stepping down onto Martha’s Vineyard at lunchtime. I don’t drive. I don’t just mean I don’t bring a car to the island — I mean, I don’t have a driver’s license. So that makes the decision of whether or not to bring a car a rather simple one.
I am always asked whether or not one should bring a car. I say, in the summer, don’t bother. The island will be busy and parking is minimal. You will spend a great deal of your time and energy looking for parking or trying to figure out how to maneuver through all the one-way streets. The Vineyard Transit Authority is comfortable, efficient, and a great way to see a lot of the island. Get a bus pass and away you go. That’s the first thing I do and then I head to The Edgartown Inn.
The drive from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown is one of my favorite stretches of road on the island. Beach Road runs along State Beach and over The JAWS Bridge. It’s a great welcome to the Vineyard. It tells all travelers what lies ahead — beautiful sand, warm water, and a little nostalgia.
Edgartown needs to be experienced to be believed. It’s like walking around in a Frank Capra film. The streetlights are gaslights. There are no traffic lights. In fact, there isn’t a single traffic light on the entire island. All of the stores are local entities, not national chains. The iconic Vineyard Vines and Black Dog are the closest you’ll find to a chain, but they both got their start on the Vineyard.
I walk up the steps of The Edgartown Inn and by this point, I’ve completely decompressed. All signs of big city tension have left my body. I drop my luggage in a room that is fresh, clean, cosy, and bright. I make my ablutions and I hit the road.
I’ll find the first lobster roll of my trip close by and on the harbor. The Seafood Shanty and The Atlantic have my favorite decks for lunch. I’ll order lunch and watch for Catboat Charters to sail by, propelled by their American Flag sail.
Perfect … and I’ve only been on-island for about twenty minutes.
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