How to have a bachelor party on Martha's Vineyard
File photo by Ralph Stewart
You've bought the ring or got one somehow, you spent the whole year planning, and the big day is just around the corner. Now it's time to sit back with your closest friends, relax, cut loose, and enjoy those last few moments before people start asking when you're going to begin having kids.
We Island types might do the bachelor/bachelorette party thing a bit differently than they do off-Island – a little less pageantry, a bit more low-key – but rest assured, there are plenty of activities here on Martha's Vineyard perfect for bonding with your homies and blowing off a little steam before the orchestra fires up "Canon in D."
By air or by sea, you might consider planning a day around a new adventure, such as kite surfing lessons, paddle boarding, or kayaking. Check out a fishing charter. Loop the loop in a biplane – great not only for daredevils, as a biplane ride is also an exhilarating way to take in the sights from up above. Of course, if you'd like to keep things a little more reserved – and easier on the wallet – pull up a couple of beach chairs and relax seaside.
Once the sun begins to set, shake the sand (or fish, or wind, etc.) out of your hair, and hit the docks for cocktail hour. Watch the sunset from one of the bars on Oak Bluffs Harbor. Take a catamaran cruise around Edgartown or Menemsha. Hang out on one of the several decks or patios at local watering holes.
Twilight time is party time. If you still haven't been able to leave the beach, make advance arrangements through one of the local catering companies for a clambake to meet you where you've flopped. Or throw a couple steaks on the grill while you get ready for a night on the town. My favorite option is to class it up a bit – ladies, throw on cute dresses (perhaps a tiara for the betrothed?); guys, collared shirts – and head for a nice dinner (don't forget to make a reservation). Throw back some oysters fresh from Katama Bay, and pop some corks.
Once your bellies are filled with decadent Vineyard goodness, shake things up a bit. There is live music around every corner for those who want to dance. Go shake it up to a cover band or DJ. Or check out a local act. If you're more the type for hilarity tempered with humiliation, find a karaoke night. Also, there's no need to commit to one place – feel free to crawl (figuratively, I hope).
A couple of tips on maximizing your fun: Do not forget your ID—the Island is super strict about carding. Also, arrange transportation, particularly if you will be traveling between towns. Hook up with a taxi van, or you could always rent a party bus. Just make sure you stay safe. After all, you don't want your wedding toasts to involve mentions of ER visits or holding cells. (What happens on MV stays on MV, capisce?)
However you choose to spend your time, just remember, you are hanging out with your buds. Get nostalgic about how you ended up together, and celebrate the good times ahead. This should be one in many of the great memories you have with your peeps, so make it a good one and do yourselves proud. Have fun, get silly, and give yourselves something to wink about during Uncle Harry and Great-Aunt Clara's never-ending speeches. And best wishes for a happy marriage.
Linley Dolby of Edgartown is the Edgartown Town Columnist for The Times.