Good Taste: Last call for summer favorites
File photo by Ralph Stewart
One of my favorite things to do this time of year is act like a tourist. With sunny days, beach access, plenty of parking, and limited lines, I like to spend my weekends exploring the Island, going to places that I've never been (there are actually a lot) and revisiting those that never get old.
We get into our routines, going on the same walks, eating at the same restaurants, and visiting the same beaches. Aquinnah is too far if you live in Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown is out of the question if you live up Island. Don't even mention Chappy. In reality, we live on a tiny Island, where nothing takes more than an hour to get to. Each town has its own personality and good food, and beautiful vistas are just minutes away. There are only a handful of warm weather weekends left, and many of our favorite seasonal restaurants will be closing their doors in a month. These next few weeks, get out of your house, postpone your routine, and enjoy the Island for all it has to offer.
Here is a selection of places to visit while the weather is still warm and before they close for the season.
Although the restaurant is closed until next year, Giordano's Clam Bar and Pizza takeout is open Thursday through Sunday until Columbus Day. Get your last slice of the season or pint of fried clams from this family-run Oak Bluffs institution and walk down the street to eat it on the beach.
The Oak Bluffs harbor has yet to hibernate. Coop de Ville is open until October 27; don't miss their pig roast on October 20.
Donovan's Reef and the Snack Bar are closed, but upstairs at Nancy's Restaurant will remain open until mid-October. Bring your derby button or Island driver's license for 20 percent off food.
Prolong summer at Fishbone's Grille, open until Columbus Day. Fishbones is open from 12 noon to 5 pm during the week and 7 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Enjoy the sunshine and sushi, or dinner and drinks on the deck at The Seafood Shanty, serving lunch from 11 am to 5 pm and dinner 5–9 pm. Visit the upstairs bar for a cocktail until 12:30 am. The Shanty will be open until October 20.
Head over to Among the Flowers for breakfast, brunch, or lunch, until October 20. Open from 8 am to 4 pm, enjoy eat in or take out. Derby anglers, present your derby pins for 10 percent off food.
Get your fried food fix at the Quarterdeck and grab a seat at a picnic table on Memorial Wharf. Or go check out the Derby standings. The Quarterdeck is open daily from 11 am to 6 pm, until October 20.
After lunch, head down the street and get in line at the Chappy Ferry. Spend the day strolling through the Japanese gardens at Mytoi or visit Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge.
If you stick around Edgartown mainly, spend the day on South Beach or Norton Point, with a stop at the Right Fork Diner. Visit the restaurant or order takeout from 7 am- to 2 pm, until Columbus Day.
Every March, kids and adults count the days until the Dairy Queen opens its doors. Stop by for one last Dilly Bar or Blizzard before they close on October 14.
Menemsha is one of my favorite places on the Island, especially when you can find parking, which is abundant this time of year. Larsen's Fish Market is open Sunday-Thursday, 10 am to 6 pm and Friday and Saturday, 9 am to 7 pm. Sit on the makeshift tables outside and enjoy hot lobster, steamers and mussels, or oysters and littlenecks on the half shell. Grab a lobster roll or shrimp cocktail and sit on the beach for a feast.
Right next door is Menemsha Fish Market, open to 7 pm every day. Stop by for a steaming cup of lobster bisque with big chunks of lobster meat, perfect for a fall day. Or try their Sunset Special, a cooked and cracked lobster with butter and lemon, a cup of clam chowder or lobster bisque, stuffed clam, and coleslaw starting at $19.99 for a 1 lb. lobster. Other offerings include hot lobster rolls, lobster quesadillas, seafood chimichangas, and nachos.
Take advantage of the weather and kayak to the Home Port Restaurant for its last weekend of the season. Sign one of their release forms to unload at their dedicated drop-off spot, or keep your kayak there while you eat. The Home Port is open this Thursday-Sunday, with back door available at the front door.
For early risers, walk around Menemsha Hills or Great Rock Bight before you head to Beetlebung for half off of breakfast sandwiches from 7 to 9 am. Try the Meggawich, two poached organic eggs, Black Forest Ham, and Vermont Cheddar on toasted sourdough or marbled-rye. Beetlebung will be open until October 15, from 7 am to 5 pm, Sunday-Friday, and until 6 pm on Saturday.
Stop by Tisberry for a cold sweet treat Sunday-Thursday, 11 am to 7 pm and Friday and Saturday, from 11 am to 9 pm. Students get 15 percent off from 2:30 to 6 pm weekdays, and there is an outdoor seating area.
Grab a sandwich, salad, or bring a picnic to Owen Park. With picnic tables, swings, beach, and a bathroom, it's perfect for a family outing.
Start your Saturday off with a visit to the Farmer's Market. Stop by for coffee and a muffin, pick up supplies for a picnic, or do you shopping for the week. The summer market ends October 5 and will transition to the new Ag Hall for the winter market, which runs until December.
After picking up food at the Farmer's Market, make the short drive to Polly Hill Arboretum. The picnic grove features rustic picnic tables surrounded by American Beech Trees. The grounds are open every day from sunrise to sunset with the visitor center open until Columbus Day. Don't forget to carry out what you carry in.
Although Dreamcatcher and the Aquinnah Shop are closed until next year, Faith's Seafood Shack is open until the end of October. They are open seven days a week: Sunday through Thursday, 11 am to 4 pm; Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm, weather permitting. It's always worth a visit.