When we asked friends to tell us their idea of the perfect winter Martha’s Vineyard Day, we were overwhelmed with (and thrilled by) the responses. Some are really specific and you can find them on a map, and some are more general, but — we think — just perfectly describe what it is we love about living here. Email us your perfect day for any season at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Little House and Lobsterville
There are certain winter days on M.V. when the snow has melted and the sun is shining and the chill air is clean and so crisp that one understands perfection. I am curled up beneath a quilt, slowly awakening to the aroma of smoky Lapsang Souchong tea my husband brings me. I linger in bed sipping my tea and reading a good novel of adventures in foreign lands. Patiently, I dress in layers of corduroy and wool and set out to the Little House to brunch with women friends from all corners of the Island, all ages and sizes and nationalities, we gather to celebrate living. Then I venture up-Island in the truck with my husband and our dog for an exquisitely long walk on Lobsterville Beach where we contemplate the majesty of the sea and the treasures buried in the sand. Later, at home, I cook kale soup, enchiladas suizas, and bake a fruit pie (recipes garnered from Morning Glory Farm Cookbook, Edible Vineyard magazine, and Kaylea Moore’s suggestions) while listening to my husband reading the latest chapter in his book (I am his greatest fan). The family comes for a Sunday family feast — son and daughter and daughter-in-law and the cutest grandchild ever. After a scrumptious meal, catching up on news sprinkled with philosophical exchange and laughter, I play and read with my grandchild while the dishes are miraculously cleared and cleaned. Then I am ready to cuddle under covers again, re-count gratitude for living in a beautiful community with blessings of family and friends close by, and slip off to dream of travel and adventures in exotic lands below the equator.
-Lynn Ditchfield, director, Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard
A wintery dip
I imagine most people pick August, going to the beach and being outside, but my ideal day is New Years Day. Every January 1st, for the past eight years, regardless of the weather, a couple of families and mine have gone swimming on Lambert’s Cove Beach. It started as two families, me, my wife, Kim, and my daughters Clea and Signe, with (photographer) Wayne Smith and his daughter, Willoughby, and son, T.T.
The Smiths were over on New Years Eve and someone threw out the idea, even though it was incredibly cold. Since then, the number’s grown. David Vigneault and his wife Sarah Vail come with their daughters, but only one of the girls, Willa (who’s in junior high) swims. Little Ava comes and watches. Last year, there were about 20 people there, and a bunch of our friends come every year to watch.
You gotta swim. Those people in Boston, most of them go up to their knees and come out. You gotta dunk. You have to swim around. We insist on full immersion. But we don’t hang around too long. If you want the sensation of your heart pounding a foot out of your chest, this will do it. But the vision of shock and horror on the faces of your children when they go in is worth it.
After, we go back to my house and do a hot tub to warm up. We’re cold. The spectators don’t get to go in the hot tub. They don’t deserve to get in. After, we all hang out and have breakfast.
-Mark Baumhofer, West Tisbury
Walking on Lambert’s Cove beach is always part of a perfect Vineyard day.
-Nicole Galland, author “Godiva”
Friends for soup
One thing which is fun to do for us on a blustery afternoon is to make some soup: either a tried and true favorite like quahog chowder or kale soup, or a new recipe from a new cookbook, and then invite another couple or a few friends to join us for a bowlful and a favorite libation; a fire in the fireplace and some nice music, and it’s mellow time again.
–Ivo and Piret Miesner, Book Den East, Oak Bluffs
ArtCliff and skating
My perfect Vineyard winter day would have to include ice and snow. The morning would be crystal clear, cold, and calm. After breakfast at the ArtCliff, I would head to Duarte’s Pond, or if conditions were exceptional, Tiah’s Cove, for some ice skating. Later, I would make a hearty soup or stew and invite a few friends over for dinner. The evening would end with a steady, light snow falling, bringing the promise of a perfect winter wonderland in the morning.
–Karin Stanley, education and outreach administrator, Polly Hill Arboretum, West Tisbury.
Community dog walk
My idea of the perfect off-season day is a stroll up Lambert’s Cove beach. I love to go there in the off-season when the only people there are walking their dogs, all bundled for the wind. I have spent so many years going there that each time is like visiting various pieces of my past.
-Sally Taylor, Cambridge and Vineyard Haven
Hike to brunch
My perfect MV day: Wake up late. Get together with some girlfriends for a hike up-Island, mimosas, and a huge homemade brunch. Take an afternoon nap, get dressed up and go to dinner and drinks at Atria’s Brick Cellar.
-Nicole Jackson, MVTimes graphic designer, Vineyard Haven
Pancakes to paddling
Perfect off-season day includes breakfast at the ArtCliff and kayaking on Chilmark Pond (accessed from the Land Bank property) on a beautiful autumn day. It used to be just slightly more perfect when you could pick up a sandwich at the original Humphreys on your way out there. In the winter, beach walks – on any beach – on the milder days.
-Jennifer Crawford, Oak Bluffs
I love walking on beaches that are off limits in the summer.. My perfect day starts with coffee from 7a, followed by a long walk on a secret beach, coming home to a toasty, wood stove heated house to dine on hearty soup with fresh bread and delicious red wine. What makes it perfect is having my boys in tow, of course, collecting treasures along the way.
-Nevette Previd, owner, Nevette Previd Consulting and Farm.Field.Sea: An Island Culinary Adventure
Cliffs and kale
The perfect MV day off-season-winter would be spent outside, of course. We have all chosen to live here for many reasons, but most of us would agree that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Nothing could make me happier than to bundle up and head up-Island for a wonderful walk around the Gay Head Cliffs. Bringing along dear friends or family surely enhances the experience and returning home to a warm fire and an evening game of Scrabble followed by a great meal, which would have to include the kale (still going strong) from my garden. Doesn’t get much better than that.
- Tamara Weiss, owner, Midnight Farm, Vineyard Haven
Pray for a storm
Perfect MV off-season day: Being trapped on-Island during a big snowy storm where the snow is blowing and swirling so hard you can barely see, and you’re all cozy inside with your animals and a fire in the wood stove.
- Buffy Trott, Portland, Oregon