Pink & Green Weekend has come and gone in Edgartown. Back Door Donuts is open. So is DQ. And a host of other seasonal restaurants and businesses too numerous to mention here have either reopened or opened with a new look, name, or vibe. The Flying Horses are spinning ’round in their annual race for riders to grab the brass ring. Ferries are running to and from Oak Bluffs again.
The Island is coming back to life, not that it wasn’t very much alive throughout the winter, but there is a different kind of frenetic life that comes with “the season.” (We know it seems hard to believe, with temperatures earlier this week near 40° and rain on top of rain on top of rain.) Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to summer, is just eight days away.
We stop taking the shore route from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, to avoid the Triangle. And every move we make out of Vineyard Haven includes an attempt to avoid Five Corners. There are certain things you’ve got to do to save your sanity as the Island turns into vacationland for a few months.
Here are some things that you can do to make your experience and the experience of our thousands of visitors a little easier to handle over the next 15 weeks or so:
Let someone take a left-hand turn. It sounds simple, but we take for granted how easy it can be to get from State Road to Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road in the off-season. (Of course, there are some difficult times during the offseason here, too.) If you let someone take a left to get on that road, you’ll not only help that driver, but you’ll keep traffic from backing all the way down the hill to Main Street.
If you venture out to Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs for some seafood, to sip a Dirty Banana made by Donovan, and to enjoy the view of Oak Bluffs Harbor, be sure to invite someone to share your table. Strike up a conversation. You never know who you might meet. Ditto for the Island’s other hot spots where seats are at a premium.
Let this be the year you take a hike. There are so many conservation areas available on the Island, and now there’s even an app for finding and navigating them, and we have an interactive map on our Vineyard Visitor site. Take advantage of all that money being spent by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and other organizations to preserve and conserve open spaces all over the Island. You’ll be glad you did.
Pedal, row, and walk. Use the bike paths and shared-use paths that are so plentiful. Kayak in one of the great ponds. Allow time to walk instead of hunting for an elusive parking space.
Take in a Menemsha sunset. It may seem clichéd, but there really isn’t a more spectacular sight. There’s a reason some people feel compelled to applaud when the sun finally dips below the horizon in its end-of-the-day light show. We know it can be a crazy mess in Menemsha to park, but there are shuttles available, or, if you get there early enough with a picnic supper, you should be able to find a parking spot nearby.
Spend some time at the West Tisbury Farmers Market. We really are fortunate to have so many great farms on Martha’s Vineyard, and to have so many farmers and others who make great products. We’re looking forward to sampling the cold brew from Chilmark Coffee and sweets from Pie Chicks, as well as the bounty of fresh vegetables from our friends and neighbors.
Cast a line into the water. Did you see how much fun the kids had during the Martha’s Vineyard Rod & Gun Club’s Kids Trout Derby? Even if you don’t catch a fish, you’ll enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Island’s ponds or coastline, particularly if you go in the early morning or late afternoon or evening. And, who knows, you might just hook dinner.
Take some time to stroll the shops of Main Street in Vineyard Haven, Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, or Main Street in Edgartown. Get in there among the crowds, sit for a while on a park bench, and watch the world pass by — it’s a better show some days than you’ll see on Netflix. Look up from your phone or other electronic device and take in the world around you. (But do check it between 4 and 5 each weekday afternoon for our daily newsletter, The Minute. We’ll bring you the day’s news you missed while you were at the beach, and give you some ideas of what to do that night for dinner or entertainment.)
Visitors, remember you’re guests here. Leave it the way you found it, and be respectful of the people who serve you while you’re on the Island. Tip well.
Islanders, remember those visitors leave a good chunk of money here. For some business owners, it sustains them throughout the year. Smile. Take a deep breath. You’ll miss them when they’re gone — maybe.