Keri Russell has one very good reason to love Martha's Vineyard, the roughly 100-square-mile Massachusetts island that serves as a getaway for dozens of America's rich and famous.
Her reason has nothing to do with the beautiful fall foliage or the cool summer nights or the tony company or the relative proximity of the Vineyard to her New York home.
Oh, she likes all of that. But there's something else to it for the 31-year-old former star of television'sFelicity, who now makes her living as a spokeswoman for CoverGirl and with roles in such films as Waitress August Rush, a drama out this month in which she costars with Jonathan Rhys Meyers.
The reason she loves Martha's Vineyard is actually much more poetic than falling leaves or summer breezes. You see, the first time Russell visited the island, she was in the company of a man who grew up there and whose parents still live there. She fell in love with that man - a carpenter and an amateur surfer named Shane Deary. In fact, his connection to the Vineyard was one of the things that first attracted her to him. "We met through friends," Russell recalls. "I'd been single for quite a long time, and he was, honestly, one of the first guys I met that I thought, He is so cute! I immediately went outside [after meeting him] and texted my girlfriends and said, 'There is such a cute guy here, oh my gosh. And he's a surfer from Martha's Vineyard!'?"
This past February, the two married, and this June, they welcomed a baby boy, River Russell Deary. And guess where the baby spent his first summer? Right - Martha's Vineyard. "It's the coolest thing that Shane grew up there," Russell says from her New York home. "Because this is now going to be our place to go every year with our family, where we'll bring our kids and watch them grow up with all our other friends who grew up on the island. It's going to be so cool to watch all the kids grow up together."
So soon enough, River will know all his mom's favorite island spots. For those of us who won't be at Russell's family barbecues, she shares these things she loves about Martha's Vineyard.
First things first: You've got to get there. Here's how Russell says she reaches the island. One of the big experiences of traveling to Martha's Vineyard is taking the ferryboat over. It's about a 45-minute ferryboat [ride] to Martha's Vineyard. That is an experience - watching the seagulls as you are pulling farther out into the ocean and watching all the big houses as you come up to shore. It's just the coolest little quaint fishing village - wild, beautiful, everything. It's just perfect.
Martha's Vineyard is an island that is home to several individual towns. Russell says she likes Up-Island. Shane's parents live in what, on the island, they call Up-Island, in a town called West Tisbury. West Tisbury is a little more wild than the other towns on the island. It's in the trees. I actually love Up-Island. It's a little bit more untouched.
Which is not to say that she doesn't like Down-Island. Because she does. If you are looking for more of a walk-around little community, there are some really great places in Edgartown, which is much more developed, with white picket fences and little shops and tiny little brick roads. A friend got married there, and a lot of the wedding party stayed at the Charlotte Inn. It's beautiful.
Another beautiful place to stay is an inn Russell knows well. I love the Inn at Blueberry Hill. To get there, you drive up North Road, one of my favorite roads on the island. One winter, I went and stayed there while Shane was building a house. He grew up building houses on the island with his dad. So I would drive all the way up North Road and drop him off at work every day, and then I would drive back. Especially when it is off-season, there's no one else on that road, and it's really misty, and the trees form a canopy over the winding road. You'll see deer and birds and geese. It's very idyllic.