While it is still open, Russell says, you should try to get out to the Farm Institute. Every year, they do a huge corn maze - you know, like seven acres of corn that's as tall as your head or taller. We went this summer with my nephew, and it was a blast. It was huge, and it's really hard to find your way out. Another place that is really cool on that side of the island is called Morning Glory. It is a fresh-produce-and-vegetable place where some of what is sold is actually grown on the island. In October, the entire property is covered in pumpkins.
There are also great eat-in dining options. Beach Plum Inn and Restaurant has delicious food and a beautiful view as well. It's a great restaurant, and it's also just a beautiful place to go to sit and eat. There's another place, called Mediterranean, in Vineyard Haven that we really like. It's right by the Martha's Vineyard Times office, which is the cool local paper. When you go there, always pick up a copy of the Martha's Vineyard Times, because it tells you everything that is going on that week and the restaurants and the libraries that are open. So we always have one of those handy.
And the best meal of all? That's the one with family, Russell says. My favorite thing to do on the island is to pick up really fresh fish at the Net Result. We take the fish to Shane's mom. She's an excellent cook. Shane's family is one of the year-round families there. In the summer, there can be 75,000 people on the island, but the year-round population is only about 15,000 people.
Oh, one more food thing. Russell says that you can't drive to Martha's Vineyard just for Portuguese pork products, although some people would like to do that. We got back to New York after being on the Vineyard for the summer, and one morning, Shane woke up and said, "I want the breakfast sandwich at the Scottish Bakehouse." I said, "We aren't driving to go get it. It's too far." He loves the Scottish Bakehouse. His favorite breakfast sandwich has linguica on it, which is a Portuguese sausage. There's a big Portuguese population on the island.
As a new mom, Russell finds herself paying a lot more attention to where you can find activities for kids. Luckily, she says, there's no shortage of those on Martha's Vineyard. A cool thing in Oak Bluffs for kids - although my husband is 31 and loves it - is called Flying Horses Carousel. It is one of the oldest carousels in the country. It was built in 1876 at Coney Island, and they brought it in. As the horses go around, there's this little place where you can reach up and pull a ring down. The one on this ride is a brass ring. If you get a brass ring, you get a free ride. Shane has tried to get it his entire life, since he was a toddler. He has never gotten the brass ring.
But Russell says Deary has seen the gingerbread cottages, a 312-cottage collection of 140-year-old homes that sit on the site of a former Methodist campground. The gingerbread houses are in Oak Bluffs. On a certain day in the summer, they have Illumination Night. All those little houses hang lanterns on their porches - there are hundreds of these lanterns as you walk through this little village. There are tons of people, tons of kids, and everyone is taking photos.
Russell was born in Fountain Valley, California, grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and then earned a dance scholarship to a studio in Denver. So she didn't visit Martha's Vineyard until she was a grown-up and already dating Deary, at which point, for the first time ever, she saw a man throw an ax for sport. The agricultural fair is a cool thing. It lasts four days. There are rides, and there are tons of art exhibits, all from the island. It's so old-fashioned. There are horse shows and competitions. There are woodsmen contests, which I had never heard of before - it's ax throwing, sawing through logs, skillet-pan tossing. Plus there are agricultural booths.
It's not all about the kids, though. Sometimes a grown-up needs to have a good time on the town at night - not the kind of good time that Felicity and Ben had when they drank too much and broke into the indoor pool at the university, but a good time. There is an old church in Edgartown called the Old Whaling Church, and sometimes they will have concerts there. Livingston Taylor just played there. He is James Taylor's brother. Richie Havens plays there - cool people like that. Singer-songwriter folk artists.
Ah, it's the perfect Saturday. Then again, aren't all Saturdays perfect on Martha's Vineyard? Well, this one certainly would be. Here's how Russell would spend her perfect Saturday morning on Martha's Vineyard: I'd go to the West Tisbury Farmer's Market, which is one of the coolest things about the island. I would go and get all my fresh vegetables for the week and homemade pies and fresh-cut flowers. It's also a cool place to hang out at and see people you haven't seen in a long time and meet some of the local farmers.
After that, I would probably go get my coffee in Vineyard Haven, which is a little bit more of a town. The cell-phone reception isn't always working in Up-Island, so I'd get my coffee and walk around the little shops of Vineyard Haven and make all my phone calls there. One of my most favorite stores is Nochi, which a friend owns. They have the most beautiful furniture mixed in with little exquisite things and baby clothes, which I've bought tons of there.
In the afternoon, Russell would head to the beach for some family time. I would drive to Up-Island in the afternoon to watch Shane surf. On the north shore, there are calm waves, but on the south shore, Up-Island, there are more waves. So he'd probably surf on a beach like Squibnocket. All these names are so funny - they are Indian names.
What would be the perfect end to the perfect Martha’s Vineyard day? I would go watch the sunset in a place called Menemsha. That’s a very typical, picturesque New England town, where all the boats are docked. There are these little stands where you can buy chowder or fish and chips and also ice cream. It’s really beautiful.