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Summer Vacation on Martha's Vineyard

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I recently returned from a week vacation with my family on the picturesque island of Martha’s Vineyard. We would come here nearly every summer when I was growing up. For many years we would rent a house, but after my grandmother died my parents bought a house. This year was the first time there were no renters as my folks plan to stay for the whole summer.  

As a child growing up I use to enjoy taking long bike rides down to South Beach and some fifteen years ago I was going to get married here. That relationship ended shortly before the save the date cards were mailed out and I didn’t return to the island for nearly a decade.

A few years before she passed away, I remember eating a chocolate dipped soft serve ice cream cone and watching Jackie Onassis wave to the crowd as she boarded her late husband’s yacht in Menemsha. Another fond memory I have as a kid was sitting on the pier eating fried seafood while watching the On Time ferry go back and forth to Chappaquiddick. Chappaquiddick is probably best known as the place that Ted Kennedy drove his car off the bridge and left his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, to die. It is also where Meg Ryan has a house and can sometimes be seen riding a bicycle around with her on again off again boyfriend John Mellencamp. The ferry ride takes all of a few minutes. There isn’t much to do there, but bike and go to the beach.

The thing about the island in general is not much changes. Many of the restaurants have been around for years and the food is hit or miss, but always overpriced. The majority of the houses have beautifully manicured lawns and award worthy gardens. Shutters look freshly painted and Land Rovers are the car du jour.

Pink is a popular color for both women and men. Pink plaid blazers paired with matching pants, loafers without socks and a sweater tied around the neck are a typical guy’s outfit here or a Vineyard Vines polo shirt, shorts with boat shoes. Lilly Pulitzer has a store here and her bright, colorful and floral prints are standard daytime attire here. All I think when I see a lady in one of these bright prints is they must be a stepford housewive who lives in an idyllic white picket fence house, is married to a stock broker or hedge fund manager and has two picture perfect kids. I’ll admit I’m partially jealous of their seemingly fabulous lives and how much of a polar opposite my life is.

Martha’s Vineyard was for a time also a popular vacation spot for Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Bill and Hilary Clinton would vacation here with their then teenage daughter Chelsea and they were often seen around town attempting to be just another family on vacation. It’s also the place where Bill Clinton bought a gift for Monica Lewinsky back in the heat of their affair. I remember being awoken by a fury of SUV’s driving pass our house late one night on their way into the main part of Edgartown. We later found out that the than president had a popular local store, The Black Dog, opened specifically for him. Among the items he purchased was a gift for Monica Lewinsky.

I am planning on getting married next summer, so I likely won’t be back to the vineyard next year and honestly, I’m sure when I will return after that. While looking for wedding venues I fell in love with a small town on the Northern coast of California called Marshall. It’s on Tomales Bay surrounded by ranches and dairy farms and only 45 minutes from Napa. This is my new happy place and hopefully one day I will call it home.