Last weekend we had big plans for a 4 day trip visiting Green Harbor, Marblehead, and Provincetown. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate so we had to change our plans.
We cancelled Saturday (our first leg) and based on rain forecasts north, we decided to change everything and go as far south as possible instead. The new plan was Martha’s Vineyard for Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.
Although we set our general destination for Martha’s Vineyard, we had no particular harbor confirmed. When I left the house to bring Vigilant in for loading, I told Mrs. Horne my priority would be:
- Oak Bluffs
- Vineyard Haven
If you read my destination report on Martha’s Vineyard, you know that all three harbors offer pluses and minuses.
Since I knew Sunday afternoon and some of Monday might not be great weather, I targeted Edgartown knowing I could get a straight wharf with the aft facing the harbor. I also felt like there was more to do on a rainy day in Edgartown.
Dockwa showed all three harbors had availability. Both Oaks Bluff and Vineyard haven were less expensive ($387 for two nights). Edgartown showed availability at both Harborside ($940) and the Town Wharf ($500), but obviously both were more money.
The last time I spoke to Harborside they told me they’d do $250/night if they thought they had space. They have the best location so I called them. Not only did they stick to their ridiculous rate of $470/night, but they also confessed “we don’t have power at our docks.”
As they say in Boston – “fagettaboutit”…
As I sat at the gas dock at MBY waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive, I sent a request into the Edgartown Harbormaster on Dockwa and then immediately called to confirm.
They only ever have two slips available and the guy who answered the phone said they didn’t have any space. I told them Dockwa showed they did and I asked him to check it out. After a little back and forth, he said “let me ask the boat in the slip when they’re leaving and call you back.” He did and they did have space, so Edgartown was our destination for our late June getaway.
Although the sky was a little brighter to the south, it was still pretty gray as we cruised across Buzzards Bay toward Woods Hole.
Entering The Slip
We were assigned the inside slip which was perfect. The power station was close enough to enable us to tie up bow in with a great view of the harbor. It was also a straight wharf which made it easy for our short legged crew members to get on and off.
My only problem was not fully appreciating the wind and current. Now that the south end of Katama Bay is open to the ocean, there’s often a strong tidal current in Edgartown. Add in a strong south wind and I ended up having to abort two landing attempts before finally going all the way to Chappy’s before turning around and charging the slip.
I’m not sure I’ll ever do a formal review of the Town Wharf (search for Edgartown Harbormaster in Dockwa) since there are only two slips. Now that I think about it, I’m sure I won’t do a review because I don’t want to spill the secret.
The Town Wharf is located right next to the Gas Dock north of Chappy’s. It’s a little further from town, but still a short walk. It is also in the midst of some of most quaint homes and streets on Martha’s Vineyard.
Our Culinary Adventure
If you’re closely following My Buzzards Bay, you know that I’ve been to Edgartown over 50 times and only eaten at The Seafood Shanty. This was another reason I wanted to spend three days in Edgartown – I wanted to branch out and try other seaside eateries!
Most likely I’ll do formal reviews on all of these spots down the road. For now, I’ll give you a quick rundown and highlight the most incredible dish we shared.
The Newes at The Kelly House
Since the Kelly House is just up the street from the Seafood Shanty, we’ve discussed going there a few times in the past. Sunday was gray and cool so we didn’t want to dine Al Fresco. The Newes offers a very nice pub setting indoors and that’s where we ate lunch.
I ordered the New York Reuben and everyone else had Fish and Chips. They were all excellent (hence their 4 star rating on yelp), but the star dish was the Mac and Cheese.
The twisted noodles, fontina cheese, shredded parm, and Portuguese Linguica resulted in something that tasted more like an exotic Orecchiette than Mac and Cheese.
Meeting Cool People
Mrs. Horne and Gail became momentarily dismayed when they realized the Town Wharf only had 2 slips and it would be very difficult for her to make new friends in Edgartown. Despite this we did meet a very interesting family while we were hanging out watching the action in the harbor.
The family was Jon and Lily Bingham and here’s their special story...
Dinner in Edgartown
Since we were going to have dinner on Sunday and Monday night, I once again hit up yelp and selected the top two restaurants for dinner…
I don’t always go by yelp, but I find it’s the best place to start. Then I look at the menu and the negative reviews. If I don’t see a couple of special dishes jumping out as unique and tasty, I move on. In terms of the negative reviews, I look at whysomeone gave 1-2 stars and who they are. If I see comments from some from LA or New York and they’re complaining because the restaurant took too long to serve their party of eight, I discount it.
Needless to say, I went with Port Hunter for Sunday and Isola for Monday.
The Port Hunter
I’ll do a more detailed review in the future, but I will tell you that the two appetizers I ordered were unique and offered very strong flavors.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I seldom order a full meal when cruising since I probably ate breakfast and lunch and I’m just not that hungry. These two incredible appetizers cost a total of $24 and I probably ate half of each.
We got to the Port Hunter around 7:00, but thanks to the long days of late June, it was still daylight when we returned to Vigilant. It’s funny how things get very photogenic at dusk. I snapped this photo…
It was about a 10 minute walk to the boat and just about dark when we settled in. It was one of those magically nights that only a true ocean lover can appreciate – a moderate mist, little wind, and a fog horn blowing off in the distance.
Although this would have been a great night to watch a movie, we decided to do the unexpected and suggested that we all play cards. Mrs. Horne was shocked because she knows that I’d typically rather go the dentist than play cards, but that was the mood I was in.
We played Pitch, which is a great game for late nights on the boat. Each player starts with just 6 cards and toss one out with each turn. No need for a big table.
Sadly, the girls smoked us…
Believe or not, we stayed up and played until almost Midnight. While we were playing, a torrential rain storm hit. Sitting warm and dry inside Vigilant while the rain pounded the windows was very cool.
Taking the Chappy to Chappaquiddick
The morning came and although it was still chilly, there were clear signs of sun coming through the morning mist.
I had told the crew the night before that I wanted to rent bikes for the morning and after a little discussion, we decided to take the Chappy ferry across the harbor and bike to Wasque Nature Reserve.
This turned out to be an incredible way to spend a morning in Edgartown so I did a special report on the entire venture.
We got back to Edgartown around 1:00 and went to my favorite seaside eatery – The Seafood Shanty for lunch. I’ve done a couple of stories on the Shanty already, but for 2018, they updated the outside deck and that alone is worthy of an update.
Expect to see a Seafood Shanty update next week.
As I mentioned above, I stuck to yelp for our dining destinations and so we went to Isola for dinner our second night. I used Google Maps to get us their, but it’s in an odd spot and eventually we had to stop and ask directions.
Unlike The Port Hunter, which is a huge brick room, Isola feels like someone’s home and very much like a traditional Cape Cod restaurant.
The atmosphere and outstanding food justified the yelp #1 ranking.
I started with the Oysters Rockefeller. This is probably my favorite appetizer and one that you don’t find on many restaurant menus.
Without question, these were the best I’ve ever had. They were really stuffed and the Brie Bechamel left a sweeter taste than the classic. I also like that the order came with 3 (versus 6), no need to sell someone on sharing! Needless to say, the full review will one day follow.
From Great to Memorable…
As we finished our meals, I noticed a man meticulously scanning each table. Experience has taught me that he was probably the owner so I waved him over and invited him to join us.
His name was Peter Sullo and he was a delightful man. He lives in Vineyard Haven and opened Isola in 2014. Before Isola, he owned and operated Rocco’s Pizza in Vineyard Haven. Although Isola is a great and moderately priced restaurant, it also hosts a Pizzeria and a unique healthy take-out business, which offers gluten-free cookies, zucchini noodles, kale salads and other vegan and raw treats.
At some point Mrs. Horne put in a plug for our waiter Ben…
It turned out that Ben is also a musician who works with special needs kids teaching them music. Of course once we heard this, we told Peter that Rudy and I were musicians too. Then Peter said “would you treat us to a song or two?”
Having split a nice bottle of Cab, we immediately responded “SURE” and headed off to the bar where we found a couple of nice guitars, keyboards, and various play along instruments.
Wisely, Ben and Peter did not fire up the PA (just in case we stunk), so only the bar patrons heard us perform. I went with my standard popular cover – Wagon Wheel…
What a classic – people hooting in the bar and the view of kitchen door in the background. The best part was the young girl about 15 feet away singing along. I love it when kids know the words to older folks songs.
Rudy finished up with Little Feat’s Willing, but the acoustics drowned out the video.
We wrapped up the evening with another Pitch Tournament and this time Gail and Rudy smoked me and Mrs. Horne!
The Edgartown Diner
We finished up our three day getaway by trying out the Edgartown Diner for breakfast. Although it’s new, it’s well done with all the nostalgic decor of the 1950’s.
The food was honest Americana Fare and the portions were huge…
The hash browns were clearly the leftover potatoes from the night before chopped up and browned on the flat top. The highlight was the homemade cornbread.
We Just Couldn’t Go Home
Day three turned out to be a “Perfect 10” and even though it was a Tuesday, we decided it was too nice to head straight home. We took Vigilant to Hadley’s inner harbor, dropped anchor, and enjoyed some cheese, crackers, salami, and pate listening to tunes.
Although it’s tough to snag one of the two slips at the Edgartown Town Wharf, I suspect we’ll be back again in the fall. Even though it’s $250/night, it’s a very special place…
Oh yeah, I almost forgot the MBB Video I created about the trip…