Despite the dismal April and early May in New England, I’m getting a good feeling about this season.
Case in point – last weekend!
The weather experts toyed with us all week by forecasting brilliant sunshine and then without notice, switching to cloudy and showers. I have always believed that one of the surest signs of summer in Massachusetts occurs when the weather turns out to be consistently better than the local meteorologists forecast!
Chart Room Opening Weekend
Our inaugural cruise of the season included our long time friends Peter and Mary Lee. This was quite fitting since they were also our crew for the final cruise of 2018 (Seeking Pilgrims).
We ended that October cruise at The Chart Room for their closing weekend and opened 2019 returning for their first weekend of the season.
Just in case it was busy, we timed our arrival for 11:30. It’s not that I dislike hanging on a mooring, it’s just that we had a busy day and didn’t want to waste 20-30 minutes waiting for a launch.
Following tradition, I gave the hostess our name, told her to come and get us when tables on the porch got scarce, and grabbed 4 Adirondack chairs overlooking the harbor.
And of course I got Mrs. Horne an iconic Mudslide. Surprisingly, at 11:37 AM her Mudslide was the first made that Saturday Morning (it’s 4:37 somewhere)…
Right after I returned to the Adirondacks, I heard someone calling my name and turned to see Tony Zecco and his wife Jennifer.
We ran into a few friends at the Chart Room, so I’d say so far, so good!
Once we sat down, Joyce Richards of Boston Yacht Sales showed up and joined us for our traditional lunch (Steamers, a shared Ruben on Sour Dough, Mrs. Horne gets slaw, and I get chips).
Off To The Vineyard
Despite the 6 month break, the crew performed admirably and we headed off to Oak Bluffs basking in 75 degrees of sunshine. Although the weather screamed summer, there was virtually no one rafting off Basset’s Island.
As you can see above, there was barely a blow and the 20 mile run to Oaks Bluff along the south coast of Cape Cod was smooth and scenic.
Oak Bluffs Summer Emerging
Last year we hit Oak Bluffs in early May and it felt like midsummer (see A Sneak Peak of Summer). We have also visited several times in late September and it’s nearly desolate – which I love.
I have now come to the conclusion that Oak Bluffs opens the season early and closes early as well.
There were plenty of empty slips, so I didn’t even book one on Dockwa until we arrived. We didn’t get my favorite slip – #79, but did get a well protected slip with a finger pier tucked up next to the new Harbormaster’s Shack.
Once we got tied up and hooked up our shore power, we opened a few beers and soaked up the beautiful day. Unlike Pocasset, it was more like mid 60’s on the island, but sweet just the same…
While lounging, we met our next door neighbors in slip #80 – Tom and Deena along with there very cute little dogs…
Tom owns and operates Pemberton Farms Marketplace in Cambridge. Tom knows my friend Henry Wainer (Sid Wainer’s in New Bedford) and my cousins, the Tavilla’s, owners and operators of P. Tavilla in Boston.
Paul Tavilla came to the US in the 1920’s and grew the family produce business from a push cart in Haymarket to the largest owner-operated produce terminal in the United States.
Tom told Mrs. Horne “The Tavilla’s are the hardest working family I know.” I agree, but it was still great to hear from someone else!
It turned out that Joyce visited OB as well in her boat. She had just launched her and she looked quite nice.
Dinner at The Cardboard Box
Last fall we discovered The Cardboard Box when visiting OB with Joan and Jon Ruel. The food was great and Mrs. Horne insisted we return as soon as possible, so we did.
Based on two visits, I can confidently say that this a very special restaurant. I have also now tasted a half dozen different dishes and I will be doing a proper review before the end of the summer.
Having ate a late lunch, I decided to try the Pork Goyza appetizer for dinner.
Like all the pasta dishes at The Cardboard Box, the Goyza’s were homemade from scratch and 100% authentic. These were better than those I’ve had a better Asian restaurants around the world. The pasta was very thin the the pork was tender and full of flavor.
After dinner we stopped by The Ritz to catch some local music. The band sounded great, but there were no open seats and the crew wasn’t in the mood to stand, so we headed back to Vigilant.
We all slept like babies Saturday night and Sunday morning was magnificent. Around 7:00 AM I headed over to the beach by the Ferry Dock and shot a couple of photos…
Biking to The Black Dog
One of Mrs. Horne’s goals for this season is to do more physical activity when we’re away for a few days. I am an avid biker and since most ports have lots of bike rental shops, I suspect this will become our activity of choice.
There are 2-3 bike shops right near the Marina and the one that’s closest also rents eBikes. My daughter and son-in-law live in a very hilly section of North County San Diego and they own eBikes, so I’m very familiar with these splendid innovations.
eBikes have small electric motors to help the rider cruise up hills or cover more distance while still pedaling. The power assist means that even on steep hills or cruising at 20 MPH, the pedal force required is minimal.
The A2B and Pedego eBikes at MVeBike also have the ability to cruise at up to 20 MPH under their own power. There is a twist throttle on the right handlebar that operates like a Moped.
I was excited to try this out, but alas it was not to be!
MVeBikes gives every customer a brief training session before they leave. Little did we know that the manager – Jordan was observing everything from the deck above the shop.
“I hate to be the bearer of bad news” said Jordan appearing from the garage,” but she’s a little too shaky on the bike,” pointing toward Mary Lee.
“When did you last ride a bike?”
“Ten” said Mary Lee…
“Ten years ago?” Said Jordan.
“No, when I was ten years old” said Mary Lee.
I quickly jumped in and asked if we could just rent regular bikes and Jordan said “Sure.”
It’s about 4 miles up a hill to pedal from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven. It’s a 35 MPH street – which is a tad busy for me. But since it was a Sunday morning in mid-May and the drivers were most likely laid back locals, I figured it’d be okay. I wouldn’t want to try this in July when the streets are packed with tourists in a hurry to relax!
Brunch at The Black Dog
As I have written before, Sunday was always a funny day at the Black Dog Tavern. They use to serve brunch until noon, then close for an hour and open at 1:00 for lunch.
No more, they now serve breakfast until 4:00 PM (what do you do with a drunken sailor) and switch to lunch immediately at noon (11:30 Monday-Saturday).
We arrived around 10:00, so it was going to be Brunch for us. On this gray chilly day in mid May, we still had a 25 minute wait for a table, but it actually turned out to be 15 minutes – not bad.
As is always the case, the food and drink was superb.
After a brief look at google maps, I found a way home on back roads, but I still don’t think I’d want to try this in the summer.
We returned the bikes and headed downtown to do a little shopping for our grand kids. Although my 10:30 AM Bloody was ancient history, I wanted a little pick-me-up and tried a new coffee shop that’s a little off the beaten path.
I have news for everyone, the Ice Americano at Toccopuro takes a back seat to no one – it’s great. It’s a little out of the way, way down Kennebec almost to Vineyard Vines on the right. I suppose it wouldn’t be so good if it was on the waterfront.
Sunday Evening on Oak Bluffs
I really had my heart set on getting to The Ritz in time to grab a seat before the music started. Since the only way to make this happen was to have an early dinner, we skipped lunch (which wasn’t that hard since we had a big breakfast at 10:30.)
Last fall we’d enjoy a great lunch at The Martha Vineyard Chowder company so that’s where we went for dinner.
Of course, having skipped lunch, we were all pretty hungry and I think we may have over ordered!
I had a cup of their award winning, made from scratch, clam chowder and the steak tip appetizer. I would also add the shrimp cocktail (top left photo) were massive!
Live at The Ritz
My plan worked out and we got to The Ritz a few minutes before the band was suppose to play – 7:00 PM. The stage was empty, but being a Sunday night in May, I just assumed everyone was on “island time.”
As soon as we sat down we saw a guy carrying a drum through the door so we knew we’d be hearing music soon.
Our bartender came over and introduced herself…
Her name is Tara – same as my favorite bartender at Turks. I asked if I could use her photo on my website and gave her a My Buzzards Bay card. She said “yeah, I remember you from last year.”
It’s nice to be remembered!
Around 7:30 the Holy Rock and Roll Revival started playing with Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.
After a few songs I realized that the “Holy” in the band’s name was rather literal – almost every song they did had a spiritual theme.
We awoke to fog on Monday morning and knowing Mrs. Horne will not let me venture through Woods Hole in the fog, I started considering another night in Oaks Bluff.
Peter and I went to Linda Jeans for breakfast just as the sun broke out.
Before we departed, I visited with the dockmaster – Todd.
Much to my delight, I was able to secure slip 78 for our next visit in July. I’m a little nervous about Oak Bluffs in the summer, but at least I now know we’ll have a reasonably secluded slip with a finger pier.
Next up will be our first visit to Newport with our #1 crew – Gail and Rudy!