Friday, June 24, 2016

Island Vacation in Martha's Vineyard!

Thinking of Martha's Vineyard always brings a smile to my heart. This island is definitely one of my family’s favorite destinations in New England. It has been known as the favorite summer destination for the past years of the Obama family as well as other famous celebrities.  And no, it’s not just the hype that get people flocking to Martha’s Vineyard -- the place is naturally gorgeous.

Martha's Vineyard is an island that boasts of a handful of big towns, with each town having something different to admire. From Victorian Houses in Oak Bluffs to impressive summer homes and upscale shopping in Edgartown to the mesmerizing sunset view at Menemsha -- Martha’s Vineyard falls under the category of a perfect vacation spot.

Menemsha | Martha's Vineyard | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary enjoying collecting sea shells at Menemsha beach in Martha's Vineyard.

Summer Homes | Edgartown | Martha's Vineyard | Chichi Mary Blog
One of the many beautiful summer homes in Edgartown.

Martha's Vineyard Homes | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog

The last time we went to Martha’s Vineyard was when Mary was only 3 but Mary had so much fun that every year she would ask us when we are planning on going back. But just like most people, we have limited days of vacation in a year due to our hectic work schedule. This year, we finally decided to go back to Martha’s Vineyard as we are expecting another baby, and a long travel for the family is not our preference these days.

Oca Loca Sandals | Edgartown | Winnetu | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary greeting our beach side Edgartown resort like an old friend saying "ahh, it's good to be back."  ( Mary in her Oca-Loca summer sandals and Siaomimi dress)

Many tourists typically go to Martha's Vineyard as a daytrip from Boston, which is very feasible given the short ferry ride.  But for me personally, Martha’s Vineyard has so many places to explore and experience that I really prefer staying for at least three days.  Here are some of the interesting finds that we had at Martha’s Vineyard during our recent stay.  I hope you’ll find it useful:


Winnetu Oceanside Resort
I could not think of anything better than Winnetu for accommodations in Martha’s Vineyard especially if you’re having a vacation with kids. It’s a beautiful family resort in Edgartown that it is only a walking distance to South Beach – one of the most beautiful beaches in Martha’s Vineyard.  The resort is very family friendly.  They even provide free summer activities for the kids where you can drop them off at around 9 am and pick them up at 12 pm. So for parents who want to have a brunch date, it is definitely a perfect treat while their kids have fun touching turtles and collecting sea shells.

One of the memories of Winnetu that really stuck with Mary is the afternoon opportunity to make and eat your own smores.  Who wouldn't like molten marshmallow served with chocolate on top of graham cookies? I'm sure that even when she's older, this is one happy memory that will stick with her. The friends that Mary gained during the kids morning sessions were also there during smores time, so this meant even more play time for Mary.

From vintage fire truck ride around Edgartown to summer activities like turtle hunt and arts & crafts or simply swimming at the resort’s heated pool, a stay at the Winnetu is truly memorable for kids.

Adirondack Chairs | Winnetu | Martha's Vineyard | Chichi Mary Blog

Miniature Edgartown Lighthouse | Winnetu | Chichi Mary Blog
Miniature Edgartown Lighthouse

Pond | Winnetu | Martha's Vineyard | Chichi Mary Blog
Another of Mary's favorite is the pond with turtles at the Winnetu, complete with its own gazebo as well as a miniature light house.

Vintage Fire Truck | Winnetu | Chichi Mary Blog
The Winnetu also has fire truck rides every afternoon in the summer.

Vintage Bus | Winnetu | Martha's Vineyard
This is the kids "school bus" that takes them back to the hotel after their early morning fun sessions.


In our opinion, delicious food is a critical part of a great vacation.  At Martha’s Vineyard, we’re spoiled with dining options. One thing I like when on vacation is to try out new restaurants and I appreciate seeing new dining spots that provide a unique experience.  Here are some of our favorites during our last visit:

Rosewater Market and Takeaway
This small grocery shop, bakery and lunch place has only been in downtown Egdartown for only a year. But it has curated fine grocery items like sparkling sodas, dining accessories and many others that has made it very popular not only to the tourists but to locals as well. I love their popular Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich paired with Rose Lavender Sparkling Soda. The place has a relaxed ambiance that makes it very tempting to just hang around especially when it’s raining and gloomy outside. 

Rosewater Market | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog

Bike | Rosewater Market | Chichi Mary Blog
Playing with the outside decorations at the Rosewater Market.

Behind the Bookstore
This is our favorite so far because the three of us all enjoyed in this place. The café is literally behind a bookstore. The café's menu options were a little limited but there was no reason for us to be disappointed because everything we ordered was so good.  I loved their smoked & braised brisket sandwich and morning glory greens salad. It was so simple but we loved the enhanced flavors of the sandwich, and the grilled shrimp from my salad was so fresh and tasty. There was nothing rich for the taste but it was ultra comforting, which is a good reason to go back.

We also enjoyed their selections of tea. The tea is served with a mouth watering Biscoff cookie from Belgium. The cookie was so good that my daughter asked to order more so that we can keep some on the way back to the hotel.  These small things are what we appreciate in a restaurant especially when on vacation. It is their effort of giving excitement to their guests by curating different delicious food items from all over the world.

Behind The Bookstore | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog
The seating area of the cafe, which was perfect for just lounging around when we were there on a rainy day.

Beef Brisket Sandwich | Behind The Bookstore | Chichi Mary Blog
Some of the best food we had at Martha's Vineyard being served behind the bookstore.

Tea & Biscoff Cookie | Behind The Bookstore | Chichi Mary Blog
The very delicious team came with just one set of cookie.  It was so delicious that we had to ask if they were selling just the cookies. 

Sharky’s Cantina
Whenever I go to a Mexican place, I always order a fish taco.  I can honestly say that this was a great place to be, as Sharky’s Cantina is known for its crispy fish taco.  It was one of the best fish tacos I had. The combination of the freshness of the seafood and the burst of flavors in one bite is just unforgettable.

Sharky's Cantina | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog

Crispy Fish Taco | Sharky's Cantina | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog
Sharky's Cantina's crispy fish taco.  We didn't expect to be enjoying Mexican food at an island in New England, but now this is one of the really good reasons to come back again and again.

Right Fork Diner
This is not only a good dining spot but it’s a very interesting place especially if you have kids with you because it is located at the Katama Airfield where you see biplanes taking off.  The diner offers typical diner food but the most unforgettable for us are their famous pancakes.  Yes, it deserves to be famous because as soon as we smelled the pancakes, we knew these were going to be special. From the first bite to the last (and technically even later since we brought home some), we were in pancake heaven.  One of the best pancakes for us!

Biplanes | Katama Airport | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog

Right Fork Diner | Katama Airport | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog
A diner with an island feel.

Dining Room | Katama Airport | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog

Pancakes | Right Fork Diner | Edgartown | Chichi Mary Blog
The famous pancakes!!

Larsen’s Fish Market
An institution in Menemsha.  The queue was so long when we arrived that I didn’t have the time to take a picture.  It is a great place to grab your lobster bisque and lobster roll before you bask in the sun and wait till sunset.  Of course, their crab cakes should not also be missed.

Larsen's Fish Market | Menemsha | Martha's Vineyard
Facade of Larsen's Fish Market in Menemsha.  (Photo courtesy of Merchant Circle)

Back Door Donuts
I always hear about Back Door Donuts but I didn’t have high expectations when I went to this place.  The place is open from 7:30 pm to 12:58 am and you would literally line up at the back door to get warm donuts and apple fritters.  There was quite a long line when we arrived considering the weather was chilly on that day.

Our excitement started building up whenever we would hear people in front of us holding their donuts saying that it was just so good! Imagine the feeling of having people at the front of your line getting what looks like mouth-watering donuts and hearing sighs of delight at how delicious it was.  The closer you get to the front, the more you're actually hoping that it's as delicious as what you're eyes, ears and nose are telling you.  And finally, the relief and ecstasy when you get your turn and take a warm bite of that heavenly donut.  Just writing this makes me crave for that sweet taste again.

Yes, it was very, very good that we decided to bring home more than a dozen donuts to share with friends.  MV Bakery & Café offers the same donuts during daytime but the excitement of lining up and buying freshly baked donuts at the back door is already a great experience itself. 

Queue | Back Door Donuts | Oak Bluffs | Chichi Mary Blog

Donut Sundae | Back Door Donuts | Oak Bluffs | Chichi Mary Blog
Mary enjoying a donut sundae.  We're not really sure how she was able to fit in everything in her stomach.  (Mary in her Siaomimi cardigan and Charm dress.)

Other Interesting Areas for Kids

Flying Horses Carousel
If you’re looking for a fun activity with your kids and with a history behind it, Flying Horses Carousel is a must-visit.  It is the oldest operating carousel in the country and was also designated as a national landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior.  The place also has some video games that kids enjoy. It's a classic one and we had a great time shooting rings as our carousel went around. 

Flying Horses Carousel | Oak Bluffs | Chichi Mary Blog
Photo courtesy of MV Preservation website.

Alpaca Island
Mary also had so much fun exploring the Alpaca Island where she was able to pat and observe Alpacas. It was a treat to witness how they were fed, took medicines, and spot the differences of their face features.  They're so cute and fluffy that you'll also be tempted to buy Alpaca items from the gift shop.    

Alpaca Island | Martha's Vineyard | Chichi Mary Blog
The alpacas were a great hit, and it's almost addicting to pet their velvety softness.  (Mary in her Stella Cove summer dress.)

Alpaca Island | Vineyard Haven | Chichi Mary Blog

Martha’s Vineyard has so many things to offer.  I myself am pretty satisfied just lingering around Edgartown, passing by beautiful summer homes and exploring specialty boutiques. But the experience of discovering relaxed and comforting dining spots and the numerous options of kids activities made Martha’s Vineyard for our family even more spectacular!



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