July 9, 2009

Napping on Martha’s Vineyard {Naptime on the Road}

For the third installment in my Travel Series I am sharing my adventures, both foodie and otherwise, from our latest vacation destination, Martha’s Vineyard. For those of you looking for a new recipe, don’t worry. During my stay here I have been Naptime Chef-ing loads of delicious summer food, and can’t wait to share the recipes next week!

Martha’s Vineyard holds a special place in my heart. I have come to this island every single summer for my entire life, and experienced many significant milestones on its shore’s. This is where I met my husband, got married and shared my daughter’s first Christmas. It is also the place where, at age four, I got my first bee sting, attended my first day camp and, in college, spent my first summer without my parents. I lived in a room at a friend’s house, paying rent with my waitressing tips.

Having spent so much time here it goes without saying I know this Island inside and out. Over the years I have gotten to know all of it’s true hidden treasures, and am excited to share some of my favorites with you today. Rest assured, since this is a place I frequent, there will more travel articles about Martha’s Vineyard in the future. In the mean time, I hope you are able to plan a visit this summer.

Naptime Chef’s Martha’s Vineyard Favorites (in no particular order):
1. Espresso Love, Edgartown: Traveling with a toddler means no chance to sleep in. When my daughter starts her day at 6am the first thing I do is head to Espresso Love for a shot of caffeine. This coffee shop with a charming name has a great selection of drinks to give me the lift I need. It also serves delicious breakfast baked goods, lunch sandwiches, and dinner, too. Every morning should start this way.

2. LeRoux, Vineyard Haven: I could spend days browsing the shops on Martha’s Vineyard, especially this one. This store carries a well-edited collection of cooking supplies and decorative goods for the kitchen. It is any cook’s haven and is always worth a stop.

3. Martha’s Vineyard Glass Works, West Tisbury: The talented artisans at the Glass Works regularly sculpt gorgeous glass creations. I always love to stop in to see the latest inventory of vases, bar ware, jewelry and decorative objects. My daughter loves watching the glass blowers at work, they have an open workspace so everyone can watch them work on a project, from start to finish.

4. Farmer’s Markets, Multiple Locations: There are several farmers’ markets around the island to accommodate the produce from the numerous working farms. My two favorites are at the old Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury on Wednesday & Saturday’s, and Tuesday’s at Vineyard Haven Wharf. Both carry a wide selection of fresh island produce, delicious homemade baked goods and beautiful plants and herbs.

5. Slice of Life, Oak Bluffs: This no-frills restaurant is our go-to spot when we are in the mood for a hearty breakfast. I love the Tivoli egg sandwich on a buttery fresh biscuit, my daughter enjoys the Frisbee-size buttermilk pancakes.

6. The Bite, Menemsha: When I crave fried seafood this is my favorite place to go. This seafood shack (literally) takes orders through a screen window, gives you everything to go in greasy paper cups and makes you buy soda from a nearby vending machine. They use exclusively fresh seafood, so it is always excellent. My husband also swears this is the best clam chowder on the Island. We love take our fried food fiesta a few yards down to Menemsha beach for sunset picnics on the jetty.

7. Alley’s General Stores & Alley’s Farm Stand, West Tisbury: This old-fashioned general store carries everything you could possibly need, and then some. There is an abundance of snacks to be had, toys for children and general household necessities. I always pick up a treat for my daughter when visiting, and then go to the Farm Stand in the back to select some fresh, local produce.

8. State Road Restaurant, West Tisbury: I could spend a whole post writing exclusively about the restaurants on this Island, there are so many to choose from. This recently opened spot features local farm food, herbs fresh from the garden behind the restaurant, and is already a favorite among Islanders. If you want to enjoy a dinner there, be sure to make a reservation.

9. Farm Stands, Multiple Locations: Unlike farmers’ markets, farm stands are open daily and usually feature food exclusively from one farm. My two favorites are Fiddlehead Farm in West Tisbury, and Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown. When I stock up at both places I always know I am getting quality organic produce.

10. Net Result, Vineyard Haven: This is, hands down, the best fish store on the Island. Whenever we cookout (which is often), we always stop here first to see what is fresh. I also love their take-out window for lunches, they serve the best lobster roll on the Island.

11. Humphrey’s, Vineyard Haven, Edgartown: When I don’t have time to make sandwiches for the beach I head here. This place has been serving up the best homemade sandwiches in town for as long as I remember. Everything is made fresh while you wait, guaranteeing a delicious picnic lunch.

12. Mad Martha’s, Multiple Locations: No summer day is complete without a big bowl of ice-cream. Though I have been making my own lately, I still love a trip to Mad Martha’s. This island chain regularly dishes up creamy homemade ice-cream, our favorite is Peppermint Stick with Hot Fudge Sauce.