Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most beautiful places to visit on Martha’s Vineyard. From grassy fields to woods bubbling with local wildlife, to stunning shoreline views, Felix Neck delivers a memorable experience. Now what if Felix Neck was paired with locally brewed beer from Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery? Hike And Hops is born!
Interest peaked yet? Well, Bad Martha is known for using as many locally sourced ingredients as possible for its beer, including beach plums, hops, honey, chocolate, even oysters, and Felix Neck happens to have a lot of edible wild plants on its grounds. Together, it’s like Nature Happy Hour.
“Get outside and get thirsty on a naturalist-guided walk at Felix Neck”
Hike And Hops begin at Felix Neck at 4:00 p.m. on select Thursdays throughout the Summer. We were lucky enough to venture out on the very first one in May. Unfortunately, the Island was still a little less lush back then than now but beautiful just the same.
Liz Dengenis, the Education Coordinator at Felix Neck, is the one who takes you out on this adventure experience. She along with the rest of the Felix Neck staff are always fun to chat with! We met at the Felix Neck gift shop, which is full of great nature inspired finds (be sure to check out the all new logo for their clothes). Now unfortunately, there are no beers provided at Felix Neck, you have to wait until your tour heads over to Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery, which is only a couple of miles away.
Hike And Hops: What To Expect On This Experience
The wait for the Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery Beer is worth the wait. We began our walk (not to worry it’s not a challenging one), and Liz pointed out all sorts of things of interest. From birds to animal tracks, there was so much to see.
This property is just so lovely. After crossing the bridge at the pond, we stopped at a collection of sassafras trees. Do you know what sassafras is most known for? Root beer! It also has medicinal and other culinary uses, but this is its most common. It was just blooming in May, but is now in its full bloom – you can try it if you’re feeling brave!
We continued on, talking about acorns, striped wintergreen, lavender, ferns, beach plums and more. There are so many edible plants, and it was interesting to learn about them along the hike.
When we came to Sengekontacket Pond, the hike took on a different feel. With the warm sun on. our face, we went on a min-seashore discovery adventure. This area is teaming with sea creatures in the Summer. I can only imagine what fun people will have with all the crabs, sea stars, and more.
We went back into the woods, the path we were on is an easy loop to do, so no worries if you not a hiker usually. We came across beach plums (too early for them), and continued on exploring.
When the walk was over, it was time to head over to Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery to taste local ingredients in action! None of the ingredients used at the brewery come from Felix Neck because you can’t harvest anything from the sanctuary but you definitely had a better understanding of local ingredients.
You can carpool with Liz to the brewery or you can drive on your own. Going to Bad Martha Farmer’s Brewery is always fun. They have a great outdoor beer garden which is a favorite hang out spot especially on sunny days. Also, you’ll find corn hole and a ring toss to add to the fun.
Since I was feeling inspired and all about trying new things, I got a flight. A flight is a sampler of craft beer. Of course I had to include the Beach Plum which has a hint of beach plum, and is a perfect light Summer beer.
We chatted with head brewer Josh about local ingredients, cheered and then relaxed into enjoying our beers together. We continued discussing what we saw on our hike, and what we had learned. It really was a great Nature Happy Hour!
A little education, a little exercise, a little socializing, and locally brewed beer is a great combination for a Summer adventure. You can book yours today on select Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m., June 20th, July 25th, August 22nd & September 19th. Members: $40; Nonmembers: $45 Participants must be 21 or over.