It’s hard to believe that I have been writing On Point since 2011. At the end of the year, it’s fun to reflect on some of my favorites Island topics I’ve written about. Don’t get wrong, every story has a special place in my heart, but there are some that I think about often.
I also have to say that it is an honor to write about so many amazing Islanders and Island businesses. I love that everything has such a great story behind it, and I am so lucky to have this job!
It’s hard not to start with the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite Fundraiser. We’re on our last day of an amazing fundraising drive this year that is targeting childhood hunger here on the Vineyard. The Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club new Healthy Happy Kids initiative costs $35,000. We’ve already raised more than $31,000 — the majority of the cost. If you’d like to help us support our own community DONATE NOW. All donations are tax deductible.
There are a number of reasons why I liked writing about Cottage City Oysters. First, I really like the Martino Brothers, Dan and Greg. Second, I really like oysters, and third, I love that their oysters are grown in Oak Bluffs. A different location lends itself to a very different brine I found.
It also was fun to go on their boat and visit their farm, and shuck a couple of oysters right then and there. You can read more about Cottage City Oysters here.
New Dining On Martha’s Vineyard
I don’t get to Aquinnah nearly enough. There are great shops and great places to eat, many that I still need to explore. When my friend Scott Mullin told me his friends, Theresa and Paul Manning were opening Cliffhangers, I was more than happy to venture up-Island and check out this great new food shack.
Not only was the food fabulous, whoa did I love the crab cake sandwich and chowder, and was the view breathtaking. The story behind Cliffhangers was really wonderful.
So often, I hear of stories where things just work out on the Island. I like to call it Island magic. Something happens, and the ideal situation is created, and there is such a great network of support found in this special community, that great things come about. Read all about Cliffhangers here.
I look forward to exploring the other food options on the Cliffs in 2017!
Let’s talk tacos. How awesome is the addition of Backyard Taco to the Island. This super casual taco “shack” in Edgartown, serves up some of the most amazing tacos you’ll find.
At Backyard Taco, it’s all in the family. Brothers Zared and Evan Shai have created colorful, fun combinations (like eggplant) that leave you wanting more. Also, the casualness of the place makes you feel right at home. Even if they’re out of shells or closed when you thought they would be open, you just keep going back! Find out more about this hidden gem here.
For something a little more refined, the Vineyard got its first prefix menu restaurant in 2016. Down Island, the sister restaurant to 20 By Nine, opened just in time for the summer season.
A casual but elegant restaurant in Oak Bluffs, with a hyper local, hyper fresh menu that changed several times, chef Scott Cummings created some of seriously amazing food. With all four courses, perfectly paired together, diners were delighted.
Though some did not enjoy having their menu determined for them, I quite enjoyed it. There was something refreshing about sitting down to dinner with a friend and having each dish be a sort of surprise, since it might not be anything close to what you would order.
I know the gnocchi took my breath away, and I look forward to seeing what Down Island brings to the table in 2017 – find out more about Down Island here.
Legends Made on Martha’s Vineyard
Two non-food, non-event blogs, that I was really excited to learn about were Legendary MV and Bluerock Design. Both stories did not disappoint.
With Legendary MV, you’ll find a story of friendship and family, and a love of Martha’s Vineyard that has been turned into a successful brand. It’s stories like this that make you want to buy something they’ve created, and wear it with pride. The stories behind great ideas are truly remarkable. Read about Legendary MV here.
Bluerock Design Co. had been on my mind for a while. When I would write stories, I would remark on how much I loved their logo or marketing, and the name Bluerock kept popping up.
Finally, I reached out to the husband and wife team, Laney Fink and Ben Scott. They are two amazing, creative people. Learning about their process and commitment to their work is inspiring.
The fact that from this little Island, they create impactful logos and images for business from L.L. Bean to Harvard University, and from Island Grown Schools to the Harbor View Hotel, is just so cool.
Also, their creations are some of the most eye-catching and really convey the message of the the business. I love their work! Find out all about Bluerock Design Co. here.
A definite worthwhile mention is The Kindness Project, started by Morrice Florist (whose logo was created by Bluerock Design Co.).
Emily Coulter and her team at Morrice Florist created The Kindness Project over the Summer as a way to foster random acts of kindness. At the flower shop, there were flowers available for people to take to give to someone deserving and albeit unsuspecting.
The ability to spread happiness and beauty with flowers is a true gift, and an inspiration for other business to work to create a better place to live. Learn about The Kindness Project here, and how you can participate.
Eventful On Martha’s Vineyard
Oh this is a tough one. I love Island events! Taste of the Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival, Local Wild Food Challenge, Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival, Possible Dreams, Meals in the Meadows, there are so many fabulous events that are spectacular.
However, there were two new events in 2016 that I want to give special mention, the first is Gather, The Pop-Up Dinner Series from Farm.Field.Sea.
This series was focused on providing pleasure with a purpose. I attended the Gather – Food & Oceans event, and was truly inspired. First, the venue, the Martha’s Vineyard Shipyard, was fantastic, offering amazing views of the lagoon.
Second, the food, provided by Blue Crab Kitchen was fresh, local and inventive, but one of the things that was most impressive was the message.
Farm.Field.Sea founder Nevette Previd, not only created a beautiful back drop and menu, but she had Paul Greenberg author of the James Beard Award winning bestseller Four Fish and American Catch, at the event to talk about fishing our waters.
After he spoke about what is happening with the fishing industry and how we can make a difference, he joined a panel of local fish experts including Mike Holtham from Menememsha Fish House, Buddy Vanderhoop, notable Island fisherman, and Rick Karney, from the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group.
Listening to these knowledgeable individuals and engaging in a Q & A was so informative. Yet, the event was so festive and the crowd so fun, that the educational part was almost as if you were participating in an incredible conversation at a dinner party. All together, a truly memorable event, and I can’t wait to experience Gather events in 2017. Find out more about Gather here.
On a lighter note, I have to mention the inaugural Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival. On a gorgeous sunny fall day, people lined up around Washington Park in Oak Bluffs, to sample the craft beers from over 50 breweries.
This sold out event was the first of its kind on the Vineyard. People really enjoyed this causal festival packed with so many beers, ciders and more. I know that I learned a ton, sampled a ton, and loved having this new addition to the event scene. Though there were some hiccups with the event, it was really fun!
If you like beer, you should be here for the 2nd Annual Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival.
These are just a few of my favorite things from 2016. As I began to write this blog, I realized that there were so many things that made the year so special, and so many reasons why it great to be on Martha’s Vineyard.
I don’t know about you but I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 holds for this special little Island, and of course writing about them!