It’s summer on Martha’s Vineyard, and that means two things: I’m celebrating the
release of my latest novel, A DREAM FOR LOVE, and President Obama and the First Family have
once again planned their vacation on Island. Guess which one I’m most excited about?
When the President* arrives, the summer craziness doubles, or maybe triples. There’s
more traffic, news trucks, cameramen, and reporters nearly everywhere you look, and
road blocks whenever the President is on the move or eating at a restaurant or shopping
in a store or playing golf or . . . you get the picture.
During a previous presidential visit, I was out walking in my neighborhood with a
girlfriend and her two-month old daughter. We ambled along, chatting and enjoying the
afternoon while Lily slept in the stroller. We rounded a corner, near a local golf
course, and come face to face with multiple secret service men, who politely asked us
to turn around and go home. Yup, the president was playing golf and our walk was over.
For those of us who live on Island, and all of you who plan to visit while the
president is here, there are plenty of fun activities that, with a little luck, will
not be derailed by a twenty-car motorcade or closed due to a White House visitor.
Here’s my top ten:
10. Buy a day- or week-pass to one of the Island’s gyms to ogle the
dashingly handsome and incredibly fit secret service men. Work out is optional.
9. If the sparks at the gym aren’t enough for you, head to the Oak Bluffs
Fireworks on August 21. The grounds at Ocean Park are so crowded you’ll never
notice if the president and First Family are in attendance. Pack a picnic, get there
early to spread out your beach blanket and chairs, and then enjoy the display of
lights. Last year was the best yet, and I’m hoping this year will be even better.
8. If watching a cavalcade of black SUVs and shinny blue and silver motorcycles
doesn’t make your head spin, then go get dizzy on the Tilt-A-Whirl or the Scrambler at
the Martha’s Vineyard Agriculture Fair. The Ag Fair opens on August 20th and
runs through Sunday, the 23rd. You can enjoy rides, carnival games, far too many sweets
and munchies (which one hopes you consume after the stomach-churning rides), and then
you can test your strength. Yes, Ladies, you can enter the Skillet Throwing Contest.
Perhaps the secret service will be overwhelmed by your unmatched throwing skills and
hire you on the spot. Or, a Red Sox pitching scout could sign you up. Lord knows the
Sox need a lot of help this year!
7. You are on Martha’s Vineyard, so the best form of recreation is to head to
one of our beautiful beaches. If the secret service aren’t running around in
swim trunks, there’s bound to be some gorgeous scenery: the cliffs of Aquinnah at
Moshup Beach or the long stretches of white sand at South Beach, or the bluffs and
boulders of Great Rock Bight are all spectacular. You were on the same page right?
Landscape scenery? When your eyes tire of the natural beauty, and you don’t want to
snooze, open up a great book. I can make a few suggestions: A Dream for Love, my latest
and the first book in the new Possible Dreams trilogy, or Shenandoah Nights, the first
book in my Winds of Change series, or a murder mystery by fellow Islander Cynthia
Riggs, will fill those beach afternoons nicely.
6. Food is always an option, right? Is there any one of us who doesn’t enjoy a
good meal or a cool refreshment on a hot afternoon? Martha’s Vineyard has great
restaurants and fabulous ice cream and sweet shops. If I’m dining out, Chesca’s
Restaurant in Edgartown always tops my list. When the children in my household want
ice cream we head to Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium on Circuit Avenue in Oak
Bluffs (I love their gelato!). Ben & Bill’s is also a great place to spot a movie star
or two, and the First Daughters have been known to stop in (without the Prez, so the
store remains open to the public . . . On the plus side, the secret service are there.
Just saying!) My favorite cool treat is a lemon-ginger frozen yogurt at Tisberry
in Vineyard Haven. Oh, and there’s Murdick’s Fudge – Heaven on earth. Don’t
take my word for it, taste and enjoy for yourself.
5. If you really want to avoid all things presidential, jump in your car, drive
to Edgartown, and board the three-car On Time ferry to Chappaquiddick. The
president has never ventured over to Chappy, at least not to my knowledge. The beaches
on Chappy are amazing, though most require a four-wheel drive vehicle. You can visit
the lovely Mytoi Gardens, walk across the Dike Bridge (made famous, or
infamous, by Senator Kennedy), go kayaking, or call Vineyard Surfcaster – Janet
Messineo – for a fishing trip you’ll talk about for years to come.
4. Shopping! Did I leave off shopping? Not on your life! When on vacation, one
must shop – right? All the towns have wonderful stores from boutique clothing stores to
knick-knack shops to the Black Dog franchise shops. If you’re looking for
something special, I recommend the wide array of craftsmen, artists, specialty foods,
or clothing designers at the Chilmark Flea Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
There’s also the Featherstone Flea & Fine Arts Market on Tuesdays in Oak Bluffs,
and the Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays and Saturdays at the Old Grange Hall in West
3. Jaws! Yup, that’s right. The shark-eating movie filmed on Martha’s Vineyard
in the mid-70’s is still a phenomenon here on Island. Throughout the summer, Jaws plays
at one of the four Island movie theatres at least once a week. Avoid the politic
sharks and scream your way through a classic movie.
2. If you truly want peace and quiet, put on your hiking shoes and walk one of
our dozens of beautiful hiking trails . There are guidebooks available at local
bookstores, Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown Books in Edgartown. You
can spend an entire week walking our trails and not finish them all. And, you’d
probably avoid all the commotion of the presidential visit.
1. Or, you can pack your bags and go on vacation to Washington, D.C.
* Written with all due respect for our nation’s president and his wonderful family.
And, of course, his fine secret service men.
What about you: Would you stalk the president’s travels in hopes of a sighting? Or
would you avoid the barricades and detours? If you’re in the avoidance category, as I
am, which of the ten options would you enjoy most? Please leave a comment below. One
winner will have a choice between a paperback or digital version of A DREAM FOR LOVE
NIGHTS, and I’m throwing in a gift card and Vineyard swag!
Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha’s Vineyard. She loves time with her
family and friends, running, gardening, outdoor activities, cooking, chocolate,
reading, traveling, a healthy dose of adventure, and her cat, Ben, who keeps her
company while she creates fictional lives for the numerous characters living inside her
head. Lisa runs as an ambassador for TEAM 413 (www.team413.org), and has completed a
marathon (26.2 miles) in all fifty states.
Lisa’s stories are set on the Vineyard amidst the magnificence of the ocean, the beauty
of sandy beaches, rolling hills, and ancient cliffs, as well as the people and events
that make the Island so very unique. When she’s not at her desk, Lisa is living in
paradise, volunteering at her daughter’s school, serving in her church community,
planting and weeding her numerous gardens, training to run the Walt Disney World Dopey
Challenge in January 2016, walking the beach looking for sea glass, or enjoying a great
meal while she pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style Magazine.
Website | Facebook | Twitter
DARE TO DREAM
A single mother with a secret past. A Hollywood star who's life is anything but
hidden. Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for
When the gavel hit the wooden block at the Possible Dreams Auction, Laurel Simmons sat
in stunned silence. Her sister had lost her mind, purchasing a week's vacation stay for
two at actor Ryan Crandall's beach house on Martha's Vineyard. And then Tammy announced
that she was giving the "dream" to Laurel as an early birthday present.
A month later, Laurel and her four-year-old daughter Gracie arrive at the luxurious
house on Squibnocket Beach ready to swim, play, picnic and enjoy the peace and solitude
Laurel's dream vacation quickly turns into a nightmare when Hollywood bad boy Ryan
Crandall shows up to escape his latest tabloid headlines. Ryan wants the woman and her
child gone. Laurel wants him gone. Fate will bring them together for reasons neither
one of them expected, but fate will also drive them apart.
Laurel has a past she needs to keep hidden. Her life and Gracie's depend on it. Ryan
has a past, and present, that's been food for public consumption for over a decade.
Will the past deprive them of a future? Or will they dare to dream a dream for love?
9 comments posted.
No crowds . I would like the hiking trails, but Murdick's fudge sounds nice too.
(Deb Pelletier 9:10pm July 30, 2015)
You gave such great ideas, and Martha's Vineyard sounds like such a wonderful place to visit, but at that particular time of year, I would RUN like the plague to go somewhere where I could relax, and spend leisurely time, at my pace, with no crowds!! I live in a resort area, and know what it's like to have hoards of people around to the point that you can't even do simple things because you can't get down the street!! The last hurrah of Summer is going to be coming up in a couple of weeks. Although this venture is a lot of fun, it's also dangerous for drivers, as well as pedestrians, and can be a bit nerve-wracking!! It's a huge garage sale that goes on for about 100 miles through our State, and it's on a main highway. Tons of people show up for it, and they just pull out into 55mph traffic. Pedestrians walk across the street without looking. They park on the shoulder of the road. Traffic is clogged up for miles!! So we have our own taste of Martha's Vineyard, so to speak, without the Secret Service!! lol We also live by one of the Great Lakes, which offers beautiful scenery, as well as tons of things to do. Enjoy the rest of your Summer, as I will be sure to enjoy the rest of mine. I have your latest book on my TBR list.
(Peggy Roberson 10:48am August 1, 2015)
LOOOOVED revisiting the island via your post. Laughed out loud when you hit on
those Secret Service guys one last time. :D I'd definitely choose #2 and #6 oh,
and #5, especially at sunset and sunrise.
(Sandra Orchard 3:30pm August 7, 2015)