Our spring Photo Safari exploring Cape Cod kicked off Friday night with a wine and cheese reception at the Woods Hole Inn. Locals Cathy and Prue joined guests Marie and Janice for this weekend of exploring Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard through the eye of the camera.
Saturday morning, I led a two hour talk designed to boost confidence and share tricks and tips for iPhoneography. In addition, we covered some key principles of photo composition, including capturing the Cape light, creating the illusive third dimension, and shooting children’s faces for greatest impact. I shared images from my collection “Woods Hole Colors,” daily visual ruminations on life in the most beautiful village on Cape Cod.
In the second half of the talk, I revealed my favorite phone apps that make taking great photos easy and fun. By the end of the session, everyone was swiping and exploring; even the SLR crowd was considering using the iPhone to take photos to promote online sales. In addition, we talked about strategies and tips for creating buzz on social media, and what sites to focus on for small business success.
In the afternoon, we walked the back alleys and waterfront roads of Woods Hole, stopping to capture things that caught our eye — red boat overturned on an empty beach, an osprey reflected on the flooded marsh, long jetties disappearing into the harbor. Saturday night, the group bonded over sunset and dinner at the new Quicks Hole Tavern topped off with an order of the “bag of donuts” with dipping sauces of Creme Anglaise and chocolate. Yum!
Sunday morning, we hopped the ferry to the Vineyard and explored the island with a car and driver. With a cold wind in from the southwest, the sun was glinting off the water and the brown of the marsh grasses stood in stark contrast to the bright blue sky as we crept into Vineyard Haven on the Steamship Authority ferry. Exploring gingerbread cottages (called “The Campgrounds”) of Oak Bluffs, waterviews along State Beach, lighthouses at East Chop and Edgartown, captain’s row of Edgartown Harbor — all with our great driver Chris from Harbor Taxi in Oak Bluffs. A highlight for me was his choice of Middle Road to Menemsha, a winding country lane with open meadows, farms and fields overlooking the distant ocean that leads to the tiny deserted fishing village at the western end of the island. Worth the trip!
Back in Vineyard Haven, we had a nice lunch at the Waterside Market, then ferried back to Woods Hole. Much of this journey was already documented in social media, but please enjoy my photo essay on #PhotoSafari Cape Cod & Martha’s Vineyard, and consider joining us for a true getaway in Woods Hole!
Re-discovering Cape Cod from the water is one of my favorite parts of summer. As the days started to get shorter, and the crispness of autumn snuck into the air, I rushed to take my boat out onto the Sound. The warmth of the summer water made me feel bold, and we packed the boat with kids and set off in our small vessel last week.
We departed from Woods Hole in the late morning with the goal of visiting Lake Tashmoo on Martha’s Vineyard, and making it up to Menemsha to get fresh fish for dinner at Larsen’s Fish Market. Some people would take that time to go fishing themselves — I would rather buzz around with a boat load of kids, see the sights and purchase my fresh catch from one of the world’s best fish markets.
So off we set with sunscreen, bathing suits, beach towels and plenty of cash to buy our fabulous fish. First stop, Lake Tashmoo, just about 20 minutes across the Sound on a clear calm day like this one. Storm clouds hovered over this part of the Vineyard, and I am usually the first to wimp out in the face of real weather but the rest of the sky seemed bright enough and we pushed on. Brave!
Lake Tashmoo was once a pond and the entrance has been opened to a small channel that then lets you into a rather large protected harbor. We slowed way down to avoid leaving a wake (waves would disturb the other boaters moored and anchored about) so it took the better part of half an hour to putt putt all the way in and see the whole thing. There were scads of lovely boats, and houses with great green lawns yawning down to the sandy shore below. It was exciting to peek in the back yards of the valuable waterfront real estate on Martha’s Vineyard and we were not the only ones snooping along the shore.
At the entrance, there is a barrier beach that was packed with people enjoying a lovely day in the sun:
Onward we traveled to Menemsha! The Vineyard is not small (18 miles long) so we powered at full speed for about 20 minutes along the coastline to get to this tiny little town at the very end of the island. A channel with a strong current flowing let’s you into a beautiful protected harbor packed with real fishing vessels.
We struggled to get a spot to tie up, then found one along the pier and ran to get our fresh fish from Larsen’s. The kids clambered along the island road to the local ice cream shop, and the day was so hot that it was a challenge to eat the ice cream before it melted all down your arm. The smarter members of our crew bought “frappes” which is the New England way of asking for an ice cream shake. Yum.
Larsen’s is an institution up island on the Vineyard (you can read more about visiting Up Island as a pedestrian on our blog). I have seen Larsen’s t-shirts proudly worn in Los Angeles and New York, a way insiders telegraph to each other that they are “in the know” about what is cool on the Vineyard. It was lunchtime when we got there and people were clustered around lobster trap tables enjoying the fresh fare and harbor views.
We explored the Menemsha harbor a wee bit more, then read a few days later of a shark sighting right near there. I guess they come for the same reason the fisherman like these waters — plenty of fresh fish!
I love my annual peregrination to Menemsha, and I will be back soon before the weather turns the water cool again. You simply can not beat a day on the waters of Vineyard Sound. You can re-create this journey with one of many local charter boat captains. Book a room at the Woods Hole Inn and with a little advance notice we would be happy to set a day trip just like this one up for you. Sharks, lobster and all:)
Blog Post by Megan Jensen
My early trips this summer to Martha’s Vineyard kept me close to the main island towns of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. Each town is unique and has plenty to offer for the casual journey to an offshore isle. But, for my last sojourn to the island before heading home, I decided I was up for something more adventurous – Up Island, as the locals call Menemsha, Chilmark and Aquinnah.
It was a rainy and cloudy day but I decided to brave the weather and optimistically bought a day pass for the bus hoping to see all of the up-island hotspots, from the Menemsha fish markets to the Gay Head lighthouse.
Taking the bus is my absolute favorite way to get around the Vineyard and I love the helpful and informative bus drivers. They really are the true guides to the island. They’ll drop you off anywhere along their route, and make sure you get picked back up again. They can point out anything from Jackie Onassis’s property to the greatest breakfast stop, and will tell you the best and fastest route to get where you are going.
To head up island you will need to take the number 2 or 3 bus. I would recommend buying an all-day bus pass for $7, otherwise its $1-2 every time you get on and off the bus. When I took the bus I went to Menemsha first because I wanted to have lunch in the historic fishing village, but the bus driver told me it would have been much easier if I had first gone to Aquinnah and then worked my way back to Menemsha.
This tiny, historic fishing village offers visitors a chance to see and experience a different way of life. I was beyond excited to try the fresh seafood and it really was incredible, just-caught fresh and I found myself trying one of everything. The fish markets are little more than one room shacks and you have to eat your meal while sitting outside on lobster traps at makeshift tables. Menemsha Harbor offers a great public beach and beautiful sunsets. For five dollars, you can take the bike ferry across the water to the bike path that leads all the way to the Gay Head cliffs and lighthouse. If the scenery seems vaguely familiar to you, it might be because parts of the movie Jaws were filmed here. Give yourself a few hours here – and keep in mind the bus only comes once an hour.
Chilmark offers a great in-between stop on your way from Menemsha to Aquinnah (or vice-versa). The Chilmark Store is sure to be busy, and here you can stock up on groceries, local produce and grab lunch – the pizzas are delicious and homemade. Down the street is the Chilmark Chocolate Shop known for a constant line out the door. I found it to be a great place to relax and refuel before heading to Aquinnah.
Aquinnah may arguably be the most beautiful place on the Vineyard. The name was changed from Gay Head in 1998 to reflect the year round Native American population that still lives there. This town is known for its stunning clay cliffs, lighthouse and Jungle Beach. Located near the lighthouse there are quaint rows of shops where you can buy beautifully crafted jewelry or have a bite to eat. Be sure to give yourself 2-3 hours here – there is plenty to see and do. Although if it is really rainy I’d come back a different day, as all activities are outdoors.
Exploring this side of the Vineyard gave me a very different look at the island and personally I prefer the up-island area to the bustling towns. I love the remote feeling, the broad vistas and the sense of peace. I hope you get a chance to visit this less-seen part of the Vineyard and find it as beautiful and memorable as I did!