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Martha's Vineyard 2021

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Still nervous about travelling outside the country, I decided to keep our annual family vacation in the US. We had an amazing trip in our home state of Massachusetts this year. If you haven't had the chance to visit the island of Martha's've got to put it on your #mustvisit list. We were lucky to miss any celebrity/presidential fanfare (which creates awful island traffic). I cannot say enough about the Vineyard and all the amenities this small island offers. It's really been a lifetime of memories as this has always been a staple spot for our summer vacations..especially when the kids were younger. The first time we rented, I was seven months pregnant with my oldest, Ryan, and we were lucky to catch both the state fair and the James Taylor & Carly Simon concert with friends. Steven Tyler made a cameo appearance as well...such fun. The Vineyard is a short ferry ride from both New Bedford and Wood's Hole. It's the perfect New England getaway offering big/crazy wave beaches (South Beach), no wave beaches (State Beach), Quiet beaches (Philbin)...and so many more that I've never explored, restaurants, shopping, amazing New England charm, and well thought out, safe/kid friendly bike paths. #bucketlist #marthasvineyard #newengland #jamestaylorconcert #jamestaylor #carlysimon #steventyler #roadtrip #familyvacation #woodshole #biking #islandtrails #bikepath #mv #islandvibes #southbeach #statebeach #philbinbeach

We found our rental at

L to R: The family on the ferry, Game night of Coup, and Edgartown Harbor

Now that the kids are older, we ate out more than we ate in, and we did enjoy quite a few game nites, while drinking wine of course. I actually won a game of Coup, which ended up being our game of choice. Dave chartered a fishing boat towards the end of the week, and we cooked the bluefish that Fiona and Colby caught. While at sea, the kids saw a huge pod of dolphin, which the sea captain said is rare...his first huge pod sighting..ever. #boardgames #gamenight #Coup #charterfishing #dolphins #bluefish

Colby catching dinner!

We were blessed with good weather, mostly sun, but it was definitely cooler than previous summers. No complaints though..while Covid is still wreaking havoc, it was just nice to have a confirmed vacation. Last year's plans were cancelled to MV. This year, Megan flew in from OH the night before, and our family was all together in one place for the first time since Christmas. Our rental was Saturday to Saturday. Although traffic was complete hell and backed up for miles, once we got there, all was forgotten. We arrived in Vineyard Haven and headed to our rental in favorite. I love being equal distance from South Beach and Edgartown. My husband would rather be in Gayhead, and although we have great memories from vacations when the kids were babies, it's just too quiet there for me now..and the girls need shopping, people watching, and a candy store close by! #katama #edgartown #gayhead #aquinnah #familytime

L to R: Lobster Roll from Seafood Shanty, homemade cheese board, & Katama Kitchen eggs w/salmon

Favorites for the week: Dining at Nancy's Restaurant in Oak Bluffs..awesome sushi and the location is on the water, dockside with boats, bars, nightlife, lots of people watching, and the sunset. Seafood Shanty in Edgartown offers waterviews overlooking the harbor and has an extensive menu with the island's best lobster rolls #truestory. The Wharf in Edgartown has American fanfare..burgers, fish, and casual eats. Giordano's in Oak Bluffs..large portion Italian with very good pesto dishes. The menu has something for everyone; the red sauce is not the best, but I'm a tough critic. Kids seemed perfectly happy with their ravioli. Katama Kitchen (the old Right Fork Diner)..small breakfast menu, but the ambiance is a must. It overlooks the airstrip with biplanes flying on the regular. We once again walked through the gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs, and took in the Gayhead Lighthouse and clay cliffs in Aquinnah. Lots of great photo opps here as well. #lobsterrolls #lobsterroll #Nancysrestaurant #dirtybanana #seafoodshanty #clams #clamchowder #fish #Katamakitchen #breakfast #bestbreakfast #biplanerides #katamaairstrip #TheWharf #GiordanosRestaurant #Giordanos #pestopasta #gayheadlight #claycliffs

Biplane at Katama Airfield

L to R: Harbor in Oak Bluffs in front of Nancy's Restaurant, Megan, and Dave with Fiona

L to R: dad enjoying a drink, Ryan and Colby enjoying clam chowder and Scallops at Nancy's Restaurant. We had lots of Dirty Bananas at the Nancy's dock bar! Loved my new #RachelPally navy dress. #greatpurchase #summerdress #summermust

Gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs

The Gingerbread Houses date back to 1835, when a plot of land was selected as a place to hold a small Methodist camp meeting. By 1859, the campground had become one of the largest permanent camp meeting sites in the US. By the 1870s, as the campground became a year round steady establishment, tents were replaced with small cottages...whimsical Carpenter Gothic style, popular in the mid 19th century. By 1880, this area became known as Cottage City. It's name officially changed in 1907 to Oak Bluffs. #historylesson #gingerbreadhouses #CarpenterGothic #cottagecity #cottages

Regrets of the week: Not making it to Red Cat Kitchen, Barn Bowl and Bistro, and Linda Jeans (for breakfast). Also, we didn't have the time to walk down the beach path at the cliffs in Gayhead..something I've been wanting to do for a long while..and also didn't make it to Menemsha this year. All in all a nice relaxing week...but we should have hustled a little more. #Redcatkitchen #Barnbowlandbistro #lindajeans #menemsha #menemshaharbor #relaxation

Our eat-in family dinners included Linguine with Clam Sauce and Taco Casserole. #homemade #homecooked #kitchen #goodeats #delish #pasta

Low Carb Taco Casserole


1 lb. ground beef (I use 93% lean)

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 jalapeno, minced (I used 1/8 jalapeno minced)

1 packet taco seasoning (I used less sodium seasoning and 1/2 packet)

1/4 cup water

2 ounces cream cheese

1/4 cup salsa

4 eggs

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/4 cup whipping cream (I have subbed w/light cream & 2% milk)

1/2 cup grated cheddar

1/2 cup grated pepperjack cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8x8 baking dish w/nonstick spray

  2. Brown beef in skillet over medium heat

  3. Add onion & jalapeno to beef. Cook until onion is translucent. Drain any grease

  4. Stir in taco seasoning, water and cook for 5 minutes

  5. Add cream cheese, salsa and stir to combine

  6. Crack eggs in bowl & whisk together. Add hot sauce and whipping cream

  7. Pour meat mixture into baking dish and top w/egg mixture

  8. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 30 minutes until eggs are set

  9. Cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving

*I have substituted whipping cream with milk, and I have doubled this recipe increasing amounts of everything but the eggs. The recipe stilll came out awesome with only 4 eggs.

White clam sauce is an easy and absolutely delish dish. The trick: lots of fresh garlic, parsley, and Reggiano Parmesan cheese. I make this differently every time and do not have an exact recipe. #clams #freshclams #freshherbs #parsley #garlic #Reggianoparmesan #clamsauce #whiteclamsauce #linguine

Every visit to the Vineyard must include a stop over or two at the Jaws Bridge, a.k.a. State Beach. Yep..the scene in Jaws when the girl is yelling, "Shark in the pond," and where Jaws swims under the bridge was filmed at this location; I have been known to shout that out when visiting. My kids are all adults, but we still spend a few hours lounging in the calm water (no drowning here, thank God), and jumping off the infamous bridge. #Instagramfamous #Statebeach #Sharkinthepond #Jawsbridge #Jaws #bridgejumping

Enjoying State Beach and jumping off the Jaws kids did!

Dad managed to come for two nights at the beginning of the week, which was great because Meg hasn't seen him in two years due to Covid. He definitely brought the sunshine and his visit included our sunniest beach day on the island. We enjoyed beach, biking, and eating out together. He came over via the Seastreak, fast ferry out of New Bedford. Too short a visit..but so glad he could make it over. Even with the, uncharacteristically, cooler weather, we all had a fabulous family where we were healthy, appreciative, and happy to be reunited again.

L to R: Chillin w/Colby at South Beach, lunch at Black Dog Tavern, and Ryan w/dad at our rental. #blackdogtavern

Fiona's boyfriend enjoyed a few days with us at the end of the week...his first time to the Vineyard, and he really enjoyed the island vibe. Pictured from L to R are Fiona and Steve taking in the amazing view at the Gayhead cliffs. Sunsets here are unbelievable. Below, the kids are taking a break, sitting on the original lighthouse foundation, and having a good laugh, about 100 yards from the new lighthouse grounds. #sunset #gayheadlighthouse #goodtimes #makingmemories

Lighthouse & Founding Fathers history: Gayhead Lighthouse is the first lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard. Due to the magnitude of the whaling industry in the surrounding waters, the project was approved by President John Adams and the money was granted to Alexander Hamilton by congress in 1796. The Lighthouse was completed in 1799. Ebenezer Skiff was the first appointed keeper. Once the builiding was completed, Paul Revere provided some copper and tin used to augment the weatherproofing of the Light.

Charles W. Vanderhoop, Sr., a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), became the first Wampanoag keeper in 1920. He and assistant keeper Max Attaquin, also a Wampanoag, remained until 1933. The light has had a total of 18 principal keepers and 10 assistant keepers.

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