Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Kennebunkport are dazzling by air. But wait until you land!
Aerial photographer Christopher Seufert captured this shot of the cliffs of Aquinnah for his book, Cape Cod & The Islands: A Drone’s Eye View. “I try to get shots from totally fresh perspectives. This is how a ship at sea would see the cliffs,” he says. “I love Martha’s Vineyard. It is pure, straight-laced New England.”
EAT: Begin the day with breakfast at Among the Flowers in Edgartown (17 Mayhew Lane, Edgartown, 508-627-3233) with either their loaded omelets, fluffy waffles, or decadent crepes. Once you burn off those calories swimming, shoot over to Oak Bluffs for lunch at the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company (9 Oak Bluffs Ave., Oak Bluffs, 508-696-3000), which was recently named the number one restaurant on the island by Trip Advisor. Of course, the Vineyard welcomes a laidback beer, so bring your own to Larsen’s Fish Market in Menemsha (56 Basin Road, Chilmark, 508-645-2680) for a late afternoon snack. End the day by taking a page out of President Obama’s book and hit up State Road for dinner (688 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-8582).
STAY: With the smell of homemade cookies wafting out its windows, Isabelle’s Beach House in Oak Bluffs (83 Seaview Ave., Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3955) offers the quintessential, romantic getaway. For the family escape, Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown (31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, 508-310-1733) has easy access to South Beach, the bike path and town shuttle service. Out in Menemsha, Beach Plum Inn (50 Beach Plum Lane, Menemsha, 508-645-9454) has 13 rooms overlooking Vineyard Sound as well as an adjoined restaurant with food worth writing home about.
SHOP: Saturdays are for the farmers’ market. Since the 1970s, the Tisbury Farmers Market (The Grange Hall on State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-4359) has been bringing together local purveyors in offering a true taste of island life. But if that’s a bit too crunchy for your liking, skip over to Slate (11 North Summer St., Edgartown, 508-939-1908), a chic boutique with fine women’s wares and wellness goods. Before you head to the beach, drop into the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore (23 Main St., Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2291) where the likes of Bill Clinton have been known to peruse their curated shelves for a beach read.
Veteran and beloved Nantucket photographer Kit Noble shot Nantucket harbor on a busy sunny afternoon. “This picture required a high altitude, so I was up in a plane,” Noble says. “I got lucky—there was no fog or wind.” Noble, who lives full-time on Nantucket, cherishes the island’s quiet times. “Early mornings or evenings are the best. The light is spectacular.”
EAT: The off-season served up a smorgasbord of changes in the Nantucket restaurant lineup. Fans of pub fare can saunter down the street to the newly opened Charlie Noble where the team of B-ACK Yard BBQ (15 South Water St., Nantucket, 508-825-5260) took over the former space of Nix and installed the most extensive tap system on the island. Then, in the exceedingly rare category of good food without the fuss, head mid-island to Keepers on Amelia Drive (5 Amelia Dr., 508-228-0009) and enjoy a no-nonsense menu that welcomes swim trunks and sandals. Finally, although not new to the island, Nautilus (12 Cambridge St., 508-228-0301) continues to redefine intimate eating with a divine menu of small plates paired with one of the most ingenious cocktail programs on Nantucket.
SLEEP: While you can never really go wrong with the White Elephant (50 Easton St., 800-445-6574), there’s no shortage of plush pillows on Nantucket to lay your head after a night of singing your lungs out at the Club Car. In the category of charming boutique hotels, 21 Broad and 76 Main have earned a slew of awards since opening in recent years. If you’re rolling with kids in tow, the Nantucket Hotel (77 Easton St., 508-228-4747) is the closest thing to Disneyland as you’ll find on the island, with multiple pools, a game room and an antique fire truck gassed up and ready to shuttle your little ones to the beach—sirens and all.
SHOP: While your wallet might not agree, shopping is made especially easy downtown where you can hit home goods, outerwear and fashion boutiques within a stone’s throw of each other. Bodega (2 Candle St., 508-228-1992) boasts a curated collection of home goods, Haul Over (7 Salem St., 508-228-9010) has outerwear galore, and Milly & Grace (2 Washington St., 508-901-5051) has the hippest looks this side of the Sound.
From a Robinson R44 helicopter, Dave Cleaveland photographed The Colony Hotel. “It’s within a mile of restricted airspace around the Bush compound at Walker’s Point,” he says. “This required a 400mm lens. I shot it a half mile away.” Not that Cleaveland is a stranger to the Bush clan. “I photographed Walker’s Point for Mr. and Mrs. Bush. I’ve done some fun things in my time, but I have never been more honored than visiting President Bush.”
EAT: The quintessential Kennebunkport dining experience begins with fresh catch at David’s KTP in Dock Square (21 Ocean Ave., 207-967-8225) with its unparalleled waterfront view. Then saunter over for a pre-game glass of wine at the Old Vines Wine Bar that’s become a huge hit under its new ownership this summer. Do dinner at Earth at Hidden Pond (354 Goose Rocks Road, 207-967-6550), where you will feast on a fresh farm-to-fork menu tucked away amidst balsam trees and a birch forest. Cap the night off at Federal Jacks (8 Western Ave., 207-967-4322) for a cold beer and live music.
SLEEP: High rollers will love the White Barn Inn & Spa (37 Beach Ave., 207-967-2321), one of only two Relais & Châteaux properties in Maine that has been around for 150 years. There’s also the enchanting Colony Jotel (140 Ocean Ave., 207-967-3331) with stunning views of Kennebunkport’s rocky coast that stretch out to the Bush compound on Walker’s Point. With a grand old-school porch and sprawling lawn, you can easily fall into a summer trance of watching the sunset.
SHOP: With gift shops galore, places like Daytrip Society (4 Dock Sq., 207-967-4440) has distinguished itself with an eclectic offering of home goods and locally-crafted gifts. Another hidden gem in downtown is Rusty Fly Gallery & Gifts (24 Ocean Ave., 508-982-5398), which opened last summer and offers a stunning collection of sporting art by fine artist Peter Sheppard. Finally, in the funky realm there’s Abacus (2 Ocean Ave., 207-967-0111) that has everything from fine jewelry, to model airplanes, and other fun knickknacks.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVE CLEAVELAND