Where to Stay:
Ben and I stayed at Summercamp Hotel and honestly I can’t imagine there is anywhere more perfect to stay on the island. It was cost effective but truly lovely, centrally located, and so accommodating. We had free coffee at a station right outside our room and they gave us free bikes that we used to explore the island, something that would have cost us over $70 each to rent every day!
I’m only giving one recommendation here because I haven’t found a single other place on the island I would compare to Summercamp.
2. How to Travel
The island includes six towns. I’ve divided my recommendations between those towns. Summercamp is located in the town of Oak Bluffs and we used the public bus system to travel between towns. Because we went in May, the island wasn’t at all crowded, yet but it was warm enough to walk if the bus stop was a little far from our destination.
We only had to call an Uber once to get to a beachside dinner destination and otherwise, we used all-day public bus passes that were just $8 each!
3. Where to Eat
Oak Bluffs: Back Door Donuts - These are island famous and the apple fritters sell out fast! Get here early!
Vineyard Haven: Waterside Market - Ben got a DELICIOUS breakfast burrito here and I got a hot caramel latte that was perfectly made. The vibe in this one makes it a can’t-miss stop.
Aquinnah: Orange Peel Bakery - Getting here was one heck of a commitment. The closest bus stop was about 2 miles away so we literally hiked through the woods to get to this isolated forest bakery that is just a dream. We had a chocolate chip cookie and blueberry lemon cake that were both well worth the hike.
Edgartown: Sea Shanty - With a view of the harbor and a breezy open patio, this is a no brainer for lunch. We ordered and split the BBQ pork flatbread and basically gorged on the free popcorn.
Aquinnah: Helman’s Cafe - This little cafe is located in the middle of a tiny neighborhood way off the beaten path. Everything on the menu is truly farm-to-table and the avocado toast was just perfection.
Menemsha: Larsen’s Fish Market - Located just off Gay Head Cliffs, this seafood shack prepares their famous lobster rolls, bisque, and chowder from just caught lobster. This makes you feel like the truest local.
Edgartown: The Dunes - This high end restaurant won for us as our one expensive dinner stop and it was one hundred percent worth it. We had grilled swordfish, sweet pea risotto, and grilled asparagus and goodness, it was worth every penny.
Oak Bluffs: Giordano's - This is a great stop to pick up a picnic dinner for the beach or on your hotel balcony. Grab a slice of pizza and a side of pasta with garlic bread. We also swung by the convenience store for a bottle of wine and had the perfect picnic dinner.
Coffee & Snacks
Oak Bluffs: Black Dog Cafe - Located right next to the Harbor, this is the perfect spot for pour over and a treat from the bakery as you walk the path around the harbor.
Edgartown: Mad Martha’s Ice Cream - Well. Ben called the Reese’s ice cream from Mad Martha’s the very best ice cream he has ever had. He may or may not have eaten a cone two times a day everyday we were there….
Edgartown: Behind the Bookshelf - There is almost nothing I love more that having a cup of coffee created by someone who is just deeply passionate about the process. I had a muddled iced mint latte (the best latte I’ve ever had, and this is a big deal) and a lavender latte. DO NOT SKIP THIS.
Oak Bluffs: Offshore Tavern - The best fries of my life right here. I mean if Ben was here he would tell you they have great craft beer. But the most important part is that the lemon rosemary fries will blow your mind.
Oak Bluffs: Nancy’s - Also located on the Oak Bluffs harbor, this is a great stop for nighttime drinks.
Edgartown: Bad Martha’s - Bad Martha's is one of only two breweries on the island and Ben called the Vineyard Ale one of the best beers he has ever had. Check out the tasting room outside of Edgartown.
Edgartown: 19 Raw Bar - Check out this spot right next to the bus stop to try the third island made beer from Washashore Brewing Company.
4. Where to Shop
Each of the towns has its own unique flair. For example, Edgartown is so quintessentially New England, with all the nautical decor, hydrangea bushes, and high end shops, while Oak Bluffs feel like an easy breezy island town with boardwalk shops and tons of grab and go options. Here are some unique and gorgeous shops that you shouldn’t miss.
Edgartown: This town is THE MOST DARLING PLACE IN THE WORLD. For real. Do not miss the ORIGINAL Vineyard Vines, Lilly Pulitzer, Edgartown Books, and Rose Water Market.
Oak Bluffs: Grab a super discounted sweatshirt or t-shirt by ducking into all the (almost identical) shops that you see on boardwalks everywhere and haggling for a good price. Also check out Black Dog General Store!
5. What to Do
Oak Bluffs: Ride bikes to East Chop Lighthouse and take a stroll among the historic Gingerbread Houses and Temple.
Edgartown: Hike to Edgartown Lighthouse and South Beach for some of the loveliest views on the island.
Menemsha: Visit the Martha's Vineyard Cultural Center, Gay Head Cliffs, and still functioning Gay Head Lighthouse.
Here we are in our sixth and final part of the cooking and baking series and we are wrapping up with the PERFECT cheap, easy, and sorta fancy bread recipes that have been a weekly (if not sometimes daily) staple in our kitchen over the last six months. A friend recently asked me if I bake bread when I’m stressed and the answer is absolutely yes! I bake bread to give my hands something wholesome to do with themselves - something that makes a product that fills bellies and bring smiles. I bake bread because there is nothing more soothing than the steady push and pull of kneading the dough or more comforting than the steamy cracking open of a perfect floury crust. The yeasty smell of baking bread will always be my favorite scent and these recipes make it easy enough to keep that smell in the air almost anytime.
Join me in a few weeks for my first trip lookbook in a long long time...my review of our upcoming trip to Martha’s Vineyard! And in the meantime, enjoy the best gift I can give you: my three ride-or-die bread recipes. Here we go!
1. No Knead Dutch Oven Bread
This recipe is the one that began it all. I read a version of this recipe in Shauna Nequist’s book Bread and Wine and started making it to share over every pot of soup and bowl of salad shared over my table. This is the bread that brings my people the biggest smiles. It’s crusty and just the right balance of soft and chewy. If you’ve never been a bread baker, this is your gateway.
2. Egg (or Challah) Bread
I made this bread for the first time on Christmas Eve and we ate it with butter and jam while we opened presents at my Grandma’s. While this loaf looks super fancy and maybe a little intimidating, the dough has the stringy and soft consistency of a brioche and is a cinch to work with. This bread comes together beautifully and can serve as the centerpiece of a meal.
3. Homemade One-Hour Sandwich Bread
Some of you may know that Ben is raising money to go to San Salvador in June of this year. In order to raise the last of the money for his trip, I’m baking a bread whose recipe is adapted from this one! When I need a quick and warm loaf of bread with dinner, this is what I whip up. Unlike literally any other bread I’ve ever made, this one is done in one hour, start to finish. People, this recipe might be magic.
BONUS: Bread Illustrated
1. Slow Cooker Taco Soup
When you’re making healthy food a priority, that means cooking at home, and making that happen in real life means making close friends with your slow cooker. This recipe reminds me exactly of the chicken tortilla soup we had in El Salvador last summer and is just the right mix of delicious, simple, and healthy. It’s the perfect soup to transition to summer.
2. Energy Bites
Ben and I are both big snackers so we need to have healthy and filling snacks lying around. These have been a staple in our fridge for years because they taste like candy but aren’t horrible for you! And with only four ingredients to mix together, these are a no-brainer.
3. Thai Chicken Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles
I scrolled over this meal in my Instastories one day and DM’ed the blogger immediately to ask for her recipe! This is what she sent me and you guys, I’m just obsessed. The chia helps bind the ground chicken together and the Asian seasonings make the zucchini noodles come alive. Also feel complete permission to skip the homemade meatballs and just throw in a bag of frozen turkey meatballs, you do you.
4. Balsamic Vinaigrette
5. Avocado Dressing
Bottled dressings tend to have all sorts of sneaky fats and preservatives so when I found out how easy it is to whip up dressings and vinaigrettes at home I basically just stopped buying the bottled stuff. I tend to just use my bullet smoothie blender and then pour what’s left in a mason jar to store in the fridge. This is perfect on fiesta chicken salad or even as a chip dip.
Bonus: Chocolate Dipped Orange Slices
Finally, even when you’re eating healthy you need access to something sweet. These chocolate dipped orange slices are heaven right out of the fridge in the summer, especially with some flaked salt over the top and dunked in the darkest chocolate.
It was definitely baking desserts that got me started in cooking and now, baking is so therapeutic to me that if I have a few extra minutes, I’ll definitely spend them baking. For today, let’s focus on easy and accessible recipes that are sure wins and cheap to boot. Here are just four of my first favorites.
1. Soft Molasses Cookies
This recipe is from our good friend Betty Crocker and it’s my Christmas (and all the time) cookie go-to. Here’s the secret though: make sure you buy the yummiest molasses and dip half the cooled finished cookie into melted white chocolate for that indulgently sweet finish.
2. Banana Bread
Next up is the easiest, most delicious banana bread you can make. Every time my bananas start to go brown I whip up a few loaves of this and gift them to whoever I’m seeing that day. It literally takes about 10 minutes of hands on time so it’s a great first baking step if you’re new here.
3. Creme Brûlée (without a torch)
My grandma is a HUGE creme brulee fan, but often these are made with a kitchen torch and none of my family members are hard core enough yet to have a blow torch on hand. But when I found this recipe it was an instant home run! You just use your boiler setting on your oven to achieve the perfect crack-able crust. Bonus points here for looking extra fancy with your French dessert offering.
4. Deep Dish Peanut Butter Cookie for Two
Often the perfect baking motivation is just wanting something delicious to eat right now! This is perfect for that. I bake these deep dish cookies in those little ramekins you can buy in packs of two for three dollars in the Target Dollar Spot. You quick mix the small portioned ingredients, bake for just a few minutes, and press in the Reese egg, or Christmas tree, or heart, or cup or whatever as soon as they come out. Ben and I usually have these during movie night with a big scoop of French Vanilla ice cream on top….it’s a dream.
Welcome! I'm a brand new wife, second year music teacher, Jesus follower, and am chronically curious about just about everything. Join me as I kick off this adult life.
"I am the Vine, you are the Branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."