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» Thursday, October 22, 2015We Shall Go Down to the Sea in...Ferryboats?
Well, we had our day "at sea," but it was a bit shorter than I expected. Evidently clams, or a lot of clams, are now on my list of verboten foods (I think the chowder at Sprouts is still safe). At least I got to sleep through the night, but this morning was a bit rough. Thank God for Pepto Bismol.
So once again we got up early, and I expected to leave about 8:30 to get whatever ferry came around 10:30. We didn't leave until 9:30 and had to fill up the van before we could go anywhere. I'd plotted out the route last night and it was a breeze: Route 1 to I-95 to I-495 to Route 28 down to Falmouth. Except the GPS on my phone kept arguing with me; it wanted me to go part of the way through Route 25. We finally did, but I have no idea why, because we came back via Route 28 all the way.
This is a plain ride, with tree-lined lanes of freeway. The colors have been more muted going east, but there are still attractive patches of color. Route 28 takes you over the Bourne Bridge, which now connects Massachusetts with the rest of Cape Cod since it was bisected by the Canal, and then around first one rotary and then the other, and finally down the road to Falmouth. (I keep laughing every time they put in new "roundabouts" in Atlanta, as if they were some grand new discovery. New England had 'em first, although later a bunch of DOT idiots had them removed. If it wasn't for the rotaries on the road to the Cape, traffic would come to more of a standstill than it does in the summer.)
You really don't take your car to the ferry; instead you take it to a parking lot belonging to the Steamship Authority and they bus you to the ferry. After we partook of the rest rooms, we joined the queue for the bus, which was equipped with a chair lift. The drivers were all very helpful and we had no problem in transport in either direction. Thus we rode to the Steamship Authority Building--don't you love the old-fashioned name, back from the days when Victorians took paddle-wheelers out to the Islands to escape the summer sizzle?--got tickets, and went aboard the boat through the car ramp so we could take the elevator upstairs. Soon we had a lovely if rather sunny, ride topside on the ferry, chugging past swinging red and green buoys, and spying a brilliant blue house onshore south of the Nobska Lighthouse. Between the sky, the sea, and the house--well, you've heard of fifty shades of grey? This was fifty shades, and more, of blue. The breeze and the fresh air was glorious. I kept urging James to breathe as much of it in as he could.
(It was only on the ferry that I realized that I left the camera in the van. Dammit.)
The ferry lets you off at the foot of the hill in Vineyard Haven. Had we gotten here earlier we might have explored more, but by now it was one o'clock and instead we walked up the hill to the town's main street and looked for somewhere to eat. We skipped a couple of cafes and instead picked the Copper Wok, an "Asian fusion" place, which was excellent: if you ordered an entree you got free soup and rice, so we had a rich wonton soup full of little mushrooms, some potstickers as an appetizer, and then James had something Schezuhan and I had sesame chicken. It was very filling, as opposed to the usual Chinese dinner.
Incidentally, the Copper Wok is right next door to a grand Victorian-looking hotel called Mansion House. Restaurant patrons have to use their bathroom, and the lobby and the downstairs rooms are lovely, with an old-fashioned check-in desk of wood and a little parlor in the back with Victorian-style "parlor furniture," and filled bookcases on either side of a fireplace. Looks comfy and surprisingly, at this time of year it isn't all that expensive.
As for the main street of Vineyard Haven, imagine the coziest old fashioned town you have ever seen, like Cabot Cove or a magazine illustration.for a Norman Rockwell story, but put little touristy things like souvenirs, jewelry, summer junk, and other stuff in the stores instead of dry goods, groceries, shoe and dress shops, and hardware stores, and you have the essence of Martha's Vineyard, as I hear the other five towns are similar. You could set a cozy mystery here (and several writers already have).
After we finished lunch, we visited the bookstore, Bunch of Grapes (of course), and I bought an autographed copy of Susan Branch's new book The Fairy Tale Girl. Plus I bought James an anniversary gift, a book he wanted about World War II in Martha's Vineyard. Nice to see a thriving local bookstore with such a nice selection; saw some other novelties, too, including a book about baby waterfowl. Darling fuzzies all.
We stopped for ice cream at Bernie's, across the street from the Wok; I had the usual coffee, but James had orange pineapple--he loved it. It tasted strongly of orange, but had fine pineapple bits in it, like sugar crystals, and smelled like fresh oranges.
After we had walked past all the stores, most with things we couldn't afford or take home, we walked back toward the ferry. It was loading, so we got on, but we loaded so late that we couldn't get to the elevator as the car deck was full. So we went up the gangplank and had to sit inside, since there was no way to get to the elevator from inside like on the other ferryboat. Sigh. We did have a good time talking with a woman who was traveling with her French bulldog. It was very opinionated about the ride, and kept restlessly getting in the face of the man opposite her (he and the woman were evidently familiar with each other and he didn't mind) and trying to go visit the Golden retriever who was asleep on the deck two rows up from us. About halfway through the ride, I did go up on the top deck for about ten minutes. The sky was partially clouded over, steel grey on one side and surrounding the sun in broken bits, so it was diffused and easy to tolerate. I could barely get the door open between the wind and the forward motion of the boat, and it was delightfully chilly when I did get out. I wanted to spread my arms wide when I got up to the bow, to take in the breeze, but I would have looked too much like Rose in that dreadful Titanic. I did take a video so James could see what it had been like and all you could hear was the roar of the wind. Once we passed the bright blue house and the swinging, ringing green buoy, I went back down and waited until we made the dock.
Then it was the return trip--waiting with the others for the bus to the dock (as we stood cooling our heels, a seagull alighted on the top of the "gastropub" across the street and squawked his territorial cry over the dock area), riding on the bus through the nostalgic narrow streets of Falmouth, with their tall hedges and storm-windowed mid-century homes, and finally at the parking lot. We were just loaded into the van when rain began spattering us--just made it. It never rained very hard and we had an uneventful, if mostly dark, ride back up through the Bourne and then along the freeways.
We had a light supper at Friendly's, me just the chicken soup with oyster crackers, and James the soup and cheese sandwich like I had last evening. This Friendly's is very popular with parents, and this night, like last night, the place was full of small children. It was after seven and I'm always amazed at how late children stay up these days. At five or six I was in bed by seven, except on Sunday when I could stay up until 7:30 and watch Lassie.
Yet another strange episode in this year's Sleepy Hollow...well, reboot in a way, since the whole "Katrina trapped" plot is gone. In fact, Ichabod Crane seems to have forgotten her completely except for mention in the first episode, and has a "squeeze" in the past (Betsy Ross, of all people) and one in the present.