We left on a cool, crisp June morning - our first trip since Coronavirus changed the world. There were butterflies in my chest, a ping of anticipation, mixed with uncertainty and excitement, while the boys chatted in the back seat as the rolling hills transitioned to sandy coastline.
Island travel is not unfamiliar to us; we’re accustomed to early morning wake-up calls, rising with the sun to beat the summer traffic on Cape Cod, rushing to make ferry reservations year after year. We planned this trip knowing we would likely be the only ones on the road; comforted by the uncomplicated drive to New Bedford, the smaller size of the Seastreak ferry and the quick ride to Martha’s Vineyard.
Upon our arrival at the Seastreak terminal, we were warmly welcomed by masked employees who helped load our heavy luggage onto dollies and kept contact to an absolute minimum. “What a weird, safe, new normal this is”, we thought as we looked at one another, smiled and shuffled the boys down the ramp towards our seats. We spent most of the ride outside on the deck, feeling the warm sunshine on our faces and salty breeze whip our hair around, drowning out the uncertainty of the world for a moment with the giggles from our sweet boys with each wake, each bump & each misstep until the astounding green-blue waters greeted us on the shore of Martha’s Vineyard.
Throughout our travels, we navigated a new way of family vacationing, which was made incredibly easy by the Winnetu. The expansive property allowed us to feel safely distanced from other guests, while still enjoying all of the amenities the hotel offered. The staff directed us towards the expansive lawn, which was peppered with activities like yoga, soccer, volleyball, corn hole & turtle watching, their secret path leading right to the beach and the perfectly designed pool area – allowing us to schedule our days comfortably and safely.
With wisteria covered, shingled buildings, the antique bi-planes frequently flying overhead, private cabanas & perfectly coastal decor – the Winnetu captured the absolute essence of summer in New England.
While everything had changed - the Winnetu made us feel like this is the way it has always been & encouraged us to relax and enjoy the stay & so we did. Some days, we ate our way through delicious poolside meals, beach picnics and perfectly crafted cocktails, while others we explored the local charm of Edgartown by way of our Mini Cooper convertible. Lighthouses perched on hilltops, bookshops & cafes covered by purple hydrangeas, lobster rolls stuffed to the brim with the freshest catch – we were masked, we were sanitized and we were on vacation.
On our ride home, I thought about the great debate among New Englanders; Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket – pick your island. When I married into a family of Nantucket natives and having gone there on a few family trips of my own, I always thought I was team Nantucket - until now. The Vineyard’s historic, waterfront homes, quaint sidewalks, shops and restaurants, dirt roads & farmland all touched by the not-so-distant smell of sea spray make this island full of its’ own unique charm. What I learned is you don’t have to pick, instead you can find magic in both.
One of our favorite parts of this particular vacation was the day on the water we spent with Captain Rich and his crew aboard the Schooner Eleanor. Our boys had sailed before, but never in Maine. They were up bright and early that morning eager to see what the ride would be like.