Monday, September 10, 2012

new england at it's finest.

I was about to board my plane back to San Francisco after my new england adventures when I realized that just under a year ago, almost to the day, I had been at the same gate on my one way trip to San Francisco. I felt a bit sentimental and tried to reflect on the prior year, though that didn't last long because I saw a woman with a miniature husky and my attention was immediately drawn to the dog, naturally.

I've been thinking more and more about the point of this blog. Originally it started as a way for me to 'document' every I do in San Francisco and remind myself of all this area offers. Then I thought about how useful this could be for anyone who visits, a way to get to know the city from my perspective. Now I'm feeling like it's evolved a bit and want to share more than just my favorite restaurants, bars, etc. Not sure where this will go, but if it starts to really suck, let me know.

My new england week was one for the books. I finished my four year stint at Jumpstart and am lucky to have a break in between. First destination on the list was Amherst, my second home, to see two dear friends (Paul and Paige) get married. We rolled into town and immediately went to Antonio's Pizza - our college staple. We headed next to Amherst Coffee after for a drink, never disappoints. The night ended on the earlier side since the next morning everyone needed to be up early for wedding prep and festivities (though a second piece of Antonio's was definitely purchased). I could go on and on about the wedding, but for those of you who know Amherst, it incorporated the town's charm through and through: setting - Bramble Hill Farm, flowers - all purchased from the farm and arranged by Candice, catering - People's Pint (yum!), music - Rusty Belles (local trio), and dessert - cider donuts. It was so perfect, as we all knew it would be. Congrats to the happy couple!

We were lucky to have a gorgeous day the next day and after a little coffee and pastry from Amherst Coffee, we were back on the farm to deconstruct. The day ended with a Bueno Y Sano burrito - my favorite east coast burrito joint. All in all, a successful visit to Amherst. My excitement was building the entire ride back though since my next destination was Martha's Vineyard. My friend Kristin is spending the summer singing and managing a jewelry studio in Oak's Bluff and I couldn't think of a better person to spend my days off with. Dave, also between jobs, joined for the mini vacay - it took no effort to convince him to come. Off we went, down to the ferry for a four day jaunt in MV.

All was timed perfectly, until we had a minor set back: we missed the ferry. Never fear though, another was on it's way not too long after. And really, I don't think anything could have spoiled my mood at that point because I knew what waited for us on the other side. After boarding the ferry, beating Dave at many games of speed and hopping on a bus from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown, we had made it. Kristin was singing at The Atlantic that night and we caught the second set, and it was AMAZING. I didn't really fit in that well (I was wearing an oversized flannel) and everyone else was dressed in the traditional new england style (read: critter shorts), but it was a great time. The next day we headed to South Beach and on the way stopped at an awesome grocery store/farm stand. One thing about MV that is so great is a lot of food is grown on the island (love). Highlight of the beach day - group nap. On the way back we stopped at a place called Featherstone for musical Monday. Jon Zeeman, someone Kristin sings with was playing so we stayed for a set - it was a really cute outdoor set up where people brought food and just hung out. Worth checking out if you're ever on the island! We made dinner that night and headed out on the town, first attempting to play pool, but then ending up listening to more live music with more musicians Kristin sings with. The final stop of the night was Back Door Donuts. Holy crapple fritter.

The next day we got a bit of a late start and headed to The Scottish Bakehouse  where we spent a good 15 minutes trying to decide if we should order breakfast or lunch. Breakfast won, as it always should. And I was treated to literally the best breakfast sandwich I've ever had in my life. I can't explain it's amazingness, but I can say that I will be back to MV next summer and I will go to this place every day. EVERY DAY. We hung out near Kristin's place at a nice little lagoon in the afternoon before going to a beach drumming performance. It's a small group of people that get together once a week during the summer and drum for a couple hours for anyone who wants to come listen. We headed to The Chowder House for dinner to visit Kristin's lovely roommate, Amanda, and have some award winning chowder. Yum. A few games of pool at The Lampost ended the night.

So the last full day on the vineyard was arguably the best. Dave humored me and my need for adventure (granted he drove the whole time) and we rented a moped for the day to putz around the island. I use the word putz because we couldn't go faster than 30 mph and the cars, well, they hated us. We headed out from Oaks Bluff after a good cup of coffee and breakfast at Mocha Mott's we headed out to see the island. First stop in Chillmark and then off to Menemsha where we hung at the beach for a bit. Final stop was Aqquinah, an absolutely gorgeous lookout. We decided to stay an extra night (so glad we did!) and went to the Red Cat Kitchen at Ken N' Beck (with a stop at Offshore Ale House beforehand). The food at Ken N' Beck was spectacular and we even had a celebrity siting - Kenneth Cole. And no, I did not recognize him, our waitress told us. He was quite stylish. Very nice shoes.

The next day we had to head back to Boston so I could catch my flight (though I contemplated changing my ticket to stay longer...). I couldn't have asked for a better mini-vacay (and vacation buddy!). Thanks so much to Kristin, Amanda, Adrian, and Dan for hosting us. YOU DA BEST.

Note: this post was belated, and so will the next one. But promise Tahoe brings good stories.