If you emailed me last week, you would have gotten an away message. The previous week I worked to get a few articles written so that I could have a little staycation with some friends. They were traveling from California and wanted to get a little taste of New England before heading to Europe. (It's a grand vacation that I can't even fathom.)
On Monday, I showed them the sights around my area. One of the great things about New England is that there is history wherever you are. We had a great day and capped off with a dinner that was both very exquisite and very expensive.
On Tuesday, things went in a different direction. When you grow up in Massachusetts, you learn of this place called Martha's Vineyard. It's an island off the coast of Cape Cod where the rich people go to play on summer weekends. (My friends thought it was a vineyard owned by Martha Stewart.) It's Massachusetts' version of The Hamptons. Last year ABC Family had a television "docusoap" called The Vineyard which gave it a little fame nationwide.
I've always wanted to go and see what it is like. Our friends thought it sounded interesting and very different from California, so we put our cars on the ferry and went to Martha's Vineyard. As you may have gathered by now, it wasn't nearly as interesting as I thought it would be. Our friends from California thought it was great and appreciated the different New England architecture and feel. My wife and I were thinking, this really isn't any different than many places on Cape Cod, Rhode Island or Maine. The beaches and lighthouses look the same.
We had lunch at the famous Black Dog restaurant, which was a little like a Hard Rock Cafe, without the memorabilia. Their clothing line is more famous than their food. And I think the clothing line is famous because of the status of Martha's Vineyard. The food wasn't anything special.
On Wednesday, we went to the aforementioned Hamptons. Over the years, I had tried to go to the Hamptons a few times. The operative word is "tried." I had failed every time. Like Martha's Vineyard, the Hamptons is known for being popular on the weekends. This popularity makes it a mess of traffic. It can hours to go just a few miles.
I had never tried to go there from Massachusetts, we had always went from visiting a friend in New York. For some reason, I didn't realize it was a lot farther from Massachusetts. We let our friends from California plan the trip figuring that they could choose the most interesting places for them, because they might never be back.
Turns out that we needed to take three ferries to get to destination. After the four hour trip we arrived at lunch. The only problem is that every restaurant shuts down on the Hamptons on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Their busy days are the weekends including those who extend their weekend to Monday.
Except for the restaurant closures, the Hamptons was really no different than Martha's Vineyard or the other places in Rhode Island, Maine, and Cape Cod.
I should have done more research on how far the destination was. I can now say from experience, you do not want to two kids under 22 months spending 80% of a 14 hour day in a car seat unable to see out of the car.
I think the Hamptons and Martha's Vineyard may be better if we knew people who lived there. Maybe next time we should crash a Christie Brinkley or a James Taylor party?
At the end of the week, I've come to realize that I have a greater appreciation for my friends that were visiting. I also came away with an appreciation of the attractions near my home. Sometimes vacation spots are just over-hyped. I learned a valuable lesson to be more involved in the planning of a vacation and not just presume that it will work itself out. Fortunately, even with the pricey ferries, the vacation wasn't that expensive.
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