Best of the Vineyard 2010

While votes were courtesy of our readers, the reporting is by Harriet Bernstein, Susan Catling, Linley Dolby, Sarah Gifford, Jim Miller, Nicki Miller, Elaine Pace, Julia Rappaport, Nancy Tutko, and Joyce Wagner. The designation “close runner-up” indicates the runner-up received only one to ten votes less than the winner.

On the water

Best Beach: South Beach
Runner-up: State Beach

Long, sandy beach with crashing surf and views toward Spain or long, sandy beach with gentle waves and views toward Cape Cod? The two winners are so close to each other that if there’s fog or a sprinkle in one location, you can grab your towel and flip-flops and head for the other.

Best Place to Kayak: Sengekontacket Pond
Close runner-up: Menemsha Pond

Sengekontacket is an easy place to put your kayak in, and because it remains relatively calm, there’s not much chance of getting washed out to sea, according to Matt McCurdy at Wind’s Up boat rentals in Tisbury. Both ponds are big enough to keep you interested and have beaches where you can paddle up to relax.

Best Fishing Spot: Wasque
Runner-up: Menemsha

These great fishing spots provide two different experiences, according to Cooper “Coop” Gilkes of Coop’s Bait and Tackle in Edgartown. Generally, Wasque is heavy surf where you fish in waders and a rain jacket for bass and bluefish; Menemsha is a quiet estuary where you fish from the rocks in sneakers for bonito and false albacore.

Best Bait and Tackle Shop: Coop’s Bait & Tackle
147 Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, Edgartown, 508-627-3909.
Runner-up: Dick’s Bait and Tackle
108 New York Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7669.

Coop’s is more than a place to buy a Deadly Dick; it’s a place for friendly advice and sharing fish stories, and Coop has the best of both. At Dick’s Bait and Tackle, they’re friendly and professional, and the shop is a hop, skip, and a jump down to the Oak Bluffs harbor.

Best Fishing Charter Boat: Skipper/Vineyard Sound Charters
On the bulkhead down from the Island Queen, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-1238,
Runner-up: Tomahawk Charters
Aquinnah, 508-645-3201,

The Skipper is a fun, affordable, and family-friendly way to get your line wet with a taste of offshore fishing. Look to Captain Buddy Vanderhoop’s Tomahawk Charters when you’re ready for the big leagues.

Best Sailing Charter Boat: Mad Max Sailing Adventures
25 Dock Street, Edgartown, 508-627-7500,
Runner-up: The Black Dog Tall Ships
Vineyard Haven Harbor, 508-693-1699,

The Mad Max sixty-two-foot catamaran sails smoothly out of Edgartown harbor for two-hour afternoon and evening sails and private charters. The Black Dog schooners, Shenandoah and Alabama, leave Vineyard Haven harbor for three-hour sails and private charters; new this year is a week-long sailing-and-writing workshop for kids, in partnership with youth publisher Merlyn’s Pen.

The active life

Best Nature Walk: Menemsha Hills
North Road, Chilmark,
Close runner-up: Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary
Off Indian Hill Road, West Tisbury,

What does the Vineyard have a lot of beside beaches? Nature walks, and these two top the list. Menemsha Hills offers one of the highest viewpoints on the Island, overlooking the Elizabeth Islands to the west. At Cedar Tree Neck, you’ll find a grove of twisted beech trees that looks like a natural sculpture garden.

Best Place to Fly a Kite: Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs
Runner-up: South Beach, Edgartown

It’s an iconic image of Martha’s Vineyard – flying a kite in Ocean Park. There is ample space throughout the grassy park for multiple kites, and the wind from Nantucket Sound creates the perfect air for flying them. The brisk winds of wide-open South Beach are well-known and are sure to help get any kite sky-high.

Best Bike Rental: Wheel Happy
8 South Water Street and 204 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5928.
Runner-up: Martha’s Bike Rentals
Five Corners, 4 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6593.

Why are all those people on the bike paths smiling? Because they left traffic and parking woes behind, and are seeing the Vineyard the smart way. Wheel Happy and Martha’s will have you smiling too, with fair prices and friendly service. Remember to wear a helmet!

Best Fitness Center: Vineyard Tennis Center, Workout and Spa
22 Airport Road, West Tisbury, 508-696-8000.
Runner-up: Mansion House Health Club, Spa and Pool
9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2200.

These two muscle venues have been playing tag on our pages for years. This time Vineyard Tennis Center took the lead with its central location, full service, variety of classes, and, of course, tennis. Mansion House sports state-of-the-art equipment, a pool, and classes with small-town camaraderie; jump start your workout routine with Brenda Wallis, the new fitness director.

Best Yoga Class: Megan Grennan
Classes are in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, and Chilmark; for schedule:, 508-696-3884.
Close runner-up: Sherry Sidoti of Fitness*Life*Yoga: FLY
Classes are in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, and Chilmark; for schedule:, 774-238-0176.

Since 1986, Megan Grennan has been coaxing students into healthful poses, using a variety of methods and Island venues. Sherry Sidoti also provides regular classes, as well as special programs that include the summer Barefoot Yoga Camp. They’ve been neck-and-graceful-neck in these pages for three years – since we added the category. Namaste.

Best Place to Take Kids: Flying Horses Carousel
15 Oak Bluffs Avenue at the beginning of Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-9481.
Runner-up: Any Beach

For kid entertainment, Flying Horses is a no-brainer. It is the nation’s oldest operating platform carousel and dates back to the late 1800s. Think cheerful calliope music and cotton candy. The kids will go wild trying to catch the brass ring. But don’t miss the beach – any beach – Lucy, Lambert’s, State, South, Squibby, Menemsha. Blessed we are with beaches!

Best Summer Camp: FARM Institute
14 Aero Avenue, Edgartown, 508-627-7007, ext. 104.
Runner-up: Fern and Feather Day Camp at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
100 Felix Neck Drive, Edgartown, 508-627-4850.

Kids from two to fifteen can play farmer by the hour, half-day, day, week, or for an entire summer at the FARM Institute, with its hands-on agricultural activities. Fern and Feather, teaching youngsters about Island ecology since 1964, welcomes ongoing generations of children to explore the Island’s flora and fauna up close and personal.

Best Rainy Day Activity: Movies
Runner-up: Flying Horses Carousel
15 Oak Bluffs Avenue at the beginning of Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-9481.

One of the best ways to make the most of a rainy summer day is to cool off and stay dry at the movies. The Island offers four cinemas and other film programs for visual entertainment, escape, and adventure. (And some have air conditioning, to boot!) Any kid, young or old, is sure to enjoy the oldest carousel in the country at the Flying Horses.

On the town

Person You’d Most Like to Have Lunch With: Barack Obama
Runner-up: Carly Simon

Whether you think he’s a beacon of hope and a defender of all that is good, or a Kenyan Muslim bent on destroying America with his socialist agenda, it sure would be cool to share an egg salad sandwich and swap stories with the president. Or maybe Carly will spill the beans about who’s that guy in that song your mom likes.

Best Bar/Pub: Offshore Ale Company
30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2626.
Runner-up: Sharky’s Cantina
31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.
266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.

What do Offshore Ale and Sharky’s have in common? They’re open all year and we surely do appreciate that – because a good bar is a haven, a place of blessed respite in weather foul and fair. When it comes to quenching your thirst for good company and refreshment, Offshore Ale and Sharky’s exceed the standard.

Best Place for Cocktails: Sharky’s Cantina
31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.
266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.
Runner-up: Alchemy
71 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9999.

Trying a new spirituous concoction requires a level of trust, and the bartenders at Sharky’s are trustworthy souls, capable and compassionate, discerning and wise. And if you want a blackberry margarita with Don Julio Blanco and a Grand Marnier floater, you shall have it. Alchemy pours the classics – the martini, the Manhattan, the cosmopolitan – with class and maraschino cherries. No reason to stay thirsty, my friends.

Best Place to Hear Live Music: Nectar’s
17 Airport Road, Edgartown, 508-693-1137.
Runner-up: Offshore Ale Company
30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2626.

A sweet sip of music beckons from mid-Island. Sister club of Nectar’s in Burlington, Vermont (“birthplace of Phish”), this new club flourishes amid the wildflowers surrounding the airport. It continues the tradition of great acts and events in this perennial venue. Offshore Ale is a consistent year-round favorite, achieving BOV status year after year after year.

Best Live Band or Musician: Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish
Runner-up: The Vineyard Sound
866-VIN-SOUND (846-7687),

Johnny and his Bluefish are a Vineyard treasure. Their bluesy, dancey, groovy music rips up dance floors on- and off- Island all year long. Johnny is a real treat – you’ll want the CDs. And the Vineyard Sound – the preppy, all-male, a cappella glee club – has been satisfying Island summer crowds since 1992. They are a musical stroll through a great collection of much-loved songs.

Best Movie Theater, Festival, or Series: Edgartown Cinemas
65 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8008.
Runner-up: Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
Festival movies screen at Chilmark Community Center, South Road, Chilmark, 508-645-9599.

Two screens under one roof is a big deal for this Island, where some movie theaters shut down in the off-season. Not at Edgartown Cinemas: Here the movies run year-round with matinees and the occasional late-night screening to please viewers of different ages (and bed times). For indie flicks, check out the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival in March; the non-profit – which also screens movies in the summer – just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

Best Charity Event: Possible Dreams Auction
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services
Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7900.
Runner-up: A Taste of the Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust
Old Whaling Church Lawn and Dr. Daniel Fisher House Lawn, Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-4440.

Whether you’re in the market for dinner with Ted and Mary, a walk-on part in the Farrelly brothers’ next movie, or just there for the people-watching, the Possible Dreams Auction will have you oohing and ahhing – all while supporting Community Services. Taste of the Vineyard lets you sample the delicacies of the Island’s finest restaurants, chefs, and caterers, with dancing under the stars.

Best Summer Event: Oak Bluffs Fireworks
August 20 at Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0077.
Runner-up: Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair
August 19 to 22, State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-9549.

August is the Vineyard’s time to shine. For the fireworks, sponsored by the Oak Bluffs Firemen’s Civic Association, grab a lawn chair and some glow sticks and stake out your viewing spot in Ocean Park. Or pony up to the Ag Fair, where the hamburgers (and competing woodsmen) are hot, and the Ferris wheel provides the best view around.

Best Off-Season Event: MVY Radio Big Chili Contest
Portuguese-American Club, 137 Vineyard Avenue, Oak Bluffs.
Close runner-up: Christmas in Edgartown
Various locations,

No one goes home hungry – or thirsty – from the annual Chili Contest at the PA Club, an all-day party with live music and gallons of delicious chili samplings and beer (lots of beer). With its parade and bake sales and the vocal stylings of the high school Minnesingers, Christmas in Edgartown is small-town holiday fun at its best.


Best Art Gallery: The Granary Gallery
636 Old County Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-0455.
Runner-up: Dragonfly Gallery
91 Dukes County Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8877.

These two galleries have won again. The Granary is an emporium of art, antiques, and fine photographs (the Alfred Eisenstaedt collection is a must-see). Quaintly nestled into the Oak Bluffs Arts District, Dragon-fly sells fine art by Vineyard fine artists. Weekly openings at both of these art houses are social highlights of summertime on the Island.

Best Bookstore: Bunch of Grapes Bookstore
44 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2291.
Runner-up: Edgartown Books
44 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8463.

Island readers celebrate the return of Bunch of Grapes with its new books, new looks, and new owner. Long a staple of Island residents and visitors, this downtown bookstore is inviting and user friendly. Runner-up Edgartown Books fills every inch of its cozy two-story shop with a thoughtful selection of books, calendars, note cards, and more.

Best Gift Shop: Rainy Day
66 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1830.
Runner-up: Sanctuary
42 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-9600.

Don’t wait till it rains to shop at Rainy Day – you’ll be happy there under any skies. There’s something for everyone and the card selection will intrigue you for hours, if the tableware, body balms, and kids’ items don’t. Sanctuary is a wellspring of spiritual inspiration, gifts, and home accessories on the main drag in Oak Bluffs.

Best Jeweler: CB Stark Jewelers
53A Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2284.
27 North Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-1260.
Runner-up: Claudia
51 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8306.
34 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5465.

You’re sure to fall in love with the jewelry and people at CB Stark Jewelers, an Island institution. You can even get a custom piece made using sea glass or wampum you found while strolling the many beaches of Martha’s Vineyard. At Claudia, you’ll find other irresistible charms in addition to jewelry – they offer perfume, handbags, and glassware.

Best Package Store: Our Market
One East Chop Drive, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3000.
Runner-up: Al’s Package Store
258 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-4347.

Our Market’s selection of wines chosen by Jamie McNeely is truly inspired – and includes a number of bottles at value prices; the little market in the back has convenient snack pairings. Al’s is a favorite for its friendly staff and the big-screen TV, so you can keep an eye on the sport of the season while perusing the aisles.


Best Store for Children’s Clothing: Kiddo’s
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5437.
Runner-up: Basics
22 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

Kiddo’s features thoughtfully selected children’s clothing, gifts, and gear, presented with a cute boutique feel for your special newborn through age six. Fill in the blanks at Basics, which lives up to its name and caters to half-pints, ’tweens, and teens – even good ol’ Mom and Dad.

Best Store for Men’s Clothing: The Green Room
71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.
Close runner-up: Basics
22 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

Whether you’re hitting the mountains, the waves, or parking it on a bar stool, the Green Room has something totally cool to update your look. Basics can gear you up from head to toe with everything from shoes and socks to jackets. And both stores are available to serve your clothing needs all year-round.

Best Store for Women’s Clothing: The Green Room
71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.
Runner-up: Basics
22 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

The Green Room is a one-stop shop for the Island’s most fashionable ladies. The perfect pair of jeans, boutique brands, and a selection of shoes that’ll leave you salivating – it’s the best place to go to look in-the-know. Basics, a favorite of year-rounders and visitors alike, stocks everything that a well-suited woman needs to wear.

Best Store for Shoes: Brickman’s
8 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0047.
Runner-up: Basics
22 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

Brickman’s, at the head of Main Street, has been a reliable purveyor of footwear on the Island for generations. The dependable Basics, holding down the fort on Circuit Avenue, will be adorning our feet for generations to come.

Best T-shirt: The Black Dog
Some locations:
7 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-7381.
37 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-9826.
11 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6412.
Close runner-up: Menemsha Blues
36 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-9599.
2 Basin Road, Menemsha, 508-645-3800.
26 Dock Street, Edgartown, 508-627-1009.

The competition is heating up for the best T-shirt on the Island. It’s between the dog and the fish, with the fish swimming fast, but the dog is still ahead in the water (for this year, anyway). You’ll see the Black Dog T-shirt all over the world, wherever people are kicking back. Thick, 100 percent cotton make both brands worth owning.

The best eats

Best Place to Get Breakfast: ArtCliff Diner
39 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1224.
Runner-up: Linda Jean’s Restaurant
25 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-4093.

There’s a good reason that the line goes out the door at breakfast time at the little ArtCliff: Hearty pancakes, an assortment of creative egg dishes, even crepes are on the menu. But if you can’t wait, drive over the drawbridge into Oak Bluffs and get seated at the more spacious Linda Jean’s for another mouth-watering morning meal.

Best Place to Get Lunch: Slice of Life
50 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3838.
Runner-up: ArtCliff Diner
39 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1224.

You can’t go wrong for lunch at Slice of Life – a year-round favorite. The menu is diverse and enticing, with filling options ranging from the popular Fried Green Tomato BLT to huge salads and, of course, pizza. The ArtCliff has local diner charm matched only by the delicious food.

Best Fine Dining: State Road
688 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-8582.
Close runner-up: Atria
137 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5850.

West Tisbury applauds the opening of State Road, its newest restaurant, with its warm, welcoming décor. Patrons pack the place at lunch and dinner to sample the gourmet preparations of executive chef and owner Jackson Kenworth, who, with his wife Mary, has created an outstanding Vineyard eatery. Christian Thornton’s globally inspired Atria is another longtime favorite of Island gourmands.

Best Family Dining: Sharky’s Cantina
31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.
266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.
Runner-up: Giordano’s Restaurant
107 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0184.

No need to pack the crayons when eating at Sharky’s, which provides the fun along with hearty Mexican fare in a family-friendly setting. Piper and Chandler, the owners’ little ones, wouldn’t have it any other way. A pizza and the boisterous atmosphere make Giordano’s another great place to bond with the family – and the Flying Horses Carousel is right across the street.

Best Outdoor Dining: Nancy’s Snack Bar
29 Lake Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0006.
Runner-up: The Seafood Shanty
31 Dock Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8622.

A warm summer night, a drink in hand, sailboats drifting into sight. Ahhhhh. An Island tradition since 1960, Nancy’s offers great seafood at affordable prices, a panorama of Oak Bluffs harbor, and a great place to people-watch. The Seafood Shanty boasts two floors of views overlooking Edgartown harbor next to Memorial Wharf.

Best Place to Get a Vegetarian Meal: Scottish Bakehouse
977 State Road, Tisbury, 508-693-6633.
Runner-up: Slice of Life
50 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3838.

The Scottish Bakehouse’s Daniele Dominick looks to Island farms for inspiration when creating her wide range of delectable veggie offerings, in which Vineyard-grown food is the featured star. Slice of Life owner Pete Smith credits the popularity of his vegetarian soups, sandwiches, and pizzas with his own use of fresh, local-when-possible ingredients. Both establishments also cater to carnivores.

Best Year-Round Restaurant: Sharky’s Cantina
31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.
266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.
Runner-up: Offshore Ale Company
30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2626.

As the winner of both the Best Family Dining and Best Cocktail categories and with two locations to choose from, it is easy to see why Sharky’s is a favorite all year ’round. The laid-back vibe at Offshore Ale, with its live music and weekly dinner deals, makes this a favorite of Islanders and visitors alike.

Best Burger: Offshore Ale Company
30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2626.
Runner-up: Atria
137 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5850.

Offshore Ale’s juicy half-pound burgers are all meat, no fillers, and a great accompaniment to the pub’s customized brews. These mouth-watering burgers are on both the lunch and dinner menus. For another delicious burger, go downstairs to the Brick Cellar Bar at Atria – maybe there will even be live jazz.

Best Pizza: Giordano’s Restaurant
107 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0184.
Runner-up: Lattanzi’s Pizzeria
19 Church Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9084.

Enjoying Giordano’s takeout pizza while savoring the view from Ocean Park is a classic “What to do on Martha’s Vineyard” event. Lattanzi’s upscale thin-crust pie with an eclectic selection of toppings is perfect for a casual romantic dinner or an evening out with friends.

Best Wings: Sharky’s Cantina
31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.
266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.
Runner-up: Coop deVille
Dockside Marketplace, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3420.

Sharky’s has six flavors of wings, including a house-made Tango Mango sauce with tons of real ginger and mango. If you prefer to gobble your yardbird while watching the boats travel in and out of OB harbor, check out Coop deVille.

Best Place to Get Coffee: Mocha Mott’s
10 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-1922.
15 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3155.
Runner-up: Espresso Love
17 Church Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9211.

Six years and running! No one seems to be able to knock the two Mocha Mott’s off this pedestal. Custom-roasted and blended organic Fair Trade coffee served up quickly at a reasonable price keeps these twin Joe joints hopping year-round. Exit the summer chaos in the peaceful courtyard garden at Espresso Love, sipping morning coffee and munching a divine blueberry scone.

Best Place to Get Picnic Food: Humphreys
Woodland Market, 455 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6518.
32 Winter Street, Edgartown, 508-627-7029.
Runner-up: Soigné
190 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8489.

Nothing rings in a Vineyard picnic quite like a stuffed-to-the-gills Humphreys sandwich. Vegetarians go nuts for the Treehugger, while carnivores think the Gobbler is finger-lickin’ good. If it’s a morning picnic you’re planning, stop by for egg sandwiches and iced coffee. For more refined fare, pack an elegant basket-to-go at Soigné gourmet market.

Best Farm, Market, or Stand: Morning Glory Farm
100 Meshacket Road, Edgartown, 508-627-9003.
Runner-up: Whippoorwill Farm CSA
Head of the Pond Road (at the old Thimble Farm), Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5995.

Morning Glory Farm draws fruit and vegetable lovers from all over the Island to enjoy the bounty of its many acres of fertile farmland. Fresh baked goods, Island-raised meat, and coffee are also available. For a more hands-on approach to Island farm products, buy a share in Whippoorwill Farm’s CSA (community-supported agriculture program), and you can pick your own strawberries, sugar snap peas, and fresh flower bouquets.

Best Takeout: The Net Result
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.
Runner-up: Giordano’s Restaurant
107 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0184.

If you’re looking for fresh sushi, creamy clam chowder, steamed lobster-to-go, a smoked fish platter, or the freshest fish with chips, head to the takeout counter at the Net Result. But if you’re in the mood for a piping hot pizza with the works, check out Giordano’s, convenient for an outside picnic or to bring home.

Best Caterer: Fella Caters
Runner-up: V. Jaime Hamlin and Sons

They’ve done it again, these two. They keep winning this award because they provide great food, great can-do attitude, and decades of Island experience. Fella’s clambakes and outdoor barbecues are an Island fave. Jaime is revered for memorably tasty food, creative menu options, and gorgeous presentations. This summer, dream up occasions to try them both.

Seafood picks

Best Chowder: The Net Result
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.
Runner-up: The Black Dog
20 Beach Street Extension, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-9223.
3 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-4786.
509 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-8190.

Gourmets cry “Chowda!” louder and louder these days. The New England variety is rich, it’s creamy, and it satisfies. The Net Result offers it alfresco at family-style outdoor picnic tables. The Black Dog Tavern serves it in a sturdy mug topped with croutons and dashed with bright red paprika – a beautiful sight for any salty soul. Go for it, baby.

Best Clambake: Bill Smith’s Martha’s Vineyard Clambake Co.
Runner-up: Fella Caters

Bill Smith’s caters informal or formal (think paper plates versus china) clambakes for a fifteen- to twenty-person minimum, or offers clambakes-to-go for a group of six or more. Fella caters family events or rehearsal dinners from twenty to five hundred guests. When the party’s over, take home some of Fella’s packaged garden salsa and barbecue sauce to keep the memories alive.

Best Fish and Chips: The Net Result
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.
Runner-up: The Newes from America
23 Kelly Street, Edgartown, 508-627-4397.

Sitting outside at the Net Result, watching the world go by, is a perfect way to enjoy crispy takeout fish and chips. If you’d rather eat away from the hustle and bustle, the exposed-brick, old-fashioned ambiance of the Newes is a relaxing backdrop to some beer-battered goodness.

Best Fish Market: The Net Result
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.
Runner-up: Larsen’s Fish Market
56 Basin Road, Menemsha, 508-645-2680.

For really fresh Island seafood, head to the Net Result. Pick your own lobster from the tank or order the day’s special – it’s sure to be tops. If you’re up-Island, stop by Larsen’s and order a plate of littlenecks – nothing beats the freshness of slurping them down right there on the dock.

Best Fried Clams: Giordano’s Restaurant
107 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0184.
Runner-up: The Bite
29 Basin Road, Menemsha, 508-645-9239.

Whether you prefer to eat your fried clams while listening to the band play in the Ocean Park gazebo or while sitting on the beach watching the sun set over Menemsha Beach, takeout from our winner or runner-up is sure to leave you licking your fingers.

Best Lobster Roll: Grace Episcopal Church
36 Woodlawn Avenue, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0332. (Fridays, 4:30–7:30 p.m.)
Runner-up: The Net Result
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.

The lines down Woodlawn Avenue on Friday evenings testify to the perennial popularity of the generous lobster rolls served up by church parishioners each summer. For a lobster roll with a harbor view, head to the Net Result, where the outdoor picnic tables offer cool sea breezes and a peek at the water.

Best Seafood Restaurant: Home Port Restaurant
512 North Road, Menemsha, 508-645-2679.
Runner-up: The Seafood Shanty
31 Dock Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8622.

Recently saved from becoming a parking lot, the Home Port keeps serving great seafood indoors, at the outdoor raw bar, at the back-door takeout, by car hop to your vehicle, and by bike messenger to Menemsha Beach. The Seafood Shanty has a wide assortment of seafood and a terrific view of the Edgartown harbor from the second-story deck.

Sweet treats

Best Bakery: Scottish Bakehouse
977 State Road, Tisbury, 508-693-6633.
Runner-up: The Black Dog
11 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-4786.
509 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-8190.

Melt-in-your-mouth gluten-free brownies top the list of Scottish Bakehouse favorites, followed by fresh fruit Danish pastries, hearty multi-grain bread, and Island sourdough bread. Meanwhile, down the road at the Black Dog, Bakery Manager Katy Drahos says, “People appreciate the friendly attitude of our counter staff.” One can’t, however, discredit the ooey-gooey signature mousse bombes and other oh-so-heavenly pastries.

Best Ice Cream Shop: Mad Martha’s
20 Union Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5883.
12 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-9151.
7 North Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8761.
Runner-up: Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
20A Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-0008.

You might go crazy sampling all the delicious flavors at Mad Martha’s, but you can make it your summer mission to try! With three Island locations, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to complete the task. And if you need a change of scene, check out Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, where you can savor their own delectable flavor combinations.

For the home and garden

Best Place to Buy Flowers: Flowers by Donaroma
271 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8366.
Close runner-up: Morrice Florist
149 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0392.

Flowers – always a treat for the senses – make any table look special. In Edgartown, see the glorious array at Donaroma’s; in Vineyard Haven, stop by Morrice’s. Both shops deliver. The selections are fresh and the staffs are helpful – even if you tend to dither over your bouquet. Consider a weekly delivery to brighten up your summer.

Best Garden Center/Nursery: Jardin Mahoney
45 Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3511.
Runner-up: Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscape Services
271 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-3036.

We Vineyarders like our gardens, and we like our garden centers well-stocked, with enough staff to help us when we need it. Jardin Mahoney and Donaroma’s have been happily catering to Island green thumbs for years. From the smallest ground cover to mature trees, you’ll find inspiration (and strong arms) at both of these garden emporiums.

Best Landscape Company: Landscope Landscape Construction
6 A Street, Edgartown, 508-696-8812.
Close runner-up: Contemporary Landscapes
33 Kate’s Way, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6788.

Our readers are not the only ones who think Landscope is tops. This high-end residential landscape company has won many awards and its work has been featured in upscale magazines. A mere stone’s throw behind, Contemporary Landscapes boasts expertise in environmentally sensitive planning. They’re both full service, including design, masonry, lighting, and maintenance.

Best Hardware Store: Shirley’s Hardware
374 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3070.
Runner-up: H.N. Hinckley & Sons
27 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0075.

The nuts and bolts of any household, garden, or boat project can be found at both Shirley’s and Hinckley’s. Shirley herself passed away last year, but her nephew Jesse and his capable staff keep the store humming helpfully along. Hinckley’s plumbing department keeps a fresh supply of knee-slapping jokes on hand.

Best Contractor or Builder: Rosbeck Builders Corporation
20 East Line Road, Edgartown, 508-693-6300.
Runner-up: Squash Meadow Construction
30 Prospect Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7451.

Peter Rosbeck says his staff are “all Islanders who love the Island and are exceptional in what they do.” That’s what’s kept his company building on the Island for more than thirty years. Squash Meadow Construction specializes in sustainable design (owner Bill Potter is LEED-accredited), historic restoration, renovations, and home maintenance.

Best Electrical Contractor (tie):
Dolby Electric
Edgartown, 508-627-8778.
Powers Electric
Vineyard Haven, 508-696-6400.
Close runner-up: David Schwab
Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0156.

“We’re the best!” crows Michael Dolby. Sorry Mike, this year you have to share your spark of fame: Powers Electric is currently neck-and-neck, and David Schwab is just a wire’s breadth behind. Great service goes a long way in pleasing Islanders, and these three are obviously highly charged in that department.

Best Plumbing Contractor: Walter Smith
Edgartown, 508-627-5661.
Runner-up: Hart Company Plumbing and Heating
Vineyard Haven, 508-693-7227.

Last year’s leader has done it again. Walter Smith and his fine crew have shown up in this category since its inception in 2008. Also a repeat BOVer, Jim Hart has a long, long history with the Island. His family arrived here almost two hundred years ago, and his company has been providing reliable service to the Vineyard for twenty-five years. That’s longevity!

Best Store for Home Furnishings: LeRoux at Home
62 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0030.

Runner-up: Vineyard Decorators
35 Airport Road, Edgartown, 508-693-9197.

From minimalist martini glasses to splashy shower curtains, LeRoux at Home is the go-to store for its smart selection of products for kitchen, bed, and bath. Vineyard Decorators paints with a broader brush, offering furniture, accessories, custom fabrics, and upholstery to outfit your home from top to bottom in easy-going Island style.

Best Real Estate Company: Coldwell Banker Landmarks Real Estate
15 Church Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6866.
Runner-up: Sandpiper Realty

60 Winter Street, Edgartown, 508-627-3737.

On the lookout for a posh waterfront estate, a cozy cottage, a secluded hideaway in the woods? Perhaps a buyer or renter for your own property? Coldwell Banker Landmarks and Sandpiper Realty, two longstanding Martha’s Vineyard real estate firms, will help you find the perfect match, guiding you with warmth, professionalism, and decades of Island experience.

Services on-Island

Best Auto Repair Shop: Bink’s Auto
29 Winthrop Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2168.
Runner-up: Courtesy Motors
9 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5010.

Talk about location – Bink’s is practically in the backyard of Tony’s Market, so you can get a cup of coffee or a sandwich while you wait to get on the road again. Courtesy Motors, just off Five Corners, is so convenient to town, you can do just about all your errands in the time it takes to change the oil.

Best Bank: Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank
Branches in Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and West Tisbury, 508-627-4266.
Runner-up: Bank of Martha’s Vineyard
Branches in Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven, 508-696-4400.

Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank has offices in five Island towns, an investment center coming in West Tisbury, and a new branch in Woods Hole. At the drive-up, you’ll get service with a smile (and a lollipop or dog biscuit – your choice). The Bank of Martha’s Vineyard, now a division of Sovereign Bank, is the Island’s oldest bank, founded in 1855.

Best Dentist: Hélène Schaeffer of Island Dentistry
823 Airport Road, Edgartown, 508-696-8426.
Runner-up: Sanford Nadelstein of Lagoon Dental Associates
60 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5068.

How many people actually “like” their dentist? Well, it’s pretty common here on the Island. Both Hélène and Sandy, as well as their staffs, have the bedside manner that will keep your teeth from clenching and your eyebrows from knitting on the way to your annual checkup.

Best Doctor: John Lamb, MD
1 Hospital Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3164.
Runner-up: Julia Stunkel, MD
1 Hospital Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0019.

Internal medicine practitioner Dr. Lamb and family practitioner Dr. Stunkel can look forward to the expanded services in the newly renovated hospital even if it doesn’t mean new digs for them. “It’s beautiful, but I’ll look at it from out my window,” says Dr. Stunkel, a Kansas native who’s enjoyed fishing and boating during her five years on-Island.

Best Hair Salon: Maggie’s Salon
31 Beach Road, 103A, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-CURL (2875).
Runner-up: Bouclé Salon & Spa
12 North Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-3853.

Congratulations to Island gal Maggie DeSorcy and her eponymous hair salon. Cheerful and inviting, Maggie’s Salon employs five stylists and offers a bevy of other spa services – including wedding work – at competitive prices. The chic Bouclé is a full-service salon at the ready for any occasion.

Best Spa Services: The Spa at Mansion House
9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2200.
Runner-up: Bouclé Salon & Spa
12 North Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-3853.

The Spa at Mansion House recommends its signature Moshup’s Mud clay facial to top off a soothing soak in the whirlpool, a hot stone massage, and a French manicure. Need to look fabulous? The au courant professionals at Bouclé’s upscale spa will bring out your inner glamour girl while they pamper you from head to toes.

Best Massage Therapist: Chrystal Angelini
322 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1946.
Runner-up: Allyson Cook-Metell
455 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-1863.

Chrystal Angelini’s training is in exercise science and her practice includes services from Swedish and deep-tissue massage to medical-injury and sports massage. Island-native and licensed massage therapist Allyson Cook-Metell trained at the Muscular Therapy Institute in Cambridge and is a co-founder and co-owner of Integrated Health Care in Vineyard Haven.

Best Taxi Service: AdamCab
Edgartown, 508-627-4462.
Close runner-up: Your Taxi

Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0003.

AdamCab offers regular taxi service as well as Island-wide, two-and-a-half-hour or customized sightseeing tours, and wedding or corporate event shuttle service too. Your Taxi has six vans to get you to a destination or take you on a private ride. It’s the only taxi company to operate twenty-four hours a day year-round, says co-owner Diane Habekost.

Best Veterinarian: Animal Health Care Associates
20 Airport Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-6515.

Runner-up: Dave Tuminaro of Caring for Animals
Edgartown, 508-696-5897.

Dr. Steven Atwood’s Animal Health Care Associates provides a full range of medical services from radiology and surgery to boarding and grooming for your small, large, or even exotic pet. His central location near the airport is good, but not as good as Dr. Dave’s – he’ll come right to your house, barn, or stable in his mobile clinic (for a nominal fee).

Where to sleep

Best Bed and Breakfast: Thorncroft Inn
460 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3333.
Close runner-up: The Dockside Inn
9 Circuit Avenue Extension, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2966.

Choose the mood for your next Island getaway: The Thorncroft Inn, a couples-only B& B distinguished by quiet elegance and romantic details, is nestled on three wooded acres a mile from town. The Dockside Inn is a family-friendly, pink gingerbread Victorian overlooking Oak Bluffs harbor, amid the hustle and bustle of the busy waterfront and close to everything.

Best Hotel: Harbor View Hotel & Resort
131 North Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-7000.
Runner-up: Mansion House
9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2200.

Settle into a rocking chair on the Harbor View’s wide porch and enjoy one of the Island’s most picturesque views – Edgartown’s recently restored lighthouse as it majestically stands sentinel over the harbor entrance. The Mansion House holds court at the corner of Main Street and State Road in Vineyard Haven, with expansive rooftop views of that town’s working waterfront.