Best of the Vineyard 2011

While votes were courtesy of our readers, the reporting is by Liz Bomze, Susan Catling, Linley Dolby, Simone McCarthy, Alison Mead, Jim Miller, Rachel Orr, Moira Silva, Lorraine St. Pierre, Joyce Wagner, and Sarah Durham Wilson.

Thank you to everyone who went online to cast votes for their favorites in the following seventy-four categories. Many of the people, places, and businesses recognized are an integral part of what makes the Vineyard such a great place to visit or call home. In eleven categories, note the designation of “close runner-up,” indicating that ten votes or less separated the top two. And don’t forget to vote for next year’s Best of the Vineyard on our website, The voting will close at the end of next March.

On the water

Best Beach: South Beach
Atlantic Avenue, Edgartown.
Runner-up: State Beach
Beach Road, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

Revel in the simplicity of South Beach’s surf, sea breeze, and grassy dunes. Walk this mile-long stretch while old-fashioned biplanes zoom overhead. Little sister State Beach is convenient to Beach Road and its popular bike bath; it typically offers less wind and waves, and is an easy, relaxed summer gathering spot.

Best Place to Kayak: Sengekontacket Pond
Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.
Runner-up: Lagoon Pond
Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.

Sengekontacket’s shoreline includes three nature preserves (Felix Neck, Caroline Tuthill, and Pecoy Point), the Farm Neck golf course, and Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach. The Lagoon has the old Cottage City Water Works at its head, Vineyard Haven harbor and Eastville Beach at its terminus, and 583 acres of calm water in between.

Best Fishing Spot (tie): Menemsha and Wasque
Runner-up: Wouldn’t you like to know?

Menemsha, nestled in a curve of the north shore, offers calm fishing from the jetties. Wasque, at the southeast tip of Chappaquiddick, takes the full brunt of the Atlantic waves, rewarding anglers with striped bass and bluefish. (Wasque, from land, may be closed this summer due to extensive erosion; call the Trustees of Reservations at 508-627-7689 for info.) The runner-up this year exemplifies many a fisherman’s philosophy of keeping their favorite spots to themselves.

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

Coop’s is always ready with tips on what lines to use, and where the hot spots are. You can even rent a rod and reel if needed, without feeling like a tourist. Dick’s Bait & Tackle is friendly, helpful, and conveniently located near Oak Bluffs harbor.

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

All you need to go fishing on the Skipper is sunscreen and your favorite beverage. Everything else is provided by the crew during the boat’s four-hour excursions. The Tomahawk’s Captain Buddy Vanderhoop, an Aquinnah Wampanoag whose people have been fishing these waters for ten thousand years, takes anglers far offshore for the big, big fish.

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,

Mad Max is all about speed. The sixty-foot catamaran flies over the water, propelled by the wind. The Black Dog ships are about history and wood and rope and canvas. Mad Max sails twice daily from Edgartown harbor. The Black Dog offers day and sunset sails as well as week-long kids’ cruises.

The active life

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

It’s worth a trip to the 312-acre Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary just to see the American beeches, transformed by sea spray into a grove of stunted yet sinuous living sculptures. Menemsha Hills offers three miles of trails, including a spur to the top of Prospect Hill. On a clear day, visitors can see for miles.

Best Bike Rental: Wheel Happy
18 North Summer Street Rear in Old Post Office Square, 8 South Water Street, and 204 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5928.
Runner-up: Anderson’s Bike Rentals
23 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-9346.

The Wheel Happy name is expanding, having opened a third location in Edgartown to more fully cater to the trifecta of rentals, sales, and service. Anderson’s is conveniently located harborside in Oak Bluffs for when the open air is calling. Wear a helmet for safety, bring a bottle of water, and hope for a tailwind wherever you ride.

Best Fitness Center: YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard
111R Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-7171.
Runner-up: Vineyard Tennis Center Workout & Spa
24 Airport Road, West Tisbury, 508-696-8000.

Up for a challenging Pilates class followed by a tropical smoothie? The YMCA, the Island’s newest and largest pool and fitness club, offers specialized programs for seniors, families, and individuals. At the Vineyard Tennis Center, members and guests can chase balls on the court, pump some iron, and then relax in the sauna.

Best Yoga Class: Megan Grennan
Classes are in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, and Chilmark; 508-696-3884,
Runner-up: Vineyard Hot Yoga (formerly Vineyard Yoga and Alternative Therapy)
24 Cournoyer Road, West Tisbury, 508-696-7769,

Megan Grennan is a perennial favorite among our readers of the twist-and-stretch persuasion. With multi-level classes in multiple Island locations, she could be hard to pin down but fear not: Her schedule is posted at her website. Vineyard Hot Yoga offers different types of yoga at various levels – all in a convenient and well-heated West Tis studio.

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

Kids from pre-schoolers to teens love these camps because they get to do so much. Fern and Feather campers learn about Island ecology through a mix of outdoor activities and indoor projects. FARM Institute campers care for animals, grow vegetables, and learn the business of farming. Adult programs are also offered at both.

On the town

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

Once again, the president of the United States tops the lunch list. Could his erudition and charisma be the lure? Or is it the chance to finagle an invitation to play golf on one of the Vineyard’s exclusive courses? If Mr. Obama is too busy, maybe Carly Simon will have time for a sandwich and a song.

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

You know it’s a great pub when even your teetotalling friends want to go there. The Offshore Ale Company offers excellent, made-on-the-premises beer – and they serve a darn good root beer too. Sharky’s is the place to go when a lime-based concoction is on your wish list.

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

With its colorful, casual atmosphere and two locations, it’s no wonder that Sharky’s is a favorite for cocktails. Stop in after the beach and order their signature Sharkarita, Killer Sharkolada, or fresh watermelon margarita to cool down and relax. For a more upscale outing, Alchemy’s bistro atmosphere offers specialty drinks such as the Orchid & Champagne martini and the Ginger Gimlet.

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.

“That music venue by the airport” remains hot by offering something for every music lover – from Island jam band Entrain to down-home singer/guitarist Willy Mason to a secret show by the Island’s resident songbird Carly Simon. For intimate live music all year ’round and cold, well-poured beer, Offshore Ale is the best bet.

Best Live Band or Musician: Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish
Runner-up: Mike Benjamin Band

Johnny Hoy is a man of many talents – need a chimney built? – but he’s most famous for his ability to croon. He and the Bluefish get crowds onto the dance floor with their groovy, bluesy music. Mike Benjamin and his lively band get our feet tapping too. Mike’s band can pretty much play anything, so go ahead and request that favorite song.

Best Movie Theater, Festival, or Series: Entertainment 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.

With two screens and open year-round, Edgartown Cinemas offer new releases to entertain moviegoers of all ages. Every March (and select days the rest of the year), the Chilmark Community Center is home to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, which brings independent shorts, documentaries, and feature-length films to the screen for a weekend of film, food, and lively discussion.

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.

Bid on such “unbuyable opportunities” as lunch with Jim Belushi or a visit from Arthur-creator Marc Brown at your child’s school at the Possible Dreams Auction (August 1), the Island’s consistently favorite charity event. Or sample the best of the Island’s premiere restaurants and caterers at the Taste every June. Both are great fun and a chance to bolster Island charities.

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

Snap an up-close photo of a sprightly horse, eat a home-grown pork sandwich, or dance to a live band at the Fair (August 18 to 21). Be dazzled by the fireworks at Ocean Park; for a good vantage point, try Inkwell Beach or Waban Park (August 19).

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

Dude, it’s January, it’s twenty-four degrees, blowing about the same, and the sun’s been gone a week. If you can eat chili, drink beer, and raise Cain with hundreds of like-minded rowdies (and raise money for the Red Stocking Fund in the process), why wouldn’t you? Christmas in Edgartown is a more kid-friendly event, with a parade and lots of holiday cheer.


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

Moody photographs, sunny beach scenes, sculpture in copper or stone – the Island has plenty to offer in terms of art, whether you prefer the old red barn of the Granary up-Island, with classics from Eisenstaedt to Ellis, or the hopping, event-rich scene of the Oak Bluffs Arts District, where Dragonfly resides.

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.

E-readers be damned! These two offer such wide selections of page-turners, you’ll be shaking the sand out for years. Like a phoenix from the ashes, Bunch of Grapes rose from the fire of 2008 stronger than before. With its cozy rooms and wide selection, Edgartown Books will surely charm you.

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

Whether you’re gift shopping for a bride, baby, spouse, or self, you can find it at one of these stores. Rainy Day features fun, funky housewares, sumptuous beauty products, and well-designed stationery. For something special from the heart, Sanctuary’s selection of Willow Tree angels and spiritual gifts are sure to inspire.

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.

These two classy jewelry stores can help commemorate a wonderful day trip with a simple charm, or mark one of life’s milestones with something a bit fancier. Claudia also features European perfumes, hair accessories, bags, wallets, and hand-blown glass, while CB Stark, with its custom line of iconic designs, has become an Island tradition.
Best Package Store: Our Market
One East Chop Drive, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3000.
Runner-up: Jim’s Package Store
27 Lake Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0236.

These two are the go-tos for those planning a good time, whether you’re looking to throw back a couple while rocking on your porch or hosting hundreds of your nearest and dearest at a wedding or other event. With their vast selections of wine, beer, liquor, and various accoutrements, and Island-wide delivery services, the party starts here. And there.


Best Store for Children’s Clothing: Kiddo’s
42 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-5437.
Runner-up: Basics Clothing Company
22 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

When you see little ones swinging their shopping bags on Circuit Avenue, you know they’ve hit the Island’s top two spots for kid-wear. With its wide selection of clothes, gifts, books, and accessories, Kiddo’s is now at a new location. A few doors down, shoes and more cute clothes await your little one at Basics.

Best Store for Men’s Clothing: Sundog
41 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5254.
Close runner-up: The Green Room
71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.

With the air of a classic haberdashery, Sundog brings you back to the days of straight razors and suspenders with their selection of upscale menswear. At the Green Room, it’s all about the laid-back Island vibe, whether you spend your time on a surfboard, on a hiking trail, or sidled up to a stylish bistro bar.

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

For the latest in denim, a flirty frock, or jogging shoes and the sweats to match, ladies, the Green Room has you covered. The friendly staff will suit you up for hiking Menemsha Hills, spiking a volleyball at South Beach, or cutting it up at Nectar’s. With Crocs, sneakers, and fun clothes, Basics will outfit you to kick back and enjoy the same.

Best Store for Shoes: Brickman’s
8 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0047.
Runner-up: The Green Room
71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.

At the head of Main Street, Brickman’s remains the top spot to get your kicks, from sneakers to Merrells to uber-fashionable UGGs. The Green Room holds down the opposite end of Vineyard Haven’s shopping mecca with its extensive selection of boots, flippy-floppies, and fashionable footwear.

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.
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.

With the Black Dog celebrating its fortieth year, it is easy to see why many think the Island of Martha’s Vineyard is shaped like a giant Labrador retriever. But with Menemsha Blues close on its tail, perhaps some day visitors will see it as an island shaped like a fish. (Funny, we always thought it looked like a big cowboy hat.)

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.

Yes, you’ll wait for breakfast (and probably lunch). But ArtCliff’s chef/owner Gina Stanley will reward your patience with offbeat indulgences like homemade jam-filled crepes, corned beef hash, farm-fresh eggs, and (when available) sweet potato biscuits with salty maple butter. One town over, Linda Jean’s sets the standard for down-home fare like blueberry flapjacks and diner-style omelets.

Best Place to Get Lunch: Slice of Life
50 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3838.
Runner-up: Sharky’s Cantina
266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.
31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.

Finding a truly great BLT is hard enough, but a place that also makes substantial salads? At Slice of Life, get both – the fried green tomato BLT upgrades mayo to basil aioli, while the spicy candied walnuts are reason enough to order the Slice Salad – and share. But alas, they don’t do Mexican, so for that, check out Sharky’s.

Fine Dining: State Road
688 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-8582.
Runner-up: Alchemy
71 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9999.

Expect Island foods with a twist at farmhouse bistro State Road. Stroll through an herb garden before settling down in the bustling bar, cozy porch, or stately main room – all tastefully decorated with original art and antiques. Alchemy’s upscale French bistro boasts multi-story dining, including al fresco options and an expansive wine list.

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

Sharky’s is loud and colorful, which means your boisterous children will feel right at home; the menu caters to Mexican-food lovers, but there are plain options for your picky eater. The Giordano family serves Italian-American food at their sit-down restaurant, but those in a rush can order from the takeout pizza window or clam bar.

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.

The harbor, the sun, the bustling crowds of smiling tourists, the whiff of sea air and fried food: You’re in the thick of all that is Oak Bluffs at Nancy’s. The second-floor deck at the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown, on the other hand, lets you be above it all. Kind of perfect, right?

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 hard thing about being a vegetarian at the Scottish Bakehouse is having so many options: Will it be the quinoa burger or the kale and sweet potato mash? Or wait – what about the coconut tofu? Vegetarians will also find themselves satiated over at the Slice of Life where the vegetarian pizza and the portobello sandwich are supremely succulent.

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

Winter on the Island can be long, so finding fun places to frequent in the off-season is key. Sharky’s serves up a wide variety of Mexican food and drink selections, as well as a family-friendly atmosphere. Offshore has something for everyone: Island-brewed beer, live music, and specials that keep the locals coming back night after night.

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

Offshore’s burger, a winner since 2005, goes great with their special beers, live music, and off-season deals – and it’s not just the kids who love to throw peanut shells on the floor. Atria’s Brick Cellar Bar, downstairs from the restaurant, is a cozy spot that features scrumptious burgers among other casual fare.

Best Pizza: Giordano’s Restaurant
107 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0184.
Runner-up: Rocco’s Pizzeria
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1125.

Giordano’s has been around for nearly four generations, and it’s not leaving our “Best Of” issue anytime soon. Their pies – steaming hot and decadently cheesy – taste just how pizza by the sea should taste. Rocco’s offers traditional family-style pizza, subs, and salads, with indoor and al fresco dining options.

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

Sharky’s wings are not simply excellent, they come in several flavors of excellent – and the best part is you get to go to Sharky’s to eat them. Coop deVille specializes in wings alchemy, cooking up nine styles on the OB waterfront. Love the yardbird!

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.

Mocha Mott’s serves organic fair-trade coffee, so enjoy that first, second, or third cup of joe without a twinge of guilt. While savoring your brew, check out the original art on the walls. Espresso Love patrons can partake of their coffee in the serene cafe garden; add an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and you may find heaven.

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.

The hearty breads, savory meats, and overflowing extras in Humphreys sandwiches are the stuff of legend, so it’s no surprise they’re also voted the favorite stuff of Island picnics. Unless, of course, your picnic taste leans more to Dijon mustard, imported cheese, and red wine, in which case you’re loving our runner-up, Soigné.

Best Farm, Market, or Stand: Morning Glory Farm
100 Meshacket Road, Edgartown, 508-627-9003.
Runner-up: West Tisbury Farmer’s Market
Grange Hall, West Tisbury, 508-693-9561.

You might go in for Morning Glory’s stunning lettuce and sweet corn, and come out with fresh zucchini bread and a copy of the farm’s own acclaimed cookbook. The West Tisbury Farmer’s Market brings you straight to the sources for Island honey, spectacular flowers, homemade soaps, adorable baby bok choy, and more.

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

The Net Result features super-fresh seafood, from crispy fish and chips to sublime sushi made to order. Bonus: ample parking with outdoor picnic tables, a roadside ocean view, and cool sea breezes. At Giordano’s, order pizza, fried calamari, popcorn shrimp, or buffalo tenders – mm, mm, good!

Best Caterer: V. Jaime Hamlin and Sons
Runner-up: Kitchen Porch

Jaime Hamlin really knows how to cook, style, and entertain with élan. Hence she keeps showing up in the Best of the Vineyard! Jan Buhrman of the Kitchen Porch is another master chef and hostess with an Island-grown emphasis. Stop by the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market for a sample of her creations.

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.

Calling all chowda heads! The Net Result’s rich and creamy New England–style chowder makes Islanders and day-trippers alike as happy as clams. One cup not enough? Park yourself at the Black Dog and order a mug of their own lip-smackin’ version, complete with a handful of croutons and a healthy shake of paprika.

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.

With a view of Vineyard Haven harbor, the Net Result is the perfect spot on a balmy summer day to enjoy crispy fish and chips with a side of crunchy slaw. For a cozier pub atmosphere, head over to the Newes and pair your meal with one of New England’s best draft beers.

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.

The Giordanos have been cooking clams for more than eighty years and started the Island’s first clam bar. How could they not be great? Buy their bivalves by the plate, half-pint, pint, or quart. Or accompany the magnificent Menemsha sunset with an order of mouth-watering whole-belly clams fried to order at the Bite.

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.

Grace Church served almost 17,000 lobster rolls last summer during its primary fundraiser for outreach work. And a drink and chips are included. And they have pie. Good, good, good, and good! If you’re in the mood for a lobster roll and it’s not Friday evening, the Net Result fills the bill pretty darn well.

Best Seafood Restaurant: Home Port Restaurant
512 North Road, Menemsha, 508-645-2679.
Runner-up: The Net Result
Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.

Home Port is the quintessential Vineyard seafood experience: three-course lobster combo meals inside, take-away specials like fish tacos and oyster po’ boys from the back door, and panoramic views of Menemsha. Down-Islanders, save yourself the schlep and grab sushi, steamed lobster, and a picnic table at the Net Result.

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 those who can get past the takeout counter, Louis Larsen’s supply of ocean plunder is unparalleled: meaty monkfish, harpooned swordfish (odd cuts are a bargain), and candy-sweet Island bay scallops, to name a few. Up-Islanders are well-supplied by his relatives at Larsen’s – particularly at the raw oyster window.

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

With a list of awards as long as a steaming pit, Bill Smith’s provides catered clambakes at three levels: casual, formal, or to go. Their website makes the mouth water. Fella Caters, in business since 1984, shells out succulent seafood for groups from twenty to five hundred.

Sweet treats

Best Bakery: The Black Dog
11 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-4786.
509 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-8190.
Runner-up (tie): Rickard’s Bakery
114 Cook Road off State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2955.
27 North Summer Street, Edgartown, 508-627-1008.
Scottish Bakehouse
977 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6633.

The Black Dog offers many tasty treats: decadent “mousse bombs,” cupcakes that are works of art, and melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts. Deliciousness also runs high over at the Scottish Bakehouse, where there are many gluten-free options. For an elegant boulangerie feel, check out Rickard’s European-style pastries.

Best Ice Cream Shop: Ben and Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
20A Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-0008.
Close runner-up: 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.

That Ben and Bill’s offers dozens of flavors isn’t what keeps the line snaking out the door. It’s that theirs is the richest, densest ice cream around, churned with primo mix-ins (try homemade butter crunch, cherry chip, or cappuccino espresso). Mad Martha’s lures almost the same crowds in all three of its down-Island stores.

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.

Color and variety are everywhere when you enter Donaroma’s domain. Flowers of all shapes and sizes are available, along with professional advice (especially from the orchid lady). Morrice Florist, with its helpful staff and convenient location, came in one vote away from first place.

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.

Jardin Mahoney viewed from the road is a natural high, with blooming trees, flowers, and shrubs in a breathtaking array of color and texture. Donaroma’s has a creative seasonal display near Edgartown’s Triangle, and a selection of plants to match. Both businesses offer friendly, professional advice (and will help carry your purchases to the car).

Best Landscape Company: Contemporary Landscapes
33 Kate’s Way, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6788.
Runner-up: Donaroma’s Nursery and Landscape Services
271 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-3036.

“Responsible stewardship” brings Contemporary Landscapes to the top of this year’s list. Besides being consummate pros in negotiating the Island’s permitting processes, they consider the contours, special features, and ecology of a site before putting pencil to paper. Donaroma’s is another full-service landscape service with years of experience.

Best Store for Home Furnishings: LeRoux at Home
62 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0030.
Runner-up: Vineyard Decorators
835 Airport Road, Edgartown, 508-693-9197.

With three floors of kitchenware, small electrics, and dry goods, LeRoux’s lively in-town location lets you stop by for a sample at the oil-and-vinegar tasting bar or to attend a cooking demo. Vineyard Decorators offers name-brand furniture for indoors and out, along with rugs, accessories, and bedding.

Best Hardware Store: Shirley’s Hardware
374 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3070.
Runner-up: Edgartown Hardware
61 Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, Edgartown, 508-627-4338.

Shirley’s, a winner since 2001, has the gadgets and goods for home and garden with a veteran sales staff that knows where everything is, from nails to outdoor grills. And they’re still making keys. Edgartown Hardware’s spacious new digs just outside town offer expanded product lines and plenty of parking.

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

The Rosbecks’ family-owned construction company rises again to the top. According to major-domo Peter Rosbeck, his firm offers “consistent quality and workmanship on a timely basis.” Leaning toward the green, Bill Potter and Squash Meadow Construction have been LEED-certified since 2008, a perfect choice for energy-conscious homeowners.

Best Electrical Contractor: Powers Electric
62 Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-6400.
Close runner-up: Welch Electric
42 Witchwood Lane, Edgartown, 508-627-9000.

With that last name, could Cole Powers do anything else for a living? The firm services new construction, repairs, and upgrades, including solar installations. Welch Electric has been in business since 1970, weathering a few boom-and-bust real estate cycles and staying steady throughout.

Best Plumbing Contractor: Walter Smith Plumbing
Edgartown, 508-627-5661.
Runner-up: Al’s Plumbing
Edgartown, 508-627-5220.

Co-owner Robert Smith of Walter Smith says his firm does “everything from high-end residential work to everyday jobs for Island people.” Al Ferland of Al’s Plumbing has been in business for more than seventeen years and can do everything from your spring turn-on to installing new solar panels.

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.

For years, these two firms have duked it out for first place. Coldwell Banker Landmarks combines national name recognition with Island expertise, making the mother-and-son owners and their staff the top winners again. It’s always a tight race with Sandpiper Realty and their reputation for professional, personal service.

Health and beauty

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.

Show up at Maggie’s in your old jeans and leave feeling red-carpet-ready; using mostly organic products, stylists work their magic while clients enjoy French music and chocolates. The très chic Bouclé, specializing in weddings and customized beauty treatments, does special hair glazes and “sunglitz.”

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.

Book a detoxifying and revitalizing Moshup Mud Wrap using clay from the Gay Head Cliffs at the Mansion House, where the sauna, mineral pool, and fitness center are included with spa services. The offerings at Edgartown’s upscale Bouclé include enzymatic sea mud treatments, deep tissue massages, and facials for mature skin.     
Best Massage Therapist: Chrystal Angelini
322 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1946.
Close runner-up: Allyson Cook
455 State Road, Unit 12, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-1863.

They say you can’t throw a hot stone on this Island without striking a massage therapist, so when our readers once again voted these two to the top of the list, you know they’re great at what they do. They both offer a wide variety of massage styles. If you’re a reluctant first-timer or a little shy, try Thai massage. Ahhhh.

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.

Dr. John Lamb has only lived here for five years, yet this marks the fourth time he’s taken home Best Doctor. Clearly, his needles don’t hurt – nor does his laid-back, put-you-at-ease attitude. Dr. Julia Stunkel of Vineyard Family Medicine Practice loves working in a small community and getting to know her patients and clearly it’s reciprocal.

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

These two are doing something right. Although the winner and runner-up are switched this year by virtue of one vote, Sandy and Hélène repeat last year’s performance as the Island’s two favorite dentists – and getting in the votes wasn’t like pulling teeth!

Services on-Island

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.

Animal Health Care, a winner since we created the category in 2008, really does treat all animals (they even have a skunk for a client); new vet Janet Ross practices alternative therapies and offers house calls for acupuncture. Mobile vet Dr. Dave can find you and your sick pet wherever you’re holed up.

Best Auto Repair Shop: Bink’s Auto
29 Winthrop Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2168.
Runner-up: Courtesy Motors
Holmes Hole Business Park, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5010.

Bink’s Auto, with its fond and loyal customer base, has been on the Island for so long that one is tempted to believe the business began as canoe repair. The pros at Courtesy Motors left Five Corners for more spacious digs up at the Holmes Hole Business Park, and they’ll bring your ride into tip-top order too.
Best Bank: Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank
Branches in Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, 508-627-4266.
Runner-up: Edgartown National Bank
Branches in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven, 508-627-1100.

Solid, friendly, community-oriented, with plenty of branches, MV Savings Bank prides itself on being in close touch with its customers. Edgartown National Bank is slightly smaller with fewer branches, but both banks are so friendly they’d give a lollipop to a robber in a
George W. Bush mask.

Best Taxi Service: AdamCab
Edgartown, 508-627-4462.
Runner-up: Stagecoach Taxi
Vineyard Haven, 508-627-4566.

Reliable and friendly, AdamCab is a taxi service with ten vans and services ranging from on-call and standby pickups to corporate accounts and private all-Island tours. Runner-up Stagecoach offers similar Island-wide services with their own fleet of nine comfy vans.

Where to sleep

Best Bed and Breakfast: Thorncroft Inn
460 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3333.
Close runner-up: Lambert’s Cove Inn & Restaurant
90 Manaquayak Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-2298.

“Romantic hideaway” perfectly describes these two winning inns, both located in quiet woodland settings. The Thorncroft, an elegant craftsman-style inn, has fourteen rooms, many with working fireplaces and two-person hot tubs. The fifteen-room Lambert’s Cove Inn, with fine dining on site, is set amid lovely cottage gardens not far from Lambert’s Cove Beach.

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.

The Harbor View has been providing excellent accommodations since its construction in 1891. As its name implies, hotel guests enjoy stunning views of Edgartown harbor (and the lighthouse). The Mansion House, whose guests can use the hotel’s indoor pool, spa, and health club, has a rooftop deck with an incredible view of Vineyard Haven harbor.

Each year, Martha’s Vineyard Magazine turns to its readers to find out what you relish most about the Island and which businesses are the very best at
what they do. To cast your votes for next year’s Best of the Vineyard, please visit our website at Thanks, and have a great summer!