Hy-Line Cruises

New Nantucket Ferry is Homeward Bound!

Posted by Betsy Rich on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 @ 10:17 AM

GL-IV-smer.jpgIt's official—Grey Lady IV is indeed on her way!  Anticipation of her arrival has kept us on the edge of our seats, and we are excited to confirm she will be arriving at our Hyannis dock tonight! She will be in service on Friday, September 2nd, after staff training and hosting open houses in Hyannis and on Nantucket. 

Our Hyannis Open House will be Thursday, September 1st from
3:30pm until 5:30pm at the Ocean Street Dock. 

Our Nantucket Open House will be Thursday, September 1st from
7:00pm until 8:30pm at Straight Wharf.

  • Be one of the first to see this cutting edge vessel
  • Sip on a refreshing beverage and enjoy a light snack
  • Experience the comfort of our fourth generation high-speed ferry
  • Meet the owners, captains and employees as they set sail on this next chapter of Hy-Line history

 The fun begins with celebration and we hope you can join us!

Tags: ferry, travel, Ferry to Nantucket, Nantucket

Rock the Boat: Cape Cod Canal Cruises

Posted by Betsy Rich on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 01:11 PM

So, yes...most of what we do is the ferry thing to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. And most of what we do is out of Hyannis, but we have this itty-bitty division on the Cape Cod Canal. Cape Cod Canal Cruises is the only sightseeing cruise on the Cape Cod Canal, departing from Onset which is an itty-bitty village of Wareham. "Just ten minutes from the Bourne Bridge!" (that's a good one for advertising)

Viking is the boat we operate there, you may have seen her cruising the Canal before as you were driving along or over one of the bridges. Her schedule mostly consists of sightseeing cruises with live narration about the history and points of interest on the Canal.


But in the summer, on Friday and Saturday nights, the vibe of that boat changes. It transforms into a floating club of friends and acquaintances, birthday celebrations and bachelorette parties. Being on a boat with a great live local band is special, almost intimate in a way. You can't go anywhere else (which is a running joke with the bands because you can't leave) and seemingly the strangers you walk on board with are new friends when you get back to the dock. I see music cruisers making plans to go out, becoming Facebook friends, after the music cruise. Every time. 

I try to make it to at least one of these cruises every summer. I have the honor of booking the bands so to me, it's a reward to see them play on the boat.I grabbed some friends and ventured out last Saturday. We all met up first for dinner and at the Quahog Republic, which is directly across the street (get the truffle fries). We even had a backup plan that if we were late, we'd just stop into Marc Anthony's and grab a pie to bring on board. 

JoandCo.jpgOn this trip, Jo & Co was playing. Hands down, they are one of my favorite bands. I've seen them at multiple locations on the Cape but of course, the boat is my favorite venue :) They are amazing musicians and entertainers, playing an array of music to both sing and dance along to. People mix and mingle with friends and strangers for one purpose only this cruise: to have fun! 

The feeling on the boat is so different compared to where you'd usually go see a live band. Cruising the Canal, taking in the sights, cruising UNDER the bridges, waving to other boaters, and especially seeing people along the Canal with their flashlights, or flashing their car's headlights, dancing along to the music. One year, there was a guy who followed the boat for a long time on his bike with a flashlight and the band made up a song about him, on the spot, called "Flashlight Guy." I will never forget that as long as I live!

If any of this interests you, I strongly encourage you to check out the band schedule and make a reservation. We only have a few more weeks and a lot of the cruises have sold out this year. (In case you don't know, this cruise is 21+ only.) If you can't make it this summer, we'll be doing it all over next year!

Here is a video I took that night, of Jo & Co playing "Blurred Lines." Please forgive my amateur video job, as it was a bit challenging to hold steady when they Rock the Boat! Oh, and forgive my friends for the video bomb at the end :)

Tags: things to do on Cape Cod, Cruise, Canal

From Hollywood to Hy-Line

Posted by Betsy Rich on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 @ 12:35 PM

As our second guest blogger, we are honored to have Adam Weissler share his trip to Boston, Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard! Adam is a reporter and senior producer on the nationally syndicated TV show, Extra.

This  was my family’s first trip to the Cape – my wife (and fellow Extra TV producer)  Jennifer, and my 2 kids, Olivia, age 11, and Holden, 9.

I had visited the area once, as a teen, and made the ferry journey to Martha’s Vineyard. What I recall most from that trip in 1986 was a visit to the Edgartown Library, to get out of the rain, as they were having a used book sale.. and I actually came home with a stack of paperbacks and reference books.  

We started this trip with a weekend in Boston, at the Westin Copley Plaza and enjoyed the popular family sights - took in a game at Fenway, did the Swan Boats, Duck Tour, Harvard, Freedom Trail and a fun dinner in the North End.

A real highlight of our time before the Cape was a visit to Plimoth Plantation, which of course is right on the way. It was truly a beautiful day and visit, and Richard Pickering, the Executive Director and Rob Kluin, the PR director gave our family an amazing tour. We spent most of the day immersing ourselves in the history, with amazing actor re-creations of the sights, sounds and smells, and FUN.. of the time, enjoyed a fab lunch and a visit to the Mayflower II, where Olivia and Holden participated in some role-playing of their own, as it was Pirate Day.   

But that was just a pre-cursor to a full week on the Cape.

A_Weissler3.jpgWe rented a house in East Harwich.. with our friends, the Elliotts. That was our jumping off location for various day trips -  with our rental car stereo tuned to local WFCC 107.5 (the classical station was perfect .. and different for the kids).  We became experts on the beaches in Dennis, with Mayflower being the standout, and Chapin a close second. The kids loved the low tide fun, very different from California.. and the horseshoe and hermit crabs!  We frequented Chatham, took in the Chatham Band, a Chatham Anglers playoff game,  a screening of “Jaws” at the Orpheum Theatre  and loved the Chatham Lighthouse Beach at Sunset. I met up with my friend, singer Sam Harris, in Provincetown - who was performing that week at the Crown & Anchor –  before a family excursion on Art’s Dune Tours (WOW! That was fun!) and caught up with local star and American Idol Season 9 Finalist Siobhan Magnus, where she showed me her boutique at the Antique Center of Cape Cod that she runs for fun between gigs and recording.  A trip to the Cape Cod Natural History Museum in Brewster, and Wing’s Island Conservation area -  was also a highlight.  

A_Weissler1.jpgWhat we were all looking most forward to was boat ride to the Vineyard! We a great time on Hy-Line Cruises – spending time both inside, where Jen prefers to hang, and out on the deck where I enjoyed the wind and the sights of Nantucket Sound. Upon arrival, I made a beeline for the Black Dog store in Oak Bluffs to get an obligatory t-shirt. Olivia found some jewelry she liked at a gift shop and Holden found some vintage comics at the nifty Corner Store.  We easily caught the bus to Edgartown and walked around, taking in the sights. We had a super lunch at the Seafood Shanty, with a window seat view of the Chappy Ferry that couldn’t be beat. We strolled, took lots of pictures, hit stores like Vineyard Vines and Jack Wills. We felt like locals by the time we took the bus back to Oak Bluffs. We enjoyed more shopping before the fun boat ride back to the Cape proper. We ended the day with visit to Four Seas Ice Cream in Centerville...a must! Great history, look, feel.. and ice cream.


We hope to visit again soon..  and I think our next ferry will be to Nantucket!

It's a Girl!

Posted by Betsy Rich on Fri, Jul 08, 2016 @ 02:32 PM

Wednesday, July 6th was a big day. And a great one.Joan_Christening.jpg

Our newest high-speed ferry was christened at 11:00am at Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding in Somerset, Massachusetts (shop local, right?). Her name is Grey Lady IV.

She is replacing our traditional (slow) ferry Great Point that carried up to 800 passengers, and will join our existing Nantucket high-speed ferry Grey Lady in service. 

She will service the residents and visitors of Nantucket, our second home. Gone are the days of slow ferry rides; everyone wants to get where they're going fast. Well, here's your girl. 

Grey Lady IV is a 46-meter, 493 passenger high-speed ferry, larger than her sister Grey Lady. "With increased passenger and luggage capacity, prime seating, trim-tab ride control and four continuously rated main engines, this vessel promises to set a new standard for comfort and reliability."

Did you hear that? Increased passenger and luggage capacity and prime seating on our high-speed service! Grey Lady IV will travel at the same rate speed of the Grey Lady, regardless of her larger size. There are 5 passenger restrooms, a wheelchair accessible main deck (and restroom), LCD TVs, Beurteaux seating and tables and 3 (count 'em-3!) snack bars.

It's been a long time coming, two years in the making. A labor of love. Labor...

This is the thing...it has been a lot like having a child including (insert sarcasm) the super-fun part of labor and delivery:

  • Sometimes there are complications (check)
  • Adjustments need to be made to make room for your new bundle of joy (check)
  • The change is good but life altering (check)
  • There are tears (check)
  • There is pain (check)

Then there is an overwhelming feeling of joy that washes over you, making you happier than you've ever been. And then, after a little time, the stress of labor and delivery doesn't seem so bad after all.

It's happening. She's coming. The newest ferry of the family, Grey Lady IV, is coming. Just a few more weeks. Our pride and joy :)  


Check out our video of the christening!

Tags: ferry, travel, Ferry to Nantucket, Nantucket, high speed, boat

A Day on Martha's Vineyard

Posted by Betsy Rich on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 12:56 PM

Hy-Line doesn't just get questions about taking the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. Most times, when people call about the Vineyard, they want to know what to do, what to see and where to eat on the island. I've had a lot more inquiries about the Vineyard this year than ever before. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to spend a day (and an overnight!) there early this summer. 

Recently, a gentleman from Hollywood, California inquired about taking his family there for the day. In his email he said, "Your service stuck out as the easiest and best for us!" OK. You say that kind of thing and you're already my friend. I told my new friend all about my day and I'm going to tell you about it too:

There is a wonderful article and video about the Vineyard that was published recently by the New York Times. I think you’ll enjoy it. It's entitled What to Do in 36 Hours on Martha's Vineyard

Last time I went to the Vineyard was June. It was the first time I rented a car and I would definitely do it again. There’s a guy on the dock, Martha's Vineyard Auto Rentals, and it was somewhere around $45. We have a coupon for $10 off a car rental in our brochure (there are tons on the dock). Considering that it costs $33 for a bus tour, I think it was totally worth having the flexibility to go wherever I wanted for the day.

You can also get between the towns via the Vineyard Transit Authority. You can buy an all-day pass for $8 per person.

031_bIf you go to Edgartown, I suggest taking a walk through the Old Whaling Church. The architecture is amazing and there is a volunteer there who can answer questions and tell you about the history. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is good. It’s not very big so it wouldn’t take up too much time. Of course, there is plenty of shopping. There is also a pier where a lot of fishing boats dock, and there is a deck that you can walk up to and view the “On-Time Ferry” to Chappaquiddick. It’s a beautiful view of the harbor and Edgartown Light. It is right across the street from the Martha's Vineyard Art Association and Old Sculpin Gallery.

If you rent a car, I suggest making the trip out to the Aquinnah Cliffs. It's worth the drive. See...049_b



We then stopped by the Island Alpaca Farm in Oak Bluffs (not downtown). They have more than 70 alpaca on the farm and the kids will love it! 

Back in downtown Oak Bluffs, you have to visit the Camp Meeting Association (you can walk or drive through) which is where all the Gingerbread Houses are.  

OF COURSE the kids have to ride the Flying Horses, the country’s oldest platform carousel, and try to get the brass ring for a chance at a free ride!  There’s an arcade too…my 10-year old can spend some serious time there.

Here are some suggestions as to where to eat:

Mocha Mott’s is the best for coffee (a short walk from the boat)   

In Edgartown, I’ve had lunch at The Wharf Pub. 

I like Sharky’s Cantina for Mexican. He has a place in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

The guy that owns Sharky’s also owns the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, which is beyond awesome.

The Coop de Ville is good for a drink and an appetizer while you wait for the boat. 

Nancy’s Restaurant is also good and right by the boat If you go, order a Dirty Banana – it’s their signature drink. 


To all of my friends reading this blog - I would like to send a whole bunch of love out to my friend John Tiernan at The Dockside Inn for putting up with us for an overnight. BTW - this inn is the BOMB. It is right across from where the Hy-Line ferries dock, super clean and has a phenomenal staff. He's won a bunch of 'Best Of' awards and was even featured on the Today Show as an 'Outstanding Value for a Celebrity Getaway.' Robin Leach would totally take you there... 

Four on ACK for Fall

Posted by Betsy Rich on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 @ 03:33 PM

Holly FiniganOur very first guest blogger is the lovely Miss Holly Finigan of the Nantucket BlACKbook! She is a frequent traveler on the Nantucket high-speed ferry and a great friend :)

Ahhh, the fall on Nantucket. The island lets out a big sigh of relief after a busy summer season. The days stay warm with beach worthy afternoons and the nights are crisp as it quickly becomes sweater season. This is by far our favorite time on the island. You’re truly able to relax and enjoy the sweet serenity of September and October. And while many may think the island slows down, they are mistaken! There are always a plethora of great things going on during autumn on ACK and here we give you four reasons to come bACK in the fall!

Plan A Girls Weekend Away
White Elephant VillagesIn search of a fresh way to get your friends together? Plan a girls weekend to Nantucket! It’s the ideal time to kick back and relax and catch up after the craziness of the summer passes. Find a place to stay like the White Elephant Villages that has hotel like amenities in one, two and three bedroom residences! Grab bikes and enjoy some fresh air as you cycle out to Sconset or just relax by the pool and hang in one of the White Elephant cabanas as you relax, read, and laugh about old times. There are always great summer sales going on and you won’t have trouble getting a reservation last minute if you just want to wing it!

Nantucket Project
Nantucket ProjectSeptember 26th through the 28th

Looking for a weekend escape where you can really learn something and open your eyes to big concepts and grand ideas? Look no further than the 4th annual Nantucket Project which goes beyond simply the presentation of compelling thoughts.  Their mission is “To bring together a select group of eminent and accomplished visionaries, thinkers, innovators and performers to one of the most storied places in the United States. To invite them to share what’s foremost on their considerable minds. And to see what happens. The result, and the impact, have been nothing short of stunning.” This year's theme is “Art and Commerce” and is sure to be an amazing weekend with over 30 inspirational and intellectual presenters who each bring something different to this extraordinary three day event.

Restaurant Week
September 29th through October 5th

Love to eat out? Always looking for something delicious and new when it comes to dining and drinking out on Nantucket? You’re in luck! The biannual Nantucket Restaurant Week runs the last weekend of September into October and is a great time to check over 25 fantastic restaurants around ACK! For just $25 at lunch and $45 at dinner, you get three courses and the best part is every restaurant does the special differently. Want to dine outside? Check out Galley Beach. Looking for romance? A two top at Ventuno and Straight Wharf makes for a great date spot. And love innovative menus? The Proprietors and The Pearl have many unique dishes that you won’t find anywhere else!

Cranberry Festival
Saturday October 11th

Nothing says Nantucket like the Cranberry Festival! And this one day event is fun for the whole family in a gorgeous and super unique setting that will have you taking picture after picture! Plan for a day away down at the Milestone Bog where you can learn about the history and harvesting of Cranberries on the island. Enjoy live music for local bands, sheep sheering, a petting zoo, hay rides, face painting, BBQ food, sweet desserts, cranberry bread and so much more at this fun for everyone festival!


Holly Finigan is the founder of the Nantucket blACKbook, the online guide to all things hip + fresh on Nantucket. From where to sip, where to shop, where to stay, restaurants, retails, real estate, she keeps ACK lovers in the know of what's haute and cool around the island, wherever they may be. Follow along on www.nantucketblACKbook.com

Tags: ferry, travel, Cape Cod, vacation, girls, getaway, Ferry to Nantucket, things to do on Cape Cod

Our Top 3 'Can't Miss' on Martha's Vineyard in August

Posted by Betsy Rich on Mon, Aug 04, 2014 @ 09:37 AM

Look where the Martha's Vineyard Ferry can take you!

146th Annual Grand Illumination Night | August 20
Grand Illumination Night, the highlight of the summer season takes place in the Campground in Oak Bluffs! The Gingerbread cottages are adorned with colorful Chinese and Japanese lanterns, which are lit at sun down and burn throughout the night. In the Tabernacle, there is a sing along and band concert that starts around 7:00pm. One source states that this tradition started as a way of marking the visit of the Governor of Massachusetts. Another source states that it states that it originally marked the close of the summer season for campground visitors. Either way, this free event is certainly a can't miss for the whole family!

153rd Annual Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair and Livestock Fair | August 21-24
The Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair and Livestock Fair has something for everyone!
There is no shortage if fun with rides, games, live music, livestock, competitions, craft demonstrations, food, shopping, and art show; awards for homegrown vegetables, fruits, flowers and homemade goodies; and the fan favorite - a dog show! The goal of the Fair is to "promote education and involvement with agriculture in the Martha's Vineyard community. The proceeds of the fair support the Ag(ricultural) Society's scholarship and grant programs." The Agricultural Fair "promotes the pursuit of agriculture, horticulture, land conservation, youth activities, mechanic and domestic arts and encourages the raising and improving of plant and animal stock and the sale of island-grown produce and flowers at local farmers' markets." The Fair takes place at Agricultural Hall (off of State Road) in West Tisbury. The cost is $10 per adult, $5 for kids and seniors, and children 5 and under are free.

Fireworks at Ocean Park | August 22
Ocean Park, Oak BluffsThe fireworks at Ocean Park is the perfect night with family and friends! Bring a chair or blanket and look towards the open sky for one of THE best fireworks displays on the island all year. Locals say that it is truly one of the best events of the summer. There's also a band concert in the gazebo, starting at 8:00pm. Admission is free.

If you are planning on attending any of these events, or if you have, please let us know what you think!

Tags: ferry, travel, vacation, things to do on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, family, event

Sundays and Sundaes on Cape Cod

Posted by Betsy Rich on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 12:34 PM

Whether you live here or are vacationing on Cape Cod, this is the goal:

Sunshine. Relax. Fun. Firsts. Satisfaction. Adventure. Memories. Repeat.

Visitors always want Cape Cod vacation ideas from the residents or "natives" as I like to call them. People dream and plan their getaway to the Cape for months. Sometimes, I think I lose sight of how truly luck I am to live here (until I go visit somewhere else and can't wait to get home - no offense, Los Angeles).

It's tough working all summer, like many of us do, when the kids have it off from school. We have to make time and plan for the vacation or staycation or day trip, because the summer goes by in a flash.

I relish in the secret spots on Cape Cod; but I like to play tourist too. Last Sunday, we went to one of our favorite places to swim, Hathaway's Pond in Barnstable. Why do I love it? It's not super-crowded. I don't have to worry about an undertow or my kid getting knocked down by waves. My kid makes friends fast. Shade AND sun. Soft sand (I don't like walking on the shells and in seaweed). Lifeguards. A restroom that is a stone's throw away. And, the ice cream truck comes.

Hathaway's Pond
There are approximately 365 fresh water ponds on Cape Cod. I highly recommend checking one or more out while you're here. I know the ocean beach is a huge draw; but the ponds are amazingly beautiful, clean and offer a completely different type of family atmosphere. Click here for an article about some favorite ponds aka "swimming holes" on the Cape and make a plan. It will be SO worth it.

AND THEN, we went out to play tourist. We left the pond and headed for Ocean Street. On Sunday afternoons at 3:00pm there is an Ice Cream Float Cruise where you can make your own ice cream sundae with Ben and Jerry's. This cruise has been around for years, but I have Toppings!never done it. What a great way to cool off after the beach! It's a one hour cruise around Hyannis Harbor and Lewis Bay. Ben and Jerry's has two staff members on board who serve up three kinds of ice cream, hot fudge, strawberries, whipped cream and a table full of toppings. I've actually never seen people in a line look so happy. We waited, designed our own deliciousness, and went up to the top deck to enjoy. There was a limited amount of live commentary about the Kennedy Compound and then the narrator announced that if anyone had any questions, he would be available for the rest of the trip. Then he went around the boat to the individual groups and asked if anyone had questions. That, I thought, was great. The kids on board were quick to ask questions when he approached them individually. Ahhh, little sponges.

And then my kid went back downstairs to the main deck and designed a second sundae. Yep. Part Deux. He was HAPPY. This is the money shot:Sundaes

It tells the story of a happy boy on Cape Cod, Summer '14.

And it's only just begun.

Tags: travel, Cape Cod, vacation, things to do on Cape Cod, family, Sightseeing

In Our Wayback Machine

Posted by Betsy Rich on Thu, Mar 06, 2014 @ 11:41 AM

Well. It sure has been a long time now, hasn't it? I'd like to say that this winter has really flown by, but I'm not going to lie to you. As painful as it has been for us in this area, I'm happy to tell you that Hy-Line day-to-day business has been very busy. In addition, marketing has also been out straight getting ready for what is looking like a great year ahead. It's funny because when all the people are here in the height of the summer, that's my down time. My busy season is right now.

We're in the final stages of getting our full-color brochures done and off to the printer. So many say that print is dead, but I don't ever see it being dead for us. Every year, we take all the suggestions that have piled up the year before and make changes so that the brochures are the best that they can be. In addition, you can't have the same information print year after year - content and images need to be refreshed.

Christopher fishingOne of my tasks this year was to rewrite some of the copy in the Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard Ferry, Harbor Cruise and Canal Cruise brochures. (Sorry Deep-Sea Fishing brochure - no new content, but a picture of my kid is going in). In the island ferry brochure, we have a welcome section and a Hy-Line history section that we wanted to merge together and polish up; this was a fun project for me. Personally, I find the family and business history of Hyannis Harbor Tours, Inc. dba Hy-Line Cruises interesting and inspiring. After I finished writing, I said to myself (out loud, of course), "At the very least, this will make a great blog post." As it stands, a lot of this was left on the cutting room floor. But with you, I'd like to share the unedited version:

Family owned and operated with pride since 1962

L-R: Bob & Dick ScudderAfter graduating from Massachusetts Maritime Academy, brothers Richard and Robert Scudder settled into the family businesses of fuel oil (Scudder and Taylor Oil) and a gas station (Scudder’s Sunoco), both located in the waterfront district of Hyannis. With the election of John F. Kennedy, a “national spotlight fell on the Cape” and when the brothers were working at the gas station, they were asked for directions to the Kennedy Compound as much as they were asked to “fill-er-up.” They decided to further expand the family business with a parcel of land they owned on Hyannis Harbor and the purchase of a 1911 Maine Coastal Steamer replica, Prudence, and began operating sightseeing tours of Hyannis Harbor past the Kennedy Compound to satisfy the surge of interest in “America’s Royal Family.”

With the success of Hyannis Harbor Tours, Inc., Dick and Bob further expanded the business by also running a recreational fishing boat out of the Ocean Street Dock and, in 1971, an opportunity presented itself to start an island ferry service from Hyannis to Martha’s Vineyard. In 1973, they made a pivotal decision to purchase the Hyannis Island Line boat business at the other end of the Ocean Street Dock, and incorporate ferry service to Nantucket. Hy-Line Cruises was born.

Dick and Bob’s children were involved in the family business at a young age. As they finished their high school, college and military careers, they all returned, working in different facets of the company to manage, and eventually own the incredibly successful business that their fathers built.

Scudder FamilyIn December of 1995, that second generation of the family made the next most pivotal business decision with the introduction of the very first high-speed ferry to Nantucket. The high-speed catamaran Grey Lady cut the travel time to the island in half and concentrated heavily on customer amenities such as convenience, comfort and service. This high-speed service has proven to be so popular, that it was added to the Martha’s Vineyard operation in 2005 and the current, third generation high-speed Grey Lady continues to be the passenger-preferred way to get to the islands.

Tags: Cape Cod, family, Sightseeing, history

How do you wrap the Hyannis to Martha's Vineyard Ferry?

Posted by Betsy Rich on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 @ 12:25 PM

I am tired of Legos and Pokemon cards and Rainbow Looms. So as my son's 9th birthday approached, it was very clear that his gift would not be found at Toys R Us or Walmart. I knew that he would not be neglected by others in the toy department; however I was sold on giving him an experience...a memory of a great day with his mom.

I planned a day on Martha's Vineyard. Honestly, I've spent so much more time on Nantucket, professionally and personally, that I was really excited to do something that was new for both of us.

A couple of weeks before we left, I called Bill Anderson of Anderson Bike Rentals in Oak Bluffs. I have worked with him for years, but have never met him in person (this happens to me a lot). I asked him if he would be open because I was bringing my son over for his birthday and I'd like to stop by to meet him. I was glad that he, in fact, would still be open on weekends. Bike Martha's VineyardA few days before we left, I started thinking about how cool it would be to bike the Vineyard...now THAT'S something I've never done! My son loves to bike around the neighborhood, but what about actual biking? And then there's the little fact that I haven't been on a bike in, oh like, 20 years...before helmets were even a consideration. The idea intrigued me and scared me a little. It would be a challenge. It would be different. It would certainly be an experience. So we decided to go for it!

We took the high-speed ferry to Martha's Vineyard and arrived at about 10:30am. We checked in with Bill Anderson, who is a stone's throw away from where the ferry docks at the Dockside Marina in Oak Bluffs. Bill has been there renting bikes since 1971. He said, "Oh, I've been renting bikes since before you were born!" and I admitted that it wasn't that much before I was born. We were outfitted with a couple of nice bikes, helmets, bike lock and chain and he even offered us some water (of course, I'd already packed water, apples, hand wipes, kleenex - you know, the typical mom things). He and his daughter Kathy asked about our plans and we told them that we were headed out to the Island Alpaca Company in Vineyard Haven. Kathy kind of gave me a look and said, "Really?" and I asked if it was too far. She said no, as long as you can bike a half-hour. Nah, no biggie. She gave us a map and drew some custom directions and we were off!

On the ride to the alpaca farm, it was about half regular roads and half bike trail. I was really happy that we were there in October so that traffic on regular roads was light. So we biked. And biked. And biked some more. Whew - it was so long since I'd been on a bike and I felt it! The terrain is pretty flat around these parts, but even the little hills were a bit of a challenge. Thank goodness it was a beautiful, sunny day in the low 60s and we could bike in t-shirts. The directions were spot on and we arrived at the alpaca farm as she said, in about a half-hour.

I've been to the alpaca farm once before, but my son had not. It's a lovely farm (I think Island Alpaca Companysomeone said they owned about 20 acres) with an abundance of alpaca, maybe 75 to 80. They breed them, sell them and have a great little gift shop featuring mittens, gloves, sweaters, scarves, yarn, toys and gifts made with alpaca wool. If you have never been introduced to alpaca fur, it is incredibly soft. All of the alpacas have tags around their necks with their names on it, which is great. We went out back where most of them were hanging out and eating and one of the staff members was also there answering any and all questions. I could tell how much this woman loved her job and these animals. I loved sharing this visit with my son because even though we don't own any, we really do love animals.

We walked back to the bikes, had a snack and water and biked back to Oak Bluffs. We stopped by and saw a friend at the Oak Bluffs Open Market, which was great. There were artists selling their wares and a guy singing and playing guitar. Needless to say, the boy was hungry and we quickly moved on. We went out for lunch to one of my favorite spots - Sharky's Cantina. We love Mexican and this is the place for it on the Vineyard. It was packed, the New England Patriots were on and the food was fantastic (as usual). Then, of course, he had to have dessert so we stopped at the only place that was still open, Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium.

Ocean Park Martha's VineyardAnd then he wanted to bike. More. After stopping, it was hard to get motivated to get my now-sore captain's quarters back on that bike. But I did and we biked the Campground and Gingerbread Houses, and then Ocean Park which is picture perfect (I just read on TripAdvisor that it is the #2 attraction in Oak Bluffs). As you may be able to guess, I was getting really tired and losing steam. After Ocean Park, we biked the scenic route along the ocean, back to Anderson's bike rentals to hang it up. I was all done.

We had an hour before the ferry to Hyannis left, so we walked around (had to hit a gift shop for something) and then ended up visiting Petey at Coop de Ville. The Coop de Ville is a Coop de Villerestaurant on the water in Oak Bluffs that Hy-Line has partnered with the past couple of years for a fall day trip special to Martha's Vineyard. He was having his annual pig roast that day and by telling you that it was well-attended is putting it lightly. He also had this great band playing on a boat so we cuddled up on a bench (due to exhaustion), people-watched, soaked up the last of the Indian Summer sun, and listened to some tunes. Seriously, everyone needs to go to Martha's Vineyard in the fall. For real.

That night, after I put birthday britches to bed, I went on Google Maps to figure out how much we had biked. I was shocked to realize that we had biked at least 10 miles that day, and I felt it.

So no, none of these birthday presents can be wrapped, or played with, or later in life be donated. But I'm OK with that because this way, he'll have them forever. 

Tags: ferry, travel, Cape Cod, vacation, things to do on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, family, boat

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