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Beatrice Helman

6 Obama-Approved Spots for a Perfect Martha’s Vineyard Vacation

Visiting the island this summer or winter? Do it in style, like the Obamas.

I’ve been going to Martha’s Vineyard my entire life. It’s tiny, but it’s the kind of island that draws you in with sandy outstretched arms and huckleberry-stained fingers, full of inlets, ancient trees, and blooming hydrangeas– and it’s also the backdrop to a number of presidential vacations.

For such a small place, Martha’s Vineyard has a distinct and vibrant personality; it’s the kind of destination that people go back to again and again, not just for the beaches but for the sense of community that thrives on the island. Below, we spotlight a few of the best places to visit on Martha’s Vineyard– from restaurants adored by the Obama family to the coziest coffee shops in New England.

Martha

Beatrice Helman

Behind The Bookstore

Behind the Bookstore is bringing the cool to Edgartown, one brioche donut and shakshuka at a time. Located behind the actual bookstore, there’s great outdoor seating and they serve dinner as well as breakfast and lunch, making it a place you can eat at every day. While most of Edgartown is clean cut, Behind the Bookstore has a booming personality and a fun-loving staff that make you feel like all you really want is to be their friend. It’s got great coffee and baked goods that make you want to linger for hours. AKA: It’s our kind of place. Seriously though, to revisit the last statement, we’ve never gone here and not needed to try everything in the case, from the olive oil cake to tahini cookies to donut holes. The coffee is made with intention and care, and the lunch menu is exactly what you’re looking for on a hot summer day. Come to think of it, so is the dinner menu too. You can check out Behind The Bookstore’s food and antics on their Instagram, although it might be hard to look at if you aren’t heading directly there. Nobody wants to miss out on scallops and lemon poppyseed griddle cakes.

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State Road

State Road is the best of the best when it comes to dinner; it’s got the cozy living room vibe that you want your favorite restaurant to have, and feels like an extension of every on-island kitchen (it’s also a favorite dining spot for the Obamas). You can curl up with a plate of veggies, mussels, or a giant burger and be as happy as you could be. On Sundays it’s worth stopping in for brunch, for a granola smoothie, spinach and eggs, pancakes and sausage. This is a place that is cherished for it’s vibe and it’s food– a rare balance to strike. The weekend welcomes baked goods like bacon chocolate cake, donuts, and monkey bread that will make your heart melt. It’s sister restaurant, Beach Road, is another dinner staple– a place where you almost have to order one of every item on the menu and share in order not to feel like you’re missing out.

Martha

Beatrice Helman

Sandy’s Fish and Chips at John’s Market

Sandy’s Fish and Chips at John’s Market is our go-to for fish and chips and lobster rolls. It’s summer, so everyone in New England is looking for seafood, fries, and the kind of soft serve that gets drippy within five minutes. This place is a classic. You can eat your fish and chips and then buy your dinner. What more could you want?

West Tisbury Farmers Market

The West Tisbury Farmers Market is a great place to stop on Wednesday or Saturdays before 12, when it starts to shut down. It gets better and better every year and the line for egg rolls never gets shorter. You can buy Sweet Chick’s pies, raspberry slushies and homemade salsa, as well as your veggies, fish, and local cheese from Grey Barns, just up the road. You can buy coffee, listen to music, and munch on carrots and local chocolate. Kind of the dream, if you ask us.

Martha

Beatrice Helman

7A

Before you stop at the farmers market, stop at 7A for an epic egg sandwich. It’s an egg sandwich to compete with any egg sandwich anywhere. (Or an oatmeal or scone, if egg sandwiches aren’t your thing.) Everything is awesome, everything is fresh baked, and they carry SoCo ice cream, for the SoCo ice cream fans out there. You can also get lunch to go, as well as pickles, crackers, and pretty much everything else you might need for a picnic.

Martha

Beatrice Helman

Art Cliff Diner

Art Cliff Diner is the quintessential diner, if all diner’s delivered up homemade scones and used local ingredients. The scone flavors rely on what’s in season– you could get sweet potato or peach blackberry– but there are a few menu staples that are hard to live without once you’ve tried them. The chicken hash, fresh, spicy, and savory, is a beloved favorite in this family, as are the pancakes and waffles. I personally have gone through entire summers eating only scones. They’re that good. Show up early on the weekends to beat the line, but even if you do sleep in, it’s worth it.

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