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Best of the Vineyard 2012

Everyone has their favorites, from beaches to bars, gift shops to garden centers, hair stylists to seafood restaurants. Here are our readers’ picks in seventy-six categories.
Best of the Vineyard logo

While votes were courtesy of our readers, the write-ups are by Alexandra Bullen, Susan Catling, Vanessa Czarnecki, Linley Dolby, Greg Martino, Simone McCarthy, Jim Miller, Moira Silva, Remy Tumin, and Nancy Tutko. The designation “close runner-up” indicates the runner-up received up to ten votes less than the winner.

On the water

Best Beach: South Beach

Atlantic Drive, Edgartown.

Runner-up: State Beach

Beach Road, Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

Taste the salt breeze as you head toward South Beach, the crashing waves louder and louder as the anticipation of diving into the water builds. And then you’re in, and every care in the world disappears as you ride the waves. State Beach’s easy-in, easy-out waves keep families at the beach until the sun goes down.

kayaker
Christina Borck takes to the water to go birding by kayak on Sengekontacket Pond. (Photo courtesy Caitlin Borck / Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.)

Best Place to Kayak: Sengekontacket Pond

Edgartown and Oak Bluffs.

Runner-up: Lagoon Pond

Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.

If you catch it at the right moment, Sengekontacket Pond glows – whether it’s at sparkling noontime, at moonrise or sunset, or a few minutes before the sun comes up when it’s just you and the birds on the water. Lagoon Pond, south of Vineyard Haven harbor, offers intimate coves and expansive calm waters dotted with boats at their moorings.

Best Fishing Spot: Menemsha

Runner-up: Wasque

With a working fishing village as your backdrop, and a jetty, beach, and pond that yield a variety of fishing action mixed together with the “best” sunset on the Island, Menemsha is a no-brainer. Wasque gets wild, but time it right in either place and it’s fishing bliss. Pop a cold one, settle back, and enjoy the scene.

Best Bait and Tackle Shop: Dick’s Bait & Tackle

108 New York Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7669.

Runner-up: Coop’s Bait & Tackle

147 Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, Edgartown, 508-627-3909.

From shellfishing to angling, Dick’s Bait & Tackle is a complete shop for all your fishing needs. Check out Coop’s for equally great customer service and tips from a Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby Hall of Famer.

Best Fishing Charter Boat: Skipper/Vineyard Sound Charters

On the bulkhead near the Island Queen, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-1238, www.mvskipper.com.

Runner-up: Tomahawk Charters

Aquinnah, 508-645-3201, www.tomahawkcharters.com.

It’s always a party aboard the Skipper, where a short trip offshore can usually net you a few keepers in a lively, family-friendly setting. The Tomahawk is the outsized-personality charter boat, where Captain Buddy Vanderhoop will regale you with fish tales while you angle for the big one.

Best Sailing Charter Boat: Mad Max Sailing Adventures

25 Dock Street, Edgartown, 508-627-7500, www.madmaxmarina.com.

Runner-up: The Black Dog Tall Ships

Vineyard Haven harbor, 508-693-1699, www.theblackdogtallships.com.

Slicing through the water in the sixty-two-foot catamaran Mad Max on a windy day is pure exhilaration. For a more traditional seagoing experience, sail off on one of the Black Dog Tall Ships, the Alabama or the Shenandoah. Both Mad Max and the Black Dog offer afternoon and evening sails, and private charters.

The active life

Best Bike Rental: Wheel Happy

18 North Summer Street Rear in Old Post Office Square, Edgartown, 508-627-7210.

8 South Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5928.

204 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5881.

Runner-up: Martha’s Bike Rentals

4 Lagoon Pond Road at Five Corners, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6593.

Bicycles aren’t just the most efficient means of transportation ever devised, they are two-wheeled time machines, transporting both rider and Island back to a better era. Rent youth and joy at Wheel Happy and Martha’s Bike Rentals. (And always be a safe and courteous cyclist.)

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

22 Airport Road, West Tisbury, 508-696-8000.

Zumba, weight lifting, swimming, dance, senior classes, day care, a rocking teen center: The YMCA has something for the whole family. It’s more than just a gym – it’s a community center. The Vineyard Tennis Center offers ace tennis classes, some of the best yoga classes on the Island, and full workout areas.

Best Nature Walk: Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary

Obed Daggett Road off Indian Hill Road, West Tisbury, www.sheriffsmeadow.org.

Close runner-up: Menemsha Hills

North Road, Chilmark, www.thetrustees.org.

Spectacular views await walkers on these up-Island trails. At serene Cedar Tree Neck, where oak trees and squirrels abound, slow down to look for painted turtles and beech trees. Pack a picnic when heading for Prospect Hill in Menemsha Hills, which overlooks Chilmark, Aquinnah, and the Elizabeth Islands.

Best Yoga Class: Martha’s Vineyard Hot Yoga

24 Cournoyer Road, West Tisbury, 508-696-7769, www.vineyardyoga.com.

Runner-up: Megan Grennan

Classes are in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, and Chilmark; 508-939-0681, www.megangrennanyoga.com.

These two are tops again. Hot yoga, the ultimate workout for many, only gets better when taught by the experienced instructors at MV Hot Yoga’s state-of-the-art facility in the woods. Megan Grennan, with her gentle touch and extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology, makes yoga work for all bodies.

camper
Mateo Darack of Edgartown enjoys Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary’s Fern and Feather Day Camp.

Best Summer Camp: Fern & Feather Day Camp at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

100 Felix Neck Drive, Edgartown, 508-627-4850, www.massaudubon.org/felixneck.

Runner-up: FARM Institute

14 Aero Avenue, Edgartown, 508-627-7007, www.farminstitute.org.

First-rate counselors lead campers through woods, water, and fields at Felix Neck to learn about ecosystems by watching, splashing, digging, and leaping the day away. At the FARM Institute, enthusiastic campers feed chickens, turn compost, and grow beans. Either way, kids come home dirty, happy, and tired.

On the town

Person You’d Most Like to Have Lunch With: Barack Obama

Runner-up: Carly Simon

Once again, most of you would choose to while away a few hours with our country’s leader, whether to discuss current events, the state of the White House vegetable garden, or how much he’s missing the Vineyard this summer since the family won’t be vacationing here. For those of you who’d elect to dine with Island crooner Carly, you probably think this line is about you.

Best Bar/Pub: Offshore Ale Company

30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2626.

Runner-up: Wharf Pub and Restaurant

3 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9966.

Throwing peanut shells on the floor continues to bring out the child in all of us, particularly when accompanied by an Island-brewed pint or two. Toss in some live music and pizza, and Offshore takes the win. With its cast of familiar faces and extensive menu, the Wharf’s place on the podium is not to be denied.

Best Place for Cocktails: Sharky’s Cantina

266 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6565.

31 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7501.

Close runner-up: Alchemy

71 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9999.

From the Obamarita to the Shnooki, Sharky’s is your chosen spot for imbibing creative cocktails. And with two locations to serve you, the party never ends. Right up there among the best, Alchemy’s mixologists perform perfectly, from the just-so mojito to 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.

New musical artists gather among the ghosts of concerts past at the former Hot Tin Roof (Nectar’s has left the scene but Flatbread continues to serve pizza and plans to dish up some live music too). Offshore Ale offers an eclectic mix of musical styles in a much more cozy, and sometimes clamorous, setting.

Best Live Band or Musician: Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish

508-696-3007, www.johnnyhoyandthebluefish.com.

Runner-up: The Sultans of Swing

508-627-3746, www.thesultans.com.

Whether at the Ritz or a backyard barbecue, Johnny Hoy and his band of blues get everyone up and dancing, from young to old and all ages in between, while the Sultans keep booties shaking from the wedding tent to the Atlantic in Edgartown.

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, 560 South Road, Chilmark, 508-645-9599.

There’s no place to get your fix of Goobers and popcorn and the latest flicks quite like the cozy theaters 1 and 2 of Entertainment Cinemas in Edgartown. For a more cultural affair, the MV Film Festival gathers more steam each year, with shorts and full-length features from around the world.

Best Summer Event: Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair

95 Panhandle Road off State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-9549.

Close runner-up: Oak Bluffs Fireworks

Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0077.

Fried Twinkies, miniature horses, and tractors – oh my! It is a true highlight of the Vineyard summer when we all answer the Ag Society’s beckon to “Come to the Fair.” And the very same weekend, we can break out the glow sticks and head to Ocean Park to watch the fireworks light up the sky.

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.

On the first Monday in August, dreams are made a reality year after year for the benefit of MV Community Services, with the help of celebrities, professional athletes, and other familiar names. Taste of the Vineyard is June’s favorite night to dust off the dancing shoes and sample the fare of restaurants Island-wide.

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, www.edgartownboardoftrade.com.

In the colder months, the chili contest determines who can take the heat when restaurants compete for the coveted title of best frijoles con carne. Those who prefer chowder can steer themselves to the tent in the mini-park during Christmas in Edgartown, after Santa rides by on a fire truck.

Shopping

Best Art Gallery: The Granary Gallery

636 Old County Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-0455.

Runner-up (tie):

Dragonfly Fine Arts Gallery

91 Dukes County Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8877.

Louisa Gould Gallery

54 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-7373.

The expansive Granary Gallery – home to some of the best Island artists as well as up-and-comers – stimulates the hearts and souls of gallery-goers. Dragonfly Fine Arts Gallery offers a wide range of adventurous styles, and Louisa Gould Gallery presents more realist and classical techniques.

Best Bookstore: Bunch of Grapes Bookstore

35 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2291.

Runner-up: Edgartown Books

44 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8463.

Change is in the air at the Island’s bookstores, but these two stalwarts still top the stacks. Loyal fans will have to cross the street this summer to find Bunch of Grapes in its new Main Street digs. Edgartown Books has new owners this summer, so keep an eye out for changes there too.

Best Gift Shop: Rainy Day

66 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1830.

Runner-up: Mardell’s Gifts & Jewelry Shop

50 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0049.

It’s easy to lose track of time when shopping at Rainy Day: picking out whimsical items, pondering which stationery is best, or laughing out loud while reading the card selection. Down the street, Mardell’s is great for quick and easy gifts, and its best-kept secret – a jackpot supply of wrapping paper.

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.

A balance of classic elegance and Island tradition, CB Stark offers charms galore and many exclusive custom designs. Claudia offers a beautiful selection of semi-precious stones, artisan jewelry, and perennial favorites David Yurman, Chan Luu, and Pandora.

Best Package Store: Our Market

1 East Chop Drive, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3000.

Runner-up: Al’s Package Store

258 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-4347.

Whether you’re looking for a bottle of fine French wine or an icy cold six-pack, a bag of chips or a wedge of Brie, Our Market, the Island’s largest liquor store, has it all – and delivery service too. Al’s Package Store may be smaller, but packs a big rum punch on Edgartown’s main drag.

Clothing

Best Store for Children’s Clothing: Basics Clothing Company

24 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

Runner-up: The Green Room

71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.

For casual, comfy kids’ essentials, Basics can’t be beat. With popular brands like Patagonia and Columbia, this small but well-stocked Oak Bluffs shop is perfect for all of your family hiking, biking, and beaching needs. Surf’s up downstairs at the Green Room, where trendy swimsuits, hip shades, and chilled-out skater style reign supreme.

Best Store for Women’s Clothing: The Green Room

71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.

Runner-up: Basics Clothing Company

24 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

If you’re looking for a flirty little number, or perhaps a pair of sexy shorts and the perfect tissue tee, head to the Green Room, where every occasion is an opportunity for fun dressing. For a functional but hip lower-key look, get back to basics at Basics.

Best Store for Men’s Clothing: The Green Room

71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.

Runner-up: Basics Clothing Company

24 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-8819.

The well-dressed man can have it all in a one-stop shopping experience at the Green Room. Everyone from the mountain man to the city-turned-country gentleman to the dude looking for a fresh surf or skate look can find it here. For everyday wear from head to toe, Basics delivers the goods.

Best Store for Shoes: The Green Room

71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6888.

Runner-up: Brickman’s

8 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0047.

Rain boots, clogs, sky-high heels, the flyest boots, flip-flops, and the latest styles line the shoe racks at the Green Room. Don’t forget to ask for the frequent shoe-buyer card for special discounts. Head over to the other shoe heaven at Brickman’s for a great range of sneakers, all-weather footgear, and sandals.

Best T-shirt: The Black Dog

Some locations:

3 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-4786.

37 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-9826.

11 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-6412.

Runner-up: Beetlebung

24 Basin Road, Menemsha, 508-645-9950.

9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-0006.

Every dog has its day, and this Labrador retriever has had more than forty years of them. The unofficial symbol of the Island still reigns supreme, at home and abroad. But look out: Beetlebung’s signature Rorschach lobsters are pinching at its paws.

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.

Breakfast at the ArtCliff draws a formidable crowd, but with sweet rewards like Katama honey-and-almond crepes, or the savory black-bean cake with two poached eggs, it’s always worth the wait. For more traditional diner fare – the blueberry flapjacks never disappoint – head to Linda Jean’s in Oak Bluffs.

Best Place to Get Lunch: Slice of Life

50 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3838.

Runner-up: Little House Café

339 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-687-9794.

Slice of Life’s sun-filled porch provides a respite from busy Circuit Avenue. While diners nosh on signature salads and classic sandwiches, a dazzling display of desserts awaits them. Highlights from the international menu at cozy, art-filled Little House Café include chicken shawarma, fish tacos, and falafel.

Best Fine Dining: State Road

688 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-8582.

Runner-up: Alchemy

71 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9999.

For special nights out, State Road features a locally sourced menu and seasonal selections with an upscale twist, and a brand-new beer and wine license is sure to keep this West Tisbury stand-out a steady favorite. Down-Island, sip a custom cocktail and enjoy elegant bistro fare porch-side at Alchemy.

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.

Got kids? The rowdy atmosphere, affordable menu, and kid-friendly options (not to mention killer margaritas for Mom and Dad) make Sharky’s Cantina a great family spot. For a break between rides on the carousel, tempt your pizza-loving little ones with legendary pies at Giordano’s, across from the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs.

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.

Long, lazy lunches are perfect for snacking alfresco at Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs. Share a plate of fried clams (but guard your lobster roll with your life) and get in on the fun at dock level. For harborside dining with a bird’s-eye view, upstairs at the Seafood Shanty is an Edgartown must.

Best Year-Round Restaurant: 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.

With off-season specials like Friday night wings-and-oysters and two-for-one entrees on Mondays, Offshore Ale is where Islanders happily wait out the winter. If shorter days leave you craving nachos and tacos, Sharky’s has you covered – both locations are open (and lively) year-round.

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.

Nothing says summer like pizza at Gio’s. An Island institution since 1930, this Oak Bluffs landmark draws a loyal crowd for steaming slices on the go, or a family-style meal in the homey main dining room. Rocco’s Pizzeria is a strong contender with made-to-order pies, Italian entrees, and generous salads.

Best Burger: Atria

137 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-5850.

Runner-up: Offshore Ale Company

30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-2626.

Atria’s Brick Cellar Bar is known for its cozy vibe, creative cocktails, user-friendly photo booth – and a mouthwatering selection of much-lauded burgers, served with international flair and flavor. For a more traditional take, pair your patty with an Island-brewed beer at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs.

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.

Your Island go-to for more than just Mexican, Sharky’s has winning wings. Choose from original buffalo, sweet chili, mango teriyaki, and more – or go for it all with the twenty-eight-piece “Samplah.” If you prefer your wings with a side of sea air, Coop deVille is a longtime waterfront destination for classic wing mastery.

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 wins fans among die-hard vegans and carnivores alike. From Island-grown produce to protein-rich grains like quinoa and freekeh – even the breakfast sandwich can be made veggie-friendly with Fakin’ Bacon (strips of fried tempeh). Slice of Life offers great simple salads, veggie pizzas, and a hearty portobello on a grilled ciabatta roll.

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.

The smiling staff at hip Mocha Mott’s has clearly had their cups of organic Joe; they stand ready to pour your pleasure: iced, steamed, or brewed. Linger at Espresso Love with your cup of “love” and a freshly baked blueberry muffin in the relaxed garden or cheerful café.

Best Place to Get Picnic Food: Humphreys Bakery

Woodland Center, 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.

Finger-licking good sandwiches, salads, and sides make this longtime Vineyard staple an ideal stop before the beach. Don’t forget the cookies! If gourmet salads, cheese, crackers, wine, and some of the best baguettes on the Island are more up your alley, Soigné has you covered.

Best Farm, Market, or Stand: Morning Glory Farm

100 Meshacket Road, Edgartown, 508-627-9003.

Runner-up: West Tisbury Farmer’s Market

Grange Hall, 1067 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-9561.

Food shopping should be an experience. Meandering your way through the mountains of tomatoes and assortment of fresh lettuces or finding the perfect ear of corn will have you beaming at Morning Glory Farm. To get a larger sense of the Vineyard farm scene, the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market brings you face-to-face with your growers.

Best Takeout: Giordano’s Restaurant

107 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0184.

Runner-up: The Net Result

Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.

At Giordano’s the pizza comes fast, fresh, and oh-so-cheesy; the fried clams, crisp and chewy – the perfect recipe for a summer meal on the fly. For fast food, Island-style, head to the Net Result, where super-fresh sushi, chowder, and sandwiches made with the catch of the day continue to lure crowds.

Best Caterer: V. Jaime Hamlin and Sons

508-693-6313, www.vhamlincatering.com.

Runner-up: Kitchen Porch

508-645-5000, www.kitchenporch.com.

Jaime handles everything with style, from presidential dinners to clambakes, offering such imaginative treats as tomato-melon gazpacho shots or a chocolate cloud cake. Kitchen Porch’s Jan Buhrman specializes in Island-grown food, and for a truly special experience, she can arrange a catered evening sail on a private yacht.

Seafood picks

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.

The Home Port made a bold move last year, abandoning some tried-and-true menu favorites in favor of sustainable, locally sourced fish. Combined with its stunning location and sunset views, it’s the go-to spot for the best of seaside fare. The Seafood Shanty’s extensive menu, waterfront location, and outdoor deck never fail to attract a crowd.

Best Chowder: Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company

9 Oak Bluffs Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-3000.

New takeout location: 18 Main Street, Vineyard Haven.

Runner-up: The Net Result

Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.

A true Vineyarder would sooner starve than eat a sub-par chowder. The new MV Chowder Company ensures we won’t face that dilemma. Better still, they offer both the authentic chowder that purists demand, along with the thick chowder tourists expect. The Net Result has been chowder king for years, though, so look for a rally.

Louis Larsen
Behind the counter or not, the Net Result’s Louis Larsen has a ready smile.

Best Fish and Chips: The Net Result

Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.

Runner-up: The Newes from America

23 Kelley Street, Edgartown, 508-627-4397.

The crisp fish and chips at the Net Result are good enough to devour standing up, but why would you, when there’s ample picnic-table seating with harbor views right outside? For a more intimate vibe, head to the Newes, where you can pair your meal with the fine selection of beers on tap.

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.

Giordano’s is a must for that culinary staple of summer on the Vineyard – fried clams. Sweet juicy strips or soft whole bellies, get your order to go with slaw and thick-cut fries. Up-Island, there’s nothing like a box of plump, fried-to-order clams from the Bite to sweeten Menemsha’s spectacular sunset show.

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.

Forget celery and fancy fixings: The folks at Grace Church have it down just right. The Island’s best lobster roll is made with just a touch of mayonnaise and a dash of white pepper, heaped into a simple hot dog bun on Friday nights. The Net Result’s tasty version will keep you well-fed the other six days of the week.

Best Sushi: Lookout Tavern

8 Seaview Avenue Extension, Oak Bluffs, 508-696-9844.

Runner-up: The Net Result

Tisbury Marketplace, 79 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6071.

Sushi is one of those things where you want great sushi, or no sushi at all. Sushi that’s just “okay” is the culinary equivalent of a blind date with “a great personality” and could land you in the doctor’s office, feeling betrayed. Practice safe sushi and eat at the Lookout or the Net Result, for Pete’s sake.

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.

The world is your oyster at the Net Result, where tasty bivalves, harpooned swordfish, tuna, lobster, Island bay scallops, and smoked fish spreads are laid out like a king’s buffet. The takeout counter deserves – and consistently wins – an award of its own. Larsen’s is the place to go up-Island for daily catch, littlenecks, and steamed lobsters served right on the docks.

Best Clambake: Bill Smith’s Martha’s Vineyard Clambake Co.

508-627-8809, www.mvclambake.com.

Runner-up: Fella Caters

508-693-1572, www.fellacaters.com.

Bill Smith perfected the art of the clambake more than fifty years ago – whether for a casual backyard or beach event or for a more formal indoor affair. Smaller groups can pick up their clambake to go. Fella brings lobsters and all the fixings for weddings, birthdays, or just a night with friends.

Sweet treats

Best Bakery: The Black Dog

3 Water Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-4786.

509 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-8190.

Runner-up: Scottish Bakehouse

977 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6633.

The Black Dog Bakery serves up warm scones, decadent mousse bombs, and chocolate chip cookies big enough (but too good) to share. The Scottish Bakehouse has cornered the market on vegan and gluten-free treats, plus a decadent dose of melt-in-your-mouth brownies and meringue-capped lemon squares to sate every foodie’s whim.

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.

Bill Clinton counts it as a favorite Vineyard stop, but he’s not the only one. Mad Martha’s packs in the crowds looking for a tried-and-true Island ice cream experience at its three down-Island stores. Ben and Bill’s wins over fans with its dense, rich flavors, such as homemade butter crunch and mint Oreo – and even lobster.

Home and garden

Best Place to Buy Flowers: Morrice Florist

149 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0392.

Close runner-up: Flowers by Donaroma’s

270 Upper Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-8366.

For generations, Islanders have enjoyed the friendly and attentive service at Morrice Florist – not to mention the beautiful bouquets and baskets, custom-made for any occasion. Sophisticated, sculptural, and seasonal arrangements from Donaroma’s add the perfect floral touch to your Island wedding, event, or dining room table.

Best Garden Center/Nursery: Jardin Mahoney

45 Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3511.

Runner-up: Vineyard Gardens

484 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-8511.

Everything is coming up roses at Jardin Mahoney, where the wide selection of greenery and knowledgeable staff consistently garner top honors. Runner-up Vineyard Gardens offers an equally broad selection and frequent gardening lectures to help you cultivate fallow fields, borders, and beds.

Best Landscape Company: Contemporary Landscapes

33 Kate’s Way, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-6788.

Runner-up: Vineyard Gardens

484 State Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-8511.

A full-service company with an eco-friendly mission, Contemporary leads the landscaping pack, with design and construction, masonry and maintenance. In addition to its popular nursery and garden shop, Vineyard Gardens is also known for top-notch landscape design and upkeep.

Best Hardware Store: Shirley’s Hardware

374 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3070.

Runner-up: HN Hinckley & Sons

27 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0075.

Without even looking up from the counter, the sales staff at Shirley’s Hardware can tell you exactly where every nail, Halloween costume, paint chip, salad spinner, garden tool, and gadget is stashed. The one-stop nature of Shirley’s has made it a winner since 2001. Hinckley’s can skillfully help you with any DIY home-improvement project.

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.

Family-owned Rosbeck Builders is known for quality work – done on time, with an in-house team of skilled tradespeople – and more than thirty years of experience. Runner-up Squash Meadow also offers high quality, innovation, and construction savvy, particularly for projects with a “green building” bent.

Best Electrical Contractor: Powers Electric

62 Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-6400.

Close runner-up: David J. Schwab Electric

Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0156.

Every year, the race among the Island’s electrical contractors is highly charged, with Powers and Schwab often ending up in the top slots. Congratulations to these two for once again pulling out in front of the pack – wire strippers, needle-nosed pliers, and fish tapes at the ready.

Best Plumbing Contractor: Walter Smith Plumbing

Edgartown, 508-627-5661.

Runner-up: Hart Company Plumbing & Heating

461 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-7227.

If you own a home on MV, it’s great to count a plumber among your close personal friends. But even if you don’t have the top-secret cell numbers of the plumbers at Walter Smith or the Hart Company, they will come when you need them, and that’s why these two firms have been present again and again since this category’s inception in 2008.

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.

Gadgets, cookware, linens, food, and fun tabletop décor are packed into the three-story home furnishings mecca at LeRoux at Home. Open year-round, LeRoux offers a wide range of prices. Vineyard Decorators makes it easy to furnish every room inside and outside your home, from the bedroom to the kitchen to the patio.

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.

Whether your MV dream house or vacation rental is a cozy in-town cottage, a contemporary aerie with dramatic water views, or a family home by the bike path to South Beach, Coldwell Banker Landmarks and Sandpiper Realty bring decades of real estate experience and personal service to your search.

Health and beauty

Best Hair Salon: Maggie’s Salon

31 Beach Road, 103A, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-CURL (2875).

Runner-up: Circuit Style Salon

47 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7542.

Nobody wields a styling wand like Maggie. From sassy to sophisticated, you’ll find your perfect personal style at the hands of Maggie’s experienced pros. Seniel “Scissor-hands” of Circuit Style is garnering attention for her crew’s funky, high-energy approach to doing your ’do and expert service with a smile.

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.

Mansion House harvests the best of the Vineyard’s beauty to make you feel beautiful too. Ever try an Island Delight Salt Scrub or a Bubbling Sea Foam Cocoon? Sauna, pool, and fitness center included. The ladies at Bouclé can primp you from head to toes and have you ready for a night out on the town.

Best Massage Therapist: Allyson Cook

455 State Road, Unit 12, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-1863.

Close runner-up: Chrystal Angelini

322 State Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-1946.

Whether you’re looking for a massage that’s orthopedic, deep tissue, Swedish, sports, prenatal, reflexology, or European hot stone, Allyson and Chrystal deliver effective, professional massage services that have kept these two running neck-and-neck in our polls year to year. Hands down, you’re the winner.

Best Doctor: John Lamb, MD

1 Hospital Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-3164.

Close runner-up: Julia Stunkel, MD

1 Hospital Road, Oak Bluffs, 508-693-0019.

Dr. Lamb, a practitioner of internal medicine, and Dr. Stunkel, a family practitioner, each bring a warm, personal approach to their patient interactions. And that good ol’ bedside manner goes a long way, as their patients can attest, voting these two our top favorite docs again this year.

Best Dentist: Hélène Schaeffer of Island Dentistry

23 Airport Road, Edgartown, 508-696-8426.

Runner-up: Sanford Nadelstein of Lagoon Dental Associates

60 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-5068.

Everyone hopes they don’t need to see these pros more than twice a year, but sometimes your teeth think differently. So whether it’s for a regular cleaning or more elaborate services, you can count on Dr. Schaeffer and Dr. Nadelstein, voted winners again by our readers.

Services on-Island

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.

Is it really worth having your own metric ratcheting wrench just to save a few bucks in car repairs? Especially when computer diagnostics have become de rigueur in the world of mechanics? No. Our readers go straight to Bink’s and Courtesy and let their experienced auto techs figure it out.

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.

Whether you’re part of the 99 percent or the 1 percent, if you call either of these Island banks, rest assured that your call won’t be answered thousands of miles away. Instead you’ll get a real Island person, and you’ll be treated like one too.

Best Taxi Service: Stagecoach Taxi

Vineyard Haven, 508-627-4566.

Close runner-up: AdamCab

Edgartown, 508-627-4462.

Do your house guests need to get to the airport at dawn? Kids stuck up in Aquinnah with a flat tire and no spare? Night out in OB left you a tad too tipsy to get behind the wheel? That’s when Stagecoach Taxi and AdamCab come to the rescue: Let these top-notch Island cabbies do the driving.

Best Veterinary Service: Animal Health Care Associates

20 Airport Road, West Tisbury, 508-693-6515.

Runner-up: Dave Tuminaro of Caring for Animals

Edgartown, 508-696-5897.

Big or small, sick or well, Animal Health Care tends to them all. Dr. Steven Atwood has won awards and fans over the years, and his adept co-workers draw praise these days for their use of acupuncture and alternative therapies. Dr. Dave remains a favorite for his old-fashioned house calls, ensuring Fido gets treatment even when he’s too sick to leave his bed.

Places to stay

Best Romantic Getaway (tie):

Hob Knob

128 Main Street, Edgartown, 508-627-9510.

Outermost Inn

81 Lighthouse Road, Aquinnah, 508-645-3511.

Runner-up (tie):

Beach Plum Inn

12 Menemsha Inn Road, Chilmark, 508-645-9454.

Charlotte Inn

27 South Summer Street, Edgartown, 508-627-4751.

Whether your idea of a romantic getaway is a chic boutique hotel a stone’s throw from Edgartown village or a quirky little hideaway at the top of the windswept Aquinnah cliffs, co-winners Hob Knob and Outermost Inn will certainly satisfy. Runner-up Beach Plum Inn offers seaside escape, while the Charlotte Inn’s meticulous attention to detail is unrivaled.

Best Family-Friendly Lodging: Mansion House

9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2200.

Runner-up: Winnetu Oceanside Resort

31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, 508-310-1733.

The Mansion House sits right on busy Main Street with town beaches in walking distance, and a casual restaurant and an indoor pool on-site. At South Beach by the bike path, the Winnetu is an ideal spot for a kid-centered vacation with its supervised children’s activities program and kid-friendly dining.

Best Overall Place to Stay: Harbor View Hotel & Resort

131 North Water Street, Edgartown, 508-627-7000.

Runner-up: Mansion House

9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-2200.

Wake up to the Edgartown Lighthouse, grab a coffee, and watch the Chappy ferry cross the harbor; a stay at the Harbor View offers quiet elegance and relaxation, along with an intimate in-house bar and terrific restaurant. The Mansion House in Vineyard Haven is comfortable, convivial, and convenient to just about everything. u


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(Originally published in the July 2012 edition of Martha's Vineyard Magazine)

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