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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Martha's Vineyard (Part III)

To pick up right where we left off, the next morning we had a yummy breakfast to get ready for THE BIG DAY... today was the day we were going to meet the one, the only, Susan Branch! ♥

After we finished enjoying our bagels on the sunny and spacious front porch of the inn, we walked to the bus terminal and took the ferry to Vineyard Haven, where the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore is located, and where Susan Branch was to have her book talk and signing later on.
Since we had some time to kill, we looked around the neighborhood...

Being history and antique lovers, walking past a flag that says "antiques" is unheard of in Jake-and-Erin-World, so naturally, we decided to go and investigate.

One of the greatest finds of the entire trip was finding this antique shop, The Backyard Store. If you blink, you'll miss it. It's right off Beach Road on a dirt road, and is the first house on the left. The pathway to the store is lined with crushed scallop shells, and before you even make it to the door, you've already spotted hundreds of little weathered antiques scattered about the property. This is NOT your polished, posh antique store! It's creaky, and dusty, and covered in cobwebs... but in my opinion, those are always the best kinds of shops, and the ones where you'll find the real treasures!

Jake and I could have spent hours in here, but our tummies were growling, and we had places to be! But I can tell you Jake found an antique ice cream maker for $20 (they're worth over a hundred), of which I couldn't talk him out of buying, and he actually lugged onto the ferry home. "It's worth it!" he insisted as he dragged it up the steep steps of the boat. Okay, honey. If you say so.

As for me, I bought myself a charming vintage patchwork quilt decorated with little faded anchors on it. I spotted it from across the store, and let me tell you, it was love at first sight. And at the price of only, you'll never believe me, $25! Unheard of.

Isn't it beautiful? ♥

If you like antiques, and you're in the Vineyard Haven area, do not hesitate to go to the Backyard Store. The owners are Martha's Vineyard natives, are extremely knowledgeable, and have countless of wonderful, one-of-a-kind items that are just waiting to be spotted by the right kind of eye!
Highly, highly recommended!

So after our lovely afternoon of antiquing, Jake and I continued walking down Beach Road to The Net Result, one of the most popular fish markets on the island, and after eating their lobster rolls, I can see why!

They were bathed in melted butter and absolutely delicious.

Oh, shoot! What's the time? We better start heading towards the Bunch of Grapes... it's almost time to meet Susan! Jake, hurry! Finish that lobster roll. I know you want to savor it,
but Susan is waiting!

Inside the bookstore, this is one of the first things I spot, and...  
Oh my God, is this really happening?! keeps repeating in my mind.  
Somebody pinch me, and oh, look!

How absolutely, positively adorable! At this sight alone I nearly wept.

Jake and I took our seats and put our name tags on. I mingled a little bit with some of the other Girlfriends waiting with us... I even knew a few from this very blog! And I was especially waiting for one of my dear friends, Georgie, who I helped plan a gorgeous floral arrangement for Susan that was to arrive any minute.

There it is! Right above the podium that Susan Branch would be speaking behind before we know it!

This beautiful arrangement was done by Flowers by Donaroma's in Edgartown, and had personal touches created by Georgie and I, and several other Twitter Girlfriends, like handwritten notes to Susan, and an Emma Bridgewater mug commemorating her new book and the start of her upcoming book signing tour!

Tears were most certainly in my eyes at this point, and Susan was yet to arrive!

Soon Georgie came, and we gave one another big hugs, and got the chance to meet one another's amazing guys who had been such great sports by humoring and supporting us amidst all the emotion and excitement this trip had happily bestowed upon us both! I really don't know what I would have done without Jake being there with me every step of the way, and I'm sure Georgie felt the same way about her Joe!

Wait, what's that? It's suddenly become quiet...

Look! Susan Branch is here!

Georgie and I squealed! We wanted to run up to her straight away and give her hugs and shower her with greetings, but we felt it would be best to wait until after the talk, though when we did walk past her, she immediately noticed us and called us by our very names!
Which, speaking from a Girlfriends point of view, felt pretty cool.

After the initial euphoria faded a bit, we scurried off and took our seats, and got ready for the book talk!

She started off by showing us pages of her original diary from her trip to England which was just lovely to see. She discussed her book, her meeting Joe, she even read a little excerpt from A Fine Romance which sounded even more beautiful coming from the person who actually wrote and experienced those words!

Guys, it was just amazing. There's no other way to describe it. Seeing the woman whose life you  have followed for years, who you aspire to be like each and every day, who is responsible for inspiring so many of your dreams and countless passions in your life... She was the reason for sparking my love for New England! Without Susan Branch, there may never have been an I Heart New England in the first place, and without this blog, I would never have met all the incredible kindred spirits I call my friends today... I never would have had the pleasure of knowing YOU.

So for all of that, I thank you, Susan! ♥

After the talk we all gathered on line, and to tell you truthfully, I was shaking like a leaf. What do I do, what do I say when I have so MUCH to say? How can I get it all in? I was holding my copy of A Fine Romance, and of course, her Autumn book, the first book I picked up of hers, and the book that introduced me to Martha's Vineyard and cemented my love for New England. So much meaning I've stored into that one little book.

And before I knew it, I was shaking her hand, and instantly all the nervousness went away! I felt like I was meeting a long-lost friend, and talking to her became the most natural thing in the world!

Maybe I was talking a little too much! But how could I not? Six years of reading her books, and only Twitter to contact her, I had to let out all the years worth of praises and expressions of adoration I've been waiting to shower upon her from the very beginning!

I even got to meet Petey! There he is, showing off my new bookmark that I will treasure FOR-EVER
(actual scrap paper from Susan's studio- original paint dabs, scribbles, and all!)

There's my friend, Georgie, meeting her soon after!

And there's the three of us together, at last!

I don't think I have to tell you how high I was on cloud nine after leaving the signing.
A dream come true, and another day on Martha's Vineyard... I was in heaven!

Ecstatic! ♥

After awhile of composing myself, Jake and I headed towards the Blue Canoe Grill, the fairly new waterfront restaurant in town that has been getting nothing short of rave reviews since it's opening!

Our table was elevated high up on a cat walk, and man... could you beat this view?

We started off with the Lobster Fritters which were just as unique as they were divine. 
So flaky, and sweet, and sinfully succulent... I could eat these every single day.

Here I am, soaking in the magnificent view while sipping on a glass of chardonnay.

Ah, now isn't that a sight for sore eyes? ♥

Jake ordered a special, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was, but I got the Seafood Risotto, and let me tell you. I can't begin to express how absolutely perfectly delicious it was. Without a doubt, the most amazing thing I have ever eaten, or can remember eating. It was just Mmmmm...

I know I told you the Atlantic Fish & Chophouse was my favorite restaurant on the Vineyard, but that was before I had eaten at the Blue Canoe. Guys, you can't beat this place.
It is superb in every single way.

The view alone is to die for.

Look at the sky that evening! I mean was this day enchanting, or what?

This pretty little summer moon followed us all the way home... ♥

When we returned to Oak Bluffs and our inn, we spent the evening quietly on the candlelit porch, creaking to and fro in our rocking chairs, listening to the crickets, and sipping on some local brew.

 A friendly little kitty cat even stopped by to say good evening too!

A perfect ending to a beyond-perfect day... ♥

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Martha's Vineyard (Part II)

I'm back everyone.

First I'd like to start off by thanking all of you for the kind words on the loss of my beloved cat, Lola. Again, sorry I've taken so long to continue sharing these photos, but with this heartbreak, I haven't had much energy to do anything, really. Not to mention, I've barely been spending any time at all in my house anymore because it's been too hard for me with Lola gone. However, I pushed myself to do so today in order to update you all. I've even lit a little candle, threw on some comfy socks, and have my other kitty Pudgie at my side, so I should be okay. ♥

Anywho, I left off where Jake and I 
were going to check out Illumination Night!...

There were already many people there enjoying the brass band that played under the tabernacle.

Cute gingerbread cottages lined the roads, their unlit lanterns waiting for nighttime to fall.

Really cool house that had sort of an Alice in Wonderland theme

Can you spy the little kitty in the "Two Bad Cats" house?

It started to get darker and darker...

Until before we knew it... BOOM! The night was aglow with colorful lanterns!

This house had all parachute lanterns.

Most of the dwellers of these homes sat proudly amidst their wonderful work to greet passerbys.

Want to sit down? ♥

I particularly loved these paper luminary houses on the ground.

Look! Jake even made a new friend!

Want to see it all in action? Here's a short video I took:

When I tell you I had such a wonderful time at this event, I mean there was rarely even a moment that I didn't have tears in my eyes. Upon first sight of the illumination, I buried my face in Jake's shoulder weeping for joy... one of my fondest dreams were finally coming true! I was in Martha's Vineyard, at Illumination Night, with none other than the love of my life ♥

- - - - - - - - - - -

Next week I'll be sharing with you my other dream-come-true...
Meeting the one, the only, Susan Branch.

Stay tuned for that
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