Weekend getaway to Martha’s Vineyard — Weekend à Martha’s Vineyard

I’d been thinking about spending a long weekend on Martha’s Vineyard island for a while. Ever since we’d returned from France in late August. I knew we would wait until the summer crowds were gone and the place would become tranquil, with the exception of the activities of the locals and occasional visitors, like us.

At first, I tried to reason myself, though, thinking ce n’est pas raisonnable Béa!, but the thought faded. Really vanished, in fact. And fairly quickly, I could hear the pleasing melody of an insisting voice whispering softly into my ear: Just do it, you’ll love it!.

And this is where the story started.

One morning, in early September, I told P. in an assertive tone: “We’re going to Martha’s Vineyard!” I remember him looking back at me without showing any sign of surprise. And then he smiled. “Ooh, je sais!” he said. “I know you well enough!

And so this is how on Saturday of last week, with the car loaded with luggage, a loaf of chocolate cake , fresh produce and groceries, we hopped on the ferry that took us to the island.

And ooh how glad I am we made the trip!


To start, there was the lovely house where we stayed. Set in a secluded area near the gorgeous Long Pond Wildlife Refuge, it was full of charm and character. Because of its large open living area and perfectly equipped kitchen, we immediately felt cozy staying there.

What a gem!” I exclaimed after I walked inside. My eyes were immediately drawn to the long farm dining table and tall silver milk jug sitting in the middle of it. I so much wanted it!

The house had inviting patios with colorful long chairs where we relaxed, enjoying an early morning cup of tea in the shade of the tall oak trees surrounding the place. The decor witnessed an obvious attention to detail. And naturally, Lulu made the place her home too, crawling into every corner she could find. Finding them all, in fact!

We had visited the island once before, but never in the fall. It was a real chance to be there at this time of year: the trees were magnificent, showcasing the first shades of red, orange and yellow which confirm that fall is winning over Nature; the beaches were empty.

martha's vineyard west tisbury

We did easy things, clearly with the intention to catch up with life and spend quality time together. Just the three of us, as a family.

So we enjoyed long breakfasts, napped, played and read books with Lulu. We took walks to the beach and visited local farms where we bought apples. In the mornings, I also set time to work on my book, and then, in the midst of our daily activities, I cooked homey foods for us to enjoy.

Of course, how could I have done otherwise?

One night, I prepared a pot of winter squash soup that we ate with cheese, crusty bread, salad and fried eggs. One morning, I served lemon poppyseed pancakes at the breakfast table and the next day, we started with bowls of warm porridge topped with brown sugar, roasted nuts and blueberries.

On another evening, I stuffed eggplants and served them with sauteed quinoa and a tossed salad on the side.

Lunch was made of straightforward but nourishing foods: a mixed rice salad with cheese and leftovers from dinner the night before or plates of spicy tagliatelle cooked with lime and zucchini, and topped with generous amount of freshly grated parmesan cheese.

With dessert to finish our meals.

martha vineyard getaway weekend

One evening, I baked apples in a light sweet sauce infused with vanilla, cinnamon and lemon and served the fruit with yogurt on the side. The juice the fruit released was so rich in taste that P. and I kept adding yogurt to our plates to prolong the taste in our mouth. Actually we were so eager for more that the next day, I baked another batch to repeat the experience over again.

And another night, we enjoyed coconut rice pudding with pomegranate seeds and cranberry sauce, scraping the pot to the last bit of rice.

Our meals were made of humble, rustic foods that, in many ways, connected us even more to the tranquil slow time we had decided to have.

It was too nice to be real,” I said to P. on the last morning while we were packing the car. I just didn’t feel like going home!

Me neither,” he said. ”

It’s a simple idea to have a weekend like this one, doing uncomplicated things; it’s a down-to-earth episode in our life with, at its center, family, nature and food.

Easy!” he added. “We’ll just have to come back.

It was all I needed and wanted to hear.

butternut squash spicy sweet potato soup

Spicy butternut squash and sweet potato soup with coriander

(For 4 people)

You need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • Pinch of red chili flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves finely minced
  • 1 tomato, blanched, peeled, seeded and diced
  • 10 oz diced and peeled butternut squash
  • 7 oz diced and peeled sweet potato
  • 6 oz diced and peeled carrot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water (or 2 cups water and 2 cups chicken stock)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Crème fraiche, to serve
  • Grated parmesan, to serve
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, to serve

Steps :

  • In a large thick bottomed pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When warm, add the onion, coriander and red chili flakes. Cook on medium heat, without browning, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until soft.
  • Add the garlic and continue to cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato and cook for 2 extra minutes.
  • Add the rest of the vegetables and cook for 4 minutes, stirring.
  • Cover with the water or stock. Add the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.
  • Remove the bay leaf and purée the soup. Add more stock or water if necessary.
  • To serve, add a dollop of crème fraiche, fresh parmesan cheese and parsley. Enjoy with crusty bread on the side.
Le coin francais
Soupe épicée de courge musquée et patates douces, parfumée à la coriandre

(Pour 4 personnes)

Ingrédients :

  • 2 càs d’huile d’olive
  • 1 oignon rouge, pelé et émincé
  • 1 càs de coriandre en poudre
  • Une pincée de piment en poudre
  • 3 gousses d’aïl hachées finement
  • 1 tomate, pelée, évidée et coupée en dés
  • 280 g de courge musquée, pelée et coupée en dés
  • 200 g de patates douces, pelées et coupées en dés
  • 170 g de carottes peléess et coupées en dés
  • 1 feuille de laurier
  • 1 litre d’eau (ou 500 ml d’eau et 500 ml de bouillon de volaille)
  • Sel et poivre
  • Crème fraiche, pour servir
  • Parmesan râpé, pour servir
  • Persil haché, pour servir

Etapes :

  • Dans une cocotte, faites chauffer l’huile d’olive sur feu moyen. Ajoutez l’oignon, le piment et la coriandre et faites suer pendant 3 à 4 minutes, sans brunir.
  • Ajoutez l’aïl et poursuivez la cuisson pendant 1 minute avant d’ajouter la tomate. Cuisez encore pendant 2 minutes, en remuant de temps à autre.
  • Ajoutez le reste de légumes et cuisez pendant 4 minutes environ en remuant.
  • Couvrez avec l’eau ou le bouillon. Ajoutez la feuille de laurier et assaisonnez de sel et de piuvre. Mijotez à couvert pendant 20 à 35 minutes jusqu’à ce que les légumes soient tendres.
  • Enleevez la feuille de laurier et mixez la soupe. Ajoutez plus d’eau ou de bouillon si néecessaire.
  • Au moment de servir, ajoutez un peu de crème fraiche, du parmesan et du persil. Servez avec un bon pain de campagne.

81 comments

  1. What a lovely getaway! The colors… so intense! And that house… such a charmer! I want to bring you along on my next vacation to inspire relaxation, simple food, and easygoing enjoyment!

  2. What a positively lovely weekend. Martha’s Vineyard used to be our summer vacation spot when the kids were little, but we also went there one fall as you did. It is truly enchanting, as are your photographs and writing.

  3. Isn’t it interesting(?) – taking time to be slow and simple is definitely a decision. And one I never regret taking.

    What a lovely, well-deserved vacation! Thank you so much for sharing.

  4. What a nice idea. It looks so peaceful. And you did v. well with such a pretty house! I have coconut milk, squash and yams in the frig. Guess what I’m making this week!

  5. oh this just looks gorgeous! I want to go there and do exactly what you did. Be with people I love and cook for them. Sounds perfect!

  6. Oh my goodness! It all looks so wonderful! Your photos are beautiful and Martha’s Vineyard looks stunning. Thank you for sharing this with us :)

  7. So gorgeous: the story, the atmosphere and the pictures. I really must start carrying K. on my back in the ergo, have only done it in front so far. Yes, go on more weekends away like this so we can have more posts like this one!

  8. Dreamy photos. We love to spend time in Nantucket when we can, but Martha’s Vineyard has to be breathtaking in the Fall.

  9. Oh wow! What a gorgeous post. Those photos are absolutely stunning. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. Love the idea of catching up with life. One day I’ll get there too =)

  10. You are the best advertisement for that home:) I love MV..We went to the Cape many years in a row and missed the last 3 because of new baby arrivals:) Well worth missing one of my favorite places..I know..But those are some of the only reasons I would miss it~:)

    Your photos are superb..:) ALL of them.

    I love to cook when I am away.I prefer home made food:)And yours well.. no question:)
    What a lovely life you have,it’s priceless.
    C’est la vie..La belle vie..il faut en profiter~

  11. Your photographs sincerely capture the beauty and ease of the Island. We were there a couple of weeks ago for my birthday, and this post returns me to that calm. The post-season atmosphere is well worth the wait.

  12. What a delicious treat your pictures and recipes are. I love the autumn and this is a perfect celebration of its colours and flavours.

  13. Oh Bea, this was the loveliest getaway, i feel as if i was right there! I love the Vineyard without the crowds and hot weather. How perfect it all was and your menu made me droole not to mention your skirts!! thanks for living a good wholeseome life and sharing it with us!

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  15. what a beautiful getaway. the house seems dreamy with all that light coming in and all the comfort food you cooked!

  16. what a heavenly place you went to. our butternut soups are very similar. i put a carrot (or two) in mine as well.

  17. Wow. What a great trip to Martha’s Vineyard. So glad to hear and more so SEE what tremendous food you had!

    Enjoy!

    ~Martha & Crew

  18. LOVED this posting… GOOOOORRRRRRRGEOUS.
    You’re so gifted!
    Thanks for sharing :)

  19. This recipe is so worth the chopping and dicing, so delicious and so nourishing. I will probably finish it off for breakfast.

  20. This is so refreshing for a girl from New Mexico. I cannot wait to travel to New England! Thank you for such a beautiful post.

    P.S. I am looking forward to seeing posts for all of the other wonderful foods you made, especially the coconut rice pudding w/pomegranate and cranberry.

    Absolutely gorgeous! :)

  21. Vos pictures sont jolies! Est-ce que vous allez nous donner la recette pour les pommes cuites? J’aimerais bien ca!

  22. What a lovely post!…I keep looking at the photos, your country is a whole new world for me! Thank you very much for sharing!

  23. Aww Bea.. what a lovely, lovely post! What a lovely getaway and quiet time you all had. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos and for spreading the need to cherish such things in life.. to get away from it all for quiet family time.

    Your photos as usuall are so lovely and tells such great stories. P. seems so at ease and a pro with Lulu.. Lucky you & Luly ;)). Hugs to Lulu..

  24. what a wonderful way to start my day looking at your beautiful photos and descriptions. always inspiring……..especially the coconut rice pudding sounds incredibly yummy.

  25. Utterly charming post! Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are both so peaceful in September and October. There’s always a grand exodus after Labor Day weekend.
    Loved your photos, your enthusiasm and your meals!

  26. So glad you enjoyed the Vineyard. When I read/see other people’s experiences of the Island it reminds me to be grateful that I call it home!

  27. Tu m’a fait voyager virtuelment avec tes belles photos et tes paroles. Merci. Est-ce qu’on va binetot voir des photos de Lulu. Elle a l’air si migone de loin. Les enfants grandissent si vite. C’est incroyable. Enjoy every moment. If you ever plan on a trip to Montreal… let me know. Would love to show you around. We have amazing markets. I am sure you will enjoy yourself a lot.

  28. Martha’s Vineyard in the off season is just one of the most wonderful places ever. I’ve spent quite a few Thanksgivings up there at my aunt’s family’s home and they are such special memories. Love the look of this soup as well…I have a kabocha squash that I’ve been searching for something to do with and I think I’ve found it here!

  29. Sublime votre escapade ! Je suis amoureuse de la Nouvelle-Angleterre et je comprends vraiment pourquoi tu voulais tant aller à Martha’s Vineyard… Se sont des moments comme ceux que vous y avez passés qui nous font comprendre où sont vraiment les priorités dans la vie ! merci beaucoup pour ce superbe “reportage” et ces magnifiques photos !

  30. That soup sounds divine. I shall have to make some this weekend. It is the last weekend of our close Farmer’s Market where I live and I intend to get as much as I can to stock up until the special pre-Thanksgiving market they hold. Your pictures of Martha’s Vineyard make me miss my mid-West falls. The Pacific Northwest just does it so differently.

  31. et bien tu en emmènes des provisions quand tu pars en vacances! Ta famille a bien de la chance.
    Tu as l’air d’avoir passé un merveilleux weekend. Ton récit , les photos et recettes le prouvent. A refaire!!
    bises

  32. Ah, at least I got to go there through your journaling. How funny you sould link to that chocolate cake with character…I’ve been wanting to make it for months now and finally bought quinoa flour to do it!

  33. That’s it, I’m packing my stuff and booking a flight. I just can’t stand seeing these gorgeous shots and that lovely food and then looking out my window. It’s depressing.

    Very nice job!

  34. Beatrice,

    What a beautiful post. I was on the island one fall many, many years ago and I’d love to go back. So peaceful. Your post reminds me that simplicity brings clarity.

    Butternut squash soup is one of my favorites too. I usually make it with curry powder in place of the corriander and chili flakes but maybe I’ll try your version next time. It sounds very good. There is a gluten-free recipe for Celeriac Soup on my site that is quite good too if you are interested.

    Enjoy the fall and your new little angel.

    Amber

  35. Beatrice,

    I was in Newport two summers ago and almost made it to Martha’s Vineyard. This lovely post is the next best thing to being there. It must be especially beautiful in autumn. I’m glad you and your little one had a great time.

    Nisrine

  36. Love this posting. You’re gifted if you cook as well as you ‘shoot’, cause the pictures are real work of art, both in terms of composition and technique….

  37. just recently discovered your blog, and how glad I am. really enjoy reading your posts and looking at your wonderful pictures…

  38. Hi, I was just wondering, what camera do you use? i’m thinking of getting one myself and i’m torn between all the choices!

  39. what a wonderful post, you’ve truly captured the essence of my favorite season of the year. Thanks for sharing :)

  40. You have the eye of an Impressionist painter in love with nature and light.
    It’s reflecting through the eye of your camera, capturing the magnificent and the beauty of life.

  41. What a wonderful weekend getaway! I also live in the Boston area and never tire of the Vineyard. It is truly a special place in the fall…winter…spring and summer! Your photos and food descriptions brought me along on your enchanting family getaway. Thanks

  42. I love your blog; the pictures, the food and recipees, the delicious taste of life, the mixture of french and english – I enjoy reading here very much :-) And even though my blogging is in German, I still would like you to know that I passed on a tiny blogger award to your blog. Please accept it as a thank you for your writing and sharing.

  43. Catching up on your posts…
    That house is right from the pages of a magazine! It sounds like the perfect retreat to ponder and breathe.
    Gorgeous.

  44. Beautiful photos, very soothing… And so is the text that accompanies them.

    Congratulations for your beautiful blog, I’ve always been a silent reader, but I thought I’d make an exception tonight !

    Un petit coucou de Paris, au passage :) (bon d’accord, banlieue nord, mais c’est moins glamour.)

  45. Amazing photos and it sounds like such a wonderful trip! You are blessed and lucky to be able to take off for a weekend to such a beautiful place… especially in the fall!
    Everything looks divine and oh so yummy!

  46. you have such a way with words and photographs. looks like a divine, earthy vacation.

  47. Gorgeous photos — and your meals sound extraordinary, the perfect things to eat in such a beautiful setting. Glad you had a wonderful time!

  48. Such beautiful shots. Sometimes life in the SLOW lane’s all we need.
    I envy you. I can’t leave my job for weeks on holidays elsewhere.

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  50. I know you’ll never forget this weekend, & also I came to know that you are a very good cook. I”ll try one of your recipe definitely. In such a beautiful place if you’ll get such delicious food then it’s out of the world.

  51. I was living on Martha’s Vineyard for 3 months selling surf boards and it was incredible. Especially for me – girl from Poland who has no idea how to surf :P For now I am living in Toulouse studying there for one semester. Love your wegsite as much as I love french cuisine!

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  53. Pingback: The last of summer (randoms) « elsewhere. journal.

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