Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lessons in the Springtime Schnoobles - Things to Do When You Don't Want to Do Work

That's what I said.
My own invention.
It's that time when you are waiting for something to happen, but nothing seems appealing, and you just don't know what to do with your free time. Or any time.

I would say doldrums, but that's left to summer.
For seasons, it's that time right now. Now quite spring, not really winter.
It's a time of being impatient. Waiting.
Waiting for your tax returns, waiting for warmer weather, waiting for something to stir things up a bit.
Oh you have plenty of routine things to do. But nothing... interesting. Engaging. That you haven't done for a bit.

Not so very different from times like these on the mainland. Except here you have to be creative.

In that spirit, Class, I give you my list of Things to Do That We Didn't Do on the Mainland But We Do Here When We Want Something to Do. Pay attention. There might be a test later.

1. The Vineyard 500.
This is when you take the older generation of the family for a ride "up island".
Up Island isn't really up, it's west, but whatever. Actually there are two popular theories as to why it's up-island. A) Prevailing winds are westerlies, so you have to sail up-wind to get there from "down island". B) It's a matter of numbers. Aquinnah (see map above) is a higher longitudinal number than down-island towns.
This drive involves a loop from roughly the center of the island to Aquinnah and back. And it involves feeding the gulls at the little fishing village, Menemsha. It is not 500 miles, but sometimes feels like it. :) This is an old-school "Immelt" (my family name) family tradition, and a very popular choice when you have time on your hands. Let's just say the gulls recognize the car.
Gay Head Cliffs, Aquinnah

2.Go to the mail box/post office. This is a popular choice for me, because I forget to get the mail. A lot. Because it is down the lane at a remote spot. But my town post office is very tolerant of me. Other family members have in-post-office-boxes, and tend to remember to get their mail, but never pass up an opportunity to "pick up the mail". Sometimes there are bags of candy involved to give to the counter people, because it's very easy for mail to get set aside, say holiday cards, and once we got Christmas Mail in May. So candy keeps them on their toes, according to my mother and aunt.

3.Go to a coffee house. There are several. Each has its foibles.
At Espresso Love, a shop favored by "certain celebrities" (initials MR come to mind - she's dating a former rock bad boy?), has really good specialty coffees and is also a cafe - killer shepherd's pie and pastries. But you have to deal with youngish, "I'm here on a summer work visa from overseas" help, who don't always know the specials.

At Beetlebung coffee house, they have, in my opinion, the best morning coffee - all day long. And their sandwiches are awesome. And they have live music, which can be an issue, if you want to talk - it's a small shared space. Also, you have to park in the post office parking lot, if you are driving.

                    Beetle Bung Coffee House

 At Mocha Motts (2! locations), it's a lot like Cheers - everyone here knows your name. You can usually get the straight skinny on any island gossip, and their Everything Bagels are the bomb. They serve their coffees hot and strong, there are booths to read the paper in, and the VH location is a popular after-school stop for the high-schoolers (coffee drinking starts early here - I'm guessing cold weather).

Black Dog Tavern by theblackdog.com

3.When in doubt, we meet at the Black Dog for lunch. This can kill quite a bit of time. They let you linger. At Black Dog Upper as we like to call it, on the outskirts of town, you know the help's first names and their next-of-kin, they know your preferences for drinks, and the food is good. It's cafe counter service, it's roomy, and you can use their wi-fi and check Facebook while you are at it. (Come on, you know you do it.)
Black Dog Tavern - Travel Pod
At the Tavern, in-town proper, you can sit on the porch and watch the ferry traffic, or sit in captains chairs by the large fireplace and have perhaps the best cup of chowder on the island. Their breakfasts are inventive, their menu consistent. Be prepared to wait on rainy days, which is not a bad thing when you are in the Schnoobles. And also, pick up a t-shirt - same one made famous by a former American President given as a present for his - ahem - "friend".

The Newes - by Kelly House
4.If we want English Pub atmosphere, we try The Newes From America. It's the small, but atmospheric down-under pub of the Kelly House. Still located in the original 1742 building, it has it all for a rainy day: rough hewn beams, brick walls, New England hearth. The calamari is awesome, the burgers filling, and you can get regional draft beers here. Best of all, the staff is congenial and helpful, which is handy if you are visiting and need touristy information.

As you can tell, a lot rides on food here on the island when there's time at stake.
Notice that these things we do are things we sometimes take for granted elsewhere. But here, anything is an event.
Also notice that on a day that involves schnoobles, the word "work" is not in it. :)

So in conclusion, Class, remember: when you are down in the schnoobles, think creatively, think island-style. Hey, maybe you will even find your own new country drive, your own new favorite coffee shop, or your own new tavern or grill, to while some time away while waiting for Spring.

Have a good one. :)


  1. Hi there, nice blog! I like your pictures.

  2. Thanks! Just starting to get the hang of it.

  3. I'm thinking, The Newes pub for lunch, sit a spell for some knitting and storytelling, and then we go scout out a spot to give your LYS some rival business?
    I'm dreaming of opening a small shop, replete with porch and rockers, twinkle lights, walls of colorful yarny displays, windows draped in antique lace, open to the breeze... ok not today's breeze, but you know what I mean.
    Maybe I'll have to sell my city house and join you in your mischief and hijinks!

  4. Funny you should mention that... There's a small rival yarn business for sale here!