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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Taste Fall Flavors on Martha’s Vineyard

3. What to Do

Forage for your own meal on an immersive Farm. Field. Sea. excursion.  

Spend the day foraging on a curated Farm. Field. Sea. excursion (starting at $350), perhaps the most hands-on way to explore the island’s edible bounty. Former New York City film marketer Nevette Previd now lives on the Vineyard full-time and brings guests to visit the island’s network of growers on daylong tours. A typical trip might venture out to the Honeysuckle Oyster Farm bivalve hatchery, then have guests pulling ripe produce from the fields of North Tabor Farm before collaborating on meal prep with a local chef like Fischer or Morning Glory Farm’s Robert Lionette. Naturally, breakfast, lunch, and dinner are included in the day—the latter of which typically includes staples from the day’s harvest ($150). Private tours can also be arranged for groups of ten or more.

Pick up a weeklong visitor’s shellfishing permit at one of the local town halls to try your hand plucking littlenecks, quahogs, and scallops from the island’s calmer fall waters. Ask the local shellfish constable—their offices are generally located within the local Town Hall—about the best spots (the boat ramps at Katama Bay are a dependable source for quahogs). Or if you’re up for more science than shucking, arrange a visit to see the tanks maintained by the MV Shellfish Group, whose scientists have been helping to protect and expand aquiculture on the island for three decades. Each year, they seed the ponds, bays, and lakes will millions of shellfish to help keep the ecosystem thriving—and to ensure that the legacy of family shellfishing continues.

Cheer on master fishermen—or cast your own line—in the annual Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. From mid-September through mid-October, nearly every island tradesman ditches his day job to take part, in the hope of bagging the biggest fish (the winner of the boat division wins a 4x4 pickup truck; the best shore fisherman can score a boat). Operating for nearly 70 years, it’s the oldest and largest fishing derby on the East Coast, and crowds regularly gather for the daily weigh-ins, which take place between 8–10 a.m. and p.m at the Edgartown Jr. Yacht Club. Feeling lucky? Entering the fray is totally doable: Beach Plum chef Chris Fischer’s favorite captain is Jennifer Clarke of Clarke Charters, while another longtime outfitter, North Shore Charters, helped a 12-year-old win the tournament a few years ago with a 49.22-pound striped bass.

Published on Sep 25, 2014 as a web exclusive.