Mid-October, our RV trip brought us to Massachusetts, where we visited one of my besties from college and took a quick trip across the water to Martha’s Vineyard.
One of life’s best moments is spending quality time with good friends. I was glad to see my good friend from college, Sheila – or SheShe, as I affectionately call her. After getting ill several years ago and battling Lyme disease and post-Lyme neurological damage, she had to make some life changes and switch her focus in life. With a corporate job not being a feasible option anymore, Sheila focused on her health and eventually started her own business. Since she spent a lot of time researching healthy living and eating, she wanted to share the goodness of her findings with others. Today, she is running her home-based vegan bakery, which offers gluten free, yeast free, organic, and socially responsible ingredients. In addition, Sheila’s blog provides advice, perspective, and support to others who are either struggling with a life-long disease or are caring for someone with one.
Gathered around the kitchen table, we savored Lebanese and Nigerian dishes – SheShe’s family is Lebanese, but Sheila grew up in Nigeria. I love Mediterranean cuisine and I had my share of yummy African cooking thanks to my international college classmates, so I was delighted to feast on:
- Labneh – kefir yogurt; SheShe added olive oil and parsley, and served alongside zatoun (olives) and pita bread
- Foul Mudammas – a Lebanese fava bean and chickpea breakfast dish, that goes well with onions, lemon, and the cucumbers.
- Haloumi – cheese from goat’s milk
- Manaeesh with Zataar – baked flat bread topped with thyme and sesame
- Groundnut stew with rice and chicken – a savory Nigerian dish, rich and aromatic – Yum!
Side note: Last time we saw SheShe, we witnessed her beautiful wedding – and one of the best dance parties in a long time! The day we arrived, it was raining sideways, but the sky cleared up on wedding day, and made for a lovely outdoor celebration! A very international party followed, with guests, music, dance, and food paying homage to the bride and groom’s diverse backgrounds: Lebanese, African, Argentinian, Italian, and American. What a wonderful celebration of diversity and love! Just like good food, a good party needs the right spices ;-).
A short drive from SheShe’s house, we found the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. Parking was confusing but we managed to find a spot after we took an informational flyer from one of the port attendants. The ferry ride from Falmouth to Martha’s Vineyard took about half and hour. We were lucky to be able to visit, because recent storms had threatened to shut down transportation to and from the island. We overheard commuters working on the island that they had been trapped there for a few days until the wind died down enough for safe passage.
Martha’s Vineyard off season is quite peaceful and we enjoyed having the place almost to ourselves, and seeing more of the locals out and about. The island doesn’t have chain stores, so there are many local boutiques that provide additional charm. Like a lot of New England, the architecture is absolutely lovely: Greek revival homes and Cape Cod cottages, framed by healthy (even if now fading) hydrangeas and sweet-smelling rose bushes, and white picket fences. It’s no wonder this former whaling town has become a favored vacation destination (in the summer, the island’s population grows from its 17,000 residents to over 200,000 people).
Many celebrities visit or have residences on Martha’s Vineyard, including the Obamas and the Kennedies. The Ted Kennedy scandal is still a dark shadow on the island but the beauty of the place is undoubtable.
We had a quick bite at one of the local coffee shops, and there was just enough chill in the air to make our hot cocoa taste even better. We explored the island a little more: we watched the boats floating on the now calm water, admired some of the local artwork, and witnessed a wedding. Our visit was short but sweet and blissful.
Back at SheShe’s place, we celebrated Halloween early, taking photos with uncle Dracula’s grave stone (an ongoing joke about me being from Transylvania) and really made the best out of our boo-tiful reunion before heading out to our next destination, the Catskills and Woodstock, NY.