Mind you, the reason for it is not what I would have chosen.... And it did rain darn near the entire trip. But we had the BEST time.
Our travel went about as well as we could have hoped for. We did have one quicker than expected layover in Chicago on the way out. We had *planned* to get to the gate, grab a quick lunch and breathe before our next flight.
Our only other glitch was we'd PROMISED Zach a hot dog on the ferry boat ride. (Martha's Vineyard is an island, and so you have to take a 45 minute ferry boat to get there) All afternoon "If you're really good, we'll get you your own hot dog on the ferry boat" And good he was!
We got on the boat, and headed off in search of the food counter. Finding none. Ok, wait....its not THAT long since I've been out, I KNOW they serve food on the ferry. Know this. Positive. And you can't exactly get lost on a boat, so after a couple trips up one set of stairs and down another, I realized something was up. And after checking with one of the steamship authority workers, who confirmed that there were only vending machines on that vessel....I realized we were on the freight ferry. Ah.
The good news is we were on a ferry, as our main concern was missing the last boat of the evening. The bad news, we were not on either of the regular boats, that serve food....to worn out, hungry little boys who've had nothing but orange juice, half an egg, skittles, and a quaker granola bar ALL. DAY. (read: sugar.)
The good news was that same steamship authority worker was kind enough to snag a few individual boxes of cereal for Zach to choose from. Frosted mini wheats were much more appetizing than vending machine fare. In spite of that, the poor boy was in tears 10 minutes later. Frosted mini wheats only go so far when you've been promised a hot dog all day, and you've been traveling for 10 hours, and the boats horn scared the daylights out of you, and you're plain wiped out and excited to get to Nana's already!
(we'll leave out the part where the 5 minute trip to Nana's took me 45 minutes because I drove us up island before calling my dad - who was still in California - for directions. In my defense, there was a miscommunication in directions.)
The end result, we got to Nana's! (with turkey sandwiches waiting, which were much appreciated by all 3 of us)
Thursday was collecting Papou and Yaya from the boat, and welcoming the rest of the family members coming in town - some of which I haven't seen since I was....10 or 12? Friday was the service, and it was wonderful. Quite a few people spoke and shared stories, his granddaughter sang...and oh my word...she sang beautifully. That night we had dinner at my cousin's house (her home is beautiful. I finally figured out what struck me most about it, was that it was only built a few years ago, but it doesn't scream "new construction". Its placement on the lot, the colors and flow, all seem so natural that it feels like a house that's been there for 80 years)
Zach got to play with my cousins boys - who are 10 and 12 and could have easily decided they were too cool to hang around with a 4 year old - and they were so great with him. He had a blast and I was so impressed with how obliging they were with him.
Saturday we spent most of the day in Oak Bluffs. It was Tivoli Day (unbeknownst to us) and so we walked the streets where all the vendors had set up shop, did some shopping, ate lunch down by the boats, and Zach and Eddie stopped for ice cream.
Saturday night we went to my aunt & uncle's for dinner. My dad's cousins made a spaghetti dinner you'd have to see to appreciate. The best part was they made my Uncle Theo's sauce. Uncle Theo was really my dad's uncle, and he passed away a few years ago. The last time I had Uncle Theo's sauce, Uncle Theo was the one who made it. It was probably....10 years ago. But it was in the same house, and I can still remember him sitting at the counter with a bowl of little chili peppers (he made a regular sauce, and a SPICY sauce). It was just kind of neat to have his kids making 'his' sauce years later, in the same house I last had it.
Sunday...we had leftover spaghetti :)
I also made a stop at Island Alpaca. Its just down the street from where were stayed, so I pretty much stalked the place until I finally got a chance to stop. Its a really neat place. You park your car, and then walk past the pasture to the barn/store. As you go there are signs with information along the way. Then through the barn, and into the store. The store is really amazing because its not just yarn for sale. (Mind you, there IS yarn for sale!!) But there are also hand knits using the alpaca yarn (knit by locals), wraps, socks, the SOFTEST "stuffed animals", throws, slippers...it goes on.
I picked up a pound of the most amazing roving. Its a beautiful silver-gray, with some darker variations in it. I can't wait until its all spun. (which...shouldn't be long. this stuff is so amazing I think I'd rather spin than sleep.)
I also got a couple handkerchiefs, and a neat vintage camera, and my new favorite refrigerator magnet. Plus, the obligatory "Martha's vineyard" sweatshirt and coffee cup. (I'm a sucker for both, what can I say)
Best of all, we got to spend an amazing time with family. (with the food being a close second...holy cow was it good) It was great to get back and see everyone, and catch up, and just spend time. I love it there, and I'd move in a heartbeat if I could. Don't get me wrong, I love it here too. But the ocean, and the landscape, and the pine trees, and the COLORS. Being there makes me feel like I could sit on the ground and be content to never get up. One of my biggest regrets is I didn't get more pictures.
I also missed going to the Kara Taylor Gallery, which I'm kicking myself over. It was one of the first things I wanted to do, and it got lost in the shuffle the first couple days and then didn't work out. I love what she does and wanted to see the newer stuff. ...next time.