Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Getting to Martha's Vineyard

02 October 2004

When you attend Viable Paradise, the first trial may be the most difficult: getting there.

From California, I took a non-stop flight to Boston, which only left the issue of how to arrive on Martha’s Vineyard, an island. There’s three choices: flight on Cape Air (more about that later); Private Sedan to Woods Hole (or another ferry stop), then a ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard, followed by a cab ride to your destination — this option winds up costing about the same as the flight.

Then there’s the Bonanza Bus ride from Logan airport, which drops you off at the Woods Hole ferry stop, where you take the ferry, then a cab. Cabs in Martha’s Vineyard are the so-called “gypsy” style — they’re always shared (a la Super Shuttle). Like SS, they’re typically minivans rather than cars.

Last time I went to Viable Paradise (VP6), I took Cape Air round-trip from Providence, Rhode Island. In part, this was due to the fact that I was in a “state bagging” mood, where I wanted to fill in as many gaps as I could in the states I’d visited. While I’d been to all the surrounding states, I’d never been to Rhode Island.

When I asked at airport security where the Cape Air gate was, the guy said, “Never heard of it.” Nevertheless, I discovered it 2 or 3 gates down on the right, strictly by chance. The nice gate attendants took our luggage and gave us a number. Just after it was time to board, they called numbers 1-9 — but I wasn’t in that group.

Which, I discovered later, was something of a problem. You see, Cape Air is small enough that it flies 10-seater Cessnas. If there are more than nine passengers, they fly two flights. Furthermore, the planes are small enough that there is no carryon luggage space onboard. None. All your carryon items go into the wing. I think I had enough room for a paperback, but I didn’t get much reading done for reasons that shall soon become clear.

After I reluctantly shoved my laptop bag into the wing and boarded the aircraft, I realized how much I loved the tall clouds I was seeing.

Until the pilot turned around and said, “They’ve just closed the Martha’s Vineyard airport. Where would you like me to take you instead?”

Fortunately, one of the passengers was a local. “Trust me, you want to go to New Bedford. We can get a bus or a cab ride to the ferry — it’s the closest airport.” Several people whined about their ruined evening plans, but hey, it’s an island, live with the fact things don’t always go as planned. It’s just the way it is.

Within a few seconds, we all agreed that New Bedford sounded like a fine idea, so we landed there. When the plane was unloaded, it became clear that while we were on the later flight, for several of us, our luggage had gone on the earlier flight. Cape Air made some calls, but I still wasn’t sure how to get the rest of my luggage. While we waited, I raided the vending machines for pseudo-food that I could eat.

After not too long a wait, the airline then waved a magic wand and procured us a van to take us to the ferry terminal. We arrived about three hours later than we’d originally planned, but I was happy to arrive at the Island Inn (by the way, taxis were extremely easy to find at the ferry terminal, something I should have realized would be the case). Unfortunately, the Island Inn office had already closed, but they’d gotten word from the airline and left instructions for me at the office.

When I arrived in my room, I discovered that Cape Air had delivered my luggage and the Island Inn had put it in my room. I was ecstatic. I was so happy I just hugged that old L. L. Bean bag right then and there. The only place open within walking distance was Lola’s, the cajun restaurant at the entrance to the Island Inn. I was starving by that time and had a truly wonderful meal.

But that was then….

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