Want to experience a destination like an insider? Read on for travel tips and favorite finds from New England notables in the realms of hospitality, theatre, and media. From the best place to shop to what to eat, these globe-trotting Tastemakers offer their wanderlust wisdom.
Carolina Ramirez Herrera
Manager, Brand Strategy & Consumer Insights, Univision Communications
One of my favorite places — and definitely a must when in Martha’s Vineyard — is a stop at The Net Result. Smack dab in the center of Vineyard Haven, this typical New England fish market has all the trimmings for a perfect seaside picnic table-style lunch. The local favorite — stuffed quahogs — are a game-changer for clams everywhere. Also, no visit would be complete without a hand-picked whole lobster steamed to perfection with a side of warm melted butter for dipping. Just be sure to bring that bottle of Sauvignon Blanc — Vineyard Haven is a dry town!
If you’re seeking snazzy al fresco dining with incredible views of the yacht club and harbor along with live music and an upbeat vibe, Atlantic Fish & Chop House in Edgartown is the place. Be sure to get seated on the patio to enjoy the breeze with one of their deliciously refreshing cocktails. For a group dinner, you couldn't ask for more than the Fruits de Mer Atlantic Bouquet — the perfect raw bar tower with a juicy array of shrimp, oysters and littleneck clams: perfectly chilled, nicely shucked and ready to be devoured from the shell.
If you're a sweet-tooth and are looking to commit carbocide, you need to stop at Mad Martha’s Ice Cream shop. No guilt-free, low-fat fro-yo business here; this is the real deal and worth every single calorie.
My favorite beaches are both private, unfortunately — but definitely worth the trek and mission to find a way in! While Lucy Vincent Beach is known as a surfers' beach, I can assure you as a strict sun-soaker that breathtaking views of clay cliffs make long walks on the beach a must. The pristine Squibnocket Beach, open to Chilmark residents only, also requires a beach pass.
Performer and Host, "The Official Hank," Speakeasy Moderne www.officialhank.com
As a native of Cape Cod, I've had my share of outstanding seafood and great summers. My mother's house is in Buzzards Bay, so we enjoyed the Cape's 'quiet' side growing up.
Every time I visit, I beg Mom to take me to the Chart Room located on Red Brook Harbor in Cataumet — by far one of my favorite spots to wine and dine. This gem offers nightly entertainment with a pianist in the center of the room. Guests arrive by boat and car to watch the gorgeous oceanside sunset. Family tradition is to start with their outstanding stuffed quahogs, followed by their famous lobster salad.
We would take day trips to Martha's Vineyard frequently. As kids we would ride The Flying Horses Carousel, the nation's oldest — heck, I still go on it. While you ride this historic carousel, you get to play Brass Ring.
After a gorgeous stroll window-shopping and viewing art galleries on Circuit Avenue, we always whet our appetites at Offshore Ale Co. All beers are brewed on site in what appears to be a large old barn. Make sure to order their current seasonal ale and grab an order of Grilled Brie. It is deliciously rubbed with basil pesto, served with roasted garlic cloves and toasted baguettes. Heaven!
Before catching the last ferry back, we have to pop in Mad Martha's Famous Ice Cream. If you're with a group, walk in and tell the server "Oink!" They will ring the bell and serve you a 12-scoop sundae called Pig's Delight. It is outrageous and worth every calorie.
CEO, Lifestylist Advisory www.LifestylistAdvisory.com
Nantucket has always been one of my favorite places to visit, harkening back to my days as a co-ed in New England. The island keeps getting more chic — some detractors say that's a bad thing. Still, the addition of some great new hotels and restaurants have made it a once-a-year getaway for me — or twice, if I can sneak in during the off-season.
If you want to stay in town and at the heart of the action, a visit to the posh and beautifully furnished White Elephant is in order. Situated right on the harbor, this grand dame is an ideal launching pad for a town-based weekend in Nantucket. If you seek something a little more relaxing and off-the-beaten path, The Wauwinet is the ticket. Situated at the far end of the island and featuring a nightly aperitif and cheese in the library, it is the very definition of laid-back WASPy chic. The rooms vary in size and décor, so be sure to peruse pictures before settling on your lodging.
As far as accommodations go, Nantucket also offers a few new modern entrants: 76 Main, Gatehouse and the renovated rooms at The Veranda House are the epitome of updated preppy chic, with décor by renowned designers and upgraded amenities. Some restrict children under 10 — ideal for a grown-up getaway.
The island's spectacular restaurants take their cues from the bounty of seafood straight from the New England coastline. Some favorites: the lively Lola 41 for sushi, truffle fries and great cocktails; The Galley for sunset cocktails and beachside dining; The Pearl for amazing seafood and a rocking scene on most any given weekend; and a new favorite, Ventuno, which inhabits the old 21 Federal space. While I miss that venerable classic, Ventuno has nicely replaced it with savory Italian.
David Granville and Jeffrey Pfeifle
Residents of Southampton/Wainscott, New York
We love to spend time on Nantucket and often take a quick jaunt to the island from East Hampton airport. Once we land, we pick up a jeep which makes island touring easy and fun.
One of our favorite places is Cru Oyster Bar, located at 1 Straight Wharf. It's the perfect summer spot: super cool and relaxed, fantastic for lunch, drinks or dinner.
We often stay at the historic Jared Coffin House or when traveling with our dogs, The Wauwinet, which has fantastic cottages and lofts at the boat basin, each individually decorated and designed.
The gorgeous village of Siasconset is a must, and if you want to stay in the village itself, we recommend The Summer House, which has a great outdoor dining space across the road overlooking the ocean and hotel pool. If you are roaming around the village and want a quick bite , we love the Sconset Café.
The List: WILD HORSES
You don't have to be a skilled equestrian to enjoy a beautiful old-fashioned carousel. Just the faint sound of that familiar twinkly carnival music makes a wide-eyed kid of us all. I'm especially fond of those rare vintage carousels featuring a menagerie of animals, like ostriches and elephants — how very Swiss Family Robinson. In honor of the truly magical Martha's Vineyard establishment Flying Horses Carousel, America's oldest and a national treasure, here is my round-up of the best pony rides to be found stateside — jodhpurs strictly optional. Giddy up!
THE TREND: COOL AS ICE
Thought Parisians were too proud to compromise their tried and true ice cream flavors? Au contraire. Harvard prof David Edwards and ice cream maestro Philippe Faure have collaborated on a veritable dessert invention called the WikiPearl: essentially, science fiction in scoop. These ice cream balls pack an aesthetic punch — and they're wrapped in edible bio-degradable packaging to boot. The coconut-mango flavor is a standout, and almost looks too chic to devour. (But alas, I did anyway.)
Only London could deliver a punk boutique ice cream shop…in Covent Garden, no less. Don't believe me? Stick out your tongue, Sid Vicious-style, and sample the "Sex Pistol" flavor, sprinkled with bits of Viagra. These Ice Creamists also happen to be the "agents of cool" behind the controversial "Baby Googoo" flavor, which incorporates real breast milk. Who needs easy-to-digest goat's milk when you've got a flavor fit for the Royal Baby? But nevermind the bollocks — this hand-made ice cream is so good, consider making it a double (scoop).
As wacky and flamboyant as Miami can be, it weirdly didn't get its own experimental ice cream shop until 2011. Thankfully, Azucar — located in the heart of the Little Havana neighborhood — satisfied the Magic City's collective sugar craving. I'm absolutely in love with the Cuban-inspired flavors in this adorable shop — the super-subtle avocado ice cream is killer — not to mention the sale: T-shirts with Cuban "dichos," or common phrases. Only in Miami can you sample an ice cream flavor that's a sugary ode to your Cuban grandma, and that's precisely what the "Abuela Maria" is: crumbly Maria cookies bathing in gorgeously textured sweet cream. It's no wonder you're sashaying like Celia Cruz out that door.
When it comes to narrowing down a favorite flavor, summer's signature icy treat isn't so black or white — or chocolate or vanilla, for that matter. Indeed, when it comes to artisanal, small-batch scoops of ice cream, inspired spins on familiar tastes (pistachio-melon, strawberry balsamic, almond-fig) and savvy packaging go down extra smoothly. Whether I'm in an old-school but inventive parlor by the Northeastern seaside, indulging in Mad Martha's decadent Oreo Cream, or at the ultra-conceptual Glacé back in my hometown of Sydney, there's something simultaneously nostalgic and avant-garde about today's ice cream varieties. Read on to see where to scoop up the cool stuff worldwide.
About The Travel Curator
The Travel Curator is the only resource savvy travelers will need for the inside scoop on inspiring destinations. Luxury travel expert Melanie Brandman opens up her little black book and shares her tried and tested favorites, the latest trends, and word-of-mouth travel tips from her globetrotting friends and tastemakers.
As Featured In
Hilary Jane Hughes, Natalie Guevara, Meredith Mayer, MacKenzie O'Brien, Sarah Carroll, Allison Rutter