Posts Tagged With: Larsens Fish Market


Our last day, cool and sunny, we decided to go for a bike ride in this beautiful place. Its clean, slow paced beauty will linger in memory long after we leave, as will my favorite food, the stuffed scallops at Larsens Fish Market. We drove out and unloaded the bikes just above West Basin, near the clam gardens.

I’ve never been clamming before and decided I’d like to try it, but Jim was sure you have to have a license to clam. The sign was unclear, and we didn’t have a bucket nor a shovel, anyway.

I’d never heard of a shellfish warden. Sounded a bit like, “We’re Watching You.”

We biked the Farm Shore road for a bit, but it was rough going and we turned around and headed for the
Gay Head Cliffs, a steady uphill pull, but on smooth asphalt. Great exercise, little traffic. We cooled on a big rock. The ride back down hill was exhillarting.
We loaded the bikes and headed for Larsens at Menemsha. Another great lunch. Chowder for Jim, Mussels and stuffed scallops for me.

On the way back to camp, we stopped to visit the oldest general store on the Island at West Tisbury. Alleys, established in 1858, is still a working store, though supported by the Marthas Vineyard Preservation Trust. The old wooden floors and casings are intact, but, its surprisingly modern. They’ve incorporated an ATM machine, a fancy coffee bar with fresh muffins, sweet rolls and quick-eat treats like any Seven Eleven;

They still cut glass, sell nails and just about any hardware item you can think of. At one time, they were also the local post office.

I’m old enough to remember stores where the clerk stood at the counter and asked you what you needed and then went and got it for you. The counter is still there, but you can prowl around and find what you need. Lot of nostalgia here for me. A rack full of aprons, greeting cards, old penny candy, only higher priced, toys…

I didn’t see the old wood stove with chairs around it, but they did have an inviting hammock on the porch.

And, an annex with produce.

Quite fittingly, they have fresh basil and a tomato plant in a pot out in front.

The one and only really rainy day we spent here we did the laundry and took a short jaunt to town for a ride on the oldest operating carousel in the nation.

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Every once in awhile, you experience a perfect day. The sky couldn’t be bluer, the weather more perfect, no stop lights, (none, so far on the island) or traffic jams; gorgeous scenery grabbing your eye at every turn and then you discover Larsen’s. I was standing at the refrigerator debating about the lobster rolls or stuffed scallops when a local came in and sort of pushed me aside and grabbed every last lobster roll for she and her friends. Wha!
This must be the place. And, it was!
But I’m ahead of  myself. First, the harbor at Menemsha. Its on the West side of the Island

It has a working fishing fleet and private boats as well.We walked the breakwater, smelled the ocean air, watched the birds, and surf. The sun, after rainy yesterday felt good.

This was one of many uncrowded beaches. I’m sure there will be more bikers and visitors on the weekend. This side of the island gets less visitors and less locals. Probably because the real estate here is divided into no less than 3 acre parcels, very expensive parcels.

We watched as this boater backed into his stall. His young son jumped off and tied off. Then the family disembarked. They were very friendly and nice to we tourist types with or cameras.

This gull actually posed for us. We saw it searching for tidbits on a boat that had recently come in.

This fish shanty begged “get out your easel and paint me”.

The fish shanties are weathered grey shingles but often have bright orange, red, yellow or blue doors. Jim was set to take my picture and a local woman offered to snap the two of us. Yes! Thank you!

One small harbor and it had five fish markets. At Menemsha, we stopped in and sampled the lobster bisque and clam chowder. The bisque had large chunks of claw meat in it, the best I’d ever tasted. Both were meaty superior tasting. It doesn’t get any better than this. Their fish tank held  a giant lobster nicknamed Lobsterzilla at 16 lbs. Estimated age 100 years. Its right claw was as big as my hand, only thicker.

It would be a sin to eat him methinks. We bought chowder and bisque to take home.
Then we poked our head into Larsens. Steamer clams for Jim. I tried a couple of oysters on the half shell, and one cherrystone clam, (I’d never eaten cherrystones before,) plus a stuffed scallop and a stuffed quahog. As we propped on the edge of a weathered box to eat our lunch, locals told us that Larsens has the best lobster in all new England. “Better than Maine. When we get here, we just toss everything and zap over here and get our first lobster. Nothing over a pound or a pound and 1/2, they advised.” The lady who took all the lobster rolls must have known. Yup! We were definitely in the right place. The refrigerator was refilled with lobster rolls but we were too full by then.  Hopefully time will allow a return to Larsens Fish Market.

Moving westward to Gay Head, we visited the cliffs and the Gay Head lighthouse. Nearly deserted beaches along the way and in every direction. Beautiful is sort of an inadequate word at times.

The light house light cycles every few seconds and I caught it on the red.

We left this spot to return home and found the prettiest spot on the island. This little inlet at Clam Cove north of Aquinnah.

This shallow little cove is perfect for small boats, children at play, kayaks, rafts and small craft. It rests the eyes to look at it. Except for the whiffs of chowder  in the car, reminding us of what we had waiting for us, we hated to return home. A perfect day.
For more pictures, I uploaded an album:

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