Molto Bene – very good, is definitely how I would describe the food at La Soffitta in Vineyard Haven, and now in its third year, I would say this Italian restaurant has found its boschetto (groove).

Martha's Vineyard Italian Restaurants La Soffitta Vineyard Haven DiningWhen you walk in, you almost forget that what the space looked like when it was Le Grenier, which is a good thing I think. The bar and lounge area are chic and inviting. I have to say that this is my favorite room in the restaurant. The other side is a little more intimate. I like the open space with all the interesting design elements to check out (e.g., the lights and the shuffle table).

Bar & Lounge At La Soffitta Martha's Vineyard Italian Restaurant

La Soffitta’s chef, Salvatore Della, born in Naples, Italy, is a perfect and delightful match for La Soffitta. He has worked on Island at a number of restaurants, but here, he is home.

Chef Salvatore Della at La Soffitta Vineyard Haven Restaurant Martha's Vineyard

In his kitchen he creates beautiful, authentic Italian dishes. Not overly Americanized, all garlic, tomato sauce types, but beautiful, delicate dishes to delight the palate and soul.

Frugal Foodie

An added bonus, there’s a Frugal Foodie option at La Soffitta. Each night open, Thursday – Sunday, they offer half price apps and $5 artisan flatbreads from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Now, imagine grabbing a couple of girlfriends, taking over the lounge area, add a couple of apps and a bottle of wine? You have the makings of a lovely night out.

However, you can get a couple apps as a teaser and then go for the gold and stay for dinner which was what we did. I had not yet tried Salvatore’s food yet, and this was the perfect night to make that happen.

Risotto Balls At Martha's Vineyard Italian Restaurant La Soffitta

For apps, we had to get the Risotto Balls. I find that often this app is not very good, oily, yucky cheese used, etc. These Risotto Balls did not disappoint. I would say that there was a delicious balance of aborio rice and cheese and they were perfectly fried. How was the sauce? Couldn’t even tell you, I am a purist, no sauce allowed on these babies.

Insalata Tricolore La Soffitta Italian Restaurant Martha's Vineyard

Of course, one should include some greens in their dining out adventures. We opted for the Insalata Tricolore. This tricolor salad was made with arugula, endive and radicchio, topped with pears, walnuts, goat cheese and a housemade prosecco vinaigrette. Delicious of course. How could it not be with all those sweet, earthy, bitter, creamy ingredients all well balanced. Topped with prosecco vinaigrette — the icing on the cake!

Pasta You Can’t Say No To

After apps, it was on to dinner, where pasta is a must. I don’t care about carbs, gluten, calories when there is fresh, housemade pasta on the menu. I want it because it is worth it.

Martha's Vineyard Italian Restaurant: La Soffitta housemade pappardelle and a porcini mushroom sauce

I choose a dish with duck, peas, housemade pappardelle and a porcini mushroom sauce. YUM!!! The richness of the duck with the earthiness of the mushrooms and the creamy sauce with melt in your mouth pasta — just wonderful. I had to use every ounce of restraint to not clean my plate. Next time, I think I will try the eggplant parm, an oldie but goodie!

Housemade Pappardelle With Beef Tenderloin Porcini Mushroom Sauce La Soffitta Italian Restaurant Vineyard Haven

My husband choose the beef version of mine, Pappardelle al Filetto. It too had homemade pappardella but featured sautéed beef filet tenderloin, a porcini mushroom sauce, peas and parmigiano. Mine too had parm, not to mention all the fresh parm I topped my dish off with!

There’s something so comforting about a belly full from good Italian food. You just feel relaxed, and ready for a great night’s sleep. At this point, I like to push the envelope……add dessert to the mix.

La SoffittaLa Soffitta offers delicious Italian dessert options, including, you guessed it – CANNOLIS! Cannolis made right here on MV?!?! It would almost be a crime not to have them, and they were so good. I was a little hesitant about the addition of ice cream, but a delicious pair indeed. So, remember to save room or make room for a sweet conclusion.

La Soffitta is serious contender for greatness in the Martha’s Vineyard food scene. The food is really, really good, and you can tell that the chef favors quality ingredients. With that comes a cost, dinner can get pricey, but it will definitely be a memorable meal.

Nigroni Craft Cocktails At La Soffitta Lounge Bar Martha's VineyardI can’t forget to mention that La Soffitta has a full bar, wine, beer and cocktails, truly something for everyone! I was drinking my old standby, Malbec while my husband had a Negroni. Nice to know that you’re not limited in this category anymore in Vineyard Haven.

La SoffittaYou can learn more about the La Soffitta on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube and Instagram.

{ 0 comments }

The joy of four day weekends in January on the Island. Having just travelled for a week for the holidays, and getting ready to travel for Winter break, I was feeling less than motivated to pack up the kids and head off Island.

Mansion House Hotel Martha's Vineyard Staycation Slumber Party Special

I do, however, like to feel like I went away or did something a little special. Luckily, the Mansion House is offering its Slumber Party special. Celebrating the 33rd year of owning the Mansion House, Susan and Sherm Goldstein, welcome Islanders to come experience the hotel for $33 per person (double occupancy) any night during the month of January.

It’s a stay-cation right in your backyard. Why consider this as a way to add a little fun and adventure to this cold, grey month? I have a number of reasons.

Martha's Vineyard Vacation At The Mansion House Hotel Vineyard HavenI live in Oak Bluffs, less than 10 minutes away, and pass the Mansion House almost daily. Yet, packing up with the kiddos for an overnight in a hotel had us all a little excited. The whole checking in and excitement of seeing your room is always somewhat exciting, even one town over. An added bonus, if possible, the Mansion House will try to upgrade you — sweet!

Off Season Vacation At Mansion House Hotel Vineyard Haven

Speaking of sweet, we had a suite. Located on the second floor, it was the perfect room if you have kids. For my bedroom, there was a beautiful queen bed, with a balcony. The kids had a room with trundle day bed which they just thought was the coolest thing. I thought the coolest thing was the doors that separated the two rooms.

Martha's Vineyard Hotels: Mansion House Vacation Special

After taking in the awesome room situation, it was time for the best part of the stay-cation — the pool. If you’re 5 and 7 years old, and you have a pool at your disposal during the Winter months, you’re psyched. An added bonus, we had friends who were staying over the same night as us. Pool party!

Mansion House Hotel Vineyard Haven Spa Pool Hot Tub Steam Room Martha's Vineyard Vacation SpecialThe kids went crazy for the pool and the hot tub. I went crazy for the steam room and the sauna. I had NEVER been in a steam room. It’s life changing, whoa. The whole experience of the humidity and heat – sweating out all those toxins. It was incredible. I was smitten.

Mansion House Hotel Indoor Pool Winter Vacation Martha's Vineyard

Just when I thought the evening couldn’t get any better, my friend Shai told me that she would take my kids to dinner with her at Copper Wok, and I could have dinner with my husband sans kids. What a bonus.

Though Matt was not spending the night, had to go home at take care of our dog, Dashi, (a rescue chiweenie), he did come for pool fun and dinner.

Dining on Main Street

It was fun to head upstairs and change for dinner after hours in the pool. We all met in our room, Matt and I bundled up to head to La Soffitta. Shai just had to have the kids put on shoes. It’s really great to be able to walk right downstairs and go to Copper Wok. Everyone likes at least one item at a Chinese restaurant — even kids.

Martha's Vineyard Restaurants: Copper Wok Dining Out Winter Vacation

It was really special to walk down Main Street at night, with many stores still donning festive window and eye-catching displays. I cannot tell you last time I did this with Matt. Perhaps in the early 2000’s when my friend Cindy owned Cafe Moxie and that was one of our favorite spots. It had been way too long.

Martha's Vineyard Dining Out: La Soffitta Italian Restaurant Vineyard Haven

Walking back to the hotel and working off a small fraction of the thousands of calories we just ingested with joy, we couldn’t help but reminisce about the days when we called Vineyard Haven home. How much the town has changed and how we hope it continues to grow. Now, that wouldn’t happen sitting home having a pasta dinner.

Brickyard

Even though it was around the kids’ bedtime when we got back, we had to keep the fun going. Matt left to go home, and Shai and the kids were in my room. We set the kids up with a game and then a movie. How lucky for us that Ratatouille the cartoon was on. We set them up with popcorn as well and they were in heaven. You know staying up late makes them feel super cool.

Winter Vacation Mansion House Hotel Martha's Vineyard

We went into my room, popped some bubbly, turned on trashy TV on Bravo and chatted away. Perfectly comfy in my big bed with a fluffy comforter and tons of pillows, we felt very spoiled. Somehow 10 p.m. came really quickly, and we had to say goodnight. I wish we could have stayed talking longer (girl talk is always more fun in a hotel room for some reason), but the kids were really tired after all the pool fun.

The Fun Continues

I had grandiose ideas for breakfast the next day. Waking up, walking to Art Cliff Diner for breakfast, strolling down to the water, and then coming back for pool time. When my kids woke up, I quickly learned that none of that was happening. They had their own plans. We were having the hotel’s continental breakfast because they would not loose any pool time in the morning.

Martha's Vineyard Breakfast: Mansion House Hotel Vineyard Haven

A little bummed, but hey, having kids happy is a big deal. I went with their plans, our friends too. I was pleased with the offerings at breakfast. The kids had cereal, fruit and of course a little marble poundcake, and ate quickly, without complaining (bonus). There were other options too, like hard boiled eggs, yogurt, pastries and of course coffee.

Winter Vacation Fun At The Mansion House Hotel Martha's Vineyard Staycation

After breakfast, it was back down to the pool. There, time passed by way to quickly. We went from pool to hot tub to sauna (no steam room for the kids – they were a little scared of it). I have to tell you that experiencing the steam room in the morning was an incredible treat. I felt so much more relaxed after my time in it, even with all the other stuff happening all around me. I think I need to get a punch card for the Mansion House gym so I can access the steam room at least once a month. It’s that amazing.

Mansion House HotelSadly, check out time came way too quickly. It was time to say goodbye to our friends, the pool, etc,. and the luxury of having no chores or pets. It was really relaxing being away from home for a night, without the boat, traffic and driving hours to a destination. My daughter thought the whole thing was really cool. She said she felt like she was in Boston. I will take that as a serious mom score.

Vineyard Haven Harbor View From Mansion House Hotel Roof Deck Martha's Vineyard

After checkout, we had to continue the experience of course. So, we decided to go shopping on Main Street. I thought we’d hit all the stores, but we got held by all the great kid’s stuff at Bunch of Grapes, which was fine by me. Ending the experience with buying something special, with their own money, was like the icing on the cake. Everyone left Vineyard Haven happy.

Bunch of Grapes Bookstore Martha's Vineyard

To have your own Mansion House Slumber party experience, you can call the front desk, 1.508.693.2200, to find out all the details. This is NOT an offer you will find online, and it’s for Island residents only.

Don’t forget that there is a full gym, including classes. I had hopes to do Sunrise Yoga, but that did not happen. There is also a full service salon, think about adding a massage into the mix,  how nice that would be.

And they are donating $10 to the Island Food Pantry for every room sold during this getaway special.

You can learn more about the Mansion House on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube and Instagram.

{ 0 comments }

A little over three years ago, I wrote a story about Lauren Morgan. An Island designer who was launching her clothing line, premiering at Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week. As it turns out, that collection was a stepping stone in this designer’s evolution to where she is now.

Martha's Vineyard Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan

After designing her line, she was working with a consultant in New York City. This person was responsible for the all aspects of production. Lauren began asking questions. Questions about the quality of the space for workers, the sources of the fabric, how the fabric that was resourced came to be. She just wanted to feel good about the clothing she was making. However, she was answered with silence.

Martha's Vineyard Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan

Also, the fashion world has its share of competition, and it’s hard to keep up with the price point of “fast fashion.” Not every buyer wants to invest in quality, small batch, artisan clothing. This is so true, however her designs were pretty amazing.

She knew she had to find her niche and also began a journey of becoming educated about the manufacturing world of design.

From Travel Essential To A New Path

Not liking this aspect of the fashion world, she decided to not produce her line. So, she took a step back. She was really busy at work as an assistant residential designer at Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design, and was building her house with her husband Nate.

Lauren Morgan and husband Nate

She and Nathan took a trip to Australia. One of her essentials for the trip happened to be a packable windbreaker. She used it over and over again. It was not very fashionable but it was effective.

When she returned home, she began began working on a packable windbreaker that would be fashionable and functional. As she began this process, she realized that there were plenty of rain jackets and such that were inspired or created by the British. Think Barbour and John Partridge.

How were there no New England inspired rain jackets? New England definitely has its own aesthetic , a since of fashion associated with it.

Lauren Morgan Package Windbreaker Martha's Vineyard Fashion

Lauren’s package wind breaker design was going to be her test market. She was going to see how people responded to a jacket locally made and designed and sold at the Chilmark Flea Market.

Her design was well received. She learned about her clientele, price points, even learned that men wanted great looking handmade windbreakers as well, and she knew she found her niche — New England inspired rain jackets, small batch, made with a story and a conscience.

I say story because Lauren has been on an evolving journey as a designer. I say conscience because Lauren had been really looking into the manufacturing process of clothes and just how horrible it can be. How the chemicals used to create so many jackets that are water resistant or water repellant contain chemicals that are proven to cause cancer, yet the fashion world looks away.

How conventionally grown cotton uses pesticides that also cause cancer, yet the fashion world looks away.

These clothes that contain crazy, terrible chemicals that are toxic for the us and for the environment are part of the norm. The chemicals are interwoven with the clothes we wear daily. These that are meant to make us feel safe and warm might actually be harmful. It’s crazy.

Lauren really went into depth about this subject. If you want to really see what it’s about, check out the documentary True Cost – this was a real inspiration for Lauren and hugely educational.

Martha's Vineyard Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan

Lauren decided NOT to look away.

From Seed To Closet

“We believe there is a vital connection to the people and places that make our clothes. Just like with our food, we believe that knowing where our products are made and how they are made is incredibly important.” This quote is found on the home page of LaurenMorgan.com.

Fashion Designs By Lauren Morgan Martha's Vineyard

Because of this standard, Lauren has been on an incredible journey to find and create stylish New England inspired rain jackets that are made in the USA and are made with the highest standards.

Lauren MorganFrom Seed to Closet is also something Lauren uses as a tagline. For her, designing this time around meant traveling and finding farmers and manufactures, that feel as strongly as she does about using safe, organic, quality products.

Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Inspired By Martha's Vineyard & New EnglandShe found a very special organic cotton farmer in Lubbock, Texas for the cotton. You always think that cotton is natural, breathable, the right choice, but not all cotton is created equal. This is the cotton you want to use. The cotton that is not forced into its 5th stage, where the boll is forced by nature, something a good hard freeze is needed for. Not cotton that is forced with harsh pesticides.

Eco Fashion Organic Materials Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Inspired By Martha's Vineyard & New EnglandThe cotton canvas is woven from the organic cotton and is milled in small batches in South Carolina. There it is dyed with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified dye in North Carolina. The organic cotton lining, also from Texas cotton, is woven in small batches by a Veteran run business located in California.

Martha's Vineyard Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Nantucket Looms Partner

She has partnered with Nantucket Looms for the fabric hood liner for the women’s line. These textiles are handwoven on Main Street, Nantucket, using only the best, natural fibers for incredible, handmade textiles. This is an amazing partnership for so many reasons, and of course Nantucket Looks will be selling Lauren Morgan!

Lauren Morgan

The brass finishes — zippers, snaps are American made. The cotton drawstrings are made with organic cotton. Even the wooden buttons are special. They’re made from sustainable birch from Maine and are hand turned in Brooklyn!

Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Inspired By Martha's Vineyard & New England: Womens Noreaster 101Oh and let’s talk about water resistance. Lauren has worked with a company to create a plant based water repellant! Yes, no harsh chemicals, and nothing would be harmful to you or the environment. The catch? There is none. The only thing is that you will have to wax your jacket and the wax will help your heirloom piece to wear well and continue to age and patina (and become quite the conversation starter). These pieces are designed to get better, and more interesting with age.

Lauren Morgan Fashion Designs Eco Fashion New England InspiredAs you can imagine, Lauren went through a serious vetting process for EVERY component of her collection. It took a lot of time and a lot of research, but she says it was all worth it. With all these components from other states, can you imagine her surprise when she found a factory in Fall River, the Good Clothing Company.

Good Company Manufactures Lauren Morgan Fashion Designs From Martha's Vineyard

Here, founder Kathryn Hilderbrand, is dedicated to ethical, sustainable manufacturing and is helping to bring manufacturing back to the USA. She too has a wonderful story which you can find here. The business model at Good Clothing Company is in line with Lauren Morgan, and it’s “right across the pond,” made in America, made in Massachusetts!

Mens Downeaster 103So much went into finding materials and such, usually not a designer’s job, but this is a path to the revolution of New England fashion. Lauren has shown that there is way to design and manufacture clothing responsible. If one designer, on her own, can do this, why can’t others?

Lauren Morgan

All this talk about responsible textiles and manufacturing, and I am yet to talk about the design! As mentioned before, the style is New England inspired. Lauren drew on the colors of nature on the Island she calls home, and by the beauty of nature-inspired design, she worked on when part of the award winning Martha’s Vineyard Interior Design team — the blues, the beiges, the greys and the great textures of natural fabrics.

Chain of Custody Label with Hand Written Notes - Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Inspired By Martha's Vineyard & New EnglandHer designs are simple, yet filled with attention to detail. From the tassels, to the snaps to the elbow patches — which are especially cool on the men’s jackets — to well placed flaps, and pockets for cell phones. These are obviously well designed, well crafted pieces, and they’re even more glorious because where we live, provided the inspiration for them.

There are two styles for men and women, so a total of four at this point that Lauren Morgan, home of the American made wax cotton jacket offers. Currently there is one color available, but I think Lauren will be adding Slate soon as well. Love all the New England inspired colors!

Downeaster Jackets Lifestyle Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Inspired By Martha's Vineyard & New England

For a more casual rain jacket, Lauren offers the Downeaster. This one has a number of pockets, and a working drawstring hood. To me it says functional, but is still fashionable. You can easily go from a walk at Blackwater Pond in West Tisbury to lunch at the Atlantic in Edgartown in this jacket.

Womens Norester 103 Lauren Morgan Fashion Designs Inspired By Martha's Vineyard For a more sophisticated but yet casual jacket, the Noreaster is for you. The design is minimal and functional including a working hood. I love this element in the design, since often jackets like this do not have a hood, and lets face it, New England is wet. We get plenty of rain around these parts so function and fashion is important to us.

Mens Noreaster 107 Lauren Morgan Clothing DesignYou can order your own Noreaster or Downeaster, today, simply click here. There is currently a Kickstarter Campaign that is helping to fund this endeavor, and the jackets are in production! They will be ready in May. Also, stay tuned for where you will be available to buy them on Martha’s Vineyard soon.

Fashion Designer Lauren Morgan Inspired By Martha's Vineyard & New EnglandThis story, the story of one designer’s dream to create truly special clothes, with a conscience and a story, was a delight to write. The dreams that are made into realty on the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard are so inspirational. I hope that many people learn about Lauren Morgan’s work, especially those in the fashion world, and are inspired by her dedication to doing good with fashion.

You can learn more about Lauren Morgan on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube and Instagram.

Author’s Note: Thanks Lauren and Nate for some of the pics! Also, Lauren Morgan’s well received windbreaker from the summer is no longer available. In the future she hopes to find a way to create something similar with textiles more in line with her mission.

Also, Lauren left her interior design position once she realized that she could not fulfill her orders from her summer windbreaker experiment. She had done so well, realized that she could have a career in fashion.

{ 0 comments }

Martha's Vineyard Vacation Rentals: Ferry Reservations For Cars On Sale

Warm sunny days on Martha’s Vineyard may seem far away right now, but there is an important vacation planning deadline this week for anyone who has a summer rental in place or who is thinking about renting this summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Advance car ferry reservations go on sale this Thursday, January 11th.

Martha's Vineyard Summer Ferry Reservations Going On Sale Thursday: Attention All Martha's Vineyard Vacation Renters

An advance reservation with the Steamship Authority is essential if you’re planning to bring your car in the summer. Every year, peak week car reservations in July and August seem to sell out faster and faster. Often, they’re all gone within a week, sometimes, a day or two.

A Few Car Reservation Tips

  • If you don’t have a profile number, pin or sign in credentials with the Steamship Authority, register ahead of time. It will help your online booking go faster. Register here.
  • Book online. You can’t make reservations by phone until a week after online sales begin.
  • Expect delays online but keep trying. Thursday will be the heaviest traffic day of the year for the Steamship website. It’s all part of the hectic ferry reservation dance.
  • Have an alternative time or two, in case your first choice is not available.
  • The earlier you start trying to book on January 11th — the better your odds.
  • You don’t need advance reservations if you’re not bringing a car.

The Main Booking Link

You may want to bookmark the actual booking page, before you start trying on Thursday. Head to this page, and click the BOOK NOW BUTTON.

Book Online With Steamship Authority January 17 For Advance Car Ferry Reservations

Of course, if you’re still wondering what’s available to rent, you’ve got both time to book AND get a reservation for your car this week. You can call or email our Rental Team. Call 508-627-4567 extension 2, or email rentals@pointbrealty.com. You can also check our Martha’s Vineyard Vacation Rentals page for houses available across the island.

Good luck!

{ 0 comments }