Last Saturday I did my first Dock and Dine report under the Covid 19 lockdown for The Chart Room.

I just learned that the reason our experience was near normal at Kingman was because they were closed and everyone was just tying up on their own – not any more!

Starting Thursday you must order from the Chart Room by phone and circle in your boat until it’s ready. Then they’ll bring it to you “touch and go” style on the front dock and you have to quickly shove off.

No tying up and eating – means no Dock and Dine!

Now Where To?

I’ve been calling local Harbormasters along the south coast to get a feel for what’s open and what’s allowed. Beyond Kingman, I have also spoken to Sandwich and Oak Bluffs.

All the Harbormasters have been informative and encouraging (although the restrictions at Kingman are a little much). Without a doubt, the Oak Bluffs Harbormaster was tops, so that’s were we headed next.

OB – The Best Option These Days…

I noticed a number of enticing posts from Coop DeVille on Facebook so we decided to look toward Oak Bluffs for our next Dock and Dine adventure.

Even in times of lock-down, I find yelp to be helpful. They’ve added a search option for takeout and it seems to be pretty current. I did a search for Takeout in Oak Bluffs and found plenty of options:

I have also been monitoring a Facebook page called What’s Open on Martha’s Vineyard which I use to triangulate yelp.

All my sources seemed to confirm that we would not go hungry in Oak Bluffs so we headed out around 11:30 Thursday.

The Run to OB

The sky was blue and the winds were light, but the 65 degree temperature forecast was no where to be seen at noon. In fact, it was low 50’s on the water and high 50’s inside Vigilant. Mrs. Horne chided me for wearing shorts and she was right (as usual).

Here are a few photos of the run over…

Entering Vineyard Sound from Woods Hole
Ferry with two people on the back deck

Docking in OB

One of my favorite events of 2019 was the Pig Roast Concert in front of Coop DeVille. The band performed from the deck of a boat tied to the bulkhead in front of Coop DeVille.

My plan was to pull up to that very bulkhead and tie up for lunch in Vigilant. Sadly, there was a little fishing boat tied up right in the middle so we couldn’t fulfill my little dream. Instead, we went over to Slip 78 and tied up easily.

The OB Marina team is on the job and we had more help than usual tying up. A masked dockmaster came right up and told us it was $10/hour to tie up. I gave him a $20 and cracked a couple of Cold Ones for Mrs. Horne and myself.

We have spent many nights in these slips – including our final trip of the 2019 season, and I have to admit it felt like home.

UPDATE: Based on your questions, I spoke to the Harbormaster and he told me the moorings are in, but they’re not allowing rafting – one boat per mooring. He also confirmed that the launch service running.

Coop DeVille Takeout

Truth be told, I have never eaten food from The Coop before. Back in the days of the Boston Whaler and Mean Kitty, we ate at The Fishmonger and The Sand Bar, both of which were more restaurants than bars.

Coop DeVille is one of those iconic bars that Jimmy Buffett would love. It’s typically packed with people hanging over the bar that faces the sidewalk.

As you may know, I am a home chef and generally prefer my own cooking over restaurant dishes. So when I dine out, I usually order something I don’t make at home – like fried junk food!

Accordingly, The Black Board Menu at Coop DeVille caught my eye…

Although we did a ton of takeout in the desert, I don’t think I’ve had a french fry in 3 months. The problem with takeout fried food is that it gets cold by the time you’re ready to eat and who wants cold fries?

By the way, the team at Coop DeVille was very diligent in social distancing and followed all the state protocols…

The OB Covid Scene

They told us our food would take 10 minutes so we took a quick tour of OB to get a feel for the mood…

Downtown OB

Although far from normal for the Thursday before Memorial Day Weekend, there were cars and people moving around. And, as I said above, there were a lot of restaurants open for takeout.

When we returned to The Coop, we found a big Edgewater Center Console had snagged the spot I wanted along the bulkhead.

I would normally have approached them and asked them to pose for My Buzzards Bay, but for fear of inadvertently coming across as a “snitch,” I simply took a photo from afar.

This boat was undoubtedly the most normal sight of the day. There were 8-10 “twenty somethings” in bathing suits up front drinking beer and feasting on a massive cheese platter. There were also a couple of older men hanging in the back.

Mrs. Horne likes to make up stories around scenes like this and she thinks it was a graduation party for kids who were robbed of their’s by the lockdown.

Enough With This Lockdown!

After our little walkabout, we talked to the guys working at the Coop hoping to fetch it hot and get it back to Vigilant in time to munch on hot fries.

By the way, people who work on the island are showing signs of stress as we discussed their frustration with the various officials that have shut them down and I fully agree.

For example, customers are getting takeout and walking 50 feet to sit on a public bench or bulkhead to eat, but no one is cleaning up after each visitor.

Meanwhile, the Coop has outside tables – 6’ apart, that are shut down. There is simply no rational reason why people couldn’t be eating at those tables and having the Coop staff clean them properly between diners.

POLITICAL SIDE COMMENT: I fully supported the initial stay at home order to “flatten the curve” to smooth the load on emergency rooms, but that was two months ago. The mental health and economic devastation the government has created through this lockdown has caused an entirely new public health emergency.

Hopefully, it will all be over soon…

Food From The Coop

Our therapeutic political discussion came to an abrupt end when our food came out of the kitchen. We scrambled back to Vigilant and dove in to our little feast…

Buffalo Wings
Onion Rings
Lobster Roll and Fries

You have to understand that Coop DeVille is a bar that serves drinking food, but this was some of the best bar food I’ve ever tasted. The lobster roll was very large for $24.

We will be back! By the way, the owner told us they have been cleared by the state to sell takeout beer, but he’s still waiting for town approval.

The Run Home

The wind had shifted to the south as we left Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Sound was quite tranquil…

Rather than rush straight home, I decided to take a quick spin through Vineyard Haven to see if anything was happening.

As soon as I saw the Black Dog Wharf I knew that absolutely nothing was happening…

I called the Black Dog Tavern to see if they were doing takeout and I got a recording that said they were only doing dinner. The message did say they’d be doing breakfast and lunch takeout too starting today – May 23rd. We planned to go there Monday, but they now say they’re still only doing dinner.

As soon as I left Vineyard Haven and passed West Chop, the seas turned a little wild with 3-5 footers and nearly 20 knots of wind.

We’ll give the Black Dog a try soon, but I think our next Covid Dock and Dine will be Sandwich and either the F/V or the Pilot House.