Posted by: Kate | August 29, 2008

Not What I Expected

I spent last weekend on Martha’s Vineyard with Gretchen. Before we went, I had certain preconceived ideas about how the weekend would go, how I would spend my time.

Turns out I shouldn’t make soothsaying my primary profession just yet, because I was entirely wrong.

I expected a lot of beach time, and in my world, beach time means hours and hours of sitting, staring at the waves, listening to the surf, occasionally getting up to wade and pick up smooth stones and pretty shells and beach glass. And not much else. We did have time on the beach, but it was shorter in duration and characterized by a lot more talking and movement and activity.

I expected that, in between beaches, there would mostly be bus rides, since we were both too cheap and too unprepared (apparently six months’ worth of planning is not long enough for vehicle reservations on the ferry) to bring a car onto the island. Perhaps a little walking in between stops, but not much. Instead, we logged many miles, between just prowling around the Oak Bluffs neighborhoods near our hotel, aimlessly and sometimes misdirectedly wandering Edgartown in search of a beach, plodding down the road away from the Gay Head lighthouse toward a bus stop. There was bus time, too, but there was a lot more walking.

I expected uh-may-zing seafood, so fresh that it was on the verge of being sent to the principal’s office. Instead we had to check a large number of menus before finding a place that advertised a clambake, only to discover that their clambake replaces corn on the cob with soggy fries and mussels with clams. Silly me, thinking that a clambake would somehow include, you know, clams. We ate well, but I couldn’t have written out an accurate meal plan in advance.

So, an interesting trip. Not a bad trip, not disappointing. Just not what the little travel agent in my head had mapped out.

It says something about just how far I’ve come, in the whole control-freak-tendencies thing, that I’m able to accept a different reality from my expectations with equanimity. I really did roll with it, and had a good time in the process, and have no regrets.

Well, except that I kind of wish I had been nastier to the waitress in the second restaurant, the one with the clamless clambake, and that I had dredged myself out of bed for some sunrise photos one of the mornings.

But really, no regrets. Just different expectations for next time.

One of the big advantages of being a passenger is the ability to whip out the camera and provide visible proof of just how hilarious some companies’ logos really are.




I did not get quite this desperate for souvenirs. Though I couldn’t resist grabbing a snapshot before fleeing the creepy touchy guy who ran the booth.








  1. Neat photos! Sounds like it was a good trip overall, even if not what you expected.

  2. i sometimes get hung up on having to know what to expect and over planning. but thankfully once on the road or there, i’m more relaxed and just go with the flow.

    glad you had a good trip and you got back safely.

  3. Beautiful pictures! And as a fellow control freak, I admire your ability to just go with the flow. It’s your vacation, it’s not supposed to add extra stress. I’m glad you had a great time in spite of the no clam clambake!

  4. excuse me, i don’t mean to pry (though i’m going to) but where are the pigs?

  5. Love the streetscape, it’s so . . .American! Duh. Glad you had a good time, sometimes its rather nice when places don’t meet your expectations but still have plenty to offer. (Um thongs over here are ‘flip flops’ for some reason, we call those G-Strings!)

  6. […] then, sometime in there, Gretchen suggested another weekend away in Martha’s Vineyard.  It took me about four seconds to realize, yeah, that was a really good idea.  I […]

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