On June 1, 1897 John F. Murphy of Boston published a tourist guide on the resorts of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, which included a highly complimentary homage to Cottage City. Murphy wrote, “Upon a well-chosen and marvelously attractive site of this Island exists one of the most wonderful of community centers — Cottage City!” Later he makes the laudatory comment (that I of course agree with), “It is probable that the great majority of people who make reference by voice or pen to Martha’s Vineyard are thinking when they do so, only of Cottage City, that place being the grand centre of attractions and interests for the whole Island, and, indeed, the summering centre, par excellence, of all the land and water thereabouts.”

High praise indeed but well deserved and recently highlighted by Martha’s Vineyard Magazine’s annual Best of the Vineyard issue (on newsstands now) where readers voted Oak Bluffs and its establishments as the Best of, or runner up as the Best of the Vineyard in 42 of 83 categories, just in time for the 2013 season. I know you’re going to run right out and get a copy for the coffee table if you’re not yet a subscriber but I wanted to give you an early list of our town’s 2013 Best (or second Best) the Vineyard has to offer as continuing proof of how prescient Mr. Murphy was.

Lagoon Pond is the best place to kayak. Dick’s is the best bait & tackle and the Skipper is the best fishing charter boat. The YMCA won the best fitness center, the Flying Horses for family activity, and the Oak Bluffs Fireworks is the best summer event. It will be interesting to see what happens with MVY’s big chili contest winning off-season event. Dreamland is the best place to hear live music and the Ritz the second best. Offshore Ale is the best bar/pub; Nancy’s won the best place for cocktails and Dragonfly for Fine arts Gallery. Our Market and Jim’s Package Store both won the category as did Basic’s Clothing for children’s, men’s and women’s clothing. Linda Jean’s for breakfast, Slice of Life for lunch, Sharky’s for Family Dining with Giordano’s — who also won pizza, fries, takeout and clams. Nancy’s has the best outdoor dining; Offshore Ale wins year-round restaurant and burger, Mocha Mott’s has the best coffee, Sharky’s the best wings along with Coop deVille. Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company won for chowder, the Lookout Tavern for sushi, Mad Martha’s and Ben & Bill’s for ice cream — and Ben & Bill’s again for Island-made candy. Sullivan O’Connor won for best architect, Circuit Style Salon for hair salon and Treat Yourself for mani-pedis. Bink’s won best auto repair shop and Cape Cod Life Magazine winner Dockside Inn is best overall place to stay.

And of course, Oak Bluffs won first place as the best place for people watching. Pick up the July Martha’s Vineyard Magazine and see for yourself the many categories where Oak Bluffs businesses were the Best (or runner up as the Best) the Vineyard has to offer. More important, stop by all these places and sample the wares.

The Oak Bluffs Library is hosting Book Bingo from July 1 to August 31. People will pick up a bingo card at the library and each square features a category of books that must be read to fill the square. When you complete a row, column, or diagonal (like the game bingo) you will receive a $5 gift certificate to Ben & Bill’s ice cream (one per reader). For each row, diagonal, or column completed, readers will receive a raffle ticket for an end of the summer raffle drawing and a grand prize of a $100 gift certificate to Sweet Life Cafe.

Following on the heels of the local water debacle, Laurisa Rich reports that the Lagoon Pond Association is offering rain barrels for $81 tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the end of Lake Avenue. For more information, visit

The second annual Vineyard Streetball Classic takes place Tuesday, July 2 at the Niantic basketball courts at 7 p.m. Battle in the Bluffs takes place again on Friday, July 5.

The Inkwell has a lifeguard stand for the first time in years and the new fishing pier near the Steamship Authority dock is looking good.

If you’re just getting in, we missed you and welcome back. The season will be in high gear as soon as Farm Pond’s sea monster returns.

Oak Bluffs showed the first movies on the Island at the Tivoli in 1910. The Eagle became the first dedicated movie theater (today it’s named the Island) in 1915. The odds are long that Oak Bluffs will ever win Best Movie Theater.

Keep your foot on a rock.