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Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook

The latest publication to feature our photography is the Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook. This project marks the first-ever all-inclusive digital printed guide of all of the restaurants and dining destinations on Martha’s Vineyard. I couldn’t be more pleased with the finished product and I’m honored to have my photography showcased within the pages of this book. This guide was a gift to our restaurant community, with no restaurant paying to be included, and as a local foodie and champion of food equity, I knew it was the right fit for my photography.

Earlier this year I was presented with this woman-led project, which was a partnership with local digital marketing agency Shored Up Digital and Sourcebook Productions, a group that connects offline brands to the online world using next-generation QR code technology. Through innovative Flowcode technology, the Sourcebook gives users real-time information on all things dining in a virtually contactless way by offering up-to-date information straight from the digital destinations of our local restaurants.

As someone who has worked in editorial photography for decades, I knew that by providing my photography I was trusting the design team with their treatment within the book and this premium product did not disappoint. From the quality of the printing to the expertly curated palette pulled from the colors of my images, and the natural backdrops of Martha’s Vineyard, the Dining Sourcebook is a true work of art.

Woven throughout the pages of our beloved eateries the photos tell the story of the Island’s culinary scene and its abundant natural resources. There are pictures of the ample produce and striking farmland that many of our restaurant’s source from, and captivating scenes from the surrounding sea that yield so much fresh seafood straight to our plates.

I have always been passionate about environmental and food-related issues and the photos I selected for the book represent just that. I am a dedicated backyard grower and a strict believer that our health is linked to the sustainability of our land and the food that is grown within it. How lucky are we to now have a publication that encompasses all of our dining options while giving homage to the natural spaces that make it happen? 

Not only is the book beautiful, but it also provides tremendous utility to our Island diners, support to our restaurants and culinary outposts, and gives recognition to Island Grown Initiative and the Island Food Pantry, two organizations near and dear to my heart. 

The Martha’s Vineyard Dining Sourcebook was a true labor of love and a testament to the resounding spirit of Martha’s Vineyard and our resilient restaurateurs, shopkeepers, and food purveyors. Complimentary copies of the book are available at the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and a digital version of the guide can be accessed at MVY.com/diningsourcebook.

We hope you think it’s as delicious as we do.

Winter Transitions into Spring and What I’m Doing In-Between

I love the transition from winter… In New England, you never really know when “spring” will arrive. Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes, flirting with the warm weather. Temperatures might dip back down, but those stellar sun-filled days will become more regular, and the longer days get me excited for the warmer months ahead. 

As we settle into spring I eat differently and change up how I’m cooking. I get to introduce more fresh foods and I’m preparing for a whole lot more. Now’s the time I’m tending to my garden, and really trying to optimize it for a bountiful season ahead.

I’m cleaning up my yard, starting seedlings, adding organic matter to enrich the soil, removing leaves, and lining the planting beds and lawns. Each year I try to get rid of more grass and introduce more edible planting beds. This year I’m attempting to plant beans. I love the challenge of trying new things, seeing what works, and adjusting my practices.

As much as the weather allows I spend my weekends outside, determined to shake off the doldrums of winter. Now, newly vaccinated, I’m hopeful. I’m doing all I can to set myself up for success both inside my garden and out and looking forward to an awesome ground season.

Right now I’m enjoying radishes, spring herbs, nettles, scallions, chives, and mustard greens – the greens were overwintered in my unheated greenhouse. I’ve been foraging for watercress and enjoying oh, so many eggs. We recently got new hens and they are laying like crazy. My husband and I are enjoying every beautiful gift they give us. There are a lot of frittatas and egg sandwiches happening around here. My husband Philippe’s favorite breakfast is a bed of greens topped with a 2 minute boiled egg and smashed avocado. He eats it every day, a testament to his Swiss roots.

As the weather continues to go from raw to warm to balmy, there will be more grilling, and I can’t wait to barbeque. I’ll throw just about anything on the grill, drizzled with a little olive oil and topped with salt and pepper–even fruit. As the seasons change my palette does too. I do all I can to savor the freshest ingredients, highlighting their natural flavors and being thankful for another delicious spring.

Tips from Interior Designers to Reimagine Your Home

One of our favorite things about providing architectural photography on Martha’s Vineyard is collaborating with the talented interior designers that work on many of the homes we capture. When we shoot for architecture we are capturing the design and construction of a building, a structure that should speak of its time and place and the life of inhabitants. We’re also capturing the interior design, the thoughtful details that complement the architectural features and really define the space and its purpose, while highlighting certain elements and personalizing the space for those lucky enough to live in it. 

Many of the homes we capture are new construction, some are renovated historic homes, with stories to tell from generation to generation. Interior design allows the same space to be freshened up again and again, and regardless of the space you live in some interior design tips can really go a long way. These days we are spending more time at home than ever before. It is important to cultivate a space that reflects your personal style and supports the activities you’re performing there, not to mention a place to unwind.

As spring approaches we wanted to share some practical interior design tips from some of the talented designers we work with, whose incredible eyes can transform spaces, create harmony, evoke emotion, and curate places you’d never want to leave. Try adapting some of their tips to help reimagine your home this season and maximize the potential of the walls you’re within.


Mary Rentschler of
Rentschler Company Interiors, Martha’s Vineyard. Check out this fascinating story about a historic home in Chilmark Marcy recently styled that we had the pleasure of photographing. 

  • Be strategic about how you’re using your home. Assess where you spend the most time and ask yourself what activities you do there. Don’t be afraid to consider changing a room’s function as needed and adjust your floor plan and furniture layouts accordingly. Figure out ways to make spaces more functional and visually appealing with good lighting, comfortable seating, and be sure to create a place to work away from the fray of a busy household.

  • Restyle the shelves in your house and make new use of things you already own. In the kitchen add interesting unpredictable objects such as small mirrors, paintings, or objects you can source from elsewhere in your house. Restyle your bookshelves (especially if they’re on display on your Zooms!) and add some new memorabilia, photos, vases, natural treasures such as shells, rocks and feathers. Cull some unread books from your bookshelves and make new groupings on your coffee table. 

  • Update your textiles. Source new throw pillows, throws, pillow cases etc. Find vintage fabric to drape over the back of your couch, or layer at the bottom of your bed. Hunt down some fun new towels or recycle others from your linen closet. Change it up, mix it up and layer with texture and pattern. 

  • Paint an accent wall. Select a wall in your front hall or bedroom or somewhere that will enliven a forgotten space. Don’t be afraid of COLOR, especially after a grey winter! 

  • Create user friendly and attractive ways to organize. Stash important things in ottomans with storage, beautiful baskets and use visually attractive containers to store things you need to access.


Megan Weeks of
M Weeks Design, servicing Boston, Martha’s Vineyard and Manhattan

  • Invite the outdoors in. Nature provides the very best design elements. Snip some greenery and place in pottery or tall pitchers.  It needn’t be elaborate; a solitary leafed branch in a clear glass can be stunning. Plant fresh herbs such as mint, basil, cilantro, and lemon verbena in small pots or boxes, and place inside on your kitchen windowsills.  They’re beautiful, decorative, and fragrant, and having them easily within reach will inspire you to use and enjoy them.

  • Revitalize something you already own. For those of you looking to invest a little DIY time in a project that’s quick and satisfying, consider dedicating an hour or two to transform a wooden piece you already have—such as a mirror, stool, or side table—with chalk paint.   Chalk paint comes in a range of lush colors and is very easy to apply; there’s no need to prime — just paint! It dries quickly and is extremely forgiving. 

  • Indulge in something useful, colorful and delightful. Freshen and brighten your home for spring by adding a cheery and welcoming rug in your entryway, bright cloth napkins to your table, or decorative pillows and throws to your bedrooms and seating areas. If your walls need a refresh, create some simple but impactful art by framing colorful handmade papers or wallpaper (options aplenty on Etsy and Amazon). Consider repainting your front door, as the gateway to your home, your door is the perfect place to go big and bold with color. Why not choose a color for each side – one color for welcoming, and another for departing.

  • Place beauty where you’re busiest. On your desk and within sight of the kitchen sink, create a few vignettes that bring you joy and tranquility. A cherished photograph, a smooth beach stone, an elegant candle can re-center and transport you.

  • Remember to be gentle with yourself and those around you. This has been an incredibly tough year all around.  Try to give yourself little wins and glimpses of beauty when and where you can.


Susan Bielski of
Susan Bielski Design

  • Give your Quarantine Spaces some color. Liven it with a fresh coat of color, and punctuate it with a new pillow cover or a plant. I think that color really sets the tone for any space you enter.

  • Declutter. For months your winter reading from cookbooks to magazines have been piling up. If you’ve read it, recycle it. If you haven’t read it yet, ask yourself if you really need or want to; toss it or pass it on. Pick up, put away, containerize, or toss. Purging and organizing is a great morale booster, so give yourself a simpler space to breathe in.

  • Create an outdoor space you can spill into. Once the sun warms up you’ll want to be out there and a small bistro table and chairs could be your new Zoom Room, or a place for that end of day refreshing beverage. Shop the thrift stores or your own garage for someone’s hand-me-down porch seating. Add potted flowers or a container of tomatoes and feel the spirit of spring!

  • Don’t let work follow you everywhere. If you’re working from home it’s great to know you can move your laptop and virtually work anywhere, but you really need to designate a non-work area; a place to unplug and not engage with the mechanical/technical world.

  • Give your Kids a ‘free-zone.’ They’ve been stuck inside too. Give them a space where they know they can just play and hang out, and not have to follow the rules of being in a Zoom Room. It could be a reading nook filled with throw pillows and a colorful yoga mat, or a tent where they can hide from the same technology and noise we all want to run from!

Planning a Martha’s Vineyard Wedding in 2021

One thing’s for sure, there’s no stopping love, even in times of COVID. With 2021 upon us and many restrictions still in place, we wanted to share some tips for planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding, even in the current environment. Instead of focusing on those elements of your wedding day that might be compromised this year, we want to focus on all the positive things and the silver linings that can make for an even more meaningful day.

The Natural Beauty of Martha’s Vineyard Can Be Even More Appreciated 

Martha’s Vineyard has long been a popular wedding destination and its allure is even greater in the age of social distancing. The most significant attraction of Martha’s Vineyard is its natural beauty, making the Island the perfect backdrop for your special day, and lending itself well to outdoor events. 

What could provide better ventilation than an open-air Island affair, with the clean ocean breeze wafting through? Some of our favorite outdoor venues include our local beaches like The Inkwell and Lambert’s Cove Beach, as well as the Allen Farm, Captain Flander’s House, the historic Tabernacle, one of our many iconic lighthouses, and the various yacht and beach clubs. Here’s a roundup of more Martha’s Vineyard wedding locations, many of which offer an outdoor venue option. 

The Benefits of Keeping It Small are Big

These days it’s safer and more responsible to keep your event small, not to mention larger events can go against constantly changing state guidelines. We’ve always been big fans of smaller weddings or micro weddings, and elopements too. They are just as significant but more intimate, and often less stressful and more affordable than the large and lavish variety. 

Many of the brides and grooms we worked with in 2020 were forced to host smaller events because of COVID, but in hindsight, the event proved to be everything they wanted, and they didn’t miss the fanfare of a larger event. Often the pomp and circumstance of a larger wedding can overshadow the basic meaning of a wedding, which at the core is a celebration of a couple’s love and future together. 

Sure your guest list will need to be trimmed but those closest to you can still attend, and you can get creative with inviting folks virtually. One of our couples in 2020 successfully had 225 onlookers via Zoom watched them tie the knot in Oak Bluffs! And with fewer people on location, we were able to spend more time photographing the newlyweds, moving from location to location, as they basked in their newlywed bliss, instead of having to stay tied to a strict agenda on their special day. Doesn’t an afternoon enjoying your new husband or wife all to yourself along the shores of Martha’s Vineyard, in front of our historic sites, or atop or beloved lighthouses sound dreamy? 

With a smaller group to host it means fewer logistics for you to manage, and can make the event more affordable too (not to mention more eco-friendly!) Given the smaller size and scale of your event, your options and vendor pool can significantly increase. Some venues might not even be able to accommodate a large group, but once your numbers go down you realize there are even more places to tie the knot than you had thought. Or maybe there’s a preferred caterer or private chef that you can swing with a smaller headcount. Many of them offer cooking classes too, which could prove to be a fun interactive activity to enjoy together. Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to take your family on a private sunset cruise or a fishing excursion. A smaller guest list means more creative and innovative add ons for your affair. 

And when it comes to lodging many of our intimate inns and bed and breakfasts can function as venues too. With less people to manage you can consider buying out one of our smaller local accommodations like the Nobnocket Inn or the Hob Knob Hotel, where you can house your guests and conduct the ceremony, keeping everything centralized to one location and eliminating the need to manage additional logistics, which means less stress.

 

Wedding Planners are More Valuable than Ever

Another way to mitigate the stress of your special day is to hire one of our local rockstar wedding planners. Even though your event may be smaller in size and scope, there are the constant nuances of hosting the big day on an island with limited resources, and things can get really complicated, and are always more expensive. Couple that with a pandemic that means constantly changing plans and adapting to new restrictions and things can get hard to manage on your own. 

Even in the “normal times” the benefits of hiring a wedding planner on Martha’s Vineyard are even greater than they might be off-Island, quite simply because they get it. Our Island can be hard to navigate–geographically, politically, and socially. Just getting here requires extra work so you better believe what happens here does too. They are knowledgeable, well connected, and quite literally make it their job to master the ins and outs of executing flawless events on Martha’s Vineyard, amid a pandemic and in normal times too. Check out our roundup of local wedding planners and their tips for your big day. 

This is all just the beginning and we wish you the best in the wedding planning process. Keep calm, carry on, and remember–the best is yet to come, even if it means compromise!

If you’re currently planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding make sure to read through our other helpful blog posts on the subject, including Special Considerations for Planning a Wedding on Martha’s Vineyard, Wedding planning on Martha’s Vineyard, Microweddings on Martha’s Vineyard, and You’re Engaged, Now What?. For additional resources on planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding visit mvy.com, and mvislandweddings.com.

2020: The Year of the Fearless Female

This year has presented a tremendous amount of challenges, but it has also created a number of opportunities, especially for those with enterprising spirits. From where we’re sitting we’ve noticed a majority of them have been females.

This year has been a historic one for women. It marked the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing and protecting women’s constitutional right to vote. We saw our first female vice-president-elect in Senator Kamala Harris, AND for the first time in US history, the president-elect has chosen an all-female senior communication team for the White House press staff. It’s some seriously exciting stuff.

Despite the challenges of 2020, the incredible work and adaptability of fellow fearless females has been inspirational and motivational. At Randi Baird Photography everyone from our bookkeeper to our marketing director, and many of our assistants over the last 20 years have been female, and it’s a tremendous point of pride for us. We work hard to continuously cultivate a supportive network of women to not only advance our business but to empower those that help us do it.

This year we’ve had the opportunity to work with several female-owned businesses that have flourished despite the pandemic. Women that have not been deterred by the challenges, but have risen to them. We’ve worked with ladies that have created new and exciting ventures, or have chosen to adapt and pivot their existing business model to better serve their customers during COVID. 

Here we’re showcasing a handful of those female-owned businesses we’ve had the opportunity to partner with this season.

Martha’s Vineyard Made: This new eCommerce destination was created by Rachel Baumrin of Austin Designs and is intended to be a one-stop-shop for users to purchase unique gifts and curated gift boxes made by Martha’s Vineyard creators and artisans. A concept years in the making, Martha’s Vineyard Made finally came to fruition earlier this fall. Due to the pandemic, local artisan’s markets were canceled, and opportunities for our talented friends and neighbors to sell their wares disappeared. 

As an artisan herself, Rachel knew the toll COVID would take on her colleagues, and took it upon herself to get Martha’s Vineyard Made up and running. Randi Baird Photography was hired to provide lifestyle and product images for the website, and we are honored to help display our Island’s beautiful locally made products. We know great photography is crucial to generating online sales and we’re proud to help further support the efforts of our local makers and creators. 

East Sound Lane: Another local maker, Allie Bernstein McElligott, launched East Sound Lane this year, where she handcrafts natural skincare products on-Island. Allie first came to Randi Baird Photography as a wedding client. We photographed her wedding as well as her father and step-mom. When she launched East Sound Lane she contacted RBP to help with her product photography, and we were honored; nothing makes us happier than returning clients, it’s the ultimate compliment of our work. We were thrilled to hear about her new endeavor, and her minimal, plant-based approach to her ingredients, most of which are grown in her family’s garden, pesticide-free. 

Allie grew up spending summers on the Vineyard at her grandparents house, and inherited a passion for plants, flowers and simple skincare from her mother and grandmother. After a career as a newsroom producer, she decided to quit her job and go to culinary school. During that time, instead of cooking food, she adapted the physics and chemistry of cooking and baking to make her own skincare products.  After a few years as a chef, she decided to follow her passion for skincare and go to esthetician school. Once COVID hit her path was clear, and East Sound Lane was born. 

Martha’s Vineyard Escapes: For brides and grooms that wanted to get married in 2020, COVID obviously presented a number of challenges. Instead of rescheduling to 2021, and risking more unforeseen limitations, some couples decided to tie the knot anyway.  Many of them enlisted the help of Martha’s Vineyard Escapes, owned by the dynamic duo of Carol Bliss Furr and Donna Wilmarth. 

This year RBP worked with Carol, who has an innate talent for planning, organizing, and execution, plus years of managerial and leadership positions in business. When COVID hit Carol’s proven resourcefulness and versatility allowed her to continue to produce fabulous events that were still meaningful and especially unique. 

In one of our most memorable weddings of the summer, Carol pulled off a wedding for Trent and Rhonda with 225 (virtual!) guests at Inkwell Beach in Oak Bluffs. We spent hours traveling to iconic locations with this genuine couple, celebrating their love all across Martha’s Vineyard. There might have been less fanfare and far fewer in-person spectators than usual, but there was still so much love and even more intimacy. Thanks to Carol’s core values and exquisite style we were able to share some slightly revised (but still very much magical!) affairs for her clients.

Donnelly and Company: Expanding a business in a new market is tough stuff, made even more complicated by a pandemic. But it didn’t deter Pauline Donnelly, a longtime Boston based real estate agent, from bringing her company to Martha’s Vineyard. Pauline is another fearless female we have had the pleasure of working with over the last several months and we respect her tenacity and extreme professionalism.

Like Randi Baird Photography, Pauline is all about creating a meaningful impact in her work and maintaining a positive culture. We provided headshots and architectural photography for Donnelly and Company and look forward to continuing our work with Pauline and her staff as she flourishes on-Island.

 

Alice Williams Interiors: Alice Williams makes it her mission to create beautiful living environments that fit and reflect each client, their style, and their home. She approaches each project as a full collaboration with her client’s tastes, needs, and resources while adding her personal touches and her discerning professional eye that her clients have come to trust her for. 

We can attest first hand to her collaborative approach. We first met Alice on an architectural photography shoot where we were hired to capture a historic Squibnocket Ridge oceanside home, aerial shots from the outside as well as the entire inside of the home, which had just completed a total interior renovation. Alice brought a carload of props to carefully style and consider each shot, and he worked seamlessly together as a true collaboration.

As Alice says “I believe interiors should be sensitive to the architecture of the house and its surrounding environment, while simultaneously being an expression of its inhabitant’s styles”  and we couldn’t agree more.

We look forward to working alongside these enterprising females in 2021 and remain hopeful for the new year. As 2020 comes to a close, remember to embrace new opportunities and remain grateful for this year’s silver linings.