I have just returned from a week on Martha’s Vineyard — a glorious week full of morning walks on the beach and films at the film festival and cold beers at the Newes with friends I miss so dearly. And, after my week was up, I drove onto the ferry, reluctantly, but with a stiff upper lip, to return to Boston and work. For the first time ever, I had a front row parking spot on the boat. It was a five o’clock boat and, as I watched the late afternoon sun slip into the harbor, I cried.

Since moving off Martha’s Vineyard in November, I have been back four times. Once, unexpectedly, for David Flanders’ funeral. It was a quick up and back, less than 24 hours. The second time was a two-day trip over Christmas. The third time I packed my things for a weekend retreat at my parents’ house when they were out of town. How lucky for me, I thought, to have the weekend to myself. But then I stopped at the Net Result for fish. “So I get it,” Jeff said when he saw me walk in. “You only come down to visit when they go out of town.” At the end of each visit, I packed my car and drove to the ferry. Each time, I got about five minutes out of Chilmark before I started to cry. I laughed at myself, for how silly I felt. But each time, like clockwork, the tears started.

So on this latest visit, I knew what to expect. On Sunday afternoon, a half-hour before leaving for the ferry, I decided to outwit the tears. I drove down to Menemsha to troll the beach for sea glass ­— tokens of my Vineyard visit, reminders of what was unchanged and waiting for me upon my next return. I was shamefully unsuccessful. Luckily, my father, who I roped along, found a few pieces. He pressed the bright amber slivers, the stones of turquoise and deep sea green, into my open palm.

On the way back to the house, we saw the Menemsha fish market was open­– a true sign of spring on a winter weekend in March. He went in to get lobsters and I mourned the fact that I would go without. But Stanley Larsen had just brought in mussels and, with a wink, packed up a small bag for me to take back on the ferry. I have never cooked mussels on my own, but back in Boston I looked at the bag and figured I could hack it. I put a pot on the stove and threw in some olive oil. When it was nice and hot, I tossed in some diced onions and some leaves from the parsley plant I dug up when I moved out of my Oak Bluffs house in fall, ground a bit of fresh pepper in for good measure. Just before the onions turned brown, I threw in the mussels and poured in the rest of the beer I had opened when I got home from work. I stirred the pot while I sliced the Rickard’s bread from a stop at Cronig’s before I boarded the ferry.

Now, back in Boston, I’ve polished off nearly a good pound of mussels and they were tasty. From across the bridge and over the water, I tip my hat to the Martha’s Vineyard fishermen, and to the Rickards for their long hours. Once again, the Vineyard has nourished me long after I’ve left it.

Julia Rappaport is a freelance journalist in Boston.