Bird watchers keep “their eyes to the skies,” as our own ornithologist (and now Nantucket’s) Vern Laux likes to say, but for those of us who cover the waterfront, our keen observational faculties are trained on cafés, retail shops and hotels along the harbor.

I’m pleased to report that every last place, following the Memorial Day weekend, is open for business!

Who remembers back in the day when the O.B. docks looked like something out of The Wire, with a gas station backed by a car repair joint, backed by a backup car repair joint? While we had no Wire-type gangsters selling drugs from an empty lot, with the obligatory broken-springs sofa plunked down in hard-packed sod, it did look fairly neglected.

Then one day in 1979, I think it was, Marty and I walked past an old repair garage to see Terry and Simone McCarthy down on their knees scrubbing splotches of ancient transmission fluid from the cement floor of Simone’s late dad’s defunct shop.

“We’re going to turn this into a retail operation with lots of stores,” said Terry.

Good luck! we thought, never thinking it could be anything more than a vast, dark, cramped space.

What visionaries those McCarthys were!

Who knew the misbegotten area would become a Coney Island of pleasure boats, cafés — even one café with its own beach! — adorable Popeye-style architecture, ice cream parlors, and gift stores?! One place that has come and gone, and that I miss: back in the late eighties there was a mini-golf operation, the downstairs enclosed, the upstairs open to panoramic views of sunset over the harbor. Each hole was Oak Bluffs-themed, with Victorian cottages and tug boats and flying horses.

If I could close my eyes and wish for any one thing, well, of course, first I would wish for world peace, but after that I’d put in a bid to bring back that mini-golf emporium to the Oak Bluffs harbor!

So everything’s up and running, including Fishbones, generally the last of the waterfront restaurants to spread wide its heavy clear vinyl doors. Across the street on the leeward side, the Dockside Inn, now under the ownership of Caleb and Mary Caldwell, enjoyed a S.R.O. weekend, so Caleb looked pleased when Huxley and I passed him this morning out on his upper deck, inspecting his new domain.

After patrolling the docks, we shuffled our way back up Circuit avenue and stopped at the new incarnation of the late Smoke ‘n Bones, now proudly called Bite on the Go, alluringly subtitled Burger and Breakfast Crepes. New lessee Valerio Destefani has rounded up his whole family to help with the enterprise. Wife Sonia and daughter Talita created the eclectic menu and they oversee the kitchen. Sons Mateus and Tiago contribute much of the heavy lifting.

The titular Bite on the Go is fully twice the size of the original Brobdingnagian burger, the Big Mac. Valerio told me, “The Bite on the Go Burger is a double cheeseburger, with egg, bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes.” He doesn’t recommend eating this monster on the run. “You need both hands and your full attention,” he advised.

But the Destefanis, originally from the state of Espirito Santo in southeastern Brazil, are also mindful of palettes besides those of red meat eaters. There are fish options and shrimp dishes, also a few vegetarian choices such as a veggie burger and a crêpe with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, onions and mozzarella cheese.

Valerio said he was recently inspired to look into a gluten-free sandwich when a young woman brought in her own two slices of gluten-free bread and asked Talita if she would kindly insert a healthy filler.

That’s a new one on this jaded old reporter!

In the meantime, I’m off to have cake and punch at Phillips Hardware, May 30, where the retirement of everyone’s favorite curmudgeon, David Madeiras is set to take place. We’re going to miss him behind that long counter but, with any luck, we’ll see him more frequently around town. Maybe he’ll even take a (day) trip off -sland. If you’ll recall, one of Dave’s biggest claims to fame is that he has resisted setting foot on the mainland (except for a brief afternoon trip to get fitted for a suit for Susan Phillips’s wedding) for lo these 40 years!

Now that’s one for the books!