From the middle of May until Columbus Day, you can find Hugh and Jeanne Taylor standing side by side cooking breakfast at the Outermost Inn.

“It’s 24/7 for six months a year and then nothing.” Hugh says, with a laugh. “In November we head to a little place in the Bahamas called Elizabeth Island, named after the same queen as our Elizabeth islands here. There we are basically hermits.”

Jeanne nods in agreement as she chops tomatoes for a fresh salsa.

Hugh pauses to take in the view from the kitchen of Vineyard Sound. With his lanky frame and Wrangler jeans, he could be a cowboy surveying the terrain ahead. Instead, he looks around the kitchen: “What else?”

“I’m doing bananas,” Jeanne answers.

“Mondays are when we catch our breath,” she adds. “It’s the only night when we don’t serve dinner. So we don’t have the rush of knowing the night kitchen crew will be arriving on our heels at 10:30 or 11 a.m. to begin dinner prep. On Mondays we do the accounting.”

“Mondays are when we fix stuff,” Hugh says with a sigh.

Jeanne Taylor checks the reservations. — Jeanna Shepard

This reminds Jeanne to remind Hugh to fix one of the inn’s two washing machines. While they use a linen service for the restaurant, they wash all the inn’s towels and sheets.

“It’s perpetual,” Hugh says. “Yes, and I’ve got to fix one of the engines on the boat.”

In addition to owning and operating the Outermost Inn, the Taylors also run the Menemsha Bike Ferry, which takes people and bikes back and forth between Menemsha and West Basin Road in Aquinnah.

“I should have gotten up and taken care of it at five,” Hugh says, speaking of the washing machine.

Chantal Booker, one of the inn’s breakfast servers, enters and puts down an order on the steel kitchen prep table. Hugh proudly reports that she has just graduated from the University of New Hampshire and is soon headed to Portland, Me., to work as a clinical chemist.

“A long way from breakfast at the Outermost Inn,” Hugh says. “Chantal has been with us forever.”

Jeanne reads the order and resumes chopping cilantro from the inn’s garden for the salsa. Hugh starts cracking eggs into a bowl. “We alternate egg days and batter days,” Jeanne says. “Today is an egg day.”

Today they are making scrambled eggs, potato cakes, tomato salsa, fruit (with or without sorbet), toast and a few greens from the garden. Hugh and Jeanne have been running the Outermost Inn for 26 years and have been together for most of their lives. They both recall meeting each other at the Chilmark Community Center when they were between the ages of six and eight. When Hugh was 15 he dropped out of high school and he and Jeanne, who was 17 at the time, moved in together for the summer. They’ve been together ever since. “It’s ridiculous isn’t it?” Hugh says. “All I can say is that Jeanne is a saint.” “First we lived in a camp at Dilly’s,” Hugh continues. “Then we spent some time on Larsen Lane in Menemsha, then we got to live in Amos Smalley’s house for a couple of winters. That is what got us in the door up here. I was on the zoning committee up here when I was 19. There was a planner, an academic guy named Kevin Lynch up in Boston, who held my hand in creating the early zoning bylaws. People used to come from all over to see the Gay Head town meetings. It was wild. Fox News would have loved it.”

Jeanne’s dad, Don Smith, enters the kitchen. He comes by every morning for coffee. Jeanne greets him with a kiss and his coffee.

Hugh and Jeanne making breakfast for guests at the Outermost Inn — they met as young kids at the Chilmark Community Center. — Jeanna Shepard

“He’ll be 90 on August 1,” Hugh says. “I’m not sure he was so happy about me being Jeanne’s boyfriend back in the day. Shacking up with that hippie. But we’re good now.”

Don sits down at the staff meal table, which also serves as the staging area for dinner service, and Jeanne joins him for a short visit.

Daughter Alexandra arrives next, greets her grandfather and parents and heads to the flour bin. She lives across the road with her husband Shaun McPhail and their twin daughters, Olive and Violet McPhail. Alexandra works as the office manager for the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, and also manages the Outermost restaurant. Jeanne asks after the girls. Alexandra says they want to make pancakes and she’s out of flour. Jeanne laughs and says that sometimes her granddaughters will come over and pretend to be guests, ordering room service from one of the vacant rooms.

Alexandra grabs a yogurt container and scoops some flour into it. Then Alison Mead, the inn’s hostess and front desk manager, arrives. Alison, Jeanne and Alexandra discuss dinner reservations. So far, they have 84 or 85 people for dinner the following night. The phone rings. It is Isaac, Hugh and Jeanne’s son. He’s calling his dad about the broken motor on the bike ferry. They chat for a few moments about fuel pumps, lawnmowers and speculating about what they can use to fix the bike ferry’s engine.

“Isaac is great with machines,” Hugh says after hanging up. “He helps out so much with the cars, boats and the inn.”

Isaac and his wife Noli and their two children Tillie and Emmett also live across the street from the inn, next door to his sister.

The Taylors: Hugh, Livingston, James, Kate and Alex. — Jeanna Shepard

“A stream runs between our two properties, but we have a bridge running over the stream,” Alexandra says. “The kids are back and forth between the houses all the time.”

Hugh spots another worker, Troy Vanderhoop, loping across the rolling lawn. He yells out a good morning. “If it seems like we have a lot of help around here, it’s because we do,” Hugh says. “The inn business is labor intensive.”

Before opening the Outermost, Hugh says he did a little bit of everything. “I worked on houses as a carpenter, scalloped, cod fished, did some sea clamming.”

Jeanne and Hugh also ran what is now the Chilmark Store for a few years.

“When Clarissa’s [Allen] mom still managed it,” Hugh says. “We had a great time there. Then we built the first iteration of this in ’75. David Douglas designed it. It was 24 by 16 times 2. What’s that? About 800 square feet? We didn’t think about things like orientation. The front door is in the wind. It’s a hippie house.”

In 1988, when Hugh and Jeanne decided to open an inn, they did a major renovation. “We took it completely apart, took the roof off and everything. We had an army of guys helping us get it done.” Hugh names nearly a dozen friends who helped with everything from the fir frame to the floors.

“It’s still relatively modest,” Hugh says. “Only 3,500 square feet. And we do something every year to keep it updated. New bathrooms. Air conditioning. Fresh paint.”

Jeanne estimates that 80 to 85 per cent of their fall guests are return visitors and about 50 per cent of their summer guests are returning.

“One of the couples here this morning has been coming for at least 10 years,” Jeanne says as she arranges greens from the inn’s garden on two plates of eggs and potatoes.

Daughter Alexandra Taylor. — Jeanna Shepard

Admiring his wife’s work Hugh jokes: “It’s all smoke and mirrors. Our chef Christopher Gianfreda is the real deal.”

Chantal brings dirty plates in and Hugh jumps on dishwashing duty. Jeanne begins to wipe down the counters. It’s a relatively quiet morning and breakfast service is almost done. She sips coffee. He nibbles on a bit of cheese.

“We snack as we go until dinner,” Hugh explains.

“I love Monday nights,” Jeanne says. “Because we have no dinner service I can use this kitchen. Although I think Alexandra has some sort of wine tasting thing here at six.”

Tonight Jeanne plans on making a simple pasta with a meat sauce. “But most nights” she says, “we finish up with guests and go downstairs and hide in our apartment.”

Hugh walks down a hall to check on Alison who is working at the front desk and points out the “wall of shame” which is really a bunch of family photos — from grandmothers to siblings and grandchildren. He pauses at a picture of his mother Trudy at her home on Stonewall Pond. “She got to die there,” he says.

Hugh turns back to Alison and they discuss the day’s arrivals while Jeanne begins to tackle the week’s timesheets and bills at the staff table in the kitchen. Hugh finds her and sits down. They talk about everything from Open Table, which the Inn recently started using, to waterskiing and why they have a no children policy.

“In our first year, we had a few families with children and the children showed up in the kitchen at about 6 a.m. and wreaked havoc while their parents slept,” Hugh says. “Meanwhile we were trying to cook breakfast for 20 or 30 people.

“We can’t childproof a commercial kitchen,” Jeanne adds. “Obviously, we love kids, but it was too much.”

Kitchen cleaned, bills settled and staff organized, Jeanne heads to check in with the cleaning crew and Hugh goes to Isaac’s house for a fuel pump for the boat. Then he drives to the West Basin to meet up with Buck Reidy, today’s bike ferry captain, and fix the engine.

When he arrives, the engine is miraculously working. Hugh is delighted. He designed the boat and this summer is its maiden season. So far he is happy with it, particularly the way it moves across the channel, but he still has some kinks to work out. He wants the loading ramp to fit onto the dock more seamlessly and the awning got punctured during transport.

Changes have come but the Taylor name still reigns at the Outermost Inn. — Jeanna Shepard

He and Buck are both happy to be on the water, shuttling families back and forth. “It’s the best,” Hugh says, gazing at the scene of boats, water and wildlife.

Hugh explains how the bike ferry came to be: “I approached the selectman about the idea of a bike ferry. They said I had to get a survey done and draw up a lease. So I called Ron Rappaport and Glen Provost and it turns out that when the town of Chilmark and Aquinnah — somewhere around 1915 — dredged the waterway, both sides of channel were in Aquinnah. The town line runs from the middle of the channel into the rocks, sweeping around two fishing shacks and then back down into the water. So the ferry actually just runs from one part of Aquinnah to the other.”

Now Hugh is thinking about pursuing a water taxi business from Menemsha to New Bedford. He’s found a boat, but he hasn’t worked out all the angles yet. “It’s something I can do for 10 more years and then let Isaac run it,” he says.

The bell for the ferry rings from the West Basin. Hugh heads over to pick up a grandmother and grandchild. “I used to have a big bell that I found on a beach on Naushon, but someone stole it. Now I have a smaller one that I put away at night.”

His phone rings. It’s Jeanne. Hugh looks at his watch and makes two more runs across the channel. He looks at Buck. “She’s pretty good isn’t she? Two motors, like the hand of God assisting you.”

Buck grins.

Satisfied that all is well with the boat, Hugh prepares to head back to the inn. “Okay, time to go fix the washing machine.”