Traveling with Carly Simon (reprise)

Carly Simon looking and sounding great at 65 on the ferry between Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole, Mass. (and me!)

Carly Simon looking and sounding great at 65 on the ferry between Martha’s Vineyard and Woods Hole, Mass. (Selfie by Chris McGinnis)

I’m still a little bit star struck. Last week, on the first leg of my journey home from my summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., I traveled with one of my all-time favorite singers and songwriters, Carly Simon.

(Note: This is a reprise of a post from a previous Fourth of July weekend that I thought you might like to read again!)

Here’s what happened: As we were walking along the pier off Martha’s Vineyard to enter the queue for the ferry back to the mainland, a woman in a billowy white dress, a big handbag, blonde hair and a very familiar face walked up behind us in line.

I looked at her and smiled, then looked away, and then a little bell went off in my head. I turned and looked again, and she smiled back at me, and I stuttered something like, “Did anyone ever tell you that you look like. . . um wait a minute. . . are you Carly Simon?” As a long-time fan, I knew that she lived on Martha’s Vineyard, so the possibility was not completely far fetched.

She smiled and said, “Yes, I am,” and seemed eager for a friendly chat, so I engaged.

I introduced myself and my partner Barkley, told her I was a big fan and that I cut my music-listening teeth on many of her hits on AM radio way back in the 70’s. (like You’re So Vain, Anticipation, Nobody Does It Better.)

The ferry between Woods Hole and Martha's Vineyard is always packed on July 4 weekend (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

You never know who you may meet on the ferry between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard on July 4 weekend (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

I was looking around to see if her people, her handlers, her bodyguards or anyone else was around and realized quickly that it was just Carly, all by herself. She was toting a box of 100 or so CD’s that I offered to help her with, but she insisted on carrying it.

She told us that she was doing some very personal publicity for her new acoustical album Never Been Gone— and that the box was full of teaser CDs with two songs from it. Her plan was to stand at the entryway of the returning ferry and hand them out to passengers, and urge them to go to a record store on the Vineyard to buy the album for half price when they presented the teaser CD.

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We made a little more small talk, boarded the ferry, she sat down, handed me a CD, we said goodbye, and I walked away floating about 10 feet in the air.

I found my seat, got out my iPod and started listening to her Greatest Hits album. After a song or two, I decided to go back and ask her to sign the CD she’d given me and maybe even ask for a photo.

Carly Simon’s latest album, Never Been Gone. (Iris Records)

With pen in hand, I walked up to where she was seated in the sun on the main deck of the ferry, still by herself, and asked if she would autograph the CD. She said, “Of course,” and pulled out a Sharpie (natch) from her big bag and asked, “Would you like to sit down? Now, Chris, is this just for you, or for you and Barkley?” (Inside, I thought, wow, she even remembered our names!)

I sat down. She signed the CD and we talked for ten minutes or so, about the horrendous summer heat wave, about her 42-year-old horse that recently died, her bout with Lyme’s disease, the brand new iPad she was fiddling around with, life on Martha’s Vineyard and about my long weekend there.

Finally, I mustered the courage to ask if I could snap a photo and she said, “Of course, let’s do it!” I took two pics and then we both huddled over the camera and she chose the best one. I returned to my seat, and continued on my journey to Boston-Logan airport, and then back home to San Francisco.

What a great way to end a great vacation!

So anyway, frequent travelers . . . since this is a travel blog and not a celebrity blog, let’s add a travel angle here with a question:

Have you ever encountered a celeb or superstar on your frequent travels? If so, how did you react? I’d love to hear your stories and I’m sure other readers would like to hear them, too! Comments, please! Let’s have some fun with this . . .

–Chris McGinnis

5 key questions to ask at hotel check in

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  • Bob S

    I usually do not bother celebs as they don’t know or care who we are for the most part – and too many others are bothering them. BUT – one evening on an Airtran flight about 10 years ago, then Atlanta Falcons player DeAngelo Hall sat across the aisle from me in Business Class. He seemed friendly and talkative, so I asked him if he liked playing practical jokes on people. He said “Yes!” so I asked him if he’d call my son (14 at the time) and say, “I found this phone on an airplane and your’s was the first name that popped up. I’m trying to find the owner.” Needless to say, my son was shocked and thrilled to talk to one of his favorite Falcons.

  • Hugo Traeger

    Had a beer with Bill Clinton (when he was Governor of Arkansas). In NYC restaurants sat within a table or two of Sting, Michael Douglas, Jann Wenner and Mick Jagger all at different times. Met Keith & Woody staying on the same floor as me at a hotel in Miami. Rode an elevator with Ted Kennedy in NYC. At next table after a NBA finals game in SLC some years ago sat Bill Walton, Isaiah Thomas, Bob Costas, Gary Shandling, Jack Nicholson and others. Gary Shandling got stuck with the check. Met Walton another time in a hotel bar. Really nice guy. I seem to run into college basketball coaches and I’ve met Tom Izzo, Roy Williams and others. Dean Smith many years ago. Chatted with John Thompson Jr. on the ATL train to baggage claim. Ran into Diane Keaton, Joni Mitchell and Elvis Costello at different times in NYC. On a flight with Billy Joel once. Met Lindsey Buckingham but that was here in the Bay Area so not traveling. Lots more…not even going to begin with Bay Area sports stars but that’s here too. Except Jerry Rice. I seem to run into him everywhere.

  • Tony Morris

    Just goes to show that the unexpected moments in travel can be delightful too (not just air delays, etc.)! Great read!

  • Jim Kirtland

    I’ve flown with a number of celebrities and for the most part, they are nice and accommodating. I would, never approach a celebrity on a plane without asking a flt. attnd if the person was “approachable.” One of my favorites was CeLo Green….we were in Business coming back from London and this about a year before The Voice. I was the only who recognized him. He could not have been nicer.

    Richard Simons. What a hoot. I was at the gate in Atlanta and coming down the concourse was Richard…red and white satan shorts, red jacket and pillow. People all around him. Turned out he was on my flight to LA. Standing 5 feet from me Richard heard me tell my wife “Eddie” (nickname, given name “Cynthia”) that Richard Simmons was standing next to me. Richard grabs the phone out of my hand, asks who it was and I told him “my wife, Eddie”. He says into the cellphone “Hello Eddie?” Then turns to me and says “It’s a woman. I thought you were gay” and went back talking to her. My daughter called while on the plane and boarding and he asked if that was for him…I said yes, handed him the phone and they spoke. With 45 mins before the end of the flight, he went to back to sign a couple of autographs and take pictures. Within 5 mins, he had the entire back of the plane swaying back and forth in their seats. What a hoot.

    Others include Burt Reynolds (my favorite), Bob Seger, Mark Knopfler, Richard Boone, Usher and the Queen (and not of GB.)

  • airlineguys

    Very nice Chris! As former FAs we’ve had many opportunities to interact w/ celebs. Most have been really cool and interesting encounters. A favourite encountered involved one of the world’s most decorated and talented singer/songwriter, Carol King. In a nutshell, turned around a customer service failure while onboard. She was so impressed by everything that she wrote a good letter on my behalf! Check out some other encounters…