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

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