Our house warmly greets us, both inside and out, for our stay 'Up-island' at West Tisbury, the heart of the Island, on Martha's Vineyard. We had a very large, airy house with a deck surrounding three sides. The large kitchen was fully-stocked with all the tools necessary for Dan to cook delicious meals. His hardy band of cooking assistants kept the kitchen full of delicious aromas and his dish washers kept the kitchen clean. The open living area looked out over the woods surrounding the house. Two bedrooms flanked the living room, each with a bathroom. Downstairs contained a TV room with a kitchette and bedrooms on either side with another bathroom in between. Our alarm clocks were most often the bob-o-links and whippoorwills that sang to us early most mornings. (The second photograph courtesy of Dan D. Sunday, June 20)
The south side of our house bore the main patio across its breathe. The east side continued our patio to the north side that led us to our front door. (These photographs courtesy of Dan D. Sunday, June 20)
A nesting osprey on the path to the Long Point Wildlife Refuge that leads to West Tisbury South Shore Town Beach. Our house is located about one and one half miles south of Long Point on a sandy one-lane road. Long Point Wildlife Refuge is a remnant of the original prairie that covered 40 miles of Martha's Vineyard less than 100 years ago. The 633 acres of Long Point encompasses the eastern side of Tisbury Great Pond, all the land surrounding Long Cove Pond, the southern Shoreline of Big Homer's Pond, and nearly a mile of barrier beach. Long Point was acquired in 1979 by The Trustees of Reservations who has protected its biological treasures and provided the public with the opportunity to enjoy this special property. (Monday, June 21)
We found that the West Tisbury South Shore Town beach has plenty of surf and solitude. We walked and drove to the beach by following Watcha Road east to the north entrance of the 633 acre Long Point Wildlife Refuge. Hughe's Thumb Road led us south through Long Point following parallel to Long Cove until we reached the Ranger's station. From there we walked past Hughe's Thumb Pond and on to the beach and the Atlantic Ocean. (Monday, June 21)
Chris is hard at work fixing us hamburgers. Does he perform surgery with a similar technique? (Monday, June 21)
During the week, Laura and Bill visit the Chicama Vineyards, the Island's only winery. It is the first winery in Massachusetts that was allowed to sell its own product at the farm. At Chicama, there are lovely acres of vinifera grapes, a winery, and a small shop. Laura and Bill took the tour of this famous establishment, that included free samples of their wines and a few exuberant guests that sneaked extra samples when the young guide wasn't looking.
With the smell of Chris' burgers on the grill and Chef Dan in the kitchen preparing one of his gourmet meals, Laura and Tom can't stand still. They're dancing so fast, even my camera can't keep up. Are you two ready for dance competitions? (Monday, June 21)
Historic tidbit: Our West Tisbury location on the Vineyard is a lovely, quiet area. The name 'Tisbury' came from the English birthplace of the elder Mayhew, a Bay Colony businessman who bought Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Elizabeth Islands for 40 pounds.
'No epe' is the beautiful Algonquin name for the island of Martha's Vineyard, meaning 'the island in the streams'.
During a quieter moment Tom entertains Tamera and Laura with a spontaneous quip, a timely quote, or an off-color remark about one of his adventures on the Island. (Tuesday, June 22)
Historic tidbit: The charming town of Chilmark was called by native peoples Nashowakemmuck, meaning 'the half way house'. Europeans named the town after the English 'Childmearc', a village from the time of King Athelstan.
..... and talk about an adventure. Tom is relaxing with a refreshing and invigorating outdoor shower when he is abruptly hounded by paparazzi photographers Bill and Laura. Will we see any "revealing" cover stories in the entertainment section of the Vineyard STAR? (Thursday, June 24)
The Island of Martha's Vineyard is seven miles off the southeast coast of Massachusetts, 20 miles from the city of New Bedford, 80 miles from Boston, and 150 miles from New York City.
One of our reoccurring visits was to the Farmers' Market at the old agricultural hall in the center of West Tisbury. The Wednesday event is always a wonderful photographic experience of the results from the Island's vibrant farming community. Selling commerce brings growers to the grounds, but there is also a long-standing tradition in participating at the newly restored agricultural hall, now owned by the Martha's Vineyard Preservation Trust. As one participant said, "The Farmers' Market is a group of old friends."
Dan and Chris try to get extra-lean hamburger to stay together in patties with their secret ingredient of lard. Lard??? Luckily for our arteries the idea didn't work. (The picture is courtesy of Chris.)
Dan stands in front of a building on South Water Street in Edgartown. (The picture is courtesy of Chris.)
Dan, Tom, Bill, Chris, Tamera, Laura, and Julia join five other people on a guided tour by oversand vehicle to the historic and remote Cape Poge Lighthouse. One couple from Pennsylvania brought their black Labrador dog, Chip, who became the unofficial mascot of the trip. Cape Poge Lighthouse on Chappaquiddick Island is maintained by the Trustees of Reservations as part of the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge. The lantern continues to be maintained and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard as an aid to navigation. The keepers of this station guided mariners to safe harbors for 142 years. They saw the same sights and each day had to tend the light. With little contact with the outside world, family members were born, and some died there. The lighthouse stands as a memorial to those who served here, to the ships that used this light to make safe passage, and to the sailors that this light protected. (Wednesday, June 24)
We're in the four-wheel drive truck beginning our drive back. Chris is playing co-pilot while Dan, Tom, Tamera, and Laura are front to back on the left side, and Julia is on the right side. (Wednesday, June 23)
The name 'Chappaquiddick' is from the Algonquin word Tchepiaquiden-et, which means 'the separated island'.
Chris is picking up one of the many caps that were wind blown off our heads. Does this doctor also make house-calls? (Wednesday, June 23)
Chip the black labrador. (Our black dog with regards to the "1999 MV BLACK DOG visit". No doubt it could stand for something else!) (Wednesday, June 23).
On Wednesday night the group went to Lola's Southern Seafood on Beach Road in Oak Bluffs. Their motto: Where Seafood Sizzles Southern Style. It seemed like a photo shoot as Laura, Chris, and Bill took numerous pictures during Tom's birthday celebration. Even the waiter got into the party with a surprise candle-lit mud pie. It was delicious, Tom! Hope you like all of your gifts. Now you can properly wash your dishes with your Midnight Farm Sink Stopper.
During dinner the live music was provided by the Jeremy Berlin Jazz Group.
Our birthday dinner party begins with presents to Tom, the birthday boy. Dan, Julia, and Tamera look on while Laura give presents to Tom. And it seems everyone owns cameras as Laura and Chris pose with their cameras as Bill shoots their picture. (Wednesday, June 23)
Tom gives a handshake to Bill for his 'unique' gift of the jewel-studded kitchen sink stopper that will impress women with Tom's excellent domestic abilities. (The picture is courtesy of Chris, Wednesday, June 23)
Tom, Laura, Tamera, Dan, Chris, and Julia take a tranquility break after walking through Mytoi, a Japanese-style garden, on Chappaquiddick Island. (As usual Bill is behind the camera.) Mytoi is translated to English as 'my toy". After being devastated by Hurricane Bob in 1991, the serene gardens were restored by a small team of volunteers, advice from around the world, and $50,000. The result is quiet paths amid a floral landscape whose mood is to create a sense of quiet, tranquil reflection. The visitor to the Mytoi garden will travel amid young birch trees along with ten varieties of viburnum and numerous varieties of azaleas. Along the Mytoi Pond black highbush blueberry and flowering pepperbush grow up to the pond's edge. (Thursday, June 24)
Tom and Julia further the nautical history of Martha's Vineyard as they pilot the Wind's Up sail craft through the dangerous waters of Lagoon Pond and Cedar Neck Cove, that are located south of Beach Road between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs.
Back at their port of departure Ship Captains Julia and Tom discuss their maritime operations through Hines Point. The coastwise seafarers have successfully navigated through the treacherous rips and shoals of their sea route with only a few bruises of note and plenty of memories of the salty breeze and rays of sunshine against their faces. (Friday, June 25)
On Friday night, the group dines at Striper's on the Water at 52 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven. We have a delicious and mobile meal. And who brought the wonderful wine? Later in the evening Amy, Julia, Tom C., Bill, Tom P., Steve, and Lisa go to the Hot Tin Roof, a nightclub located at the entrance to the Martha's Vineyard Airport. The entertainment for the night was The Brewbakers. Tom C. was frequently seen dancing the night away.
The sunbathers at Aquinnah Cliffs beach include Dan, Chris, Amy, Tom C., Tom P., and Laura. Julia has walked toward the surf and Bill is manning the camera. The unspoiled charm of the red-clay Gay Head cliffs background the sunbathers where people are outnumbering swimsuits. Tom, get your head out from that Windows NT book!!! (Saturday, June 25)
During our last night on the Island, we gather for a cookout of our never-ending hamburgers. Lisa tosses the salad as Julia looks on. Do we know whose hand is connected to the plate? (The photograph is courtesy of Dan. Saturday, June 26.)
Our last morning on Sunday was an array of packing, breakfast, and cleaning. Dan left first thing in the morning. Bill took Tom C., Julia, and Tom P. to the Vineyard Haven ferry with Tom P.'s bicycle on top of his bike rack. Steve, Lisa, Amy, and Chris rode a taxi to the VH ferry. Chris had to return to the house via a taxi after forgetting his CDs. We all got off the Island, already anxious to return next year.
William Arthur Atkins
e-mail: williamatkins3307 [at] comcast.net