We’ve been there, and from here


To the Editor:

Here is, the rest of the story.

We read Maggie Edwards’ letter in the MV Times (Letters, 13 January 2011) with great interest, because we were the two women she mentioned in her letter. We spent our childhood in West Tisbury (Massachusetts not Wiltshire, UK), roaming over the roads, fields, and beaches here on the Island. Over the intervening years each of us has spent varied amounts of time living or visiting the Island. Our mother, Heidi Schultz, still lives here. So, while we are not residents, this place has a strong hold on our hearts.

In September of 2009, we were driving through Wiltshire, sightseeing near Salisbury. Flexibility being our modus operandi, we found Cools Farm B&B through the internet and arranged for a two nights’ stay.

Driving from Salisbury to the B&B, we passed Chilmark. Delighted at the coincidence, we pulled into the town, ate our picnic lunch, and continued on down the road. Shortly, we passed Tisbury, and we again pulled over to wander around the streets a bit, this being a considerably larger town than Chilmark.

Finally, we arrived at Cools Farm, to find a beautiful cluster of farm buildings and the main house, which was clearly very old, made of stone, perhaps the same Chilmark stone that was used to build Salisbury Cathedral.

After talking with Maggie and Quentin Edwards and finding out that we were now in West Tisbury, we were giddy with delight. Maggie, too, was excited about the coincidence and, after doing some research, told us that Thomas Mayhew had left this area to claim possession of land on Martha’s Vineyard and on Nantucket. Later he sold his interest in Nantucket to his cousin of the Macy family and he, Thomas, brought his wife over to join him.

For those who contemplate a visit to that part of England, we highly recommend Cools Farm B&B as a great place to stay. While the house was built in the early 1600’s, it has recently been beautifully and extensively remodeled inside. One window needed exterior repair; that work was done by the skilled stone masons who maintain Salisbury Cathedral. The house has several guest rooms including a self-catering suite in another building, called the Old Piggery.

Maggie serves the famous English breakfast with just about anything and everything you could desire. The farm is a working farm — the Edwardses raise grass-fed English polled red cattle in the fields surrounding the farmhouse and grow all their own hay.

Maggie supplied us with trail maps and driving instructions to get to nearby sites. We took a glorious hike near Wardour Castle, going through fields, past farms and houses, woods, and ponds, using England’s famous public paths.

With the increasing amount of public land available for walking, it appears that except for a castle, Martha’s Vineyard’s West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Vineyard Haven (Tisbury) are similar to their ancestral towns.

Sarah Richards

Coupeville WA and West Tisbury

Ruth Richards

Cabot VT