To the Editor:
It’s a balmy, summer Saturday night, and I have just returned from the Tisbury Street Fair, one day postponed. There still seems to be a little life left in our port town after all. Indeed, Vineyard Haven has seen some darkish days since the Fourth of July fire of 2008 [July 10, 2008 issue]. While the sister towns of Oak Bluffs (nicely revamped by stimulus money last year) and Edgartown (always quaint by day and bustling well into the night) seem to hold their own, venerable Vineyard Haven has been recession-torn and tattered. Yet, the annual street fair only reinforced my notion that there is still a pulse on Main Street, despite the odds.
In fact, I sense some new signs of life springing forth. Cafe Moxie seems to be getting ready to reclaim it’s glory next to the refurbished Bunch of Grapes. And now there are at least five art galleries (including my own) holding their own along Main Street. With the advent of beer and wine sales at the eateries, there seems to be more of a sparkle along the sidewalks, and little touches here and there are lending a vibrancy missing in action for the past few years. A few new spots stand out, such as the Tisberry fruit and yogurt shop, the Blissed Out juice bar (a flashback to my beloved hippie days of yore), an upscale beaching attire alcove, and an expanded Beetlebung Dry Goods outlet.
This Friday, Vineyard Haven will hold it’s first art stroll to celebrate the new energy. Various galleries and other businesses will be staying open until 9, and many will be offering refreshments and other amenities to encourage foot traffic and merriment. There will be nonstop music in front of the old Bowl and Board, and the new food truck in town, Irie Bites, will be enhanced by the sound of reggae for listening, eating, and dancing pleasure, adjacent to the Capawock Theater.
And while on the subject, hats off to Erin Haggerty for her excellent coverage [July 6 issue] of the food truck phenomenon, now finding a home along the Vineyard Haven landscape.
We still have a way to go. There are still a few unrented storefronts, and some of the commercial and nearby residential buildings could use some TLC. But as of this summer, I sense that our year-round town is coming around again (to quote from one of my sister’s finest songs).
Hats off to the selectmen, the board of health, the ZBA, and the Tisbury Business Association for encouraging these new ventures and creating a nicer, more merchant-friendly environment. And here’s hoping that the Art Stroll this Friday will be the first of many more happy evenings ahead.