A spectacular ocean view, sumptuous food by Tea Lane Caterers, and a concert by the incomparable singer/songwriter Kate Taylor — it doesn’t get much more Vineyard-centric than that.
The Water Tasting by the Sea is always one of the most relaxed fundraisers of the summer, and the tickets are among the most affordable. For $75 next Thursday you can soak up the sea air at the picturesque Allen Farm, while being treated to the soulful folk-rock stylings of the Vineyard’s own Ms. Taylor.
Water Tasting by the Sea is a benefit for the Vineyard House organization, which provides housing for Islanders in early recovery from alcoholism and substance abuse. The fundraiser is in its 14th year of featuring première non-alcoholic beverages at a gorgeous Island water view setting. This is the first time that the party has been held at the up-Island Allen Farm, and the second time that Ms. Taylor has performed.
Although a silent auction will still be a feature of the annual event, the live auction, which was formerly the highlight of the evening, is being replaced by the full-length concert. Said Vineyard House president Mark Jenkins, “Our events have always been successful, but the most well attended one was the event four years ago with Kate Taylor. We are especially excited to have her play again.”
The Allen Farm, high up in Chilmark with its sweeping views of the Atlantic, is the setting for many upscale Vineyard weddings. “The Water Tasting always has a water component,” said Mr. Jenkins. “This year the views are going to be just amazing. We’re especially grateful for Clarissa Allen and Mitchell Posin for donating their property.”
Ms. Taylor, of the legendary musical Taylor family, has enjoyed a very successful career spanning four decades. She appears frequently in New York City and elsewhere, including a performance as a featured player at the Newport Folk Festival. She has five records under her belt and has performed along with many legends of folk music. Ms. Taylor, who also crafts beautiful wampum jewelry, recently returned from an extended trip to the Sudan, where she taught a beading technique to local women in order to provide them with an income.
This weekend’s performance is the only show that the Vineyard-based singer has scheduled on the Vineyard for this year. “I was happy to do this one again this year,” Ms. Taylor said. “I just feel like the Vineyard House is a very worthy organization. I know people who have benefited from it and I know people who could have benefited from it had it been around. It’s something that really needs the community’s support.” She adds, “What’s not to love about sitting at the Allen Farm overlooking the ocean?”
Mr. Jenkins notes that the crowd at the Water Tasting is always a diverse one. “You definitely get a fantastic cross-section of the Island. People on the Vineyard have always been incredibly supportive. Almost everybody on the Island has been touched by the disease of substance abuse.”
He adds, “It’s by no means the most glamorous cause, but it’s one that affects so many people in every sector of society and impacts so many others.”
Gwyn McAllister, of Oak Bluffs, is a frequent contributor to The Times.