Not as welcoming as we think we are

To the Editor:

My family and I are from Michigan and decided to go on vacation to Martha’s Vineyard from August 29 to September 2. It’s a beautiful place although we were not crazy about how small the streets are. Many of them are one way streets, which make it difficult for visitors like us, who are not familiar with the area.

Another problem was lack of parking space for visitors, too many areas with parking spots for special people only, for example residents only or fishermen only in the shopping areas, where those parking spots should have been made available for visitors or tourists.

I’m sure Martha Vineyard’s income is mostly generated by tourism, but yet when it comes to street signs and parking areas, they both are very unfriendly to visitors.

We had a very disappointing experience while we went to Gay Head Lighthouse in Aquinnah. There were some restaurants and gift shops there, so my husband and I decided to drive. When we got there, we drove around to find a parking spot. As usual, we couldn’t find any.

There were signs that said parking only for one hour, no parking for certain hours, or resident only. After a while, we were excited because we finally saw an area where there were some cars parked. It was on the side of the road, where cars were parked diagonally. Before we parked there, we purposefully looked for the sign that might say no parking or resident parking only.

We couldn’t find one, so we thought it was safe. Two hours later, after we finished with our sightseeing at Gay Head Lighthouse, we walked back to our car, and after driving for a few miles, suddenly my husband noticed the parking ticket for $50. We were shocked.

So later that evening we drove back to the same spot where we parked, tried to find an answer, and see where was the no parking sign that we missed. We finally found it — Residents Only Parking. We hadn’t seen it because it was very, very low, and we remembered that there was a big truck parked in front of it, so there was no way other cars that park next to it can see the sign. The sign, believe it or not, was lower than the hood of that big truck. We wondered whether that low parking sign was put up there carelessly without thinking whether it could be easily seen by visitors, or was it a trap for tourists.

What happened to us was totally wrong and unfair. We came all the way from Michigan to enjoy Martha’s Vineyard, but we were sorry that we went there and had a disappointing experience and have spent enough money there. We feel that Martha Vineyard is not a friendly place for tourists.

We did send our $50 to the Edgartown court like good citizens, but it’s a shame and sad that we have to tell our family and friends that Martha Vineyard is not a welcoming place for tourists, not enough parking areas, no street signs/directions in some areas, and too many private parking areas that made us feel unwelcome there.

Thank you for taking the time to publish this letter. We wish we didn’t have to write, but it was so ridiculous, and it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

Lucia Sanborn

Wayne, Michigan