The seasons here are like characters in a stereotypical high school television show. Spring is the precocious kid, the early adopter. Summer is the popular kid, the poster child. Fall is the rebellious kid, the one who still hopes to party like it’s July and will skip class to win a daily in the derby. And that’s it. That’s the show.
Oh right, winter.
Winter is the quiet kid, the misunderstood kid. The kid you wish you hadn’t judged right off the bat, because you could have learned something.
We all know quiet doesn’t necessarily mean boring; still…what do people — 30-year-olds, for example — do for fun in the winter?
Andrew Jacobs, 30, lives in Vineyard Haven, but he lives to fish. The Derby is his Super Bowl. Jacobs’s interest in nature is a unifying thread in his life — he works as Laboratory Supervisor and Environmental Technician for the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah.
The downside of such a passion is this existential question that Jacobs asked himself: “When fishing ends, what do you do?”
The answer: hunting. Waterfowl in particular has become a big hobby for Jacobs. “It becomes a social thing too,” Jacobs explained. “Where’d you get it? What’d you use? What are we going to do with it?” Jacobs enjoys unique culinary creations such as Pheasant Pot Pie and Goose Meatloaf. As he described these dishes to a Times correspondent, James Rolston, 30, also of Vineyard Haven, texted Jacobs: “Wanna come over for Venison chili?”
Inanimate objects make for good hunting as well. Brian Hall, 30, lives in Oak Bluffs and is an avid arrowhead predator, walking the beach with his trusty sidekick Ody (short for Odysseus), his purebred American Bulldog. “The off-season is a great time to embrace all that the Island has to offer,” Hall said.
Mr. Hall has a great deal to offer the Island as well. His trade revolves around keeping our most precious resource safe; Hall works as an Operator for the Oak Bluffs Water District. He also heads into his eighth season as head coach of the Island’s Under 15 Lacrosse team and his very first year at the fire department. He aims to spend this winter taking the Firefighter 1 course and the First Responders course.
The enchantment of the land that draws thousands of temporary Islanders during the warmer months does not wane for year-round residents such as Melanie Rankow Prescott of Edgartown, 30. “There is something about the off-season that is just magical,” she said. “We go for walks in the woods and on the beaches. We drive around and go down streets we haven’t been down before to check out the houses and neighborhoods.”
The lack of crowds and tanning weather also helps encourage favorite indoor activities. “I love to cook,” said Prescott. “I am the happiest in my kitchen all day on Sundays trying out new recipes and having my sister, brother-in-law and [their] baby over for dinner.” Prescott also serves as Treasurer for the Edgartown Board of Trade and is on the committees for the MV Food & Wine Festival and Pink & Green Weekend.
After several years in Boston, Michael McCluskey of Vineyard Haven, 30, has returned to the Island to help out during some difficult times. “We’re all loyal to our friends and family here,” said McCluskey. “[That's] how the Island is.”
Mr. McCluskey is an Education Support Professional (ESP) for the BRIDGE Program at the Edgartown School and has found a happy balance between his professional and personal obligations. “What I really enjoy right now is working full-time and getting things done around the house that help my mom out,” said McCluskey. In his free time, McCluskey enjoys getting together with friends to watch sports, play games (Cards Against Humanity is a current favorite around the Island), and catch up on “Breaking Bad.”
The calm of Vineyard winter is a great setting to transition into big life changes. Oak Bluffs residents Nic Korba, 30, and his wife, Mary Pietrocarlo Korba, 30, relocated to the Island in June and have just welcomed a daughter, Ivy Lynne Korba, born on December 2. “The winter is a great time to be here,” said Mr. Korba. “There are minimal distractions and we can focus on being parents.”
The couple relocated to the Island in June and dove into Island life immediately with new jobs; Mr. Korba works at RE/MAX on-Island and Ms. Pietrocarlo Korba at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. While becoming parents has been their main focus over recent months, Ms. Pietrocarlo recently joined a book club and the pair enjoy going out to dinner; a big favorite is the Double Garlic Pizza at Offshore Ale.
The Korbas have discovered that parenthood is a great way to expand one’s social circle. “The MV Family Center at Community Services is a great resource,” said Ms. Pietrocarlo Korba. “There’s a playgroup for when Ivy is a little older and it will be a nice opportunity for us to meet other parents.”
Throughout all the silence, and all the shivers, and all the snow, it’s important not to overlook winter. The summer might be our livelihood. It might build our legacy. But winter is our time.
Charlie Nadler grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from MVRHS with the class of 2002. He lives in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles where he works in the film and television industry and regularly performs stand up comedy. He visits the Island as often as he can.