Authors Posts by Jamie Stringfellow

Jamie Stringfellow

Jamie Stringfellow

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Let the hunt begin. Oak Bluffs Library hunt was Saturday at 11 am. More than 250 kids participated. — Photo by Angelina Godbout
Fin Tiernan and his dad John Tiernan.
Fin Tiernan and his dad John Tiernan.

Saturday kicked off Martha’s Vineyard’s brief but energetic egg-hunting season, with lots to be found at the Oak Bluffs Library, where 250 kids and their parents wandered the stacks and filled their baskets.

Eggs for Sunday's hunt.
Eggs for Sunday’s hunt.







At Vineyard Gardens, staff  busily filled eggs (to help the Easter bunny of course) for Sunday’s hunt there.



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Jessica Sonia deals to the plate in Thursday's opening day win over O' Bryant of Boston. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

The Vineyard varsity softball team is off to a 3-0 start after the first week of play. The Purple swept a doubleheader, 14-2 and 13-6, Saturday at Randolph. In the opener, Sarah Strem pitched a complete game with 7 K’s to earn her first varsity win. Jessica Sonia went the distance in game two, striking out 10. Julia Sauter hit three doubles on the day and has five in the first three games. Alistair Rizza had the other big bat for M.V. and is 10 for 12 at the plate this season.

Cana Courtney hits a single during an eight-run third inning.
Cana Courtney hits a single during an eight-run third inning.

Vineyard coach Donald Herman is pleased with his team’s solid start at the plate but hopes for continued growth with his young pitching staff. “I’m encouraged by the way we’re swinging the bat,” he said. “Coming up, we’ll be seeing some much tougher pitching. The quicker our pitching improves, the more competitive we’ll become as a team because this game is so pitcher-dominated. Also, lowering the number of walks will also increase our chance of being competitive.”

The Vineyarders played at Bishop Stang Wednesday, host Bishop Feehan Friday, travel to Cambridge Rindge and Latin Saturday, and play Falmouth Monday in Oak Bluffs.

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Huxley Nadler, a Boston Terrier owned by Times correspondant Holly Nadler, has several coats he wears in winter. This plaid one is nicely complemented by a Christmasy scarf. — Photo by Jamie Stringfellow

We had a lively discussion in the newsroom about the journalistic ethics of running photographs of dogs forced to dress for the holidays (or, for that matter, of dressing up animals to amuse ourselves to start with — photographed and published or not).

Watch the slide show

But it turned out that most of us had at one point or another dressed our dogs up for Christmas and, in fact, many other events. One staffer even admitted decking out his (now-deceased) rabbit out in attire appropriate for a Florida State (playoff) game. Really. The only members of The Times crew who didn’t trick their animals into donning festive togs were most of the cat owners and one editor whose pug “refused to dress up, because he’s afraid to be made fun of by the mastiff in the house.”

But because we remain committed to checking with experts before we go running stories (or photographs of animals in antlers they weren’t born with), we consulted our resident critter consultant, The Dogfather.

Here’s what he said.

Dear Times staff,

My Doberman, Michelle — besides being a big sister to my three kids — was an active search dog who found two people alive, and some not. Thanks to my daughters, she never left the house without all her feet fully adorned with nail polish. Once, during a search for a missing person in Pennsylvania, a reporter exclaimed, “Your dog’s feet are bleeding.” Michelle made it onto local TV that night as the SAR (search and rescue) Doberman with nail polish. When one of my girls said, “Michelle, your nails need to be done.” Michelle would immediately lie down with her legs stretched out. She loved the attention it brought her.

Most dog owners know that dogs love attention. I’ve taught all my dogs tricks, and I remember a lady once saying, “I think it’s awful having a dog do tricks. They’re not circus clowns.”

Boy, was she wrong. Michelle loved it when I said, “This town’s not big enough for the two of us.” Then I’d draw my hand like a gun and say “Bang.” And she dropped dead like a stone and wouldn’t get up until I said, “The dog catcher’s coming.” Or when I told Mikey, another SAR Doberman, to shake. Instead of giving me a paw he would shake his head back and forth. All my dogs loved the attention, laughter and praise they garnered through tricks. Same with dressing them up as long as they’re not too uncomfortable, and you laugh with them, not at them. Half the fun for them is the attention they get while being taught the tricks, and trying on all the different outfits.

Merry Christmas,

The Dogfather

So without further ado, Fleas Navidad!

Watch the slide show

Got a photo of your pet dressed up, for any event? Please send it to:

We also welcome photos of any good dog/pet, costumed or not. Please include the pet’s name and town.

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A Vineyard first down in the first quarter. — Photo by Laurie Turney

It was a tough day on the gridiron for the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School football team. The Somerset-Berkley Raiders scored a touchdown on an 80 yard return on our first kickoff. And though they didn’t make good on the 2-point conversion, things just went downhill from there.

Despite an interception by Andrew Jacobs Walsh and a second quarter fumble recovery by Kyle Stobie, Vineyarders were down 20-0 at the half. The third quarter didn’t get any better; the Raiders scored again, and once again missed the conversion to make it 26-0.

With 8:49 left in the fourth quarter, Somerset made it 32-0 and the game ended on that score.

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Hallie MacCormack and Jamie Stringfellow near the Westin Waterfront hotel in Boston's Seaport district. — Photo by Jamie Stringfellow

My daughter wanted one thing for her 17th birthday: to spend a weekend shopping off-Island for back-to-school clothes with the impressive amount of money she’d received from three sets of grandparents and two sets of parents. She drew up a list of roughly 44 stores, all of which she located at one giant mall situated somewhere in the suburban wilderness between Woods Hole and Boston. That provoked in me visions of a Lost Weekend (but involving way too much mall food instead of way too much whiskey) and made me so queasy I had to sit down.

“Hey,” I said to her. “Why don’t we go to Boston…?” Not as Google-maps-adept as she, but good enough, I’d soon plotted out a critical mass of her favorite stores in and around Boston proper. No mall food required, and we could walk from store to store in the glorious fall sunshine.

“Let’s go!” I said, and that Friday, off we went.

By Sunday afternoon, we’d both used up our budgets, but had just under 48 hours of fun, including room service (while she did her homework and I relaxed with the Sunday newspaper, overlooking Boston Harbor), sightseeing, great meals, and lots of happy miles under our feet. Here are a few of my favorite Boston things to do in fall that could please both adults and (miraculously) teens (and pretty much anyone else) in your family.

Just walk around

Often called “America’s Walking City,” the Hub is an ideal place to stroll. (Trivia: Boston was first called “The Hub of the Universe” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, who initially meant to refer to the State House as the hub of the solar system.) From our hotel on the waterfront, we walked up Summer Street until it turned to Winter at Downtown Crossing, where I regaled her with stories of my own back-to-school shopping trips with my mother at Filene’s, which is now being gutted to make room for something else. We walked through the Boston Common (America’s oldest public park) and continued to the Public Garden. We happened on a student playing Bach on a cello, while a bride and groom strode by in the opposite direction.

We wandered the HarborWalk; you can use the almost 47-mile route to connect the dots of the Harpoon Brewery, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Long Wharf, the North End, and beyond.

Then, of course, there’s the Freedom Trail and the Black Heritage Trail, which follow the paths to freedom that our ancestors trod, passing the Tea Party ship, Paul Revere’s House, and the 54th Regiment Memorial on the back side of Beacon Hill, dedicated to the African-American soldiers who fought for the Union in the Civil War. Good overviews of Boston Trails:;;; .

Or pedal

This has been on my list for a while: a foliage bike tour along Boston’s Emerald Necklace. When city officials — and more aptly, legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted — looked at swathe of green created by the Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the adjacent Commonwealth Avenue “mall,” they decided to keep going and create and link green spaces that, when viewed from above would look like, well, an Emerald Necklace. In the fall, Urban Adventours ( leads 15-mile bike rides through the foliage of the Boston Common and Public Garden, the Charles River Esplanade, the Arnold Arboretum, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway (Boston’s newest public park, sited on what was once the Southeast Expressway). They even supply the bikes!

Some really cool art

I think the Institute of Contemporary Art on the waterfront is itself a work of art. Framed views of Boston Harbor surprise you when you walk around a corner. We had lunch at Water, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, outside in the sun, then wandered the galleries. I tried to restrain myself from asking my (painter) daughter, “What do you think this MEANS?” which would have elicitedd some major eye rolls, but other than that, it was relaxing and refreshing. The Museum of Fine Art, always a favorite destination for its impressive collection of Impressionist paintings and its musical instrument exhibit (check out the really tiny violin), has a show during October dedicated to “Hippie Chic.”

JFK Library

If we hadn’t run out of time, I would have gone to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester in honor of the 50th anniversary of the President’s assassination. Just a short T-ride away from South Station, or an easy drive, the library is currently hosting exhibits about the Cuban Missile Crisis and Jacqueline Kennedy’s 1964 oral history interview, just unsealed two years ago. In addition to extensive artifacts relating to the President’s life and administration, the JFK Library also houses the world’s largest collection of Ernest Hemingway papers.


A little October baseball maybe? If seats at Fenway are hard to come by, there’s another classic October sport in town: the Head of the Charles Regatta, one of collegiate sports’ most prestigious events, held this year on October 19-20. More than 9,000 rowers from hundreds of colleges and clubs worldwide compete in races on the Charles River. Another 300,000 people crowd the banks under tents, tailgating, reuniting with old classmates, and just enjoying the (hopefully) spectacular October weather. Info:

If you’d rather stay inside, the Fall New England Home Show is November 1-3 at the Seaport World Trade Center.

Streetpianos? Yep, just what it sounds like — pianos placed outside in various spots around Boston — The Common, the Chinatown Gate, Faneuil Hall — so those inclined can sit down and play. But hurry: the pianos go away for the winter by month’s end. Info:


I think I discovered something about teenagers: Malls make them cranky and sarcastic. At least, in my own narrow scientific research, walking and moving around city sidewalks produces a far happier shopper. That and the close proximity to Victoria’s Secret, H&M, and Marshall’s, all within a few blocks of the Back Bay. With the shops at the Prudential Center and Copley Place nearby, no mall on the planet comes close. And it was fun to peer in the windows of Newbury Street — Chanel and longtime Boston Jeweler Shreve, Crump and Low, where we admired 20-carat diamonds. Faneuil Hall, Harvard Square, Downtown Crossing, and the one-of-a-kind boutiques in the North End are just short walks or T rides away.

Getting around

It’s pretty easy to go without your vehicle, so if you want to be car-free, the bus to South Station is the way to go. Save gas, parking fees, and the planet at the same time. Still, we all know, when the ferry prices drop, it’s cheaper to go with your car, and allows you a Trader Joe’s or Target run, which on its own can pay for your boat.

Parking can be tricky. Consider parking at Adams station on the Red Line for the weekend and taking the Red Line into town. Hotel parking can be pricey. The Boston Common Garage is about $10 cheaper per day than most hotels. In the end, if you park the car you can easily navigate Beantown on foot, or by pedicab, T, taxi, boat, or even bike. Check out this handy site to compare parking options:

Where to stay

Other than the shopping, my daughter said her favorite part of the weekend was our hotel (see Room Service, above…). We used and got a terrific deal at the Westin Waterfront, near the convention center. There are some B&Bs in Boston that are great deals, too. My friend Holly Nadler always stays at the Eliot & Pickett Houses on Beacon Hill ( for around $135 a night. For more in-town B&Bs, check

Where to eat

We love Trattoria Il Panino in the North End, and enjoyed an excellent meal and great atmosphere at the old-timey Mother Anna’s, also in the North End. Another favorite is the Paramount on Charles Street.

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Lesley Segal has been here to help people hear for fifteen years. — Photo courtesy of Lesley Segal

Lesley Segal owns Vineyard Audiology, a private audiology practice in Vineyard Haven.

So, what does an audiologist do?

I provide a range of hearing health services — diagnostic evaluations and consultations; Auditory Processing Disorder testing; assessment of middle ear function; hearing screenings for pre school children; hearing screenings [for adults] for employment purposes and hearing aid evaluations, dispensing, fitting, cleaning and repair as well as tinnitus evaluations.

I work with all ages, from 6 months to 106 years.

What’s the story of your business? How’d you start it and when?

I opened Vineyard Audiology in September, 1998 after moving here with my 5-year-old daughter. Prior to moving here, I lived in Buffalo New York where I worked at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo. I first shared an office on State Road but moved my practice to my home in 2001.

Do you remember your very first days in business? What’s the worst thing that happened? The best?

My first patient was a preschooler who thought it would be great fun to jump onto my newly calibrated speaker system. I was shocked, of course, but totally amused. My next patient was much more sedate. What struck me was how warm and welcoming everyone was.

What’s been the biggest surprise about running a business on the Island?

The biggest difference in the Vineyard for me is the day-to-day relationships I have the fortune to develop with everyone coming into my office.

Does your family get involved?

My daughter is in college. Her career path is completely different from audiology. But, because my own father was severely hearing impaired, she has a real sensitivity and appreciation for my work.

What’s your favorite day-off thing to do on the Vineyard? What is your idea of a “Perfect Vineyard Day”?

On my days off, I love exploring the Vineyard trails. There is an endless supply of new sights. I am so lucky to live here. A perfect Vineyard day is hiking without losing my dog or acquiring ticks.

What’s the one thing you’d like people to know about your business that no one ever seems to ask?

I guess I just want people to know that I am here… to help them hear better! Sometimes, just talking about room acoustics and communication modifications is all they need.

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Lana and Roger Shaefer tied the knot on Edgartown Harbor on September 7. — Photo by Roman A. Pena

Wednesday morning, an email arrived from Roger Shaefer.

“My wife, Lana Shaefer, and I, Roger Shaefer, were married last weekend [September 7] and thought it would be fun to share some of our more adventurous wedding photos with the Times,” Mr. Shaefer began. “We live in Oak Bluffs. Lana was just hired as the nurse for the Oak Bluffs Elementary School. I am the caretaker of the Boch Estate in Edgartown. We have lived on the Island for a while now, and we feel fortunate to be able to have had our wedding here, too.”

Roger attached some great photos from the wedding. We wanted to know more. “How’d you come to meet each other on the Vineyard?” we asked.

Roger said he’d grown up coming to the Island each summer and moved here year-round three years ago. Lana spent summers here working as a waitress at the Black Dog, while getting a nursing degree at the University of Maine.

“We met at a friend’s birthday/Fourth of July barbecue,” Lana wrote. “I’d been helping prep food…. Once people started arriving, I carried around a tray of hot dogs. Roger stopped me, never having met me before, and told me he needed to take my picture. After I walked over.., he and [his friend] Jason took a hot dog, and Jason blurted, ‘I think my friend just fell in love with you.’

“Roger and I were both taken a little aback by the comment until Jason pointed out he was referring to my earrings.”

Lana was wearing Kastmaster earrings made by her friend Keri Erley. Kastmasters are chrome-plated brass fishing lures that range in size from 1/12 ounce up to 4 ounces. Roger, a fisherman, noticed them immediately on Lana, and he loved them.

“So we chatted for a while at the barbecue. Then he took me out fishing at Hedge Fence a few days later, and the rest is history.”

The earring maker made Lana a new pair of fishing earrings for the ceremony, which Lana forgot (along with the rest of her jewelry). Roger’s sister ran to get them in time for the reception. The photo Roger took upon his first sight of Lana is now on their fridge.

On Sunday, they fished their first Derby together as a married couple, and caught a fish.

Got a good Derby romance story? A good “how we met” story? A fun wedding you want to share? Please send them to us: