Authors Posts by Molly Purves

Molly Purves

Molly Purves

Thanksgiving is next week. If you are so inclined, I would love to hear what everyone is grateful for and a few descriptions of how people celebrate Thanksgiving here. We always drive to New Jersey to see my husband’s family, so we always have some quality time on either the George Washington Bridge or the Tappan Zee. There is always traffic, no matter what time or what day we leave. And it’s much worse than it is here in August.

This past Saturday at 4 pm the shellfish committee closed Menemsha Pond to all scalloping (Family and Commercial). The Town and Tribe both reseeded the pond and the pond will remain closed for the rest of the season in order for the proposed 1 million seedlings to set and grow by the next harvest season. Which means no scalloping in Aquinnah this winter. Which is going to be very hard on the families that depend on the income from it. This is not a news flash, but the winters are so tricky here financially and this is a blow to many families. Seems like this happens every other year.

On a brighter note, deer hunting season is on with bow hunting until November 29 and shotgun season starting December 1.

Joan LeLacheur is having an Open Studio Sale this Saturday, November 22, 10 am–5 pm. Her wampum necklaces, bracelets, earrings, charms and amulets will all be on sale. Come to 42 Old South Road in Aquinnah. You can contact Joanie at or 508-645-9954 for more information.

Jeanette Vanderhoop is offering a free yoga class for Aquinnah town residents on Sundays, 10–11:30 am, at the old Town Hall. She does have some mats and props, but it’s not a bad idea to bring your own mat if you have one.

This Saturday at the library you can make a handprint turkey for Thanksgiving. Next Saturday, November 29, kids can come by for Legos, cartoons, and hot cocoa. Saturday, December 6, will kick off the Christmas/Hannukah crafts with “Make a Greens Craft.” Make a wreath or table centerpiece with some beautiful greens and ribbon. All crafts are from 1 to 3 pm.

It’s that time of year when all the holiday festivals are being held. Featherstone’s 12th Annual Holiday Gift Show runs every day from 12 noon to 4 pm, from November 22 through December 21. The Preview Party is this Friday, November 21, 6–8 pm, at Featherstone. The gifts are made by more than 60 Island artists, including Aquinnah’s Eva Weinstein and Lisa Vanderhoop, and it is definitely a sale worth checking out.

Cathy Garfinkle will hold a Restorative Yoga Workshop at The Yoga Barn on Saturday, November 29, from 3 to 5:30 pm.  If you want to recover from all the overeating and need a place to detox from your family, this is the place to go. To register or for more information, please contact Cathy via email at or call 508-693-1403.

I know this is supposed to be the quiet time of year, but I still feel like my to-do list before the holidays is fairly long. I have just lost all motivation for getting it done. Seriously. I just want to watch movies, read the Sunday Times and perhaps go for a walk. I am tired of “doing things.” This does not bode well for my productivity, but I must say I am really enjoying the fall here this year. I like watching the landscape get stripped down and then reconfigure itself without its dressing. I know by February I will be tired of the gray, but right now I like the bare branches against the sky and houses that you haven’t seen in a long while peeking through. It helps that there are still glorious patches of color (red always helps one’s mood) and the satisfying crunch of leaves. It is also still warm enough to walk on the beach and I know that some people are still swimming! Not me though — I have too many movies to watch.

The Orange Peel Bakery has lunch available from 11:30 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday. Juli posts the menu on her Facebook page (I heard something about chicken pot pie this week!) and you can call in an order at 508-645-2025 or just come by.

There are many activities for kids happening at the library. There is always storytime at 3 pm on Thursdays and coffee and tea (for grownups) all day on Saturdays. This Saturday, November 15, everyone at the library will be building a Thankful Tree. You can add your message to a leaf. On November 22, you can make a handprint turkey. And on Saturday November 29, there will be Legos, cartoons, and hot cocoa because we will all be tired of turkey, pie, and our families. There will be holiday crafts in December as well; as we get closer, I’ll let you know the details. All crafts start at 1 pm on Saturday and end at 3 pm.

The West Tisbury Farmer’s Market may be over, but you can still get fresh vegetables without driving all the way to Cronig’s at the Winter Farmer’s Market held every Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm at the Ag Hall.Lunch is also for sale there, so you can shop and eat.

The West Tisbury School 5th grade class is having a Cake Walk at the Chilmark Community Center this Sunday, November 16, 2–4 pm.  It is a fundraiser for their Shenandoah trip. In addition to the cake walk, there will be a bake sale, a 50/50 raffle, and a chance to win a Sunset Sail for two on the Shenandoah. Bring a cake and you get a free walk and bring some Advil for the sugar headache you will have afterwards.

In recognition of their 50th anniversary, Vineyard Conservation Society’s 2014-2015 Winter Walks program will take a decade-by-decade approach to highlighting the history of conservation on our Island. They will visit five important and iconic spots conserved with VCS help. The season kicks off here in Aquinnah at the Gay Head Cliffs on Saturday, November 22, where VCS and the Town of Aquinnah won a National Natural Landmark designation in 1965. In January they will visit Katama Farm (today the home of the FARM Institute), which was preserved in the 1970s as a town treasure. The 1980s brought protection at Morning Glory Farm, and in succeeding decades, Allen Sheep Farm and Mermaid Farm. Winter Walks start at 1 pm and are about 1.5 to 2 hours long, followed by cider and cookies. After November’s trip to the Cliffs, walks resume their regular schedule of the second Sunday of the month. You can find out more information on the VCS website at

Attention: this is a really cool gift for Christmas! The Save the Gay Head Light House Committee, in conjunction with the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and the Martha’s Vineyard Poetry Society, has released Legacy of Light: Poems for the Gay Head Lighthouse, a collection of poems submitted by both Vineyard and off-Island writers to celebrate and support the historic Gay Head Lighthouse. The book was edited by Alexander Weinstein, Keith Leonard, and Fan Ogilvie.

Legacy of Light is available in a limited edition hand-printed and hand-bound edition of 50 volumes in addition to a digitally printed soft-cover version. All proceeds from sales of both will go toward funding the lighthouse relocation and restoration effort. The limited edition is available at the Gay Head Gallery and through orders placed on The digital, commercially bound edition is available at Midnight Farm.

Congratulations to Theresa Manning on being elected to represent Aquinnah on the School Committee. Thank you to Roxanne Ackerman, our outgoing representative, who has served us for many years. Congratulations also to Meg and Jay Bodner who won the “Cow Bingo” prize at the Chilmark School fundraiser.

Halloween Aquinnah-style cannot be beat. The Tribe threw a rocking party complete with a hay maze, piñatas, and tacos. It was hard to tell who everyone was under all the costumes, but I know I saw Nonie Madison and her son Waylon Sauer as Maid Marion and Robin Hood respectively; Noah Manning was a zombie hunter, Tiffany Vanderhoop did an amazing “Day of the Dead” face paint on herself and her two girls were Elsa and Anna from Frozen.

Having planned the Halloween Party for Aquinnah, I can tell you that what the kids want to do is: eat candy, run around, and hit each other with their plastic weapons. Seriously, that is it. Then they want to trick or treat and get as much candy as humanly possible even though they know that most of us parents will throw at least some of it out. For the one night, though, they can be sure that all that candy is theirs and theirs alone. It’s a very heady feeling, I remember it well. This Halloween the kids of Aquinnah got to do exactly what they wanted. After the party (where they ate candy, ran around and hit each other with plastic weapons) many of the kids piled into cars and went trick or treating around Aquinnah. Alex Taylor, who enjoys doing things I would never think of doing (like running the New York City marathon this past Sunday) piled seven kids into her minivan and drove them around Aquinnah to trick or treat. Everyone came home tired and sugared out and I’m sure many kids woke up the next morning in wrinkled costumes with candy wrappers under their pillows.

On Saturday there will be a flea market to benefit the Community Baptist Church of Gay Head. The church needs a new roof and some interior painting. There will be antiques, artwork, furniture, toys, and a lot more. It’s not too early to start Christmas shopping. There will also be food for sale. The flea market will be held from 10 am to 3 pm at the Old Town Hall.

This Sunday, November 9, Sassafras will hold a fire making workshop from 1 to 4 pm. This is an all-ages workshop. It is $20 for adults and $30 for families. Sassafras is offering their Squirrels and Coyotes from 11 am to 4 pm every Saturday. You can get all the information on their website at

Vineyard Smiles will hold a free dental clinic for qualifying Aquinnah residents at the Aquinnah Town Hall on November 14 from 9 am to 3 pm. The income limit is $28,700 for one person or $38,700 for two people. To find out if you qualify, call the Vineyard Health Care Access Program at 508-696-0020. If you qualify you must fill out the registration form by this coming Monday, November 10, and bring it to the Town Hall.

If you did not get enough sugar on Halloween and the candy is running low, the West Tisbury 5th grade class is having a Cake Walk at the Chilmark Community Center on Sunday, November 16, from 2 to 4 pm. It is a fundraiser for their Shenandoah trip. In addition to the cake walk, there will be a bake sale, a 50/50 raffle and a chance to win a Sunset Sail for two on the Shenandoah. Please note if you bring a cake you get a free walk.

Welcome home to Faith Vanderhoop and her new baby boy, Golden. He really is so perfect and beautiful. Happy Birthday to Trudy Taylor who turns 92 tomorrow, November 7. Congratulations, Trudy, on making it this far. On Tuesday, November 11 (Veterans Day) Martha Vanderhoop will celebrate her birthday. Thank you to Theresa Manning, who stepped up to represent Aquinnah on the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council. A great big thank you to all the veterans of Aquinnah who have served our country over the years. Thank you for your sacrifice and your service.

Having spent the past weekend off Island in Montreal and Vermont I can say that we are still in fall and that up north it feels much more like winter’s coming. A lot of the trees were bare in Vermont which felt oddly chillier than Montreal. The drive up through Vermont to Montreal was very beautiful with some trees holding onto their now muted red and yellow leaves. I returned to the Vineyard on Monday night and when I walked off the boat it felt positively balmy out. I also heard that there was some wind surfing to be had on Saturday and Sunday in Aquinnah. Love those late fall days when you can still get in the water.

The Halloween Party is this Friday which is of course Halloween. The party will be held at the Tribal building and surrounding grounds from  5:30 to 8:30 pm.. There will be a hay maze, snacks, a piñata, and a costume contest. Everyone in town is welcome.

There will be trick or treating throughout Aquinnah on Halloween night; please let me know if you would like trick or treaters to come to your house and what your address is. You can email me at

On Sunday, Richard Skidmore will host readings from Legacy of Light Poems for the Gayhead Lighthouse at Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven from 4 to 5:30 pm. Refreshments will be served.

Come out and vote next week! Election Day is Tuesday, November 4. Polls are open from 12 noon to 7 pm. Remember that we have a special town meeting two days later — next Thursday, November 6, at 7 pm to take care of some business. The meeting will be held at the Old Town Hall.

There will be a Flea Market at the old Town Hall to raise funds for a new roof and interior painting of the Community Baptist Church of Gayhead on Saturday, November 8. There will be jewelry, antiques, artwork, books, clothing etc. for sale and food will be available as well. For table space please call 508-645-2574.

With the colder months coming and recreational soccer ending soon, you may be looking for some outdoor activities for your kids. Sassafras holds an all-day outdoor camp every Saturday called “Coyotes and Squirrels” from 11 am to 4 pm. Sassafras will also host an all ages fire-making workshop on Sunday, November 9, 1–4 pm. Call Saskia Vanderhoop at 508-645-2008 for all the information and to sign up. You can also go to their website:

Noli Taylor has been doing a great job with Island Grown Schools. She recently sent out an email to all up-Island school parents letting us know what local ingredients are in their school lunches and there are so many. From local farms and the school gardens as well. I have to say I frequently look at my son’s lunch menu, and wish I was a student at Chilmark School.

Happy Birthday to Liz Witham who celebrates on Tuesday.

Fall is definitely here and winter is coming — don’t let the warmish days fool you. While there are still a lot of green leaves out there, the rose hips are withering on the vine and it has been so chilly at night and even during the day. As I write this I have a blanket draped over my lap because I refuse to turn the heat on yet. Even though the leaves are dying, my son still managed to get poison ivy up the back of his leg last week. Sometimes I think poison ivy should be the official plant of Aquinnah, as it seems to be everywhere and no matter what we do my son always finds it.

The Aquinnah Library reopened this week after being closed last week to get the floors redone. Come in on Saturday for the Pumpkin craft extravaganza, starting at 12 noon.

The Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council needs one more person from Aquinnah to serve. It is a three-year term and you get to allot grant money to people from all over the Island. It is a wonderful service and doesn’t take that much time, but they do need someone by the beginning of November. Please call Nancy Benoit at 508-645-2417 if you are interested.

Electronics disposal day is this Saturday at Community Services from 9 am to 1 pm. Nothing like a little fall de-cluttering to get you in the mood to hunker down for the winter.

Halloween is next Friday! Pay close attention to this next bit because things are a little different this year. The party will be held at the Tribe (not at the Old Town Hall), 5:30-8:30 pm on Halloween. There will be snacks, music, games and prizes. There will also be “Trunk  and Treat.” People can bring candy to give out in their car and one of the parking lots of the tribal building will be the designated trick or treat area. Then all the kids will come and trick or treat through the lot. If you would like to be one of the people giving out candy, please email me at We also encourage people to decorate their cars with Halloween-themed decorations. The best one gets a prize! There will also be a town/tribe elders costume lunch at the Tribe at 12:30. Everyone over 55 is welcome to attend.

Cathy Garfinkle will teach a restorative yoga workshop at The Yoga Barn this Saturday, October 25, from 3 to 5:30 pm. To register, contact Cathy Garfinkle at or call her at 508-693-1403.

Cranberry Day was last Tuesday and though the harvest was small the weather was beautiful and people stayed in the bogs soaking up the sun and enjoying the company. The Cranberry Day potluck was held at the Tribe that evening and it was jam-packed with people and good food. Shout-outs to Christy Moreis’s pulled pork, Roxane’s cranberry sorbet, and Woody Vanderhoop’s raccoon soup. While I was at the potluck, Juli filled me in on her son, Emerson, who has been living off-Island with his dad so that he can play on a high level hockey team. Emerson has been getting a lot of play time and had some very exciting games.

Happy Birthday to Curtis Langer who will be celebrating his birthday (on the 24th) by driving a car to Montreal to attend a friend’s wedding. And a big Happy Birthday to Buddy Vanderhoop who celebrates on the 29th.

Middletown Nursery will have a free garlic planting demo on Saturday, Oct. 25,  10–11 am. Bring your garlic questions and curiosity.

A free family fun day including scarecrow making will follow, from 11 am to 2 pm.

I swear I felt the Island get a little lighter on Tuesday. All of the summer people have now really and truly left; of course there are those who come back for Thanksgiving or New Year’s but the jig really is up. It’s over, folks. The Outermost Inn, Chilmark Tavern, The Home Port and Chilmark Store all had their last days on Sunday. The Galley closed on Monday and the Aquinnah Shop and Dreamcatcher have been closed for a while now. On the bright side, the shops at the Cliffs remain open, weather permitting, on weekends through Thanksgiving (and there are some good deals to be had).

I saw many Aquinnah folks coming in for dinner at the Chilmark Tavern in the final days, including Adrianna Ignacio and her sisters, Berta and Carla; Mitzi Pratt and Flip Scipio and Jimmy Sanfillipo joined them for dinner. Adrianna’s daughter Ona came in a few days later and said that she was taking her eldest son, Skyler, to get his permit on Tuesday! I hope that went well and keep your eyes peeled for Skyler driving around town (of course always with an adult). Paula and David Eisenberg came into the Tavern on Sunday and left for Colorado on Tuesday. Hanging on the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard all summer and then skiing the mountains of Colorado all winter does not seem like a bad life. Jay and Francoise Thiese came in on Saturday and Jay told me of a 100-mile bike ride that he did recently, riding from Springfield to Boston in one day. At the end of it he said that he felt every one of his 69 years. I’m not so sure I believe him — I always see Jay riding his bike around the Island or sailing his boat on the pond. The Columbus Day weekend felt very festive and it was lovely to see so many people, many of whom I know I won’t see again until next year.

Remember that the library is closed all week so the floors can be refinished. It will reopen next Tuesday with bright and shiny floors.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center is also closed, but you can get tours by appointment through the month of October by calling 508-645-7900.

Although all of our up-Island eateries have closed, do not fear. This week, October 16–19, the MV Food and Wine Festival (including up-Island chefs Jenna Sprafkin, Jan Buhrman, and Dan Sauer) is in Edgartown. The full schedule is listed at The Morning Glory Farm Pumpkin Festival is this Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm.

Since we now have more time on our hands right now is a great time to clean out your office, basement, home etc., and take those old electronics to the Electronics Disposal Day at Community Services on Saturday October 25, 9 am – 1 pm.

Also next Saturday, October 25, is the MVRHS Minnesingers Silent and Live Auction Benefit from 6 to 9 pm at Dreamland in Oak Bluffs. Tickets are $25, which includes hors d’oeuvres, chowder bar, and desserts. There will be a cash bar. Tickets are available from any MVRHS Minnesinger or at the door or by calling 508-939-4053. The proceeds go towards the Minnesingers Scholarship Fund to help offset their travel expenses.

Welcome to all the soldiers participating in the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge, who arrived here on Sunday and will be here until the Derby’s conclusion this Saturday.

There have been many anniversaries lately and I wanted to give a shout-out to some great couples: Nonie Madison and Dan Sauer celebrated 10 years on the 25th of September, Paul and Theresa Manning celebrated nine years on October 8, and Alex Taylor and Shawn MacPhail celebrate 10 years today. Last Friday my husband, Curtis Langer, and I celebrated ten years. Here’s to many more years together and happy memories for everyone.

Clyde Smith and his tie-dye cupcake at the library this weekend. —Photo by Molly Purves

This past Saturday Barbara created another successful — and delicious — craft for everyone at the library: tie dye cupcakes. I’m not sure where she got the idea for this but Barbara put cake batter and food coloring into squeeze bottles so there were four different colors and then everyone could mix the colors in their cupcake paper and when they were baked they looked tie-dyed. It was a lot of messy fun.

While I was at the library I saw June Manning and Angie Waldron who were going to attend their 50th high school reunion at Farm Neck that evening, when I asked them to send me some highlights of the evening, Angie replied, “What happens at Farm Neck stays at Farm Neck.”

Wampum artist and jeweler Joan LeLacheur is holding an open studio and sale this Saturday, October 11, from 10 am to 5 pm at 42 Old South Rd., here in Aquinnah. There will be a lot of wampum jewelry with embellishments of abalone and moon snail for men, women, and children.  For more information, contact Joanie at or 508-645-9954.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center at the Edwin Devries Vanderhoop Homestead, near the Gay Head cliffs, is open for one more week with regular hours and then by appointment through October. Hours this week are Friday and Saturday, 11 am to 4 pm. This is the last chance to tour this 19th century farmstead and learn about Wampanoag whaling in the18th and 19th centuries. To schedule a special tour or program after October 11, or for general information please call the ACC at 508-645-7900 or email

Sassafras is excited to start another season of programming, Squirrels & Coyotes will be held on Saturdays (starting this Saturday) from 11 am to 4 pm. Call Saskia Vanderhoop at 508-645-2008 or check out the website at

The Aquinnah Public Library will be closed Tuesday, October 14, Thursday, October 16 and Saturday October 18 while the floors get refinished. The plan is to reopen on Tuesday, October 21.

Chilmark Chocolates is closed until October 30 but don’t worry: Featherstone Center for the Arts and The Art of Chocolate founders Jeanne and Malcolm Campbell are hosting the 11th Annual Art of Chocolate Preview Party on Friday evening, October 10, 6–8 pm. The party will be at Featherstone and is $50 per person for endless chocolate treats (a bargain if you ask me). Please RSVP by calling 508-693-1850. If you can’t make the reception on Friday you can stop by Saturday and Sunday, from 12 noon to 4 pm to taste chocolate concoctions made by Island bakers, artists and chocolate lovers at the annual festival at Featherstone Center for the Arts.

This is the last weekend to enjoy dinner at the Outermost Inn, Chilmark Tavern, and the Home Port. If you can’t make it in you’ll just have to wait until next year.

The Gay Head 10K was this past Sunday and it was a glorious day for a race. Many people came out to cheer the runners on, including Flip Scipio who serenaded runners with tunes on his ukulele along Moshup Trail. Brother and sister, Isaac and Alex Taylor ran together. There were many people from Aquinnah who ran for our lighthouse including Berta Welch, Spencer Booker, Belinda Booker, Michael Sellitti, Walter Ricciardi, Nancy Leport, Sophia Welch, Paul Cotton, and Susan Poduska. Thank you and congratulations to all the runners and a big thank you to the volunteers and the organizers of the race.

While I was watching the runners come in at the race I got to visit with Adrianna Ignacio who is home and healing. She held court in her wheelchair while many people came by to wish her well. Buddy and Lisa Vanderhoop (who recently celebrated their 19th wedding anniversary) enjoyed a visit from Buddy’s two eldest daughters Amy and Nicole last week. They went out to dinner, saw Gone Girl, had a family fishing trip and soaked up the lovely weekend weather.

The weather may still have summer flavor, but the stores and restaurants up-Island are starting to shutter for the season. The Aquinnah Shop is already closed. The Outermost Inn, Chilmark Tavern, and Home Port will all close Columbus Day weekend, as will the Chilmark General Store. You know what that means: a 20-minute drive to the closest grocery store (if you count Alley’s as a grocery store; if not, 30 minutes to Cronig’s). This time of year is so bittersweet — I love the weather, the quieting down and the opportunity to connect with friends, but I find the mass exodus of our up-Island economy hard to take. Couldn’t everyone just stay open through the holidays? Think of how lovely that would be to be able to go out to dinner up-Island in November?! I know it’s a pipe dream, but it’s a good one.

The Living Local Harvest Festival is this Saturday at the Ag Hall. Sassafras, the Aquinnah camp run by David and Saskia Vanderhoop, will hold an open house there from 10 am to 3 pm. There are other events throughout the day, culminating in a community-supper pig roast from 5 pm to 7:30pm. You are encouraged to bring a dish to share made from at least one local ingredient, and please bring your own dishes and silverware, as this is a zero-waste event.

The Gay Head 10K is this Sunday at 10 am; you can still register online at If you have already registered, you can pick up your packet on Saturday from 3 pm to 6 pm at Town Hall or Sunday from 8 am to 9:30am at the Gay Head Cliffs. Cycle Martha’s Vineyard is hosting two rides on Saturday, a 50K and a 100K; you can register for either of those rides at, and the proceeds will benefit the M.V. Rotary Club and the Gay Head Light. Of course if you are like me, and are not going to run or ride either, you are encouraged to show your Lighthouse spirit and cheer people on at both events.

After you’ve run the race or taken in all the excitement, you may be in the mood to celebrate or just to spend some money; On the Cliffs, Adrianna’s store on the Gay Head cliffs, will be having their annual 50-percent-off sale from 3:30 pm to 5:30pm this Sunday. She has excellent taste, and there are always wonderful things to buy. Pandora’s Box 50-percent-off sale will be next Wednesday starting at 5pm.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center is open for another couple of weeks; stop in now if you haven’t been able to see their exhibits on Wampanoag life back in the day. Their hours are Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 11am to 4pm.

ACE MV fall classes start the week of Oct. 6; you can register now online at There is a late fee for registering on the first day of class.

The Aquinnah Public Library will be closed Tuesday, Oct. 14, Thursday, Oct. 16, and Saturday Oct. 18, so that the floors can be refinished. They expect to reopen on Tuesday, Oct. 21.

One of Aquinnah’s own, Aquinnah Witham, is among the artists whose wares will be offered for sale at a beautiful home and gallery sale next weekend in West Tisbury. The event is called “Shine,” and many artists from all over the Island will be represented there. A portion of all the proceeds will go toward finishing Len and Georgia Morris’ new documentary, “the sameheart.” The film offers some solutions to ending child poverty. You can get more information about the film and the sale at It will be held Oct. 12, 13, and 14 from 10 am to 8 pm at 129 Indian Hill Rd.

Back by popular demand, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is once again celebrating the faces of Martha’s Vineyard with a second “Island Faces” portrait competition in collaboration with Featherstone Center for the Arts.  Beginning Oct. 1, the museum will begin accepting entries for the contest. You can get all the information from or

At the Aquinnah Library on Saturday, Barbara Lampson will host a make and bake tie-dye cupcakes. It begins at 1pm sharp and I know they’ll be delicious.

This past Saturday, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival hosted a free surf film festival at the Chilmark Community Center. The all-day affair included surf lessons at Squibnocket Beach. There were volunteer instructors (including Spa Thorpe) and many eager supporters on the beach who would clap and cheer at the smallest sign of a student’s progress.

Having never surfed before, I decided to try it. I did not get very far in that I never managed to stand on the board. I did manage to get partially upright on it at one point, but mostly I just got bombarded with water and lots of it. My question to all of you avid surfers out there is: At what point does this activity become fun and not just endless pounding by the ocean?

The one serious benefit of the lesson was that for the time that I was attempting to surf there was so many things to think about and so many new sensations that I completely forgot about my fear of sharks, which is always in the back of mind whenever I’m in the water. Which is odd, because I was wearing a wetsuit, which is basically like a Halloween costume of sharks’ favorite food: seals. I can’t say that I caught the surf bug, but I would be willing to try it again, which for me is almost saying that I liked it.

This Saturday the Aquinnah Public Library will host “Negotiating and Creating Agreement: A One-Day Workshop”from 10 am to 3 pm. This workshop is led by the wonderful and talented Nancy Caldwell, and it is limited to 12 participants. You can register by calling the library at 508-645-2314.

The Aquinnah Cultural Center is still open. You can visit the Edwin Devries Vanderhoop Homestead, a restored 19th century Wampanoag farmhouse near the Gay Head cliffs. Right now exhibits include  Wampanoag whaling in the 18th and 19th centuries and a new oral-history video program, “Land and Life in Old Gay Head.” The center is open Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. Call 508-645-7900 or email them at for more information.

Chilmark resident Beatrice (“Beach”) Phillips Bennett, beloved wife of Bill Bennett and unstoppably great mother of Bella Bennett, passed away peacefully on Sept. 17. A celebration of her life will be held this Sunday, Sept. 28 at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury from 2 pm to 5 pm. You are welcome to bring a dessert to share for after the service. I knew Beach a little bit, and she was a lovely woman, and it seems very unfair that she is no longer with us. My heart goes out to her family and friends.

Under the “the off-season is a great time to learn/try something new” heading, there will be an ACE MV Course Sampling Fair on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at MVRHS from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. You can come meet the teachers, register for classes (36 different classes are being offered), and sample refreshments made by some of the cooking instructors. There is a $10 late fee if you sign up on the day of the course, so it behooves you to register now. For more information, call Diane Abbot at 508-693-9222.

A select group of Martha’s Vineyard inns and hotels are offering packages to runners participating in the upcoming Gay Head 10K, “A Race against Time.” The race is being held on Sunday, Oct. 5, starting at 10 am. The following innkeepers are offering discounts:

The Doctors House B&B, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-0859

Hob Knob Inn, Edgartown, 508-627-9510, ext. 39

Totem Pole Inn, Aquinnah, 508-645-2815

Vineyard Harbor Motel, Vineyard Haven, 508-693-3334

In addition to the race, local and visiting cycling enthusiasts will have an opportunity to participate in an organized recreational ride on the Island on Saturday, Oct. 4. Two rides, a 50K and a 100K, are offered. The 50K ride features spectacular views of Vineyard Sound, Nantucket Sound, and the Atlantic Ocean. Riders in the 100K will visit the entire Island, including the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah. There will be organized rest stops along the route, as well as road support. A post-ride pig roast with live music is also scheduled. Proceeds from the ride will benefit the Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard and the Gay Head Lighthouse.  Register at

For more information and to register for the race, visit There is an entry fee of $30, and the field will be limited to 500 runners.  The committee is also welcoming donors to become involved immediately, through various levels of sponsorship. For more information on sponsorships, please contact Beverly Wright, chairman of the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee, at

The National Park Service has named the town of Aquinnah as the recipient of the Gay Head Light Station. The town is now the official steward of the Gay Head Light. This is an important step forward in the race to preserve the Lighthouse. Thank you to everyone working so hard to preserve this historic landmark.

Happy Birthday to Spa, a man whom I could not imagine Aquinnah without; he celebrates on Friday. Wish him a happy birthday if you see him.

The glory of September continued to unfold this week with exquisite weather and fewer crowds. I went to Philbin on Sunday and it was wonderful. I even went into the water. There are still good beach days to be had and kayaks and paddleboards to take. Plus this year the beach plums are growing like mad — people are saying this is the best batch they’ve seen in years. Time to make jam or just take a walk and pick a couple and eat them on your way.

Goodbye Giulia, we will miss seeing you every week at the library. This past Saturday was Giulia’s last day at the Aquinnah Library, and there was a very sweet sendoff with lots of treats. Giulia will continue working at Community Services, and she has also started a new job at the Hebrew Center. I know she will do well at both.

This Saturday at the library you can make a tie-dye shirt, tablecloth, pillowcase, or whatever you would like; you just need to bring the item in and the dye and the instructions will be there. Dyeing starts at noon. Next Saturday Nancy Caldwell will hold a one-day workshop at the library titled Negotiating and Creating Agreement. The workshop will be based on role-play and case studies, enabling participants to establish their own style of negotiating. The workshop is free but limited to 12 people, and sign-up at the library is required. Call the library at 508-645-2314, or just stop in.

Joan LeLacheur is having an Open Studio at 42 Old South Rd. in Aquinnah this Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. There will be more new and traditional jewelry designs of wampum beads and moon snail and conch shell.  For more information you can contact Joanie at or 508-645-9954.

Phil Weinstein is teaching a class on Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace at the Katherine Cornell Theatre in conjunction with the Vineyard Haven library throughout the fall. It is at 7 pm over six Wednesdays. The first was this past Wednesday, but not to worry, there are five more, the next one being Oct. 1, then Oct. 15 and 29, Nov. 12 and Dec. 3. Reading War and Peace is a great fall project; even if you’ve already read it, it’s worth rereading. I know it’s long, but I can tell you from experience that it’s a great read — very engaging, funny, and wise. It is not a difficult read; it takes stamina as it’s long, but it is worth the time. Phil is such a great teacher I’m sure he will have some wonderful insights into the novel.

Happy birthday to Jeffrey Madison, who celebrates on Wednesday Sept. 24. Welcome home to Adrianna Ignacio, who came back last Thursday. She has a long way to go in her recovery, but I saw the pictures of her on Facebook and I have to say I’m not sure how she did this, but she did manage to look glamorous in a halo cast.

I had the pleasure of attending Ruby Iantosca’s birthday party this past Saturday, and the highlight of the party, aside from seeing Ruby look so happy, was Arlen and Lexie Roth performing together. Arlen is such an amazing guitarist and he and his band are so tight, they play together and off one another so well. Were I a singer I would want to sound like Lexie Roth, soulful and bright with such a love for music and a great sense of the story of the song. She is confident but not showy. How lucky are we to have such talent in our town?

Summer resident Eve Lake, daughter of Morgan Hodson and Bill Lake, was married at the Allen Farm this past Saturday. She and her groom, Curtis, have known each other for 11 years and have followed each other around the globe to Africa, and various schools — Emory (her), Yale (him), and the place of their meeting, Bowdoin. He is a lawyer and she is a doctor of internal medicine in residency. They reside in Seattle. The wedding was quite lovely and the rain held off until everyone was safe inside the tent.