Authors Posts by Valerie Sonnenthal

Valerie Sonnenthal

Valerie Sonnenthal

A photo by Hellie Neumann, whose work will be exhibited at Santander Bank in Chilmark.

We are thankful for the rain, the sun, and the apple tree, and so much more this first week of autumn. When I moved to the Island someone told me, “As long as the weather is good you should spend as much time as possible outside; don’t worry, winter is coming and you’ll have plenty of time to catch up.” Well, I don’t know if I ever feel caught up, but I do as he said and try to make the most of the weather. I have tried many new apple recipes to keep up with the harvest from our one tree: apple pancake, apple muffins, and sour cream apple soufflé cockaigne, and this week applesauce and sour cream apple pies are on my to-do list.

Join Hellie Neumann at her photography show opening on Friday, Oct. 3 from 4 pm to 6 pm. If you miss the reception, stop by until Oct. 17th at the Santander Bank in Chilmark. Hellie has taken photos of sunrise at Lucy Vincent and Squibnocket every morning for over a year. There are greeting cards, postcards, and matted and framed prints for sale. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to M.V. Helping Homeless Animals, the shelter where Hellie adopted her pup, who is the inspiration for getting up predawn and getting down to the beach.

Nan Doty is offering Qi Gong sessions on Tuesdays from 8 to 9 am and Fridays from 9:30 to 10:30 am, followed by tea for those who can stay. Sessions take place in the community room in the back of the Chilmark Church on Menemsha Crossroad. If you need directions, please email Nan. Session cost is $10. If you are interested in a Thursday session at the Chilmark Church from 8 to 9 am, with tea afterward, please let Nan know. Also please note that Nan is introducing a new Qi Gong Tai Chi class on Thursdays at 10 am at the Anchors in Edgartown. If you need directions, please email Nan at

There are two ways to help Save the Gay Head Lighthouse this weekend. Participate in Cycle Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 8:30 am, P.A. Club, Oak Bluffs. The ride also benefits other Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard charities. See for more information. Or run in the 2nd Gay Head 10K on Sunday, Oct. 5, 10 am, Aquinnah Circle. For more information, call 508-645-9364 or go to

If you are looking for something to do with your little ones, the Chilmark library offers stories and songs at 10:30 am on Tuesdays and Saturdays weekly. And don’t forget Pizza Night, every Tuesday at 6 pm, through Nov. 25 at the Chilmark Community Church. Yes, it’s free.

Don’t miss the Living Local Harvest Festival at the M.V. Ag Hall from 10 am to 10 pm this Saturday, Oct. 4. There are free movies, a pig roast, and so many presentations and displays. Check for all the happenings.

ACE MV fall classes start the week of Oct. 6th, so register now online at Avoid a late fee for registering on the first day of class.

Remember Chilmark Chocolates will be closed Oct. 6 – 30. And lastly, the Chilmark General Store is no longer open on Tuesdays.

by -
Peggy Freydberg poses with Nancy Aronie at a recent celebration of Ms. Freydberg's poetry. —Photo by Lynn Christoffers

On August 28 I got an email from Nancy Aronie that read, “Peggy Freydberg is 106, sharp as a tack, and still writing. Her work is moving and powerful. One day I said, ‘Peggy, how come you aren’t famous?’ She said, ‘I don’t know. I would have liked that.’ This is my tiny offering to give her some of that. I’ll pass around her books and we’ll read her work.”

Having attended Peggy’s reading of her own work at the Chilmark library in 2010, I responded “yes” immediately, and when asked if I minded doing a cold reading, said I would love to. Between August 28 and the scheduled reading on Sept. 16, Nancy fretted every time she heard a siren go off in Chilmark, fearing it might be an ambulance for Peggy. Recently, Nancy had several experiences when her inner voice told her she should get in touch with someone, and she delayed.

The afternoon reading on Sept. 16 brought a mix of attendees, all of whom had the opportunity to read Peggy’s work to her. When it was over, Peggy said, “I’ve wondered why I lived to be 106. Now I know, so I could have this experience.” Later she told Nancy, “The word ‘thank you’ is so trite. I cannot thank you enough, I had the day of my life.”

Fan Ogilvie reflected afterward, “Her poetry became so alive because of her voice as song, not speech.” Arnie Reisman feels “Peggy Freydberg is a Martha’s Vineyard monument, a writer of incredible insight who thankfully found her poetic voice 15 years ago at the age of 91. Reading her words to her was a wonderful event of the heart.” Doreen Beinart wrote Nancy that she “can’t wait to savor all her poems. Wondrous language and thoughts.” Paula Lyons “was stunned by the humanity, universality, and delightful precision of word and wordplay in Peggy’s poetry.” She “bought both books that were offered, and [knows] they will become permanent favorites.”

To purchase copies of Peggy Freydberg’s two poetry books, contact Nancy Aronie at

Six-year-old Sevanna Sroczenski got up on her first try.

I love September. The swimming is good, the weather sunny, the garden bountiful, great starry night skies, and getting back into the off-season groove. Pam Goff said the Chilmark Church is thankful to Lia Kahler for raising a substantial portion of the funds needed for the steeple and cross repair, and the afternoon and auction all went well. Pizza nights will resume Tuesdays at 6 pm beginning Sept. 30 at the Fellowship Hall behind the church at 9 Menemsha Crossroad. All ages welcome.

Thanks go out to Nancy Aronie, who organized a lovely reading of poems for Peggy Freydberg. It was an absolute pleasure to participate. And looking forward to sharing her wonderful work with the larger world!

Sandra Balfe of Wrentham was visiting her aunt and uncle, Tom and Helen Black, in Edgartown when she found the flyer for the first Surf Night on M.V. She wrote me, “It was a dream come true. I have visited Squibnocket often and loved watching the surfers, never thinking I would have the chance to try the sport. It was amazing that the surf community came out to help celebrate the ocean with regular folks and it was all free!” Sandra says she “was totally thrilled to stand up three times.” She loved being cheered on by the entire beach, and sends a big “thank you to all of the instructors!” She hopes this becomes an annual event, because she is hooked.

Thomas Bena thanks Ari Lurie for teaming up with MVFF to create the first Surf Night on M.V. And a huge shout-out to all of the instructors who spent four hours in the water passing on the surf stoke! Craig Spa Tharpe, Katahdin Fitzgerald, Mollie Doyle, Daniel, Paul, Ben Martin, Jamie Green, Ari Lurie, Calder Martin, and to the amazing staff, Brian Ditchfield, Cassie Dana, Hilary Dreyer, Chris Mara, Anthony Esposito, and to Max Simon and all of the volunteers. And then there is Morning Glory Farm, Whippoorwill Farm, and Alex Karalekas for the food and the fish and the music. And thank you to Elaine Barse/Green Room, the Boneyard, and 6k6 for the free boards!! And finally, thank you to the Dock Dance Band for nailing it — if you haven’t heard them yet, check out one of their weekly shows in Edgartown.

My favorite part of the weekend was the amazing Iron Pour at Featherstone, organized by native Islander artist Kate Madeiros (MVRHS ’07). What an incredible community feat she pulled off. Keep an eye on this wonderful artist.

Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Chilmark resident Beach (Beatrice Phillips) Bennett, beloved wife of Bill Bennett and unstoppably great mother of Bella Bennett, who passed away peacefully on Sept. 17. A celebration of her life will be held on Sunday, Sept. 28, at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury from 2 pm to 5 pm. Feel free to bring a dessert to share.

Drop by the ACE MV Course Sampling Fair, Wednesday, Oct. 1 at MVRHS from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Meet the teachers, register for classes (36 different classes being offered), and sample delicious food prepared by ACE cooking instructors. I will once again be teaching a Hand and Foot Fitness class for five weeks. For more info, call Diane Abbot at 508-693-9222 or visit

Gyrokinesis Workshop at the Chilmark Community Center. —Photo courtesy of Amanda Tay

September mornings wake me to the cool of changing seasons. I love seeing the new Dorper lambs grazing in the field next door. We have been picking apples from our wild apple tree and enjoying carrots, beets, and potatoes from our garden. I feel rejuvenated after a three-day Gyrokinesis Workshop with Billy Macagnone of New York City’s Body Evolutions Studio at the Chilmark Community Center, and am grateful this work was available to those on the Island who cannot travel, including teachers Daryl Owens and Giulia Casalino. What I learned having seven guests in my home for the weekend was when no one answers a phone at a restaurant you know is open, it’s a wedding party. We tried to eat out in Chilmark for dinner on Saturday night. No luck at Chilmark Tavern, or Homeport. We tried State Road, no luck. We called Isola in Edgartown and when we got there only the pizza restaurant was open. In the end we were seated on a side porch away from crowds and noise and enjoyed a delicious meal at Alchemy. So I guess during wedding season if you do not have reservations and no one is answering the phone, head to a town with choices.

Welcome home and back to school for the 4th and 5th graders from Chilmark School who successfully navigated the ocean and returned safely to our shores after a week of adventure on the Alabama.

Chilmark Preschool’s fall fundraiser to support their enrichment programs is portrait sessions with Island photographer Albert O. Fischer. This year they are offering shoots at both Grey Barn & Farm and Menemsha Beach. Please consider enjoying this for you and your loved ones or giving it as a gift to friends or family. Here are the dates and locations: Saturday, Sept. 20, 2 pm to 6 pm, Menemsha Beach; Sunday, Sept. 28, 2 pm to 6 pm, Grey Barn & Farm; Saturday, Oct. 4, 9 am to 1 pm, Menemsha Beach; and Saturday, Oct. 18, 9 am to 1 pm, Grey Barn & Farm. Cost is $75 per session, which includes 15 minutes of shooting and high-resolution digital files of all photos. Contact Sarah Waldman at 781-799-9941 or to reserve your session! More information at

The Chilmark library would like to extend thanks to everyone who supported the Summer Reading Program with coupons of appreciation. Children’s librarian Kristin Maloney said, “We had a very successful program, and are grateful for the extra incentive to encourage children to read that our local businesses provide. Almost 200 children signed up for the Summer Reading Program.” The library sends big thanks to The Bite and Karen Flynn; Chilmark Chocolates and Allison Burger and Marybeth Grady; Chilmark Store and Jennifer Lorusso and Joel Glickman; Menemsha Texaco and Marshall and Katie Carroll; Menemsha Galley and Frank and Merrily Fenner; and Menemsha Market and Debbie Packer.

Be sure to drop by the photography exhibit by Chilmark resident Hillary Noyes-Keene displayed in the Chilmark public library meeting room through Oct. 2. And check out Liza Lynch’s photography exhibit at Santander Bank from Sept. 19 to Oct. 3.

Don’t forget it’s M.V. Fashion Week, supporting Angel Flights NE. Check for events.

The sun has been shining, and getting those beach days in before the start of school was an unexpected gift for many. Monday brought the pre-K kids to school for their first day, and we hope they loved their new classrooms, teachers, and friends. Though there are bicycle tours led by oversize vans, the traffic is gone, and the porch at the Chilmark Store is still packed with visitors in the mornings and at lunchtime.

Chilmark lost two remarkable women in the past couple of weeks, Dr. Laura Lee Reid and Ethel Sherman. Our hearts go out to Laura’s children Sarah Canca, Katy Decker, and Eben Coszutta and their families. Dr. Reid’s memorial service was a celebration of her life with nearly 300 people crowded into the Grange Hall. Dr. Bernard Levy appreciated her participation in creating a program for recovering doctors in Massachusetts and thought she was the first woman doctor on staff at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Chilmark also mourns the passing of Ethel Sherman, and we send our love and support to the love of her life, Ralph, and their family. I met Ethel at Cynthia Riggs’ writer’s group when it was conducted at Howes House in 2007. Ethel’s wonderful stories about Ralph surprised us and warmed our hearts. She always managed to put a smile on my face, always had time for a kind word, shared her love of the Island Farmer’s Market, and her preserves were much coveted holiday gifts for off-Island friends. Ethel we miss you terribly!

Help repair the cross and steeple of the Chilmark Church by attending mezzo-soprano Lia Kahler’s varied program of songs, spirituals, and arias, on Sept. 14 at 3 pm at the Chilmark Community Church. Lia’s pianist, Richard Gordon, and organist, Philip Dietterich, will also perform as soloists. A silent auction at 2 pm will continue during intermission and the reception following the concert. For tickets, $15 general, $10 senior/student, call 508-645-3325.

This week The Yard continues with local artists at Poetry Night, Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 8 pm; and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish play for Public Dancing Allowed, Friday, Sept. 12 at 8 pm. For more information, call 508-645-9662 or go to

Yes, Chilmark Chocolates is open again, Thursdays – Sundays, 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Homeport Back Door is open Monday – Wednesday from 11 am to 3 pm and Thursday – Sunday from 11 am to 8:30 pm; dinner inside is served from 5 pm on Thursdays – Sundays. Chilmark Tavern is open Thursdays – Mondays from 5:30 pm. Chilmark Store is open weekdays until 3:30 and weekends until 8 pm. The Galley is open 11 am to 3 pm, Sunday – Friday and Saturdays from 11 am to 7:30ish. The Bite, just filmed this week for the Travel Channel, is open Tuesdays – Sundays from 11:30 to 3:30 pm. And both fish markets are open daily: Larsen’s Fish Market is open Sunday – Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm and Friday – Saturday from 9 am to 7 pm; Menemsha Fish Market is open 9 am to 7:30 pm every day.


by -
The boys and girls of Chilmark softball summer: From left, Keith Heller, Irving Petlin, Mark Levine, Bruce Ekman, Howie Bromberg, Jerry Murphy, Ed and Holly Edgar, and Jason Balaban with daughter, Sophie, on his lap after the last baseball game of the season at Flanders Field.

The final “official” softball game of the season was played at Flanders Field on Sunday, August 31, followed by Paul Iantosca and Arlen Roth’s traditional Hebrew National hot dog cookout. Last goodbyes were said by team members including Hans Solmnsen, Tony Horwitz, Caleb Caldwell, Paul DiMaura, Joel Bleier, Jay Grossman, Joel Greenberg, William Edgar, Jim Feiner, Mark Friedman, Ted Satler, Larry and Charlie Weiss, and Lynn Puro, among others, provoking both sadness and joy.

“This was an extremely successful year as more new players came by to just drop in and play,” Paul said.

As a wise old philosopher once said, “There is no final game.” Commissioner Bill Edison already looks forward to next summer. Team members still wish the Commissioner, age 90, would get a cell phone and email to stay in touch. You can be sure that now that all the players have an email list, they will be in touch over the off-season. The Flanders Field of Dreams awaits their return.

Come and check out “unofficial” Sunday morning games during September. Anyone wishing to be added to the Chilmark roster list for email game notices may send information to:

Valerie SonnenthalI drove to Joan Bowman’s summer rental retreat overlooking Squibnocket after morning rain — wet, glittering in sunlight breaking through majestic clouds. I met Joan my second summer living on the Vineyard through a friend from Rockland County, N.Y. (my former home), and have looked forward to seeing her every summer.

Joan’s second book, Some Kind of Lucky, was published this summer by Vineyard Stories and she did two Island readings and book signings. I lost my own mother 10 years ago and am always inspired by Joan’s honesty, openness and energy. She turned 82 on August 19 and left for Ireland on Labor Day for a 12-day trip organized by her alma mater, Smith College. Joan “loves all the Irish writers” and we hope she is having a wonderful time.

She described one of the first houses she rented, on Quitsa, pointing, “up on that ridge, it was a really funky house, but worked somehow. Beautiful views, and then you would walk down this really steep staircase. It was like something out of a Fellini movie, sort of surreal. Then you’d walk down to the beach.” Joan said of her present house (that she has rented since 2000), as she gestured towards the front door, “People walk in that door and they lose their breath.”  The view over rolling green, Stonewall Pond, and the ocean rendered me speechless with a gaping open mouth the first time I met Joan.

I asked whether Joan has ever sat on the porch at The Chilmark General Store. She laughed, “I have never sat in one of those rocking chairs; it’s funny — why haven’t I done that? Usually I go there on a mission, like oh my God we have no bread, or we need to stop at the ATM for cash.” Though her son-in-law from Pittsburgh and her daughter do the two-mile walk each way regularly when they visit, buy their New York Times, hang out, have some coffee and a morning treat before their trek home.

During her month on Island she is very seldom alone, nightly dinners at home swelling from 6 to nearly 20 at her table between entertaining friends and her extended family visiting from both coasts. Her latest book was put together in the last year versus her first book in 2010, self-published, which “took a long time to write because [I] didn’t have a publisher, didn’t have an editor, there were times when [I] got fed up and didn’t pay any attention to it.” She continues: “What inspired me and forced me to finish it was the death of my son. He read a lot of the book. I had talked to him about things in the book more than my other children. After he died, I couldn’t write, at all. As I started to heal, I realized, about a year after he died, that he would want me to finish this book.”

Her first trip with Smith was in 1997 to the Veneto region in Italy where “Palladio built many many villas for the Venetians to get away from the heat.” Two of her “Rowdy Crew” friends, what they have called themselves since their undergraduate Smith days, passed away last March. Joan continued, “This is such a sensitive time. I never thought about dying until a couple of years ago. All of a sudden there’s a shift. [Now] I think about it quite often. You just wonder — how much longer have I got, and what do I want to do?” Laughing she admits, “Which I can’t answer.”

Joan came to writing in her sixties. She went to Sarah Lawrence because she wanted to write a design column for a local newspaper. And it happened. She did it for one year and got to see her insider tips about design appear every Thursday; then freelancers were let go and her writing evolved and she realized she would not be happy writing about design the rest of her life. So she went back to Sarah Lawrence and studied with Suzanne Hoover who inspired Joan to write her family memoir and apply to their MFA program. There she wrote 80 pages, all of which are in the book.

Joan brought the Paul Taylor 2 Company to the Island this summer. None of the six dancers had ever been here before. She had four staying with her. “The company got a standing ovation at PAC after performing one of his signature pieces — Esplanade — based on pedestrian movement.” Joan’s New Jersey neighbors originally brought her to Paul Taylor performances and then asked her to join the board.

Joan is candid, she tells like it is, and she seems to have enough life behind her that she no longer wastes time. I look forward to learning about Joan’s adventures when she returns to Chilmark next July.

And as far as town happenings it is the last Lobster Roll Tuesday, 4:30 – 7:30 pm at the Chilmark Church. Don’t miss Garrett James and other musical guests at The Yard, Friday, September 5, at 8 pm — for info, call 508-645-9662. And tune in next week to learn about the last softball game of the season.

Valerie SonnenthalThe season is winding down, nights have an added chill as the temperature drops, the Ag Fair has packed up, the last Chilmark Flea Market is Saturday, August 30, 10 am–2 pm, summer neighbors and vacationing friends are headed back to more hectic lives and Labor Day is around the corner. Parents and kids are preparing for the first day of school, Thursday, September 4, and we wish all the incoming kindergartners and returning Chilmark students a great beginning to their new school year. The Chilmark School art show is up through August 29 at the Santander Bank. I had hoped to get there for the opening but got tied up with family and then we had to get on the road to take my younger son to Oberlin.

I hear from the Chilmark Library that the Elisa Brickner Memorial Poetry Contest winners reading “went really well, people called to say it was touching and moving and wonderful!” In case you missed them the Junior High winners are Sam Kass of Michigan, Julia Kane of Vineyard Haven, and Meredith Carlomagno of West Tisbury; the High School winners are Hannah Soros of New York, Shoshana Boardman of Arlington, and Aliza Astrow of New York. Congratulations to all! You can stop by and read the poems in an album displayed at the front desk before it is moved to its home in the Poetry Corner; you can share the poems online at the library website. Next year the library plans a 20th anniversary publication of 20 years of Elisa Brickner winning poems in one book.

I look forward to checking out the DVD of art historian Henry Adams “Thomas Hart Benton on Martha’s Vineyard” presentation sponsored by the Chilmark Historical Commission and the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library that took place August 13 to an overflowing crowd. It had been a rainy day and when we got to the library at 5:15 pm there wasn’t even standing room in the hall outside the lecture room. We did try to listen through the doors from the children’s area, but without the added slideshow opted to wait for the DVD. I’ll let you know when the library adds it to its collection. Remember library hours change on September 2; Tuesdays the library now closes at 1:30 pm and they are closed on Fridays.

If you are up Island don’t miss fellow Cleaveland House Poet Brooks Robards and artist Hermine Hull discussing their exquisite new book “On Island,” which features their poems and paintings inspired by walks together, 5 pm, Thursday, August 28, at the Aquinnah Library. I have already sent this book as an inspiration to a number of good friends. Also if you are looking for programs for kids Aquinnah Library hosts MAD Libs Tuesdays at 3 pm, story and crafts for younger children on Thursdays, 3–4 pm, and drop-in story reading 2–3:30 pm on Saturdays, plus on rainy days there’s always Legos on the Rug. For info, call 508-645-2314.

The Yard will debut a new full-length work choreographed by Alison Manning and Jesse Keller on Friday, August 29, at 8 pm and Saturday, August 30, at 11 am, includes works by Yard interns and Island-based improvisational dance company What’s Written Within plus other guest performers. I have seen portions of Alison and Jesse’s full-length piece as it has been created over the past couple of years and look forward to seeing this completed work by the talented staff at The Yard. For info, call 508-645-9662 or visit Also you can still attend yoga classes daily through Sunday, September 7.

Siggy Vanraan, an inspiration to all Sunday softball players, overcame an injury to pitch the final game. A cheerleader for Flanders Field softball over many years, Siggy was awarded the Most Valuable Person trophy at Sunday’s game. Congratulations Siggy: keep up the good work and we look forward to seeing you next year!

Valerie SonnenthalStill in the August blur and enjoying beach cookouts at sunset, swimming in the rain, the best tomatoes ever courtesy of my neighbor, and an incredible Shabbat dinner, but I am behind on my gardening duties and have been taking care of my son who had all his wisdom teeth removed.

I have fallen in love with Menemsha; every time I go down for a walk with my dogs I feel transported by the strange international mix of visitors and locals. I finally made it into Lambert’s Cove Glass, a walk-in closet of a store, between Beetlebung Coffee House and Scott McDowell’s Copperworks of Martha’s Vineyard. I was lucky to pick up a copy of Nancy Safford’s “Time’s Island: Portraits of the Vineyard,” a 1973 photo book published by MIT Press. The store has an excellent selection of used books for all ages with a focus on the Island, besides the gorgeous hand-blown glassware and furniture with glass hardware made by Alan Cottle. They are open Wednesday through Sunday, 1–6 pm, and will be open through the fall; sorry, no phone working there at the moment.

The Fisher extended family.
The Fisher extended family.

We stopped at Squibby for a dog walk with our Santa Fe visitors and someone who recognized the dogs came up and said hello. Turns out that Cookie (Margo) Martin, who is renting a house with a nearly identical address to our own (a package mix-up was how we met), is here in Chilmark for three weeks with her family. There are 40 family members, renting six houses, all in Chilmark except one, and all are related to Ernest and Doris Fisher, who started out camping in Gay Head and Chilmark nearly 40 years ago. The family spans from 10 months old to Ernest, 92 years young. We hope that everyone had another great summer stay; how lucky they are to share their summers!

On Saturday afternoon Jay Lagemann’s 2009 sculpture “Family – Presidential Welcome,” was moved into the middle of Beetlebung Corner. I had not seen it before and when driving past at 6 pm, pulled over, got out of my car and snapped a few pictures. Thursday, August 21, join sculptors Jay Lagemann and Duncan Niederlitz at their Open Studio from 5 – 7 pm, at 18 Wequobosque, a 1/2 mile on the left past Beetlebung Corner. For more information: or 508-560-0151.

I hope the Obamas will try Chilmark Tavern or they really are missing out on some of the best food offered on Island. My family will be going back this week with our Santa Fe friends and I can’t wait to try what I missed on our first visit. I spotted a really cool Willys parked at Chilmark General Store this week with Ohio plates. I was not gregarious enough to inquire on the packed porch who the owner was and have not seen it since.

The Flanders Field Softball Most Valuable Player was awarded last Sunday to Ed Edgar with much pomp and circumstance. Also the Howie Hustle Award was given to two players this year — Ted Sattler and Caleb Caldwell. Congratulations to all. Games continue Sunday mornings at 8 am through Labor Day.

Martha’s Vineyard Museum Chief Curator Bonnie Stacy is coming to the Chilmark Library to talk about her new book “Martha’s Vineyard,” including fascinating facts, stories, and photographs of the many varied facets of Vineyard life through the 19th century from seafaring families to farm life, to Hollywood filming, on Wednesday, August 27 at 5 pm.

Valerie SonnenthalSummer movie on Menemsha Beach with Sylvia Earle and Bob Nixon, Backyard Bash on a gorgeous evening enjoyed by families and all ages, Chilmark Road Race with more runners than ever, the First Family nestled into their vacation digs, hearing Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Foundation founder and president Dr. John Aucott speak at an informal gathering, one of my sons returning from a summer semester in Poland and one off camping in New Hampshire, dancing in Built on Stilts, girlfriends from Rockland County, N.Y., visiting — it’s the August blur under the Supermoon and Perseid meteor showers. It’s time to start thinking about the Ag Fair, what to enter, and enjoying the myriad of offerings all over our Island.

The other morning in Menemsha I spotted a woman standing by the creek working on a small canvas, fog making the world of this painter a timeless quiet. It was Karen Cuchel, an artist and teacher born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. She works plein air whether at home (still in Brooklyn) or every summer when she, her husband, writer/teacher Jason Dubow, and their kids visit Chilmark, a family tradition started by his parents over 30 years ago. Also our sons will share a common experience, The Mountain School, a one-semester program for high school juniors — we wish Ari Dubow a great semester.

Kara Taylor’s last gallery opening of the summer season is her NIGHT exhibit Sunday, August 17, from 5 to 8 pm. Come see her newest work; I know she’s been busy painting every day. For more information, 508-332-8171.

Last dinner (7 pm) and a movie (8 pm) in Chilmark is “Art and Craft,” a documentary about Mark Landis who has been called one of the most prolific art forgers in U.S. history, though he donated his work to museums under the ruse of being a philanthropist. Come meet Mark Landis on Wednesday, August 20.  For tickets and information,

The Chilmark Public Library gets serious this week with author/activist Rebecca Gordon, a professor at University of San Francisco, discussing her new book, “Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post 9/11 United States” on Wednesday, August 20, at 5 pm. Catch West Tisbury author John Hough Jr. discussing his new novel “Little Bighorn” on Thursday, August 21, at 5 pm.

The last session of Author Lecture Series at the Chilmark Community Center offers three masterful memoirists discussing writing their personal stories. Come hear Gail Sheehy, Richard Hoffman, Katie Hafner moderated by Alexandra Styron on Thursday, August 21, 7:30 pm. Tickets available at and the CCC (M-F, 9-12 only). The last Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society concert will be Carol Wincenc on flute, Jay Campbell on cello, Delores Stevens on piano, playing J.S. Bach’s Duo from the “Well Tempered Clavier,” and other works by Gabriella Lena Frank and Jake Heggie.

All Chilmark Community Center programs and classes run through August 15. The Chilmark Flea Market runs through Saturday, August 30. Remember, Chilmark Chocolates is now closed until September 4. You can still take yoga and dance classes through September 7 at The Yard. Lobster Rolls to Go at the Chilmark Church runs Tuesdays from 4:30 to 7 pm through September 9, and yoga at the church with Primo Lombardi on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9:15 am runs through August 28.

Got Chilmark news? Contact Valerie here.