By Jacqueline Sexton - July 20, 2006

Whatever happened to a day at the beach? Are swimming and building sand castles still a favorite pastime for summertime? Along with a stroll through Menemsha, browsing the shops and the eateries. If so, how do people fit in all the activities and entertainment? In Chilmark alone, the community center and the library are bristling with walks and talks and art shows. Keep moving!

The Vineyard Energy Project will present a program at the library next Tuesday, July 25, at 8 pm on Island solar systems. Bart Smith will discuss ways to save money on energy costs, with emphasis on alternative solutions. Refreshments will be served. The following morning, Wednesday July 26 home owners with solar systems in Chilmark and Aquinnah will open their houses to the public and answer questions. For locations and directions, go to or call Susan Wasserman at 508-603-3671 or Kate Warner at 508-693-3820.

The Yard has joined forces with the Martha's Vineyard Museum (formerly the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society) to organize a two-week extravaganza of performances and talks featuring an exploration of the history of whales in art, dance, science, and theater, from July 24 to August 12. Specialists involved in the program include Tobias Vanderhoop, Mark Lovewell, Dillon Bustin, Cynthia Riggs, Menina von Opel, and many others. For details, call The Yard at 508-645-9662

Happy anniversary to Bill and Zee Gamson who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently off-Island with their son Josh, daughter Jenny, their spouses and their children, Gilad, Ari, Maya and, the newest grandchild, Reba. They had their usual splendid holiday, boating, hiking, swimming, talking, and eating.

Billie Hancock has been in town briefly from Punta Verde, Fla. before moving to Oak Bluffs for the rest of the summer. Her big news is the publication by Susan Klein of a children's book she wrote about her grandson Mark lobstering with his grandpa, Herbie Hancock, the late longtime Chilmark selectman. The book, "Lobstering With My Papa," illustrated by Joan Walsh, is getting good reviews from the critics at Menemsha Texaco and elsewhere around town. Billie will have a book signing at the Bunch of Grapes on July 31 at 7:30 pm.

Among events at the community center are a bird walk with botanist Allan Keith next Tuesday, July 25 at 8 am. Meet at the Center.

Will Flender, the author of "Walking Trails of Martha's Vineyard," will talk about favorite trails, new trails and the future of walking trails all over the Island next Thursday, July 27, 8 pm at the Center. The third edition of his book, in color, updates all the walks and adds new ones.

Next week's selection of films from the Martha's Vineyard Independent Film Festival will air next Wednesday, July 26. "Pelican Man," the children's film, for kids five an up, starts at 5 pm and is the tale of a friendship between a 10-year-old boy and a pelican.

The adult offering, at 8 pm, is a double-bill with a short film, "Overcoming the Storm." It follows residents of the 9th ward in New Orleans returning home after hurricane Katrina. The longer film, "Street Fight" is about politics in Newark, N. J. Both films will be shown at the Center.

Cultural anthropologist Rick Shweder will give a talk, "Celebrate Diversity But Do We Really Mean It?" at the library next Wednesday, July 26, 5:30 to 6:30 pm.

Here is some news for aspiring poets: The Chilmark Library's Elisa Brickner Poetry Contest is open to all Island young people, seasonal and year-round, who are entering grades 6 to 12. There are two categories: junior high, grades 6 to 8; and high school, grades 9 to 12. You are invited to submit an original poem, any length, any style and on any subject. One poem per person. The deadline is Monday, August 7, at 5:30 pm. Late entries will not be considered. The winner in each category will win $200; the runner-up in each category will receive $100. Winning poems will be kept in a volume on the Elisa Brickner Poetry shelf at the library. For more details, please call the library during library hours at 508-645-3360. If necessary, leave a message.

The walking women will meet next Thursday at 9 am to hike the Peaked Hill Reservation. For details, consult Will Flender's "Walking Trails of Martha's Vineyard," or call Julie Coleman at 508-645-2261 or Judy Maynes at 508-645-3460. Newcomers are welcome.