Town Column

Oak Bluffs

By Megan Alley
Click here to contact Megan

Posted August 16, 2007

As I sit in my sunroom with my cup of tea, the view from my sunroom into the woods park as morning breaks, can only be described as absolute serenity. The many colored birds are flitting their way to the feeders for their breakfast, frequently breaking into song as if announcing to the world that it is indeed a beautiful day we are about to face. The hydrangea blossoms and ferns are just starting to fade a bit, reminding me that, as their colors are starting to fade, so is summer. This is the week that marks the peak of summer in Oak Bluffs as first, Illumination Night on Wednesday and then the West Tisbury Fair with the Oak Bluffs Fireworks display in Ocean Park on Friday night, signaling that the days are shorter and soon many people will be returning home to their winter residences and to their schools. So enjoy the moment.

Doug and Barbara Peckham recently hosted their son, Douglas Jr., his wife Sharon, and the three grandchildren, Danielle, Rachel, and Cameron for ten days at their home on Penacook Avenue. Doug Jr. and his family had not visited the Island since 2001, when they were here for their parents' 50th wedding anniversary. They had grand weather and enjoyed the beach and various attractions. It was a great treat for Barbara and Doug, who had not seen them in quite a while. On Saturday, August 18, from 10 am to 4 pm, Doug will open his studio and home at 56 Penacook Avenue, behind the Catholic Church, for an art show and sale, which will include Doug's acrylics, photography, pen and inks, watercolors, and pastels. There will also be a reception.

On Friday, August 17, from 10 to 11:30 am, the guest at Friday Conversations at the Oak Bluffs Senior Center will be Larry Harrison, who will discuss his recent book, "The Central Liberal Truth: How politics can change a culture and save it from itself." Please come and participate in this talk as Larry's talks are always thought-provoking and enjoyable.

The Oak Bluffs Town Beach, along with Sea View Avenue, is getting spruced up by a cadre of beach volunteers, the Parks and Recreation and the highway department. A group of concerned Oak Bluffs citizens decided to quit talking and start acting to help with what was needed to clean up and save the comfort station and concession building in the area formerly known as Pay Beach. Using some of the free cash funds allocated from the last special town meeting, the volunteers and town staff added this task to their very full schedules in order to keep the facility and the service open for this summer. You may have noticed a beautiful new pedestal shower and drinking fountain on the north side of the building. Changing rooms and bathroom facilities are available but still in the remodeling stage. There is also a regulation volleyball net with an adjustable net height for children, women, and men as per international volleyball rules. The concession stand and lifeguards at both beaches (also the beach known as the Inkwell) round out the only "full service beach" on the Island. Mucho kudos to the following " beach volunteers: Jim and Debby Westervelt, Kathy and Annie Burton, Nancy Phillips, Bernie Crossland, Suzanne Crossland, Cathy Coudy Shelley, Ardell Otten, Emil, Peter and Leif Friedrichs, Jim Bishop, Tom Confry, and Kate Collins. Also thanks to the very talented town carpenter, Charlie Danielson and Jim Tripp, Chris Gibson, Richie Combra Jr., and all their crews.

There will be a very important Public Hearing regarding the master plan for Sea View Park and Beach on Wednesday, August 22, at 5 pm in the board of selectmen's meeting room in the library. Public input is very important on the revitalization of this whole area and it is hoped that year-round and seasonal residents of Oak Bluffs can fit it in their busy schedules to attend. Tell the Planning Task Force what you want now and not after something is already done.

We send Birthday Smiles to Danielle Sedlier who celebrated the big 18 on August 10, Carolyn Dowd on August 17, to my son Dion Alley on August 19, and good friend Ginnie Hall on August 23.

For the next four weeks, John Swan, Sr. will be a hospital patient in Boston undergoing treatment. He will have access to a computer and would love to hear from his Island friends. Please find time to send him some news or just a cheer-up note. His e-mail address is

There will be a memorial service for Bill Grunden on Saturday, August 18, at 10 am at Trinity Church in the Campground. If you have any questions, please contact David Grunden at 693-2478.

The preschool story time at 10:30 am will have a Fish and Sea Life theme on August 22. Whales and fish along with making a paper plate fish with tissue scales will be the theme for the ages 6 to 10 Story Time at 10:30 am on August 23.

See you at the fireworks in Ocean Park tomorrow. This is the main fund-raiser for the Oak Bluffs Firemen's Civic Association, which not only brings you this amazing display but also provides much financial and other assistance to many Oak Bluffs families throughout the year.

Enjoy your week and send your news along.