Things to Do

Livingston Taylor takes the stage at the Old Whaling Church on July 5. — File photo by Albie Colantonio

Livingston Taylor will bring an evening of whimsical folk stories and melodies to the Old Whaling Church this Saturday, July 5, at 7:30 pm.

Today, nearly 50 years after he recorded his first record, Mr. Taylor continues to delight audiences with his upbeat tunes and soft ballads that range in genre from folk and gospel to jazz and pop.

Livingston Taylor is the fourth child of the musical Taylor family, which also includes his siblings James, Kate, Hugh, and the late Alex. In his extensive musical career he has written and performed hits like  “Carolina Day,” “I Will Be in Love With You,” and “Going Round One More Time,” and he has worked to cultivate young musicians and performers as a professor at the Berklee College of Music.

In addition to his performance on July 5, Mr. Taylor will return to the Old Whaling Church with a second concert on Saturday, August 9, at 7:30 pm. Tickets to the shows are $35 ($55 for VIP access, which includes a seat in the first seven rows), and are available at For more information about Mr. Taylor, visit

— Photo by Kaylea Moore

This Sunday, June 29, Tisbury Waterways Inc. sponsors an evening of seafood and cocktails at Denys and Marilyn Wortman’s home at 231 Hines Point, Vineyard Haven, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Special guest speakers include Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group director Rick Karney, Tisbury Shellfish Constable Danielle Ewart, and M.V. Shellfish Group’s Emma Green-Beach on how oysters can help keep Island ponds clean. Admission is $45. RSVP to

The Magnolia macrophylla has just begun to bloom. This Big-Leaf Magnolia was planted in 1961 and flowered after only nine years.  — Karin Stanley
The Cornus kousa dogwood Allée in full bloom.  Several of the trees forming the allée are Polly’s introductions, selected for their habit of growth, showy flowers and ornamental fruit.
The Cornus kousa dogwood Allée in full bloom.  Several of the trees forming the allée are Polly’s introductions, selected for their habit of growth, showy flowers and ornamental fruit.

Don’t miss the spectacular early summer blooming trees at Polly Hill Arboretum. The Cornus kousa dogwood allée is in full bloom. Several of the trees forming the allée were introduced by the late Ms. Hill, selected for their growth habits, showy flowers, and ornamental fruit.

The Arboretum’s most asked about tree, the Julian Hill Magnolia (Magnolia Macrophylla), has just begun to bloom. This big-Leaf magnolia was planted in 1961 and flowered after only nine years. Ms. Hill named the selection after her husband, Julian. He disliked the pinks and reds of the azaleas she was experimenting with at the time. He liked big white flowers, and Ms. Hill said, “This is the biggest white flower I have.” The flower is frequently 18 inches in diameter!

— Photo by Vladsinger, CC-BY-SA-3.0

Ever thought of learning to play tennis or of resurrecting those strokes learned in high school gym class and forgotten? An adult beginning tennis clinic, featuring some of the Island’s best teaching pros, will be held Saturday May 17 at 9am on the courts at Farm Neck in Oak Bluffs.

The clinic is designed for men and women, 18 years of age or over who have never played or have very little tennis experience. The event is the fourth beginners’ clinic sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Community Tennis (MVCT), a local non-profit that promotes tennis on the Vineyard.

The cost is $15 and lunch is included. Racquets and balls will be provided but those with racquets should bring them. Clothing should be suitable for active outdoor activity and tennis or running shoes should be worn.

There will be two hours of instruction from 9 am until 11 am. At 11:30, after lunch, there will be a round robin of games to exercise the new skills until 1:30.

The clinic opens with a brief talk about the rules and the benefits of the game by the participating pros including Farm Neck pro Mike Johns. Racquet grips and basic strokes will be demonstrated. Players will rotate around the courts with a different lesson and a different pro at each court.

Clinic spots are limited. Call 508-687-9032 or email to reserve a space. Be sure to leave a phone number or email address.

Isabelle Crawford on Woodlands Fortnight. — courtesy Jennifer Crawford

We all see the Horse Crossing signs when we drive around the Island, but where are the horses?

Come and meet them at the Martha’s Vineyard Horse Council’s Spring Open House on April 27, from 12 noon to 3 pm  at Tracey Olsen’s Woodbe Farm, 628 State Road, West Tisbury, next door to Fiddlehead Farm.

A big slice of the Vineyard’s equestrian life will be on display, with demonstrations of jumping and dressage, breed demo, team driving, saddle fitting, and horse massage. Representatives from barns large and small will be on hand to offer information about different riding disciplines, lessons, summer camps, and volunteer opportunities. There will be pony rides, a tack swap and sale, and free lunch from the grill. Anyone with spare tack for sale is encouraged to bring their own table. Kids can make the acquaintance of all kinds of friendly equines, from miniature horses to massive clydesdales.

“We did this for the first time last spring and the response was overwhelming,” said Ms. Olsen, a dressage rider fresh from a winning season in Florida. “There’s clearly a lot of passion for horses on the Island and this is a fun way to learn what’s available.”

The M.V. Horse Council is a nonprofit group that welcomes new members, riders or not, who want to see Island riders continue to enjoy affordable opportunities to interact with horses.  The organization hosts four horse shows through the summer and fall. “Vineyarders might not be aware that these small shows have produced many young equestrians who have gone on to win national honors,” said Ms. Olsen. Among them is dressage rider Clara Maynard who represented region 8 for the North American junior young rider championship last summer and now rides at Brown, where she is a freshman. Also, 13-year-old Ava Stearns, a West Tisbury middle school pupil, has won national recognition as one of the country’s most outstanding young jumpers and had an outstandingly successful season in Florida at the winter equestrian festival. “Watching Ava soaring over those big jumps was a highlight of last year’s open house,” Ms. Olsen continued. “We’re happy that she and her mom, Sarah Doyle, have agreed to demonstrate for us again this year.”

The dates for this season’s horse shows are:

June 1: Hunter show

June 15: Hunter show

June 29: Dressage

Oct 4: Fall Fuzzy hunter show and gymkhana

Oct. 18: Hunter Pace

Eastville Beach trash ready for pick-up. — File Photo by Susan Safford

The Vineyard Conservation Society will sponsor its 22nd annual Earth Day beach cleanup from 10 am to 12 noon this Saturday, April 19.

Volunteers are encouraged to help spruce up Island beaches before the summer season kicks in. There is no need to register or call ahead. Just show up at your favorite beach. Volunteers will be waiting with everything needed, according to a press release.

There will be an after-party at the Harbor View Hotel from 12 noon to 2 pm where treasure hunting stories will be told and volunteers may enjoy treats from the Harbor View and Scottish Bakehouse. There will also be a free raffle for gift certificates to Bunch of Grapes for the kids, and a garden basket from S.B.S. for the adults.

A list of Vineyard beaches: Aquinnah — Lobsterville, Philbin, Tribal Beaches; Chilmark — Squibnocket, Menemsha, Lucy Vincent; Edgartown — Fuller Street, Lighthouse Beach, South Beach (Left & Right Fork), State Beach (Bend in the Road); Oak Bluffs — Eastville Point, State Beach (Little Bridge), Town Beach (SSA to Inkwell); Tisbury — Lagoon Pond Landing, Lake Street Landing, Tashmoo Opening, Owen Little Way, Grove Ave. Beach, Hines Point, Owen Park, V.H. harbor (SSA to RM Packer); West Tisbury — Cedar Tree Neck, Lambert’s Cove.

For more information, go to or call 508-693-9588.

The 25th annual event offers rides of 15, 30 and 60 miles.

Ride the Vineyard is an excellent way to see the Island. — Susan Safford

Last May 624 bicycle riders raised $416,000 riding their bicycles around the Vineyard to help fund research into a cure for multiple sclerosis (MS), and to care for people affected by the crippling disease. This year’s ride, the 25th annual Bike MS: Ride the Vineyard, is on Saturday May 3. It begins and ends at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School.

The ride is sponsored by the New England chapter of the National MS Society and is a rite of spring for many riders, most of whom come from off-Island for the one day ride. Riders came from 16 states last year.

Participants are encouraged to raise a minimum of $250 — $150 for youth cyclists, minimum age 14 years old — in addition to the $35 registration fee. Many riders join teams that allow riders to work together to raise the minimums.

MS Bike Ride.
MS Bike Ride.

Ride the Vineyard is split into three separate sections, allowing riders of all levels to take part. There is a 15-mile bike path route that takes the bike path south on Barnes Road, to Edgartown on the West Tisbury Road, around Katama and back to the high school on the Vineyard Haven Road. The 30-mile countryside and ocean view route adds a tour around Oak Bluffs to the 15-mile route, and a 60-mile countryside and ocean view challenge which goes to Aquinnah, then to Katama through Edgartown, and around Oak Bluffs.

It is not a race but a pleasant way to see the Island and meet other riders, according to the event manager Liz Strawn. “We are aiming for $450,000 this year with closer to 700 riders,” she said. “We are partnering again with the Boys and Girls Club of Martha’s Vineyard to support them.”

For more information, contact The Greater New England Chapter National MS Society 800-344-4867,, or go to their website

Everything's blooming at Vineyard greenhouses. — Ralph Stewart

While we wondered if winter would ever end, elves at local greenhouses have been busy with seeds and seedlings; cleaning and refurbishing shops, grounds and display areas and stocking soil, fertilizer, potted plants and shrubs ready to burst into bloom.

Ashley Lister at Donaroma's.
Ashley Lister at Donaroma’s.

Most nurseries opened quietly last month for those intrepid gardeners who wanted to get a head start on the season. These days, they are buzzing with preparations for Palm Sunday on April 13, which for many Islanders is the unofficial “grand opening,” when the spirits of plant lovers are lifted by displays of early spring flowers, the smell of warm soil in greenhouses filled with young growing plants, that long-awaited breath of spring. It is indeed a time to awaken from the winter doldrums and begin dreaming of flowers, herbs, vegetables, and the warm days ahead.

All nurseries carry conventional and organic soils and fertilizers, pest control products, gardening tools, containers, and paraphernalia. They offer a variety of special discounts and bargains to tempt the green-thumbed customer.

Vineyard Gardens

Palm Sunday Open House: 11am to 2 pm; free plants, refreshments and Easter Sunday Egg Hunt (1 pm).

What else: Saturday morning (11 am) free lectures range from starting plants from seed to vegetable gardening, lawn care and maintenance and more. Saturday hands-on workshops teach how to prepare seeds and seedlings, and bring them home to plant ($20 fee).

What’s new:  Greenhouse attached to front shop; Amish-made Adirondack chairs.

What’s special: Each week, a special plant is offered at a 20-percent discount.

“Please stop by for a breath of spring,” says Chris Wiley, co-owner with husband Chuck. “The greenhouses are full and gorgeous.”

484 State Road, West Tisbury., 508-693-8511

Middletown Nursery

Palm Sunday: Family Fun Day visitors can plant a mini-strawberry or flower garden.

What else: Free seminars with organic gardener Roxanne Kapitan, “The Backyard Vegetable Garden from Seed to Harvest,” begin April 19, 1-2 pm. Topics include composting, building organic soil, and maximizing garden yield.

What’s new: remodeled the shop and creation of parklike display grounds with educational displays and new plants.

What’s special: the Island’s exclusive Husqvarna Dealer offers power tools and equipment. “Yard Sale” discounts are offered through April 19.

“We hope for a beautiful Easter Sunday and invite families to join us from 10 am to 1 pm for an Easter filled with the colors of spring,” said manager Steven Elliott.

680 State Road, West Tisbury. (508)696-7600

Jardin Mahoney

Easter season: Easter Cookie Decorating party for the kids on Easter Sunday, 9 am-3 pm.

What else: Lush tropicals and indoor hydrangeas, tulips, daffodils and even aromatic herbs welcome visitors into the big greenhouse. Also, fruit trees including apple, pear, plums, and cherries and berry bushes.

What’s special: Sale on blueberry bushes while supplies last.

Wandering the grounds makes for a nice spring walk and the garden center stocks everything you need to get outdoors and start digging.

45 Edgartown Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs., (508) 693-3511.


Palm Sunday: 10 am-2 pm, Donaroma’s welcomes guests with cut daffodils for all; Easter Sunday from 10 am-2 pm.

What’s new: Easter Lilies and hyacinths; early blooming shrubs like lilac, forsythia, and dogwood.

What’s special: A spring sale runs April 11 to 13; weekly specials for landscapers only.

The spacious florist shop and greenhouse is bursting with cheerful Easter decorations, plant baskets, bunnies, butterflies, and chicks.

Upper Main St., Edgartown.; (508)627-3036.

Heather Gardens

Palm Sunday (8:30 am- 3 pm) open house featuring free plants, warm refreshments, and sweet goodies.

What else: According to owner Mike Saunier, the nursery features the Island’s largest selection of locally grown, hand-seeded annuals in six-packs.

What’s new: Expanded variety of shrubs.

What’s special: one greenhouse filled with lush tropical houseplants and the tiny potting shed offering antique garden collectibles.

“We have the same friendly staff as in previous years who are always eager to help,” said Mr. Saunier, echoing the welcome of all Island nurseries.

377 State Road, West Tisbury., (508)693-1467.

This story was updated on April 14, 2014, to correct a mistake in the Middletown Nursery section. Steven Elliott was mistakenly identified as the owner of the West Tisbury nursery. John and Heather Hoff have owned the business for five years. Mr. Elliott is the manager.