Things to Do

Garden Arts Summer campers. — Photo courtesy of Garden Arts

School lets out this year on June 27th. How will your kids spend their summer vacation? With our comprehensive guide to camps on Martha’s Vineyard, it’s easy to find a camp for every interest. Start planning now, and give your kids something to write home about this summer.

Pony Camp at Arrowhead Farm.
Pony Camp at Arrowhead Farm.

Gone are the days when camp was a predictable lineup of crafts, snacks, naps,
swimming lessons and more naps. The Vineyard has as many day camps as
it does dirt roads and shady lanes — camps where kids can garden, dance,
skateboard, improvise comedy routines, and jump joyfully from kayaks.

YMCA Camp Terra Mare
YMCA of M.V., 111R
Edgartown Rd., Oak Bluffs.
See brochure at
ymcamv.org;
508-696-7171

The Yard Kids Dance
The Yard, off Middle Rd., Chilmark.
Weeklong choreographic
workshop; ages 6–11.
508-645-9662;
dancetheyard.org

Sense of Wonder camp.
Sense of Wonder camp.

Sense of Wonder
Summer Day Camp
23 Grove Ave., Vineyard Haven.
Ages 7–12. Creative arts and
environmental cultural awareness, and
community service. Art, clay, music,
puppetry, theater, beach, more.
Senseofwondercreations.org;
508-693-3142

Summer Stars
Theater Arts Camp
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, 24 Church St.,
Vineyard Haven.
Ages 7–13. Theater/ visual arts camp,
weekly themes.
summerstars@vineyardplayhouse.org;
vineyardplayhouse.org;
508-693-6450 ext. 28

Pony Camp
Pond View Farm
New Lane, West Tisbury.
pondviewfarmmv.com;
508-693-2949

Junior
Equestrian Camp
Netherfield Farm, 137 Old King’s
Highway, Chilmark.
Beginner-advanced; lessons,
games, educational activities.
netherfieldfarms.com,
508-645-2724;
774-810-0078.

Art Camp
West Tisbury School, 401 Old
County Rd., West Tisbury
Weekly themes:
woodwork, found objects,
jewelry, painting.
508-212-2859;
585-746-9877

Pony Camp
Arrowhead Farm
174 Indian Hill Rd., West Tisbury.
Riding, horse care, crafts, games.
horses@arrowheadfarm.net;
arrowheadfarm.net;
508-693-8831

IMP All Things
Theater Camp
Edgartown School,
35 Robinson Rd., Edgartown.
Weekly themes; ages 6–18; improv,
Shakespeare, performances.
508-939-9368;
imp4kids.com

M.V. Regional
High School Clinics
MV Regional High School, 100
Edgartown Rd., Oak Bluffs
Friday clinics in arts & crafts,
football, lacrosse, soccer, more.
Through Aug.
mvrhs.org/clinics/;
508-693-1033,
ext. 235

Gymnastics
Island Gymnastics,
410 State Rd., West Tisbury.
June 23–Sept. 5. Tuition varies.
tgoodell06@comcast.net;
508-693-8358

Skateboarding
M.V. Skate Drop-in
Skate Park, Edgartown Rd., Oak Bluffs
Ages 7–17.
info@mvskatecamp.com;
508-955-9016

Children's Theater Camp by Island Theater Workshop.
Children’s Theatre with Island Theater Workshop.

Children’s
Theatre of Martha’s
Vineyard
Sailing Camp Park, 177 Barnes Rd., Oak Bluffs.
Musical theater camp with Island Theatre Workshop. Ages 6–17.
Performance concludes each session.
508-693-2769;
508-737-8550;
itwmv.org

Pony Club
Red Pony Farm
85 Red Pony Rd.,West Tisbury
Ages 8–13.
redponyfarmmv.com;
508-693-3788

Boys and
Girls Club
44 Robinson Rd., Edgartown
Arts, crafts, games, computers, gym,
field trips; grades K-5. Grades 6–8:
Counselor in Training, community
outreach projects.
mvbgclub.org;
508-627-3303

MV
Adventure Camp
Drop-off and pick-up at MV Regional
High School, 100 Edgartown Rd., Oak Bluffs.
Ages 7-15; biking, fishing, kayaking,
hiking, beach.
info@mvadventurecamp.com;
508-693-8484;
mvadventurecamp.com

Felix Neck
Nature Camp
Wildlife Sanctuary, Felix Neck Drive,
Edgartown—Vineyard Haven Rd.
Habitats, marine life, ecology,
and wildlife.
508-627-4850; felixneck@massaudubon.org.

Island Cub
Scout Council Camp
Duarte, off Barnes Rd., Oak Bluffs.
Day camp for grades 2–5.
dick.aiken@scouting.org.

Vineyard Montessori Camp.
Vineyard Montessori Camp.

Vineyard Montessori
Camp Super Kid
286 Main St., Vineyard Haven
Ages 2.9–9. Book-based,
adventure-focused theme camp
with multi-sensory activities.
director@vineyardmontessori.com
508-693-4090

Sailing Camp
with Sail
Martha’s Vineyard
110 Main St., Vineyard Haven.
Race training, sail training.
508-696-7644;
sailmv.com

Garden Arts Summer Camp.
Garden Arts Summer Camp.

Garden Arts
Summer Camp
Garden Gate Child Development
Center, 119 W. Spring St., Vineyard
Haven. Ages 2–5.
gardengatecdc@hotmail.com;
508-696-9997

FARM
Institute Agriculture
Camp/Programs
The FARM Institute, 14 Aero Ave., Edgartown.
Ages 2–15. Connect children to
agriculture through fun,
informative farm experiences.
508-627-7007;
farminstitute.org.

Miss Lani at Featherstone Art Camp.
Miss Lani at Featherstone Art Camp.

Art Camp
Featherstone
30 Featherstone Lane, Oak Bluffs
Programs, themes
vary for ages 3–teens.
featherstoneart.org;
508-693-1850

Vineyard
Tennis Camp
Vineyard Tennis Center,
22 Airport Rd., West Tisbury.
workoutandvtc.com/vineyard-tennis-escape;
508-696-8000

M.V. Museum
Kids’ Summer Program
MV Museum, 59 School St., Edgartown
Tues., Wed., Thurs., 10 am–12 noon. Ages 5-12.
508-627-4441 ext.110;
mvmuseum.org

Children’s
Art Program
58 Dock St., Edgartown.
Martha’s Vineyard Art Association’s
Old Sculpin Studio School Ages
7–12. Mon.–Fri., 9:30–11
oldsculpin@gmail.com;
oldsculpingallery.org;
508-627-4881

Island
Children’s School
5 Halcyon Way, West Tisbury,
508-693-5815

Holly Bellebuono and girls at her Girls Empowered camp.
Holly Bellebuono and girls at her Girls Empowered camp.

Girl Empowered
Vineyard Herbs, West Tisbury
For girls ages 11-15. Herbal teas, aromatherapy, yoga, and other wellness activities.
holly@vineyardherbs.com;
vineyardherbs.com;
508-687-9600

Girls on the RISE
445 State Rd, Vineyard Haven
Fine arts program for ages 3-6
info@risevpa.com;
risevpa.com;
508-693-2262

M.V. Sharks Baseball
Training for ages 7-11
Manter Field, West Tisbury
mvsharks.com
508-687-9705

Check out our comprehensive Island Camp map:

MVT_Camps_map

Horseshoe crabs will be the subject of a series of lectures by Fred Hotchkiss of the Marine Paleobiological Research Institute and Susie Bowman of Felix Neck. — Photo by Lanny McDowell

Fred Hotchkiss of the Marine Paleobiological Research Institute and Susie Bowman, teacher-naturalist at Felix Neck and coordinator of the Island’s Spawning Horseshoe Crab Surveys, present a free program about horseshoe crabs this March and April at four Island libraries. Dates and locations are as follows: March 20, 6:30 pm, Oak Bluffs; March 25, 7 pm, Vineyard Haven; April 9, 5 pm, Chilmark; and April 16, 5:30 pm, Edgartown.

Mr. Hotchkiss and Ms. Bowman will also invite volunteers to help gather data on horseshoe crabs at the peak of their mating and egg laying this spring, in Lake Tashmoo and Sengekontacket Pond.

“The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon – The year is 2059, and it is not a happy time. A totalitarian state rules England, outlawing seers, soothsayers, and “dreamcatchers” to their own universe with other undesirables. Paige Mahoney, a dreamcatcher of high order, is kidnapped and taken to be confined in the Residence of Magdalen, controlled by Arcturus, Warden of Mesarthim. This is a multilayered dystopian novel.

“The Martian” by Andy Weir – Mark Watney is an astronaut sent to live for a time on Mars with a crew. When a dust storm comes up, the crew is forced to abandon their mission and return to Earth, leaving Watney behind because they believe him to be dead. With MacGyver-like skill, a few potatoes, and plenty of duct tape, this snarky, wise-cracking, nerdy hero fills this action-packed novel, which will delight both hard core science fiction fans and the general reader alike.

“A Canticle for Leibowitz” by Walter M. Miller – Every science fiction-fantasy lover, young and old, should read this 1960 classic. Civilization has been destroyed by a global nuclear war. There has been a violent backlash against technology and advanced learning. Even people who can read have been killed, leading to mass destruction of books and almost universal illiteracy. Leibowitz, who has survived the war, smuggles books into a secret hiding place, where they are rediscovered 600 years later by a young monk. A most extraordinary novel.

“The Sea and Summer” by George Turner – In 2041, the father of Francis and Teddy Conway loses his job and commits suicide. The family plummets in the economic world. Teddy is gifted and quickly is sent for training in police intelligence. Francis, left behind, is a gifted mathematician in a time when mental arithmetic has been forgotten. Trying to subsist on the inadequate charity of the state, like 90 percent of the rest of the population, Francis becomes involved with a white collar criminal who needs to hide her records from the government.

“MaddAddam” by Margaret Atwood – This is the last of the books in Atwood’s trilogy. It began with “Oryx and Crake,” the  story of Jimmy, who loses his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful, but elusive Oryx, whom Jimmy and Crake both loved. The environment has been destroyed by powerful corporations practicing genetic engineering. In the second installation, “Year of the Flood” an anticipated dry flood has occurred, killing most of mankind. Toby is a young can-do survivor, who returns in “MaddAddam along with Jimmy.” The few survivors, a traumatized, cynical group, band together, using all their self-preservation skills to create a new world. Great writing filled with murder, sexual tension, action, and lots of humor.

Trails from Saddleback's summit offer sweeping views of the Rangeley Lakes below. — Photo courtesy of Saddleback Mou

To the outrage of my native Vineyard companions, including my boyfriend, I’ve always found the mountains superior to the sea. Perhaps it’s because I grew up landlocked. Maybe I just haven’t acquired my sea legs yet — a windy day on the ferry still turns my stomach over. I’ve dragged my boyfriend westward on several occasions, but the tide always pulls him back to Martha’s Vineyard. I understand. It calls me back too.

Regardless, I always jump at the chance to view the world from more than 300 feet above sea level, especially in the lull of the winter months. A mid-winter ski trip with my boyfriend and six other friends seemed the perfect opportunity.

Planning a ski trip with seven other people necessitates flexibility. We were skiers and snowboarders, beginners and experts, park shredding daredevils and glade shooting speed demons. I fancied myself an expert skier as a youth, but I hadn’t set a ski on the slopes in more than 10 years. The one thing we had in common was none of us had much money. After an extensive search, the best deal was a ski and stay package at Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley, Maine.

Saddleback-Montain-Maine.jpg
Most of the lodging at Saddleback ski area is ski in, ski out.

As it turned out, Saddleback was a wise choice for our spectrum of skill sets. There was a good selection of groomers, glades, and parks, despite the disappointing closure of the western side of the mountain. At 4,120 feet, with a 2,000 foot vertical drop, Saddleback boasts “a big mountain with a small mountain feel,” and it delivers. The mountain only felt as big as you wanted it to be. Some runs hugged the base lodge, while others wound through miles of scenic vistas. There were wide, easy rides, and harrowingly steep backcountry chutes. There was something for everybody, with room to grow.

Unlike my sea legs, I found my ski legs were stable. Though the black diamonds racked my nerves, my muscles remembered how to execute each turn, how to lean into each acceleration, and glide to a stop. Just like riding a bike. I followed my most advanced friends into every challenge, eager to earn my stripes, even though sometimes it meant falling directly on my face. (Public service announcement: always wear a helmet).

By the time the lifts closed, our bodies were ready to follow the sun down the mountain. We walked languidly back to our cabin to dethaw our gear — and limbs — in front of the propane fireplace. We home cooked our meals in the fully equipped kitchen and ate them under the high, wood-beamed canopy of the common area. Each evening, through the expansive glass windows, a dusting of snow fluttered down in answer to our repeated wishes.

By the final run of the last day, the sun was setting behind the mountain. An orange glow was cast on the runway of snow descending from our feet, where the mountain dropped off suddenly into a basin of lakes. I smiled, squinting into the last rays, then I turned to my boyfriend, who was still buckling into the bindings of his snowboard. “I told you so,” I wanted to say, but I swallowed my words. Whether we were 4,000 feet above sea level or 300, it didn’t matter. The feeling I got looking down from the mountain was a lot like watching the ocean disappear into the sky. The world felt huge, limitless, and I wanted to carve into it at a high speed. There was something out there for everybody, with room to grow.

Getting to Saddleback

  • Rangeley, ME is roughly six hours from Woods Hole. Take 95 North as far as Auburn, ME, and follow a map from there. Careful: GPS devices and phones don’t always work in the boonies of Maine.
  • The best deal at Saddleback is the Ski & Stay package: $69 per person, per day (two day minimum). (207-864-5671; saddlebackmaine.com).
Rangeley-Lake-Maine.jpg
Fishing, snowshoeing, skating, and snowmobiling are also popular sports around Rangeley Lake.

Other Things to Do in Rangeley, ME

From Saddleback Mountain, the town of Rangeley is only about a ten minute drive, and since the lifts close at 4 pm, there’s plenty of time to explore in the evenings.

  • The Red Onion, which presides over the village’s main street, serves great pizza with homemade dough and any topping they can dream up. (207-864-5022; rangeleyredonion.com).
  • The Moose Alley bowling and billiards center offers food, drinks, and an indoor fire pit: a low-key way to unwind after a day on the slopes. (207-864-9955; moosealleymaine.com).
  • If your legs somehow muster more energy, Haley Pond, right in town, is cleared of snow and lit up each evening for public skating.
  • The region is a huge hub for snowmobilers, with plenty of areas devoted to the sport.
  • Vineyarders should also bring their fishing poles and ice fishing set-ups — trophy sized landlocked salmon and brook trout dwell in Rangeley Lake and surrounding bodies of water.

Going someplace interesting this winter? We’d love to hear about it. Send photos or travel dispatches (or questions for other travelers) to us at onisland@mvtimes.com.

Ok, this isn't on the Vineyard. But if you have any Parisian tips for Danielle — especially off-the-beaten-track museums or bike tours, send'em along! — Photo by Thesupermat, courtesy o
We admit it: also not Martha's Vineyard, or even Falmouth. Been to Prague? This is their old town square, and Danielle's going soon. Send your insider advice to us at onIsland@mvtimes.com.
We admit it: also not Martha’s Vineyard, or even Falmouth. Been to Prague? This is their old town square, and Danielle’s going soon. Send your insider advice to us at onIsland@mvtimes.com.

The last time I was in Europe I had hauled a cheap backpack around and ate La Vache Qui Rit (Laughing Cow) cheese triangles (you can buy them at Stop & Shop, so much for authentic French fromage). I showered sporadically and never stepped foot in a real restaurant. Now I’m all grown up with more sophisticated expectations, so I’m trying to whittle down a list of good restaurants in Paris and in Prague that will make up for what I didn’t get to experience as a student.

Also, we are looking for some more unique and off track museums to explore.  We want to intersperse some more esoteric museums with the biggies like D’Orsay and the Louvre.

Anyone ever take a bike tour in either Paris or Prague?  Or have experience with the rental bike systems in either city?

Got any advice for Danielle? Got a question for readers? Comment online or email us at onisland@mvtimes.com.

Hop the Patriot boat to Falmouth for a night "off the rock," or just to get your shopping done. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

If you’ve only got a day or two to spare, a long drive can feel more like a waste of time than a refreshing trip off Island. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay at home this February break. There are plenty of destinations around Vineyard Sound that only take one quick trip by boat or plane. Get packing, because getting off the rock just got much easier.

Falmouth/Woods Hole

How to get there: You can take the Steamship Authority (SSA) ferry if you want to bring your car along, but the Patriot boat to Falmouth offers a free shuttle service that will bring you to the Falmouth Mall or Falmouth Plaza (might as well get some shopping done while you’re in America). One way tickets are $12. (patriotpartyboats.com).

Trip time: About 30 minutes.

SeaCrest2-69.jpg
Sea Crest Beach Hotel, Falmouth.

Where to stay: The Sea Crest Beach Hotel in North Falmouth offers a Cape and Island resident rate, starting at $79 per night. The heated indoor saline pool and jacuzzi await guests who have been missing out on a good soak this winter. (508-540-9400; seacrestbeachhotel.com).

Anejo-Margarita.jpg
Anejo, Falmouth.

Where to eat: One of our editors once missed the boat because she couldn’t leave Falmouth without getting chinese takeout at Peking Palace (508-540-8204; pekingpalacefalmouth.com). Another swears by a Mexican meal and a margarita at Anejo (508-388-7631; anejomexicanbistro.com).

What to do: If you like learning about the marine wildlife around the Vineyard, visit the seals and other critters at the Woods Hole Science Aquarium (aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov). If your family spends a lot of time at the Ryan Family Amusements arcade in Oak Bluffs, take them to the Ryan Family bowling alley in Falmouth. (508-540-4877; ryanfamily.com).

New Bedford

 

Insider secrets: “Flying into New Bedford is such a gem, it’s an easy flight because Cape Air is the only airline in the airport. The car rental is right there, so we see a lot of people pick up a car and get their shopping done at the box stores. Another little known secret is the Airport’s restaurant, the Airport Grille, is fantastic. It’s sophisticated but comfortable, there’s always great entertainment and excellent food. We see people fly into New Bedford just to eat and fly home. (508-994-7455; airportgrille.com).” — Trish Lorino, Vice President, Marketing & Public Relations, Cape Air & Nantucket Airlines

How to get there: Book a Cape Air flight from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY) to New Bedford (EWB). Flights start at around $55 each way. (capeair.com).

Trip time: Approximately 17 minutes.

Where to stay: Cozy up with the whole family at the Davenport House B&B, a well-reviewed Jacobethan architectural gem just a ten minute walk from downtown. Rates range from $95 to $150 a night, but there’s only three rooms to choose from. (bbonline.com).

Where to eat: The Portuguese restaurant Churrascaria Novo Mundo, which boasts the “holy grail” of barbecued chicken, was featured on the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Go see if you agree. (508-991-8661).

Seamens_Bethel_entrance.jpg
Seamen’s Bethel, New Bedford.

What to do: If you like fishing, join a free tour of the Whaling National Historic Park, which explores the same whaling industry that captivated Herman Melville. Our editors thought the Seamen’s Bethel — described as the “Whalemen’s Chapel” in “Moby Dick” — was the highlight of the tour. (nps.gov/nebe). If the winter weather has you feeling cooped up, get moving at Carabiner’s indoor climbing center. (508-984-0808; carabiners.com).

Nantucket

 

Insider Secrets: “Packed in January just as much as July, beloved local hotspot LoLa 41 is open for dinner nightly and lunch from Monday-Saturday. Staying for the long weekend?  Check LoLa out on Sunday Nights for buy one get one Sushi Sunday. This Presidents Day weekend, chic boutiques are opening their doors for huge savings. Word on Washington Street is that Milly & Grace has $400 dresses on sale for just $60. Saturday nights during the off-season mean DJ nights at Pazzo. This mid-island restaurant turns into a dance party with DJ’s from all over the globe. Best part? No cover. Shows start at 10pm. Take a Sconset Bluff Walk tour on the east side of the island. While out there, make sure to get a shot of Sankaty lighthouse. (lola41.com; millyandgrace.com).” — Holly Finigan, the Nantucket blACKbook

How to get there: Book a Cape Air flight from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY) to Nantucket (ACK). Flights are only about 20 minutes and start at around $45 each way. (capeair.com).

Trip time: Approximately 20 minutes.

Jared-Coffin-House-Room.jpg
The Jared Coffin House, Nantucket.

Where to stay: The Jared Coffin House won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2013, and has a great library where guests can kick back and enjoy an afternoon snack. Our editors say their brunch is killer too. Rates start at $135 per night. (jaredcoffinhouse.com).

Where to eat: Though you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the cool wooden sign at Brotherhood of Thieves will draw you in. Our editors say the hearty — but local and organic — food and fresh draught beer will make you stay. (508-228-2551; brotherhoodofthieves.com). If you’ve been missing Morning Glory Farm in the off-season, Nantucket’s Bartlett’s Farm serves up similar fare and vibes. (508-228-9403;bartlettsfarm.com).

What to do: If you like tossing frisbees at the Riverhead Disc Golf Course in the State Forest, the Nantucket Disc Golf Course will be a fun and scenic challenge. (nantucketdiscgolf.org). If sampling the latest brews at Offshore Ale is your idea of a good time, take a tour of Nantucket’s Cisco brewery, winery, and distillery. (508-325-5929; ciscobrewers.com).

A Bajan fisherman throws a cast net over a school of baitfish. — Photo by Glenn Burnell
Nelson and Norma Sigelman picked a scenic stop for a photo overlooking the west side of Barbados.
Nelson and Norma Sigelman picked a scenic stop for a photo overlooking the west side of Barbados.

Last February, at the invitation of friends, my wife and I left cold, gray Martha’s Vineyard behind and traveled to Barbados, the easternmost island in the Caribbean, for one week of blue water set against an azure sky, an endless pitcher of rum punch, fried flying fish basted in spices, and plentiful Bajan hospitality.

I caught one fish, a small needlenose creature called a garfish. But an encounter on the last day of our stay provided me with one of the more memorable fishing experiences of my life, and there was not a fish in sight.

Our trip was not intended as a fishing vacation, but I have a firm rule: never travel to any destination where the air and water temperature are both above 80 degrees without a fishing rod. I also packed a Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby hat, to give away when the time seemed right.

The Derby embodies the Vineyard spirit of community, the natural beauty of our shoreline, and the exciting fishing that makes our Island unique. Each entrant in the month-long fishing contest receives a hat emblazoned with the Derby name, the date 1946, the year the contest started, and an image of an arching striped bass, a fish emblematic of the currents that swirl around our Island.

I have acquired quite a collection of hats over more than 25 years of fishing the Derby. Years ago, I realized they make great gifts to take along on trips and the recipients enjoy receiving something unique to the Vineyard.

A Bajan fisherman scans the shallow water for signs of baitfish.
A Bajan fisherman scans the shallow water for signs of baitfish.

Our winter escape to a warm Caribbean island was an anomaly. We had never been beach people in the conventional American sense, content to baste in the hot sun in a semi-comatose state. For years, our trip planning revolved around our daughter, now 22, and school vacation. Several years we went to Maine, one year to Montreal. There was a trip to London and one to Amsterdam. The common thread, intended or not, was always cold, damp weather.

When the opportunity to go to Barbados presented itself I needed to convince my wife Norma that there was something to be said for getting closer to the equator in February. She was resistant, wondering what we would do, but agreed. Once in Barbados she rarely left the white sand beach and bath temperature water.

We flew from New York and arrived that afternoon at the house of our hosts located a short stroll from Gibbs Beach on the west coast of Barbados, in the parish of St. Peter. We dropped our bags and went to the beach.

My second cast I hooked a fish on a one-ounce, green Spofford’s needlefish, a lure that is irresistible to many Vineyard species, including striped bass and false albacore, and had lost none of its fish attracting abilities over the long flight south. The garfish was not big but it was interesting in its appearance with a slender snake-like body, and long, beak of a mouth with sharp, needle teeth, hence its alternate names, needlefish and sea needle.

I like to walk along the beach and cast every 50 yards or so. It is as much about the activity, walking and listening to the sea wash up on the sand, as it is about the likelihood of catching a fish. On Barbados, outfitted with a light spinning rod and a small bag of lures, wearing my favorite tan Derby fishing hat against the bright sun, the fact that I was fishing at all proved to be an easy conversation starter with the wide range of people I encountered on my lengthy strolls. Many wondered what I expected to catch. My answer was, “I have no idea.”

The local fishermen who motored along the beach in wooden skiffs, cast net at the ready, had no doubts about their quarry. It was a type of bait fish we would call sprat. “They’re very quick, you only get one chance,” one Bajan fisherman told me as he gathered his net on the beach into neat coils.

The government of Barbados supports fishermen through a series of government operated markets where locals, chefs and bolder visitors go to purchase day-caught fish. The market closest to our residence was more like a stall, where mahi-mahi sat in ice bins, and hefty Bajan women with toothless grins cleaned and packaged flying fish, an island specialty. Several times over the course of the week I made my way to the market to watch the give and take of Bajan commerce.

Smokey at work in his fish market domain.
Smokey at work in his fish market domain.

The centerpiece of the action was a man who went by the name “Smokey,” a no-nonsense fish cutter who was ruler of the domain. On order he would pull a mahi-mahi from the bin and fillet it on request after which he named the price. Smokey had a reputation. He was said to not be particularly friendly.

Perhaps. But I was intrigued watching him clean mahi-mahi, peeling off the skin after several deft cuts, and on my multiple trips to the market he answered my questions, even if he did not smile.

“It’s not as difficult as it seems,” Smokey said about his method. “You just have to do what comes naturally.”

Fishermen on Barbados as on the Vineyard keep to their own schedule. “Some guys will go out in the morning,” he said. “Some guys go out at night and come in in the morning, 7 am, but you won’t find me here that early.” Not a smile punctuated his remarks. Ever, to me or anyone else. I had my man.

Our last day on Barbados I took my fishing rod and started out on the long walk to the fish market. I walked past sites that had become familiar, the luxury villas and hotels where vacationing Brits turned from white to lobster red, the rum shop where a group of Bajans hung out laughing and playing dominoes and a long-grounded fishing boat on the beach.

Smokey was cutting fish. “Smokey,” I said, “Do you know where Martha’s Vineyard is?”

It can grow tiring to hear some editorialists genuflect to our specialness. It was refreshing to hear Smokey say he only vaguely knew where Martha’s Vineyard was located.

“Well, it’s an Island and every year there is a fishing contest,” I said, “called the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby. It’s a very big deal.”

I handed him the blue Derby hat I had packed away one week earlier. “There are only two people on Barbados with a Derby hat,” I said. “You and me.” I waited for his reaction.

Smokey put the hat on his bald, brown head and smiled. “How do I look,” he said with a grin. It was not exactly a Lone Ranger silver bullet moment, but it felt pretty good.

A sunset over Gibbs Bay.
A sunset over Gibbs Bay.

I began walking back up the beach, stopping periodically to cast and linger in the warm water flowing around my bare feet. Suddenly, a young, lanky Bajan who seemed to be about 12 years of age came running up to me and asked me what I was doing. He was smiling, fidgety and genuinely excited. He peppered me with questions and grabbed at the fishing rod, anxious to give it a try.

His actions and mannerisms did not reflect his age and were awkward enough to suggest something else was at work beyond his youth.

He wanted to cast. Luckily, I had enough experience to stay well back as he whipped the lure to the side. I did my best to improve his casting skills without success.

He told me his name was Jadon. I assumed his father was one of the laborers on a seaside project and he was on his own on the beach. We walked together up the beach until we came to a rocky point. It was time to part company.

I told him he could go no further. Spontaneously, and with a huge smile on his face, he jumped up on my back and hugged me. I removed my well-worn fishing hat and put it on his head. “I want you to have this hat,” I told him. “This is a pretty special hat where I come from.”

Jadon looked at me with a huge grin. Then he went running back down the beach waving the hat and yelling for joy.

How we got there
We drove to the Kingston, R.I. Amtrak station (free parking) and caught an afternoon train to New York City where we spent the night with our hosts. The next morning we boarded Jet Blue’s 8 am direct flight from New York City and arrived in sunny, warm Bridgetown, Barbados about 1:30 pm. Six days later we departed on an afternoon Jet Blue flight and arrived back in New York about 7 pm. The next day, to our delight, our car was still parked in Kingston when we arrived at the train station.

Andrew Jacobs asked himself, "When fishing ends, what do you do?" The answer was hunting. — Photo courtesy of Andrew Jacobs

The seasons here are like characters in a stereotypical high school television show. Spring is the precocious kid, the early adopter. Summer is the popular kid, the poster child. Fall is the rebellious kid, the one who still hopes to party like it’s July and will skip class to win a daily in the derby. And that’s it. That’s the show.

Oh right, winter.

Winter is the quiet kid, the misunderstood kid. The kid you wish you hadn’t judged right off the bat, because you could have learned something.

We all know quiet doesn’t necessarily mean boring; still…what do people — 30-year-olds, for example — do for fun in the winter?

Andrew Jacobs, 30, lives in Vineyard Haven, but he lives to fish. The Derby is his Super Bowl. Jacobs’s interest in nature is a unifying thread in his life — he works as Laboratory Supervisor and Environmental Technician for the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah.

The downside of such a passion is this existential question that Jacobs asked himself: “When fishing ends, what do you do?”

The answer: hunting. Waterfowl in particular has become a big hobby for Jacobs. “It becomes a social thing too,” Jacobs explained. “Where’d you get it? What’d you use? What are we going to do with it?” Jacobs enjoys unique culinary creations such as Pheasant Pot Pie and Goose Meatloaf. As he described these dishes to a Times correspondent, James Rolston, 30, also of Vineyard Haven, texted Jacobs: “Wanna come over for Venison chili?”

In the winter, Brian Hall walks the beaches with his trusty dog, Ody, searching for arrowheads. And he prepares to coach the Island's under-15 lacrosse team.
In the winter, Brian Hall walks the beaches with his trusty dog, Ody, searching for arrowheads. And he prepares to coach the Island’s under-15 lacrosse team.

Inanimate objects make for good hunting as well. Brian Hall, 30, lives in Oak Bluffs and is an avid arrowhead predator, walking the beach with his trusty sidekick Ody (short for Odysseus), his purebred American Bulldog. “The off-season is a great time to embrace all that the Island has to offer,” Hall said.

Mr. Hall has a great deal to offer the Island as well. His trade revolves around keeping our most precious resource safe; Hall works as an Operator for the Oak Bluffs Water District. He also heads into his eighth season as head coach of the Island’s Under 15 Lacrosse team and his very first year at the fire department. He aims to spend this winter taking the Firefighter 1 course and the First Responders course.

The enchantment of the land that draws thousands of temporary Islanders during the warmer months does not wane for year-round residents such as Melanie Rankow Prescott of Edgartown, 30. “There is something about the off-season that is just magical,” she said. “We go for walks in the woods and on the beaches. We drive around and go down streets we haven’t been down before to check out the houses and neighborhoods.”

The lack of crowds and tanning weather also helps encourage favorite indoor activities. “I love to cook,” said Prescott. “I am the happiest in my kitchen all day on Sundays trying out new recipes and having my sister, brother-in-law and [their] baby over for dinner.” Prescott also serves as Treasurer for the Edgartown Board of Trade and is on the committees for the MV Food & Wine Festival and Pink & Green Weekend.

After several years in Boston, Michael McCluskey of Vineyard Haven, 30, has returned to the Island to help out during some difficult times. “We’re all loyal to our friends and family here,” said McCluskey. “[That’s] how the Island is.”

Michael McCluskey recently moved back to the Island from Boston to help his family. When he's not working as an Educational Support Professional at the Edgartown School, he's helping out his mom or hanging out with friends, watching television or playing cards.
Michael McCluskey recently moved back to the Island from Boston to help his family. When he’s not working as an Educational Support Professional at the Edgartown School, he’s helping out his mom or hanging out with friends, watching television or playing cards.

Mr. McCluskey is an Education Support Professional (ESP) for the BRIDGE Program at the Edgartown School and has found a happy balance between his professional and personal obligations. “What I really enjoy right now is working full-time and getting things done around the house that help my mom out,” said McCluskey. In his free time, McCluskey enjoys getting together with friends to watch sports, play games (Cards Against Humanity is a current favorite around the Island), and catch up on “Breaking Bad.”

The calm of Vineyard winter is a great setting to transition into big life changes. Oak Bluffs residents Nic Korba, 30, and his wife, Mary Pietrocarlo Korba, 30, relocated to the Island in June and have just welcomed a daughter, Ivy Lynne Korba, born on December 2. “The winter is a great time to be here,” said Mr. Korba. “There are minimal distractions and we can focus on being parents.”

With the addition of baby Ivy Lynne, Mary Pietrocarlo Korba and her husband, Nic Korba have lots to do in the winter (and probably any season). But they cherish the lack of distractions (and Offshore Ale's Double Garlic Pizza) of our quietest season.
With the addition of baby Ivy Lynne, Mary Pietrocarlo Korba and her husband, Nic Korba have lots to do in the winter (and probably any season). But they cherish the lack of distractions (and Offshore Ale’s Double Garlic Pizza) of our quietest season.

The couple relocated to the Island in June and dove into Island life immediately with new jobs; Mr. Korba works at RE/MAX on-Island and Ms. Pietrocarlo Korba at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services. While becoming parents has been their main focus over recent months, Ms. Pietrocarlo recently joined a book club and the pair enjoy going out to dinner; a big favorite is the Double Garlic Pizza at Offshore Ale.

The Korbas have discovered that parenthood is a great way to expand one’s social circle. “The MV Family Center at Community Services is a great resource,” said Ms. Pietrocarlo Korba. “There’s a playgroup for when Ivy is a little older and it will be a nice opportunity for us to meet other parents.”

Throughout all the silence, and all the shivers, and all the snow, it’s important not to overlook winter. The summer might be our livelihood. It might build our legacy. But winter is our time.

Charlie Nadler grew up on Martha’s Vineyard and graduated from MVRHS with the class of 2002. He lives in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles where he works in the film and television industry and regularly performs stand up comedy. He visits the Island as often as he can.

Nevette Previd and her son enjoy winter walking on Lucy Vincent Beach. — Photo courtesy of Nevette Previd

When we asked friends to tell us their idea of the perfect winter Martha’s Vineyard Day, we were overwhelmed with (and thrilled by) the responses. Some are really specific and you can find them on a map, and some are more general, but — we think — just perfectly describe what it is we love about living here. Email us your perfect day for any season at onisland@mvtimes.com.

Little House and Lobsterville

MD_lynn ditchfield2-UP.JPGThere are certain winter days on M.V. when the snow has melted and the sun is shining and the chill air is clean and so crisp that one understands perfection. I am curled up beneath a quilt, slowly awakening to the aroma of smoky Lapsang Souchong tea my husband brings me. I linger in bed sipping my tea and reading a good novel of adventures in foreign lands. Patiently, I dress in layers of corduroy and wool and set out to the Little House to brunch with women friends from all corners of the Island, all ages and sizes and nationalities, we gather to celebrate living. Then I venture up-Island in the truck with my husband and our dog for an exquisitely long walk on Lobsterville Beach where we contemplate the majesty of the sea and the treasures buried in the sand. Later, at home, I cook kale soup, enchiladas suizas, and bake a fruit pie (recipes garnered from Morning Glory Farm Cookbook, Edible Vineyard magazine, and Kaylea Moore’s suggestions) while listening to my husband reading the latest chapter in his book (I am his greatest fan). The family comes for a Sunday family feast — son and daughter and daughter-in-law and the cutest grandchild ever. After a scrumptious meal, catching up on news sprinkled with philosophical exchange and laughter, I play and read with my grandchild while the dishes are miraculously cleared and cleaned. Then I am ready to cuddle under covers again, re-count gratitude for living in a beautiful community with blessings of family and friends close by, and slip off to dream of travel and adventures in exotic lands below the equator.

-Lynn Ditchfield, director, Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard

A wintery dip

I imagine most people pick August, going to the beach and being outside, but my ideal day is New Years Day. Every January 1st, for the past eight years, regardless of the weather, a couple of families and mine have gone swimming on Lambert’s Cove Beach. It started as two families, me, my wife, Kim, and my daughters Clea and Signe, with (photographer) Wayne Smith and his daughter, Willoughby, and son, T.T.

The Smiths were over on New Years Eve and someone threw out the idea, even though it was incredibly cold. Since then, the number’s grown. David Vigneault and his wife Sarah Vail come with their daughters, but only one of the girls, Willa (who’s in junior high) swims. Little Ava comes and watches. Last year, there were about 20 people there, and a bunch of our friends come every year to watch.

You gotta swim. Those people in Boston, most of them go up to their knees and come out. You gotta dunk. You have to swim around. We insist on full immersion. But we don’t hang around too long. If you want the sensation of your heart pounding a foot out of your chest, this will do it. But the vision of shock and horror on the faces of your children when they go in is worth it.

After, we go back to my house and do a hot tub to warm up. We’re cold. The spectators don’t get to go in the hot tub. They don’t deserve to get in. After, we all hang out and have breakfast.

-Mark Baumhofer, West Tisbury

Lambert’s Cove

Walking on Lambert’s Cove beach is always part of a perfect Vineyard day.

-Nicole Galland, author “Godiva”

Friends for soup

ivo-meisner_estonia.jpgOne thing which is fun to do for us on a blustery afternoon is to make some soup: either a tried and true favorite like quahog chowder or kale soup, or a new recipe from a new cookbook, and then invite another couple or a few friends to join us for a bowlful and a favorite libation; a fire in the fireplace and some nice music, and it’s mellow time again.

–Ivo and Piret Miesner, Book Den East, Oak Bluffs

ArtCliff and skating

Stanley-Perfect-Day.jpgMy perfect Vineyard winter day would have to include ice and snow. The morning would be crystal clear, cold, and calm. After breakfast at the ArtCliff, I would head to Duarte’s Pond, or if conditions were exceptional, Tiah’s Cove, for some ice skating. Later, I would make a hearty soup or stew and invite a few friends over for dinner. The evening would end with a steady, light snow falling, bringing the promise of a perfect winter wonderland in the morning.

–Karin Stanley, education and outreach administrator, Polly Hill Arboretum, West Tisbury.

Community dog walk

My idea of the perfect off-season day is a stroll up Lambert’s Cove beach. I love to go there in the off-season when the only people there are walking their dogs, all bundled for the wind. I have spent so many years going there that each time is like visiting various pieces of my past.

-Sally Taylor, Cambridge and Vineyard Haven

Hike to brunch

My perfect MV day: Wake up late. Get together with some girlfriends for a hike up-Island, mimosas, and a huge homemade brunch. Take an afternoon nap, get dressed up and go to dinner and drinks at Atria’s Brick Cellar.

-Nicole Jackson, MVTimes graphic designer, Vineyard Haven

Pancakes to paddling

shaw-fall-kayak-crawford-day.jpgPerfect off-season day includes breakfast at the ArtCliff and kayaking on Chilmark Pond (accessed from the Land Bank property) on a beautiful autumn day. It used to be just slightly more perfect when you could pick up a sandwich at the original Humphreys on your way out there. In the winter, beach walks – on any beach – on the milder days.

-Jennifer Crawford, Oak Bluffs

Secret beaches

I love walking on beaches that are off limits in the summer.. My perfect day starts with coffee from 7a, followed by a long walk on a secret beach, coming home to a toasty, wood stove heated house to dine on hearty soup with fresh bread and delicious red wine. What makes it perfect is having my boys in tow, of course, collecting treasures along the way.

-Nevette Previd, owner, Nevette Previd Consulting and Farm.Field.Sea: An Island Culinary Adventure

Cliffs and kale

tamara-weiss.jpgThe perfect MV day off-season-winter would be spent outside, of course. We have all chosen to live here for many reasons, but most of us would agree that this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Nothing could make me happier than to bundle up and head up-Island for a wonderful walk around the Gay Head Cliffs. Bringing along dear friends or family surely enhances the experience and returning home to a warm fire and an evening game of Scrabble followed by a great meal, which would have to include the kale (still going strong) from my garden. Doesn’t get much better than that.

- Tamara Weiss, owner, Midnight Farm, Vineyard Haven

Pray for a storm

Perfect MV off-season day: Being trapped on-Island during a big snowy storm where the snow is blowing and swirling so hard you can barely see, and you’re all cozy inside with your animals and a fire in the wood stove.

- Buffy Trott, Portland, Oregon

— Photo by Susan Safford

Ray Whitaker is a man slightly obsessed. He knows about as much about The Beatles, their music and their era, as anyone, and he’s made it his business to share his passion with others on Martha’s Vineyard and afar.

For the past six years, Mr. Whitaker has hosted a radio show called Just Four Guys, which features (although not exclusively) the music of The Beatles. More recently, the mvyradio DJ has launched something called Beatles and Brews Trivia and Tunes at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs. On Friday nights, diners and bar patrons can compete in a trivia game while enjoying the music of the Fab Four and their contemporaries.

Just Four Guys, which airs Tuesday at 4 pm on mvyradio.com and replays on Sundays on Beatlerama.com and also at radio.com, includes quite a bit of variety. “It’s kind of rule-less,” Mr. Whitaker said. “It’s not total Beatles idolatry. I love The Beatles, but I have to keep myself interested and branch out a bit.” Recent themes have included bands who have been influenced by Indian raga music, the legalization of marijuana, and the music of other four-member bands such as Pink Floyd.

Mr. Whitaker started mixing up his Beatles and Brews night questions and musical selections as well. What he discovered at the first Offshore trivia night a month ago is that not everyone is as knowledgeable on Beatle-ology as he.

“I hit everybody hard with Beatles — really esoteric questions,” he said. Apparently his audience was stumped. “Now I’ve made it less oriented towards The Beatles. The questions are from the 60s or have some sort of Beatles tie-in. With some of the questions I don’t care if they have any Beatles relevance.”

For example, some questions at a recent contest had to do with the movie “Mary Poppins,” the toy the Magic 8 Ball, and the TV show “The Munsters.” These proved considerably less challenging for participants. However, not all the trivia centers around pop culture. There’s a pretty equal mix of silly and serious. Last week’s questions included “Who was the first African American Supreme Court Justice?” (Thurgood Marshall) and “When did construction of the Berlin Wall begin?” (1961).

The questions are offered up at intervals throughout the evening, beginning at 8:30 pm. The game does not require rapt attention but serves more as a bit of distraction and entertainment while patrons are enjoying the food and atmosphere of the brew pub.

It’s also a pretty informal competition. As Mr. Whitaker said in starting off the evening last Friday, “This is where you just shout it out, and if I happen to see you, you happen to win.” Some participants politely raised their hands while others just raised their voices to be heard above the din of diners. It’s not a very competitive event, partly because of its informality and partly because the prizes are fairly trivial themselves. The restaurant provides tee-shirts, beer glasses, and bottle openers, while Mr. Whitaker has donated some brand-new DVDs from his own personal collection. He’ll generally make the disclaimer that the movies aren’t very memorable — there are quite a few teen-centric selections and quickly forgotten rom-coms.

Last weekend, six members of the Hallock family who had just arrived on the Island became the big winners of the night, collecting two DVDs and a couple of glasses. Prizes aside, bragging rights seemed to be what they were after. Son-in-law John Coleman joked that the family was embarking on a trivia tour of the U.S. When asked the team’s name, he improvised one by combining the titles of the two B movies they had just won to come up with Dark Silence (not a great name for a shout-out trivia competition). The Hallocks have a history of spending summer vacations on the Vineyard but were returning after a decade-plus hiatus.

The Hallocks seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. Mr. Coleman said that the trivia contest was the highlight of their trip but then confessed that they had only arrived six hours previous and found their way to Offshore on the advice of a taxi driver, not, as he originally claimed, drawn by the allure of a trivia night. They were surprised by the media attention they received. Apparently no one had warned the family that if you visit the Vineyard in the dead of winter there’s a good chance you’ll make front-page news.

Mr. Whitaker has hosted trivia nights at other locations, including the Newes From America Pub in Edgartown and Alex’s Place at the Y. The next teen center trivia contest, which began about the same time as Beatles and Brews, will be Saturday, Jan. 25. According to Mr. Whitaker anyone of any age can attend the Y trivia nights and enjoy free food and prizes such as amazon.com gift certificates and DVDs.

One of the teen center’s best players, it turns out, has been Mr. Whitaker’s 15-year-old daughter, Tessa. Not because she’s been coached or made privy to the questions beforehand, but because she shares many of her father’s interests. “She’s a huge Beatles fan,” Mr. Whitaker said. “She also loves Sinatra and music from the 50s.” Tessa is a singer who got her start in the second grade performing The Beatles’ “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” at the Oak Bluffs School talent show.

Mr. Whitaker also brings his passion for — and extensive knowledge of — rock and roll to his full-time job as a personal trainer and teacher at the Y. “I feel very fortunate to have gravitated toward a specific demographic: Folks 60 and over, those with physical challenges, and those recovering from injuries,” he said. “I combine all my interests in the Balance of Power and Tune Up classes by playing music that reflects who I am — classic rock, soul, and some metal for the Friday morning class. Since I have a small recording studio at home, I can mix it all together so it fills the length of the class. I try to make my classes and my one-on-one sessions fun — challenging, but fun.”

Okay, here’s a Beatles question from last week’s competition that’s both challenging and fun. A Mondegreen, as Mr. Whitaker explained at Offshore, is a misinterpretation of a musical phrase. He asked which song lyric can easily be confused with the line, “The girl with colitis goes by.” The Hallock family got the correct answer. “The girl with kaleidoscope eyes,” from “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.”

Beatles and Brews Trivia and Tunes, Fridays, 8:30 pm, Offshore Ale, Oak Bluffs. With host Ray Whitaker. For more information, call 508-693-2626.