Sunshine furnished the fireworks for this splendid July Fourth
The fourth of July holiday weekend brought the welcome return of sunshine and summer visitors to Martha's Vineyard. The combination proved more of a boon for beach traffic than businesses, however, disappointing many retailers and restaurant owners hoping for a jump-start to a summer season stalled by the recession and a soggy, cool June.
This year, with the July 4 holiday falling on Saturday, many people started their travels on Thursday because they had Friday off. That resulted in busy traffic on both weekdays, according to Steamship Authority (SSA) general manager Wayne Lamson.
"We do not have all of the numbers for this past weekend yet, but it was busy, perhaps as busy as last year," Mr. Lamson wrote in an email this week. "By Saturday morning, all of our off-site parking lots in Falmouth and Bourne were full."
The lots were reopened as other customers exited the lots, he said, and by late Saturday afternoon, the SSA was able to accommodate everyone on regularly scheduled trips and tie up freight vessels for the day.
Martha's Vineyard Airport Manager Sean Flynn said air traffic was about the same as last year, although he will not receive tower counts until the end of the month. Mr. Flynn said other numbers such as landing fees are about the same, although fuel sales were slightly down.
For those who arrived by sea, Oak Bluffs Harbormaster Todd Alexander said traffic in the harbor is definitely down from last year. "We had a lot of single moorings, so it looked full, but we usually have triples," Mr. Alexander said. "Last year, I would have had at least a one-page waiting list."
Judging by August reservations, he said it doesn't look like it will get much busier. Mr. Alexander said he was not surprised, given that he received half as many summer reservations as last year when he started accepting them in February.
Tisbury harbormaster Jay Wilbur described holiday weekend activity as "medium," which he expected, with plenty going on but no incidents out of the ordinary.
"In boating the season really begins on the fourth of July unless the weather is perfect in June, and ours was anything but," Mr. Wilbur said.
The inner harbor was full, and Mr. Wilbur estimated moorings in the outer harbor, which can handle larger boats and overflow from the inner harbor, were about three-quarters occupied.