Island expectations for seasonal first-timers include work and fun
Many of the Vineyard's seasonal workers are employees who spent one summer here and liked it so much they kept coming back. Whether it was the Island's reputation for fun and relaxation, or the availability of jobs that drew them here, often visitors decide that the word summer means Vineyard.
And, many seasonal residents began yearly visits with a youthful Vineyard summer that became the deciding factor in their plans for future summers.
A Times reporter spoke to first-time summer employees of Oak Bluffs businesses this week to find out how their summer went, and whether their original expectations for a summer on Martha's Vineyard were met.
Dilyara Nuralina, 20, of Kazakhstan said she has enjoyed her first summer living and working on the Island. She worked as a sales associate at Trader Jack's and Phillips Hardware, both located on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs.
In Kazakhstan, Ms. Nuralina is a student, and she will return to her university at the end of September. "I heard about Martha's Vineyard from an acquaintance who was here twice before, and I heard it was very nice," she said. "I just didn't expect housing to be so expensive, but I didn't really have expectations about anything else."
Ms. Nuralina spent the summers of 2007 and 2008 working on Lake George in upstate New York. She said that she enjoys working in a resort atmosphere, but that she favors the seaside setting of the Vineyard to living on a lake. "I wish I could return next year, but I don't think I will be able to because I will have graduated, and there are new visa regulations," she explained. "But, time will show, and I hope I get to return."
Walter Bennett, 24, the manager of Ryan Family Amusements, said this was his first summer working at the company's Oak Bluffs location. "It kind of fell on me," he said. "I came out here with my fiancé because her aunt lives here, and we had a place to stay for the summer. I saw an ad in the paper the first week I started living here and I sent in my resume and was quickly hired."
On why his summer felt fairly ordinary, the Newport, R.I. native explained, "I came from one resort island to another, so I was used to the tourists and the feel here. So, I didn't really have many expectations, but I had a great time, and I'll be back next summer, for sure."
Corner Five Surf Company manager Andrew Gilmore, who is employed by the Black Dog's management, spent his first full summer on the Vineyard after spending the winter here with his family. "I came here last year with my wife at the very end of summer, and planned on staying through the winter, which I did," he said. "I've known some of the Black Dog guys for a while, and they offered me a job here for the summer."
Mr. Gilmore said that after a miserable and rainy June, he had low expectations for how his first summer on the Vineyard would turn out, but that he and his wife were generally pleased to be here.
On plans for the summer of 2010, he said, "I'd like to take another job with the company, but I guess we'll see how it goes next year."