Vineyard calendars make good gifts

felix-neck-cal

A calendar makes a great gift for friends and family members far away — an enticement to visit and enjoy the beaches and Island landmarks in the summer. They are also a reminder that life doesn’t pause on the Island in the off-season, waiting for the return of the tourists, but the unique beauty of the Island is something that appears year round.

The latest calendar by nationally acclaimed photographer Peter Simon may well be the most Vineyard-ey of all the local offerings. Mr. Simon has lived on the Vineyard since 1973 and has produced a calendar since 1988.

His familiarity with and love of the Island is evident in his choice of subjects for his 2012 calendar — from a striking image of a bounty of red berries against a snow-covered North Road stone wall, to an amazing shot of a seagull against a cobalt blue sky soaring above the Gay Head cliffs. Mr. Simon’s penchant for picking scenes that capture the essence of Island living, his sometimes witty captions and inclusion of quotes — many by Islanders — and dates of local events, combine with his skill and eye for the perfect moment or pop of color, to make this calendar a popular gift.

Another beautiful ode to the Vineyard is a new calendar by Provincetown photographer Charles Fields, who has published a number of photo essay books and currently has six calendars on the market. His photos of the Vineyard have a more sterile feel than Mr. Simon’s but are no less beautiful. Twelve gorgeous art photos — many featuring spectacular Vineyard skies — are stunning in their simplicity and framing. Two highlights are a springtime shot of an overgrown dirt road leading to a distant farmhouse, and a winter shot of Harthaven in the almost unreal pastel shades of a winter sunset. The calendar can be found at the Bunch of Grapes.

Lisa Vanderhoop of Aquinnah has been producing her always popular Vineyard Seadogs calendar for seven years now. The 2012 calendar features playful pics of pooches enjoying everything the sea has to offer — swimming, body surfing, boating at sea; playing, exploring, and relaxing on the beach. Breeds range from dachshunds and pugs to chow chows and golden retrievers — the common denominator being that they’re all living the dog dream.

Each picture is accompanied by a short saying that exemplifies Island living as well as canine philosophy. For example, the quote for October comes from the Dalai Lama, “The purpose of our lives is to be happy,” and, as Ms. Vanderhoop’s images illustrate, no one knows that better than a dog. Vineyard Seadogs can be found at the Bunch of Grapes, Good Dog Goods, Rainy Day, Alley’s, Cronig’s, Edgartown Books, Craftworks, SBS, Menemsha Market, Tisbury Farm Market, the Menemsha Inn, and Boneyard Surf Shop.

Every year Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary produces a small wildlife calendar with images by a variety of nature photographers, including Island favorite Julian K. Robinson. The 2012 calendar features beautiful shots of mammals and birds, one reptile (a bullfrog), and one insect (a tiny butterfly) in their native habitats.

Some of the native species (i.e. otters, the unusual American woodcock, a great horned owl) are rarely seen by the average person, while the picture of the regal red-tailed hawk is remarkable for depicting a well-known species in an extreme close up head shot. The calendar can be found at Alley’s General Store, and Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. All proceeds benefit the sanctuary.

For the sailor in your life, there are two local calendars featuring boats. On the Water by seasonal resident Tom Rogers features both action and still shots of boats and is available at Alley’s General Store and at the Louisa Gould Gallery. Catboats, by catboat owner Jim O’Connor, can be purchased at Sail Martha’s Vineyard’s Holiday Maritime Art Show on upper Main Street in Vineyard Haven, through December 23, and at the M.V. Museum. You can also email him at joconnor@vineyard.net for orders.

Mardell’s Gift Shop in Vineyard Haven carries two Vineyard calendars that are produced off-Island. A desktop Martha’s Vineyard 2012 calendar features iconic scenes from around the Island, and the full size Martha’s Vineyard Cottages spotlights a variety of gingerbread houses from the Oak Bluffs campgrounds.

Lastly, for the date-driven person, The Granary Gallery carries a long, narrow monthly calendar, decorated with the gallery’s art, just for keeping track of birthdays and annual events. Perfect gift for those with big families.

There are bound to be folks on just about any Vineyarder’s shopping list who would enjoy revisiting scenes from a home away from home. And for those of us who need an occasional reminder of just why we live here, we’re fortunate to have a number of local photographers who have captured the beauty of the Island in all its forms.

As Carol Nelson is quoted as saying on the December page of Peter Simon’s 2012 calendar, “The holiday season is a time when you get homesick — even if you’re home.”