Chilmark: The return of nature


This is the breathtaking season on the Vineyard. Not the normal breathe-in, breathe-out kind of breath, but the gasp that knows something magical is happening here. Those tiny chartreuse-green baby tendrils unfurling before your very eyes. “Conjugate the color green,” my friend Ger once said, as we drove around the Ring of Kerry in Ireland.

On Middle Road in May, right before June hits and everyone returns, so does Nature, and I drive slowly and cannot believe the transformation. Wasn’t it cold and brown a minute ago? How does this happen every year, and how come every year I say the same thing: “This is the most gorgeous spring I’ve ever seen”?

I picked a bunch of lilies of the valley yesterday, and between the lilacs on my table and the lilies in my hand, I’m in my own private spa, having the aromatherapy session of my life.

I’m always torn between dreading the summer season, the onslaught of traffic and the loss of the quiet, and the excitement of sharing what we have all year with returning friends. It’s that cusp again. But generosity prevails, and the Scrooge in me concedes. Everyone deserves this beauty. So welcome, all ye from afar.

Now the news:

The Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club hosts its annual plant sale at the Old Mill across from Mill Pond at 690 Edgartown–West Tisbury Road in West Tisbury. The extensive plant selection includes geraniums in all sizes and colors, begonias, buddleia, tomatoes, lettuce, eggplant, peppers, nepeta, herbs, figs, hydrangea, lavender, papyrus, Dr. Van Fleet roses, rosemary, sage, streptocarpella (individual plants and hanging baskets), azalea, holly, skimmia, succulents, and other perennials. Gardeners should come early on Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, from 9 am to 2 pm.

Chilmark Church will hold its 9 am service in Menemsha on Sunday, May 28, celebrating Memorial Day and “Blessing the Fleet.” “All are welcome to remember those who served the country and to pray that all the boats and crew who call Menemsha home port have a safe and prosperous year.”

Celebrate Peter Simon’s new coffee table book, “Martha’s Vineyard: To Everything There Is a Season,” at the Simon Gallery on Sunday, May 28, from 5 to 8 pm in Vineyard Haven at 54 Main Street. Books are also available at

Valerie Sonnenthal will offer a one-hour MELT Method Hand & Foot Workshop at the Chilmark library on Wednesday, May 31, at 5:30 pm. Call 508-645-3360 to reserve a spot and experience changes in how your body feels through simple self-treatments you can do at home to remain active, healthy, and pain-free. Learn more about MELT at Wear comfortable clothes, and bring water. Stories and Songs at the Chilmark library are offered Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10:30 am.

There are two new stores to check out in Menemsha, both on Basin Road. One is Creekville, a wonderful antique store full of Island art (in Jane Slater’s former store) celebrating its opening on Saturday, May 27, from 4 to 7 pm, and the other is Virginia Jones’ solo venture, Focs’le Locker, with an exciting stock of mainly books maritime, Island-related (old, used, rare, and out of print), kids, beach reads, mysteries, and adventure stories. She’s still carrying gorgeous sweaters and vests. Just check it out — there’s way too much interesting stuff to mention it all this week.

Remember, schools, town hall, and the library will be closed for Memorial Day on Monday. Meanwhile, take advantage of eating out and shopping in Menemsha, at the Chilmark General Store, and the Chilmark Tavern, besides all of our bountiful farm stands, including the Grey Barn, Mermaid Farm, and North Tabor Farm.

Have a happy long weekend and week.