Aquinnah: a lot going on at the Cliffs


Not to start on a downer note, but: People have been taking advantage of the fact that Philbin Beach is not monitored in the evening (although the police check the parking lot regularly to make sure each car has its pass), and are bringing their dogs onto the beach. Then some people are not cleaning up after their dogs, which is disgusting and unneighborly. To be clear: Dogs aren’t allowed at Herring Creek, Philbin, or Red Sand Beach. They are only allowed on Lobsterville Beach. Dogs are not allowed on the aforementioned beaches because they are “sensitive areas.” Animals nest and/or breed there, the environment is fragile, and at some we harvest food. Please be respectful of these rules; they are not arbitrary. They are to protect the beaches and our food supply, and scallopers’ livelihoods.

The Cliffs are hopping this weekend. It begins tonight, Thursday, at 8 pm when the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival hosts a free outdoor screening of Aquinnah filmmakers Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth’s “Keepers of the Light.” Built more than 200 years ago, the Gay Head Lighthouse is one of America’s most famous beacons. The film tells the history of the Gay Head Light from whaling days to the present, including the story of how the Lighthouse was saved from falling off the eroding cliffside. Discussion to follow with directors Wentworth and Witham. Kate Taylor, Ben Taylor, and Isaac Taylor will play a short set of lighthouse-themed music before the film. On Friday, Nanauwe Vanderhoop will perform at the Aquinnah Shop during dinner, starting at 6 pm. Nanauwe is an assured performer, and this will be a real treat. Make your reservations by calling the shop at 508-645-3867.

On Saturday, July 21, there are two events, the 12th annual Native American Artisans Festival from 11 am to 4 pm, and the Aquinnah Police Department’s fifth annual Public Safety Day from noon to 4 pm. At the Artisans Festival there will be some of New England’s finest Native American artisans, whose wares will include wampum jewelry, beadwork, finger weaving, traditional deerskin items, paintings, T shirts, and silver jewelry. Eastern Sons will play traditional music throughout the day, and traditional Wampanoag foods will be available from Sly Fox’s Den, featuring salmon, bluefish, scallop, and shrimp plates with sassafras tea or blueberry lemonade.

During Public Safety Day you can check out all the cool equipment the Police and Fire Departments have; there will be demonstrations. Hint: This is a great event for small children.

At the Aquinnah Public Library this week: Story Time is on Thursday at 3:30 pm and Saturday at 10:30 am. On Thursday, July 19, at 5 pm, Shelly Edmundson will speak about family fishermen. On Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm is Kids’ Craft. Also on Saturday is the Acrylic Landscape Painting Workshop, from 2 to 5:30 pm. On Tuesday, July 24, at 3 pm is Turtle Camp, and at 5 pm there will be Music on the Deck.

The Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian Museum will be open Wednesday through Friday this week from 11 am to 4 pm. It will be closed Saturday due to the Artisans Festival. Their exhibits include Wampanoag whaling, 19th century tourism in Gay Head, Gay Head clay pottery, and the ongoing tradition of Cranberry Day.

Important notice: The Aquinnah planning board plan review committee will hold the second of two public listening sessions on August 9 at 7 pm in the Town Hall. Next year will be the 20th anniversary of our town of Aquinnah DCPC, which includes our anti–trophy house bylaw, our archaeological bylaw, and other unique zoning requirements. This committee is revisiting our entire zoning bylaw with an eye toward making changes at a town meeting next year. The committee wishes to hear what residents, builders, engineers, landscapers, Realtors, attorneys, and others think is working and not working in our bylaws, and what they think we can do to simplify, clarify, and otherwise improve the permitting process in town. Written comments can also be submitted before Sept. 1, 2018, to Town of Aquinnah PBPRC, 955 State Rd., Aquinnah, MA 02535.

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival will show the documentary “Intelligent Lives” outdoors at the Beach Plum Inn on Monday, July 23, at 8 pm. Film subject and actor Chris Cooper will be part of the discussion after the film. On Wednesday at 8 pm at the Chilmark Community Center, the film “American Chaos” will screen, with a conversation afterward with Alan Dershowitz and labor lawyer Jules Bernstein. Purchase tickets to these events at

The next session of the Author Series at the Chilmark Community Center will be this Sunday, July 22, at 7:30 pm. Pulitzer prizewinner

Seymour Hersh will speak on his book, “Reporter.” Pulitzer prizewinning author and journalist Geraldine Brooks will interview Hersh. That is going to be a good conversation.

Happy birthday to Juli Vanderhoop, who celebrates today, and to Berta Welch, who celebrates on July 25. Happy belated birthday to Skyler Cameron, who turned 20 on July 11.