Last year we started a holiday tradition of asking staff members and others what they’re grateful for when it comes to Martha’s Vineyard. We share some of last year’s answers because they’re true no matter the year, and weave in some new insights.
We’re thankful for:
The sense of community. Cheers used to be the place where everyone knew your name. Well, Martha’s Vineyard in the off-season is a place where that’s still true. There are times when this can also be a downside, but for the most part it’s great to live in a place where there are familiar and friendly faces — where conversations come easily and neighbors look out for each other.
The beauty. It’s easy to take it for granted, but the Island’s vistas are stunning — whether it’s the rolling farmland of West Tisbury, the Cliffs of Aquinnah, the sunsets of Menemsha, the historic homes of William Street in Vineyard Haven, the quaintness of the cottages in the Campground in Oak Bluffs, or the brick sidewalks, white picket fences, and flowers of Edgartown. Everywhere you look there is a feast for the eyes. And, as another staffer points out, “you’re a short drive to the beach from any given spot.”
The philanthropy. The most recent example is the $153,000 in grants given out by the Permanent Endowment Fund of Martha’s Vineyard, but that organization is certainly not alone. Whether it’s friends and neighbors rallying to help pay the medical bills of Oak Bluffs firefighter Eric Voshell, who was injured in a motorcycle crash, or the nearly $2 million given away to the Island’s high school students at graduation. The Island puts the giving in Thanksgiving.
The community involvement. From the youth movement of 18-year-old Keith Chatinover to the years of dedication of a Clarence “Trip” Barnes III, people run for office and volunteer for committees and boards — and they mostly do it for all the right reasons.
A caring community. As one of our staff members put it, “I’m grateful for living in a tolerant, and caring community. And for my kids and my husband. And my neighbors.”
The seafood. You never realize how good you’ve got it until, well, you don’t. Last year we wrote about the abundance of fresh bay scallops. This year, it was the total opposite, with some shellfish beds being closed down early. But this year, sea scallops have made a triumphant return in Menemsha with Sam Hopkins and the fishing boat Endurance. And we appreciate what the Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust does to support and advocate for the Island’s commercial fishermen.
A roof over one’s head. We’re still moving at a slower pace than we’d like to see, but there have been some big steps in the past year when it comes to building housing that the Island’s workforce can afford. Island Housing Trust has finished up projects in West Tisbury and Aquinnah, and there is a promising proposal on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. But there’s still plenty of work to do, and we hope to be more thankful next year.
Open spaces to roam. Places like Cedar Tree Neck, the Sheriff’s Meadow property in West Tisbury where you can hike through the woods with family and friends and find yourself on a beautiful beach. And don’t tell the tourists, because it’s our place to escape the busier Island spots. And this year there’s an app for it, to make navigating those trails a little easier.
No traffic lights. The one on the Lagoon Drawbridge doesn’t count because, well, that’s only a minor nuisance when we’re in prime boating season. Otherwise, it’s smooth sailing on the main roads of the Vineyard. No long waits for yellow and red lights. (And the roundabout works!)
Island casual. You typically don’t see someone wearing a tie on the Island unless he’s a lawyer. There’s a casual elegance that makes it an inviting place for those of us who would rather throw on a pair of jeans and a T shirt.
Dogs are welcome. We love the sight of wagging tails in the morning. As you know, The Times is a dog-friendly office, but we’re not the only ones. It makes for a more friendly and stress-free environment.
Throwback jobs. We live in a place where jobs like farming and boatbuilding are not only appreciated, but still thrive. We get to reap the benefits of the farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, and marvel at the beauty and craftsmanship of boatbuilding, just about every day.
No malls. We love shopping local. (And skip that Black Friday nonsense and shop local on Saturday instead.) We know the names of the merchants and their staffs, and they know us and our preferences.
People still appreciate newspapers and newsletters. We love it that our readers can’t wait for Thursday. Earlier this year, when our newspaper didn’t make it to the Island because of a storm, it was refreshing that people cared — calling the newspaper to find out why The Times wasn’t in their mailbox. We also appreciate how you’ve embraced our newest product, The Minute. (We enjoy how many of you compete to guess the mystery photo every day — proving almost on a daily basis that everyone truly does know the name of locals, as we mentioned above.)
Thanks for your support, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.