Aquinnah: Mindful birding and breathing

— Kyra Steck

I hope everyone is surviving August, and is getting some free time to go to the beach and enjoy the hot, sunshiny weather we’ve been having. The crowds continue to gather, and tourists keep coming, so please wear your mask around others. This season feels so bittersweet, I always love seeing our seasonal residents return and getting caught up with up them. I also love spending time with friends who are only here in the summer, but that just doesn’t feel like a smart thing to do right now. So, I am sticking to the small circle of friends that I see, masked and distant, and waving to others from afar.

The Martha’s Vineyard Author Series continues tonight, Thursday, August 13, at 7:30 pm with an incredible panel to discuss “The Black Lives Matter Movement and the Fight for Racial Justice.” Panelists include Kiese Laymon, David Blight, and Barbara Phillips, and it’s moderated by Ken Mack. This is a virtual event; go to to register.

Juli Vanderhoop has opened her Orange Peel Bakery Café at the Cliffs. She is open for lunch with some delicious-sounding specials — slow-roasted pork sandwiches, pizza, and prepared foods. Stop by and try something new.

On Thursday, Saskia Vanderhoop will host a summer birding workshop via Zoom, sponsored by the library. How will that work, you might ask. According to the description, Saskia will give an introduction, then the participants will go outside to observe birds, after observing for 30 minutes everyone will return for a discussion. The workshop is from 6:30 to 8 pm, email Julia at to register. The library is also hosting weekly crafts on Zoom on Saturdays at 11 am; again, email Julia for the link. The speaker series will continue next Thursday, August 20, with Ann LeZotte, who will discuss her book about the history of the deaf community in Chilmark, “Show Me a Sign.”

The Aquinnah Police Department received two reports over the weekend from town residents that packages in their mailboxes were tampered with and items stolen out of the packages. If anyone else experienced this, or has any information relating to this incident, please call the Aquinnah Police Station at 508-645-2313. If no one is at the police station, please leave a message, and an officer will return your call. FYI, mail tampering and theft is a federal crime with serious fines (up to $250,000) and time in a federal prison as consequences.

There are lots of ways to keep moving and connected these days. Some are in person and some are online; if you are missing group exercise classes, here are some options. Yoga on the Beach with Rachel Elion Baird, RYT, resumed this week. Classes will continue, Monday through Friday, weather permitting, at 8 am through Sept. 7. The classes are held on Lobsterville Beach, and class size is limited. Text Rachel at 802-989-9992 for further information and to register. Neva Goldstein is teaching yoga classes on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9 am at the Town Hall, class fee is $15. Preregistration is required, you can contact Neva at Kat Garfinkle is offering a free livestream class, “Mindful Breathing” on Thursdays at 7 am. It’s a short, 30-minute practice that can transform your day. Registration is through the Yoga Barn website, You’ll receive a Zoom link 10 minutes before class starts. The Yard is hosting virtual dance, yoga, and Pilates classes every day of the week; go to for details and registration.

The virtual Chilmark Road Race happened this weekend. If you ran and have not posted your times, go to The theme was “running together apart,” and people have posted pictures and stories of their run on Facebook and Instagram. While I know that everyone probably missed the camaraderie and the intense energy of this live event, it was nice to not have to deal with the crowds and the traffic that it creates.

Happy birthday to Bonnie Menton, yoga teacher extraordinaire, who celebrates on Friday, and to Kate Taylor, who celebrates on Saturday. Happy birthday, you talented ladies.

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Molly Purves,