Aquinnah: New trails and beach access

— Kyra Steck

The wind has shifted, and fall is in the air. Even though there have been some hot days, it seems like summer is on the way out. But of course, we are still going to the beach and getting in the water, so watch out! If you go swimming on the south side and in the pond, there have been many Portuguese man-of-war sightings and, unfortunately, stings in both areas, so please be careful.

Lisa Vanderhoop’s 2021 Vineyard Seadogs Calendar is out. It features dozens of seadogs romping on the beach, playing in the surf, and doing what they do best, being their joyous comical selves. The cover this year captures a rare fogbow over Lucy Vincent Beach. Vineyard Seadogs is a wonderful tradition that makes a great gift (it’s my go-to Christmas gift for my dog-loving friends and family). It’s available at all Island bookstores, Cronig’s, and Alley’s. Proceeds help to benefit the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard and Angels Helping Animals Worldwide M.V. You can also visit or email to order a copy.

If you happen to be down-Island, Christy Vanderhoop has been directing the Mariposa Museum this summer in Oak Bluffs. Exhibits include works of Ashley Bryan, who has written more than 50 children’s books focusing on African folklore and African American history. It is one of the only places where you can purchase a block print created by Ashley — go to the gift shop at There is also a stunning quilt exhibit, and if you go to the museum, you get to see Christy. It is open at least through September.

The Outermost Inn’s last evening of dinner service for the season will be this Sunday, Sept. 13. They are undecided if they will host lunch and brunch again this winter. It was such a hit last year, and so nice to have a place in town to go to, so here’s hoping.

On Tuesdays in September, the library will host a “kids’ hangout” on Zoom. The hangout starts at 3 pm, there will be a librarian to answer questions, and you can catch up with friends. They are also hosting weekly crafts on Saturday at 11 am. The next book group will meet on Sept. 24 to discuss Geraldine Brooks’ “Caleb’s Crossing.” Email Julia at to register for all events.

The sale of a good portion of the Kennedy property to Sheriff’s Meadow and the Land Bank is the big news this week. Caroline Kennedy and her husband Ed Schlossberg are retaining 95 acres of the property, which includes their home buildings. Under the Land Bank and Sheriff’s Meadow ownership, the property will be known as Squibnocket Pond Reservation, and 304 acres will be open to the public, with trails and beach access. The process of opening it to the public will take about a year, as the land needs to be surveyed.

There has been so much loss of human life worldwide in 2020, but in the past few weeks on the Vineyard we have lost some truly great people. Bob Dutton, founder of Island Entertainment, playwright, and manager of the M.V. Film Center, died of a brain tumor at the end of August. Bob had a wonderful sense of humor, which he thankfully kept until the end. Author and Island elder Shirley Mayhew passed earlier in August. Reading her obituary, I wondered where she found the time to do all that she did, and was she everyone’s best friend? It kind of seemed like it. Dennis daRosa died the same week as Shirley, after a yearlong battle against cancer. It is impossible for me to think of Dennis without thinking of his wife, Candy, because they were always together, and seemed like one of the happiest couples I know. Usually they were on their way to attend a concert by their son, Phil, or to spend time with their granddaughter, or to a dinner with old friends. I know we will collectively miss all of these people, and it seems wildly unfair that we cannot come together and mourn in the way that we need to due to COVID-19.

Happy birthday to Kuhpay Vanderhoop, who turned 7 last Friday. Happy birthday to the one and only Ona Ignacio, who celebrates on Wednesday (but I have a feeling the celebration might continue through the month).

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