Chilmark: Menemsha Hills

Alison Shaw is all smiles while directing her weekend workshop participants. — Valerie Sonnenthal

Fall is official. The last ice cream was enjoyed at the Galley so we’ll just have to begin the wait for spring. I am thankful for the mostly warm days, barefoot walks, sunrises running into Hellie Newman at Lucy Vincent Beach, spectacular sunsets still bringing the devoted to Menemsha Beach and the surfers to Squibby. It was fun running into Alison Shaw and her weekend workshop students in Menemsha, though she, like I, bemoans what remains shut and has fallen into various states of neglect. Her students sadly gazed at the iconic Menemsha Market (nearly 100 years old), holding images of the past in their minds and recalling Saturday Evening Post illustrated covers. See for more about the Menemsha Market’s history told by the Seward twins who grew up there.

When I was driving friends up-Island to visit the Cliffs I noticed Juli Vanderhoop is putting in a stand-alone building at Orange Peel Bakery. The following day I stopped by and Juli told me she has wanted to do this for sometime as a worker continued the indoor finish work on her new building. She hopes friends will help move her refrigerators from her former outpost at the Cliffs and get the stand going asap. During the pandemic, like Mermaid Farm and North Tabor Farm, Juli expanded her offerings from baked goods to basics. When I stepped inside the bakery, it turned out to be “Crois Sunday” with assorted croissant offerings including mango, peach and thyme, pumpkin spice butter or pumpkin cream cheese, and the garlic and roasted beet butter with either mixed veggies and basil, pickled veggies or mushroom, pepper, goat cheese, swimming pig sausage and basil. Of course we bought one of each of the savory varieties, warmed them, and four of us enjoyed a delicious sampling with my homemade sweet potato soup and fresh salad.

Hunting season is on, permitted from a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset. Archery runs through Nov. 27. Get deer, fish, and fowl hunting info at

Native Earth Teaching Farm’s Wednesday Farm School, 9 am to 1 pm, welcomes home schoolers, preschoolers, and their adults through Nov. 18. Drop-ins are welcome. Learn more at

Chilmark library walk-in hours are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, 10:30 am to 5 pm, Wednesday, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, and Friday 10:30 am to 1:30 pm. Appointments are still required for browsing the children’s room and for computer use. On Wednesday, Oct. 13, join seasonal resident Jill Iscol for her author talk on “Hearts on Fire: Stories of Today’s Visionaries Igniting Idealism Into Action.” Email for the Zoom links. Take and Make Thursdays continue with a finger puppet on Oct. 7 and stick bug on Oct. 14. For more info, contact the library at 508-645-3360 or

Story Walks for kids of all ages at Menemsha Hills, from 7 am to 7 pm, are self-guided. This month’s book is “Breathe and Be” by Kate Coombs, with illustrations by Anna Laitinen. Pages are posted along the Harris Loop trail starting from the parking lot and ending at Prospect Hill (about a mile hike there and back). Learn more at

Island Folk Pottery’s Sculpture Trail is open daily 9 am to 5 pm. The store hours are Wednesday to Saturday, from 11 am to 5 pm, and Sunday, 2 to 5 pm.

Kara Taylor Gallery is open through Oct. 10, be sure to see her wonderful new work before she takes off for Capetown, South Africa.

Peaked Hill Studio offers Kaiut yoga, Foot Work and Sound Healing at the new studio. Learn more and sign up at Check for her October online-only schedule.

The Chilmark Community Church Sunday 9 am service is held outdoors on the patio behind the main church building and on Zoom, connect with

Check It’s a Chilmark Thing on Facebook for up-to-date information about our town and Island.

Have a good week.

If you have any Chilmark Town Column suggestions, email Valerie Sonnenthal,