Chilmark: Foraging, fiddling, garden drinks

A protected species, the wild wood lily, in full glory on Peaked Hill. — Valerie Sonnenthal

August, oh deer, they seem to be everywhere. Each time I leave my house, no matter what time of day, I’ve run into deer, whether walking or driving, so be extra-careful on the roads. Blueberries, wild and cultivated, enjoyed on woods walks from surrounding bushes to pints of swelling berries for sale at Beetlebung Farm (thanks to Susan Murphy’s old bushes), Mermaid Farm, and North Tabor Farm. It also seems to be a summer of abundance for the protected wild wood lily. I have seen them now on a number of walks in the past couple of weeks.

Great Rock Bight was closed to swimming last week, so be sure to check the MV LandBank site before heading there:

The Back Yard Bash sponsored by the Chilmark Volunteer Fireman’s Association at the CCC is Wednesday, August 3, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. Food, entertainment, and more.

Don’t miss “Let’s Dance! 50 Years of the Yard”! At the M.V. Museum, up now through October. “In 1973, choreographer Patricia N. Nanon had an idea: a colony for performing artists, nestled in the hills of Chilmark, devoted to providing the time, space, and resources for choreographers to create new works. That first summer, dancers and audience members shared space with the hay in David Flanders’s barn, but only a decade later, with a growing reputation in the dance community and on the Island, the Yard settled into its permanent home just outside of Chilmark’s town center.” Check out the Yard programs and classes at

If you didn’t have a chance to grab Bluedot Living, you may have missed the article about MVM, MV Mycological, see Sadly, I have learned they will be leaving the Island for New York State in the fall.

If you want to enjoy North Tabor Farm’s Summer Dinner Series, sign up for their newsletter to get the form; there’s no mention on their website. See

Join Caroline, Emily, and Rebecca at Native Earth Teaching Farm on Thursday, August 4, at 10 am, for a fun, hands-on foraging event. Learn how to gather edible flowers and plants in this free family program in conjunction with the Chilmark and Vineyard Haven libraries. The Flying Elbows Fiddle Band will play Saturday, August 6, from 7 to 9 pm at the Milokan Cultural Center at Native Earth Teaching Farm. It’s a donation-based event. Bring blankets, chairs, picnics, but please no dogs. There is limited parking; if possible, carpool or take the bus. Check out other farm happenings at

The Beach Plum Inn is open for breakfast from 8 to 10 am, Thursday to Sunday. Reservation-only prix-fixe dinner, Friday: Burger Night, Saturday: Taco Night, and Sunday: Caribbean Night, 5 to 9 pm. Use or call 508-645-9454.

This week’s Sunday Flanders Field Softball reports Paul Iantosca’s welcome return after sitting out the season on the “injured list.” In the first game, Peter Halperin’s team won 9-4, with Jerry Murphy leading the way with strong offense and defense. Commissioner Caleb Caldwell called balls and strikes behind the screen while maintaining multiple conversations and assorted distractions. The second game featured some bizarre plays, generating controversy and frank discussions. After multiple pitching changes due to “difficulties finding the plate,” Joel Bleier was traded from the “other” team to pitch, switching the controversy to two close plays at the plate which were disputed with robust debates between the teams. Caleb Caldwell had departed by this time, and the new umpire, Holly Eger, aptly remarked, “This is hard.” The “play of the game” was an egregious, aggressive play by a ballplayer who asked to be anonymous, who was knocked down at third base by his father — a move that harkened to the Greek “Oresteia.” And like the Greek oracles, a conference ensued, and the father was called out for interference. Always a great way to start Sunday morning. Chilmark Softball Games at Flanders Field (on Pasture Road off Tabor House Road), Sundays at 8 am, 12 years or older, and all skill levels welcome.

“Give Me Shelter,” a two-day art show benefits Harbor Homes of M.V., supporting the umbrella organization for all homeless prevention programming on Island. A number of favorite Chilmark artists are participating. At the Grange Hall Tuesday, August 2, noon to 7 pm, to Wednesday, August 3, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Brooke Adams will be among five storytellers at the Moth’s “Holding On and Letting Go” mainstage at the Tabernacle on Saturday, August 6. Tickets at

Chef and cookbook author Catherine Walthers and foraging farmer and author Rebecca Gilbert offer their last “Preserving an Island Summer Bounty” workshop: “Garden Drinks” on Thursday, August 11, from 4:30 to 6 pm at Native Earth Teaching Farm. Preregistration required; space is limited. Sign up at

The M.V. Author Series’ final two authors are Dawnie Walton in conversation with Dawn Davis about her debut novel “The Final Revival of Opal & Nev” on Thursday, August 4, and Amor Towles in conversation with author Richard Russo about his third novel, “The Lincoln Highway” on Thursday, August 14. Learn more and buy tickets at

The Chilmark library hosts Rick Shweder, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Chicago, on Wednesday, August 10, at 5 pm to discuss “The Debate over Religious Exemptions and the Free Exercise of Culture in the USA.” Programs are hybrid, in-person, and on Zoom. Email for more information. Kids are welcome to join the summer reading program, “Read Beyond the Beaten Path.” Afternoon Lego Club meets Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m. For further help call 508-645-3360 or email Summer hours: Monday and Friday: 10:30 am to 1 pm, Tuesday and Thursday: 10:30 am to 5 pm, Wednesday: 10:30 am to 6 pm, Saturday: 10:30 am to 3 pm. See

In-person MV BLM vigils at the Chilmark Library lawn are on Sundays at 10:30am. Learn more at Keep up with what’s going on with MV BLM and subscribe to their YouTube channel at

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

Have a good week, and Happy Summer to all.

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