Oak Bluffs: Shout out to Laura Hilliard, and Featherstone Holiday Gift Show

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— Shelby Regan

“Tell me again about this thing you call Autumn. I’ve just got summer on repeat.” –Laura Hilliard

November has been a delight so far, for New England at least. When was the last time we could enjoy such a long, beautiful foliage season in such lovely warm temperatures? Even the change in daylight hours didn’t feel quite so harsh with this balmy evening air.

I have to give a shout out to our own Laura Hilliard, quoted above, who was just recognized for 35 years of service at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Laura is an amazing nurse, and a real renaissance woman who is in constant motion. On her precious days off, if she’s not studying a textbook for her next degree, you can find her pedaling her bike, hiking Island trails, kayaking the ponds or holding court at the beach. You’re an inspiration, Laura — congratulations!

Featherstone Center for the Arts has begun their 20th annual Holiday Gift show. This is the showcase for Island artists and the place for perfect holiday shopping. With close to 100 artists offering their wares, there is always truly something for everyone! It usually takes me more than one visit to find every treasure, so plan ahead. The Francine Kelly gallery is open daily from 12 to 4 pm through Dec. 18 (closed Thanksgiving Day). Shop local while supporting the arts community.

It’s musical theater time at the Oak Bluffs School. The theater department presents “The Music Man” this weekend, with shows Friday and Saturday at 7 pm and a Sunday matinee at 2 pm. This iconic show hit Broadway in 1957 and has continued to be popular throughout the many decades and adaptations since. Who doesn’t love a story about a con man who finds redemption in love? Who can resist “76 Trombones” or the beautiful “Till There Was You” — yes, the Beatles hit was written by “Music Man” playwright Meredith Wilson in 1950. Directed by Taffy McCarthy with music direction by Brian Weiland, the Oak Bluffs kids will bring this classic story to life — don’t miss it!

Next week is Thanksgiving, ready or not. School is closed Wednesday through Friday, so watch out for little people when you’re driving in town. There was some talk of a turkey shortage, but we certainly have no shortage of the wild variety on the Island. We seem to have more than ever in Oak Bluffs. Maybe they migrated across the bridge because they couldn’t get a drink in Vineyard Haven without ordering food? Anyway, watch out for them on the road, too! By the way, I didn’t have any trouble ordering my Thanksgiving turkey from Bob Pacheco, who always comes through for us. 

Good news on Circuit Avenue: Winston and Lisa Christie, owners of Winston’s Kitchen, are taking over ownership of Linda Jean’s. Marc Hanover is retiring from the business he started 47 years ago. The Christies don’t plan any changes at Linda Jean’s except to keep it open year-round and bring back dinner. And, thankfully, Winston’s Kitchen on the harbor will continue to operate. Wishing Lisa and Winston continued success.

Oak Bluffs is turning to Christmas earlier than usual this year, with festivities planned throughout town over Thanksgiving weekend. It starts on the day after Thanksgiving with a holiday market at the Strand Theater from 10 am to 3 pm, followed by a Santa “Fun Run” around town at 4:30 pm. Events go on all day Saturday, and then Ocean Park and the town Christmas tree will be lit on Saturday, Nov. 26, at 6:30 pm. It’s all sponsored by the Oak Bluffs Association, you can see the full calendar of events on their Facebook page.

The MV Museum is currently hosting an exhibit entitled “Grow, as We Are” with its roots in Oak Bluffs. Showing through Jan. 8, the exhibit is the result of a three year residency with the Inkwell Haven foundation, and is centered around a series of late-19th century photographs depicting the experience of Black Island residents and visitors. The photos and stories are incredible and moving, be sure to check it out.

Don’t forget about the Travel Talk at the library this Saturday at 2 pm, with Tom Dresser’s stories and pictures from his father-daughter walk on the Highland Way in Scotland.

Belated birthday wishes to Susan Tedeschi who celebrated on Nov. 9. Big bunches of birthday hugs to Tessa Whitaker on Nov. 17. On Nov. 18, 1957, two fierce Scorpio’s were born, destined to become best of friends when they landed on MV twenty years later. Happy birthday to Jeff Lambert and Teri Mello, stay forever young. Maya Moran celebrates on Nov. 18 also. Carlin Hart shares his Nov. 20 birthday with Stephen Crohan and President Joe Biden. Wish Lucinda Sheldon a happy day on the 22nd. Send me your news.