Notes from a snowbird


Today is a typical Florida day. The sun is shining, the temperature warm and balmy, and lizards are scampering about. Warmth is pervasive, and ocean walks beckon. Here in mid-winter, residents go to the beach. Fancy shops sport smart, colorful clothes way beyond the reach of my pocketbook. Last night I went to see the Miami Ballet’s splendid version of the “Nutcracker” with an audience dressed in expensive outfits that ranged from a quasi-bathing suit to black tie evening dress.  

But despite soaking up this pseudo glamour for a few months, I still miss Martha’s Vineyard like crazy. The sound of the foghorn rings in my ears as the ferry arrives and leaves.The pleasure of walking downtown, looking into familiar shops, and running into good friends. Bridge games with players who come and go, displaying vast discrepancy of talent. The museum with alternating histories of all the different folk who have come to and lived on the magic Island — the Wampanoag Indians, African Americans, Jewish business owners, early hospital workers, naval personnel, and sailors. Then there are the writers. Those from the past such as Bill Styron, Art Buchwald, and Mike Wallace, and those of today, Rose Styron, Pat Sullivan, Dr. Gerald Yukovich. Plus, there are residents of no particular fame, who simply fell in love with the place. One couple I randomly bumped into told me, “We came to sightsee, got off the ferry, and never left. We can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

What else do I miss? The sound and smell of the ocean, the many small walks, unexplored paths, hidden beaches. The unexpected is always ready to pop up and surprise you.
I can’t wait until May, but until then, Happy New Year, Martha’s Vineyard!

Grace Kennan Warnecke is the former chairman of the board of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and author of the memoir “Daughter of the Cold War.” She is a seasonal resident of Vineyard Haven.