Aquinnah: Home sweet home, shops at the cliffs, Climate Action Fair, and town meetings

— MV Times

I’m back home after 10 days away. While gone, I moved every two or three days to a different family house, sleeping in beds made familiar from past visits, learning how to avoid waking the sleeping relatives as I found the bathrooms at 3 in the morning, trying to keep my suitcase tidy by keeping the packs of socks from spilling into the pack of underwear, and doing my morning face scrub using tiny bottles of lotions. I had packed as sensibly as I could, but computers and books and gifts took up a lot of space in my suitcase, so clothing space was limited. It is spring in California, just like it is here, and the days would move from really chilly to uncomfortably warm, while I alternatively donned my one heavy sweater and or one of the three lightweight T shirts I had packed.

My time by the Pacific was beautiful. I spent one blissful day at the San Francisco Presidio, where the sun sparkled on the bay, the food trucks offered up fare from all the corners of the world, and multigenerational families picnicked and hiked and played. Another day was spent playing with my grandsons on the wild Pacific beaches, where waves crashed and the wind roared. My sisters and I spent time at fancy grocery markets filled with exotics, and one fantastic day at the Oakland Museum, where we saw the powerful Angela Davis exhibit, marveled at a fine collection of Californian art, and ate delicious banana pudding. We cooked big meals and talked long hours. Those of my generation are all dealing with the realities of advanced age, so the visits had an undertone of the bittersweet, but the time was filled with love and laughter, and I’m truly glad I went. But, oh, coming home to Aquinnah is the best. There is nowhere that is more beautiful, nowhere else I’d rather be.

Now that I’m here, I find that preparations for the Aquinnah Town Meeting (May 9) and elections (May 11) are pretty much completed (past expenses analyzed and future budgets prepared, department and committee reports written). Up on the Cliffs, the Stony Creek Gift Shop is already open for the season (weekends from 10:30 am to 4 pm, and weekdays from 11 am to 4 pm, for now), Hatmarcha Gifts is open as well, and you can get some of that great coffee (and snacks and gifts) at Aquila on the weekends.

Over at Outermost Inn, the cleaners and painters and gardeners are at work, freshening everything in preparation for the new season. They will start taking phone reservations on Friday, May 5, and will start serving on June 1. Here at the homestead, the pea seeds have sprouted, the beans and kale and spinach are in, and all the garden beds are ready for planting. Summer seems to be arriving already.

Last year, the Vineyard celebrated the creation of its Climate Action Plan with a full week of climate-action-related events, drawing in over 1,400 participants. Hosted by the MVC Climate Education Committee, you can join in this year on Sunday, May 7, from 12 to 4 pm at the Ag Hall. There will be bike tune-ups, a clothing repair station, classes on composting, information on local foods, solar energy, raffles, giveaways, music, food, and more. Come, and bring the kids.

It’s also a busy birthday week. Happiest birthday to Ella Mahoney, Maysel Vanderhoop White, Isaac Vanderhoop, and Jim Wallen.

Speaking of Jim Wallen, here’s some local journalistic history for you: Hugh Taylor tells me that Jim Wallen published one issue of a local newspaper back in the ’70s. Jim called it “The Occasional Clam,” and gave it the slogan “All the muck that’s fit to rake.” I must say that I appreciate the attempt, as well as Hugh’s long memory.

For those of you who want to stay informed, first be sure to read through the town budget and warrant articles prior to the town meeting (May 9). Then sign up for the town email list. (You do this by sending your email address and request to Jeff Madison at, and also to Sophia Welch at To receive local meeting notifications, go to the town website,, and click on “Subscribe.” And you can receive an email copy of the excellent Aquinnah library monthly newsletter by writing to, or simply by going to the library website and signing up. (PS: You can help keep me informed by writing to

If you have any Aquinnah Town Column suggestions, email Kathie Olson,