Aquinnah: Cliffhangers, library services, beach cleanup, and July 4th activities

—MV Times

If you live in a place like Martha’s Vineyard, summer frequently means visitors from far away. We have just had our first set — a niece and her husband from Virginia. It was a lovely three-day visit, filled with drives around the Island, walks on the main shopping areas of each Vineyard town, time on one beach or another, hours of sometimes earnest and sometimes hilarious talk while sitting on the porch, and lots of time spent cooking and eating together.

In honor of the visit, I dredged up files of old photos. As we passed them from hand to hand, each of us told stories that went with the faces or places we were looking at. Sometimes we laughed. Sometimes our eyes had tears. Always we were filled with awe at what we had survived, and delight at what we had seen and felt and experienced. I appreciate the fact that our more recent photos are now safely saved in our phones and computers, I do. I’m glad that I no longer have to find a place to store our memories. I’m sorry, however, that we no longer save the actual photographs, because somehow it simply seems more intimate to hold a picture in your hand. The hour or so we spent looking at photos was powerful, and I’m glad we did it.

I want to send up a cheer for the reopening of Cliffhangers, that source of great ice cream, hamburgers, and gourmet delights up on the Cliffs. Theresa Manning is one terrific cook, and she and her husband Paul and their family and friends always make a walk up to the Cliffs a treat. Between their ice cream and the other shops offering clothing, jewelry, fine coffee, and souvenirs up there, we are now full-on to the summer vibe. Hallelujah.

The Aquinnah library hosts some interesting talks and workshops this next week. On Thursday, June 22, at 5 pm, they offer a workshop on “Facilitation Skills,” led by consultant Chelsea Simpson, described as an “experiential exploration from the frontlines of organizational transformation.” On Saturday, June 24, at 1 pm, they offer up “Sonic Flow Writing,” a “sound meditation journey” led by Anna Marden. Marden requests that you bring your yoga mat if you have one, and be ready to open up as you relax and then write. I’m most excited, however, by a repeat of a workshop I took last year. It was a session on beekeeping, led by Juli Vanderhoop, and even though I never intend to raise bees, I love honey, and am fascinated by these hard-working social creatures. This year, “The Buzz on Beekeeping” is offered on Thursday, June 29, at 4 pm, and promises the “latest buzz,” along with samples of honey from across the Island.

For those of you who don’t know the wide array of things in addition to books that our library has to help entertain and enlighten you, they offer e-books, audiobooks, streaming movies, the Washington Post and the New York Times online, and Creativebug, an online resource offering crafts classes and patterns. All it takes is a library card and your curiosity. And don’t forget tie-dye on June Saturdays.

On June 23 from 12 to 4, and on June 24 from 10 to 2, the Up-Island Council on Aging (Howes House) offers a free show of art made by members of the COA painting group.

I know that I’ve mentioned it before, but wanted to urge you to get the family out there for this second up-Island beach cleanup. On Saturday, June 24, help clean the beach at Squibnocket from 8 to 10 am. A volunteer will be there with bags and gloves, and will handle beach trash disposal. Free Dairy Queen ice cream tokens will be offered to participating kids under 12. You can get cleanup kits at the beach, or at any Island library. This great way to show your love for our beaches and oceans is part of a collaboration of the Vineyard Conservation Society, Island libraries, Island DPWs and the M.V. Refuse District.

For those of you looking for summer classes for your kids, the M.V. Museum has eight Discovery Days sessions, running from July 11 to August 11. Classes are divided into two age groups (ages 5-8, and ages 9-12) and are designed to bring history to life. There are morning and afternoon sessions available, with four classes per session, running Tuesday through Friday. Registration closes the Friday before each session, and they fill up on a first-come, first-served basis. Check out, or contact Rebecca Nutton, M.V. Museum education manager, at 508-627-4441 if you’re interested.

You probably don’t need it, but here’s a reminder: Aquinnah has the most fun July Fourth parade — with more decorated cars and passengers than there are observers, a laid-back and happy pace, and lots of first responder trucks and cars and sirens. There’s a prize awarded for best float, so decorate your vehicle, and on Tuesday, July 4, join the lineup at 10 am on Moshup Trail at Old South Road. Parade starts at 11 am, and travels around the Circle. (We’ll be observing from the Circle.) Then come to the Aquinnah Community Picnic immediately following the parade, from 11:30 until 2:30, at the Vanderhoop Homestead behind the Aquinnah Cultural Center. They’ll have a tent, two grills, picnic tables, kites, bubbles, and Hula-Hoops on offer. Food will be provided, but bring your own dish to share if you want to. Call Gabbi if you would like to help at the picnic, 508-645-2304.

Don’t forget to give Lyle Vanderhoop a happy birthday salute on June 30, or to say happy anniversary to Barbara Wallen and Gary Paraboschi this week. And don’t forget to send me your information for inclusion in the next column:

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