Aquinnah: After the storm, Beach BeFrienders, Juli Vanderhoop, and Gay Head 10K

—MV Times

Well, the big storm gave us some great waves, and an astonishing sunset that filled the sky with a riot of reds, purples, and pinks. But here in Aquinnah, it didn’t bring water and wind with the power that we had feared. Two days before it got here, however, we saw evidence of the strength of that offshore storm. This wasn’t just great surfing waves like we’d had for a few days, but something else entirely. Charley and I went to Philbin and watched as swells rose up, up, up, creating what looked like giant walls of glass that finally broke into crushing waves of white fury, landing back into the sea with a booming crescendo. It happened time after time, without pause; out of the choppy sea a mountain of water rising up high and then crashing with a roar, sending white foamy water rushing toward the dunes. We shared the beach with a few hearty souls, some of them holding surfboards, all of us in awe at the power before us. It was fantastic.

This Saturday, the 23rd, from 8 to 10 am, the Beach BeFrienders will be cleaning up Lambert’s Cove Beach. This is a family event, with Dairy Queen ice cream coins for kids under 12, and bags and gloves available for all. Tropical Storm Lee probably stirred up lots of debris. Go and help out if you can.

From artists to farmers, doctors to volunteers, the annual Creative Living Award given by the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation, awarded since 1983, has highlighted the accomplishments of outstanding individuals and groups who have contributed significantly to the quality of life on the Island. The list of past recipients is impressive. As an Aquinnah resident, I was so pleased to learn that the 2023 Creative Living Award goes to our very own Julianne Vanderhoop. I am grateful to Juli for her stalwart friendliness, her creative and collaborative use of the Orange Peel Bakery space for all of us to share, for her community spirit, and for her calm and reasonable voice as she braves the role as a member of the Aquinnah Select Board. It’s gratifying to see her recognized in this way. Drop by Orange Peel and congratulate her (and grab something delicious to munch while you’re at it).

If you want some great fish, on Mondays and Thursdays, some of the catch from those participating in the Derby is distributed to seniors at Howes House. If you’re a senior who could use some, drop by and pick some up for dinner. And don’t forget that on Tuesdays from 3 to 5 pm, the IGI Mobile Market is in the parking lot there, selling eggs and fresh-from-the-farm veggies.

Speaking of the Derby, I’m loving seeing the good number of participant hats here in Aquinnah. Happy fishing to my granddaughter Tillie and all the others, old and young, who are going for it. A quiet hour on the beach or on the boat is the best, whether you win a prize or not.

I want to remind you of the Gay Head Run for the Light on Oct. 1. If you’re a runner and haven’t signed on yet, go to to do so. It’s a beautiful route, and it’s to benefit our lighthouse. I don’t run, but I’ll be out there rooting for you.

And last but not least, we have some birthdays to celebrate. On the 22nd, Haoa Vanderhoop; on the 25th, that great young man Lewis Moore; and on the 26th, Spa Tharpe, who moved us all to tears at Len Butler’s memorial, and whose smiling face always makes us so happy.

I’m down with an early fall cold. Nothing serious, just enough to make my energies drag and my sleep fitful. It’s a good reminder that none of us should go out and about when we don’t feel well, certainly not without a mask. Spreading germs isn’t nice. Now, I’m headed for a cup of tea and bed.

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