by Katalin Soni
If you have never been to Martha’s Vineyard, add it to your to-do list. If you have never heard of Martha’s Vineyard, you are in for a treat. The following is a brief overview of life on the Island and will help explain why this place is so special to so many. Farms. Lots of farms. Big farms (like Morning Glory) and small farms (like one of the twenty front-yard farm stands you pass when driving on a single winding road.) On the Vineyard, growing local produce is a way of life. The Wednesday and Saturday farmers’ market draws crowds from all corners of the island to sell, buy, and be merry together. With live music and a playground adjacent to the market, the community celebrates fresh produce, baked goods, and small-scale businesses.
In addition to the farmers’ markets, the Vineyard hosts a plethora of artisan fairs and flea markets at which you can purchase antiques, handmade beach-inspired jewelry, fine photography, alpaca-wool products (yes, there is an alpaca farm on the island) and countless other lovely items. At Featherstone Center for the Arts, there are weekly art classes for the public. These classes cover painting, pottery, silk screening, drawing, and much more.
The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and International Film Festival provide audiences with unique and moving films that are hand-plucked by a passionate, diverse staff. At the end of each film there is a Q & A session featuring someone who was directly involved in the film making process.
The island has a variety of scenery that could please even the most scrupulous traveler. With charming lighthouses, fishing villages, rolling pastures with flowers, horses, and sheep, and enough shades of green to make your head spin, the Vineyard is rightfully a desirable vacation destination. On the west side of the island at Menemsha Beach, hordes of people gather to watch spectacular sunsets with cups of fresh clam chowder in hand. Each beach has a different personality and different perks. At State Beach, you will often find bio luminescence sparkling at night, creating a second starry sky in the water. At South Beach, the shore extends as far as the eye can see in either direction- a vast stretch of salty solitude. At Great Rock Bight, rocks are smooth, shiny and as colorful as Skittles.
On the Vineyard, beach barbecues and fishing adventures are not saved solely for the weekend; each day is beautiful and deserves to be enjoyed. People share their skills and are always willing to cooperate with each other. The land is pure and bountiful, and the island natives are keen to keep it that way. Many islanders respect the natural ebb and flow of time and nature, primarily eating fruits and vegetables that are in season. While the island is heavily populated during the hot summer months, crowds disappear almost immediately after Labor Day weekend. However, Island fun does not stop with falling temperatures. During autumn and winter, the people of Martha’s Vineyard get together for hearty potlucks and lively contra dances. While the Island is generally a picturesque escape from reality, Martha’s Vineyard has its own problems and controversies like any other community. That being said, this place is truly magical and has a great deal to offer for people of all ages.