Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard

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Martha’s Vineyard People, and Everyone Else

BY ADAM | 17 September 2010

Family walking on beachI don’t know why there is so much divisiveness and trouble in this world.  We should all be able to get along.  After all, there are really only two kinds of people in the world: those who take vacations and those who never do so.

Of course, when it comes to vacations, there are two kinds of people in the world: the Crazies and the Slackers.  The Crazies tend to be found in urban settings and hectic places like Disney World.  The Slackers would rather, well, slack off on vacation.  You’ll find them in more natural locations with very little to do.  The Crazies would go crazy with boredom on a Slacker vacation.  Many a Slacker would die of exhaustion or sensory overload on a Crazy vacation.

I used to be a Crazy.  During my vacations I did a lot, experienced a lot, walked a lot, ran a lot, spent a lot, and occasionally learned a lot.  When I got home from vacation, I needed a vacation.  Now, whether due to growing wiser, growing duller, or just growing older, I can be counted among the Slackers.  Give me a book or a chair (preferably both) and I’m content.

Then again, the Slackers come in two varieties: water people and land people.  The former head to the lakes, oceans, and rivers while the latter are found in the mountains and forests.  While retaining a fondness for all things natural and peaceful, I hereby confess to being an unabashed water person.

Here in New England, the water people are generally divided into the lake and ocean parties.  Winnipesaukee is a classic destination for lake folk, although there is an abundance of choices spread around the six state region.  Being an ocean person, I eschew the slimy bottoms, waveless surfaces and dirt beaches of the lakes.  I like my water moving, thank you very much.

Once more there is a major split here, this time between mainland and island dwellers.  The coast of Maine certainly offers its share of coastline and islands, but here our focus is on the gap between Cape Cod people and Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket people.  I’ll be brutally honest.  I don’t like Cape Cod.  Why?  First of all, you can drive to it.  (See my ferry post of 5/16/10.)  And, man, do people drive to it!  Yes, it has miles of spectacular coastline, some cool lighthouses and bike paths, but it also has MacDonald’s, Christmas Tree Shops and other denizens of perdition.  If I want to dine at Olive Garden and shop at Walmart (I don’t!) I might as well stay home.

So we’re left with the final bifurcation: Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket.  Guess who wins my affections?  Again, a little candor is called for here.  I have never been to Nantucket.  I don’t ever plan to go to Nantucket.  I have no desire to go to Nantucket.  I’m sure it’s a beautiful place.  I have nothing bad to say about it.  I could write – to paraphrase the title of an Ogden Nash poem – “Impressions Of Nantucket By One Who Has Never Been There”.  But I’m no Ogden Nash so I won’t risk being that presumptuous.

So why the Martha’s Vineyard choice?  I’m told that Nantucket is relatively homogenous – outside of the few millionaires living in low-income housing, it’s pretty much billionaires in seclusion.  The Vineyard actually fulfills that now prosaic quality of “diversity” that everyone talks about and yet avoids in practice.  There are the rich and the working class, the mansions and the gingerbread houses, the elite and the hoi polloi, the artists and the farmers.  Can there be two cities more different than Oak Bluffs and Chilmark?  It’s an affront to evolution that they co-exist on the same island.  And I love it!

So what this all comes down to is that there really are only two kinds of people in the world: Martha’s Vineyard people and the rest.  Why can’t we all just get along?

Postscript: It should be noted that on certain Saturdays in August, there seem to be only Vineyard people.  And they’re all in line at Mad Martha’s.  Sigh.

Image courtesy of Nicole Friedler


September 23, 2010 08:35 pm

Great post. I have never been to Nantucket so I cannot speak about it but I do love the Vineyard. Such a charming place. Would love to go in the offseason sometime.