sunset on martha's vineyard

by Rick Conti

The Sun is ubiquitous.  Oh, it plays its hide-and-seek game with us, but we forgive its caprice because it always comes back, never early, never late, but “precisely when it means to,” just as do wizards like Gandalf.

Old Sol has his dark side as well.  We love to soak up his rays, but we also cover ourselves with SPFs that approach triple digits.  (The highest is made of lead, I believe.)  Thus, we lose a lot of vitamin D –  the sun dispenses more vitamin D than any purveyor of supplements – because we fear developing skin with the texture of Samsonite… or worse.

It goes without saying (yet I’ll say it just the same) that a great place to enjoy its appearance is Martha’s Vineyard.  The sun’s light on the Vineyard is unique because the Vineyard is unique.  Nowhere else does the sun illuminate such places as Gay Head Cliffs, Cape Poge, and everywhere in between.

Is there a sight anywhere like that of the sun creating one of its pointillist masterpieces across a gently rolling sea?  It’s as if the ocean is lit by countless 4th of July sparklers.  Or millions of children are winking mischievously at you, double-dog-daring you to dive in.  You can sit on the sand for hours (days, years) and never see the same view.

Riding on the bike path around the State Forest gives you more flashing glimpses of the sun.  As it filters through the trees, dappling the route ahead.  (Alas, it can also camouflage root bumps in said path, wreaking havoc with your unprepared posterior!)  In the summer, you scoot through the solar spots looking for shady relief.  In the off season, you want to linger in those same islands, your body soaking in as much warmth as possible during those fleeting opportunities.

Sunset is a daily magic show, best viewed from the west side of the island, Menemsha being the quintessential spot.  However, there are surprises from any MV vantage point.  If you’re lucky, you might get twice the visual pleasure watching the sun sink behind Sengekontacket Pond, once in the sky and another reflected in the pond’s generally placid surface.

An al fresco meal gives you the chance to soak up the sun while scarfing down great food, whether it’s take-out from The Bite or the Quarterdeck or lounging on the decks at Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs or the Aquinnah Shop restaurant.

Yes, you can get the inimitable MV sun in many different settings, but there can even be too much of this good thing.  When that happens, you look for shade…

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