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Written by Rick

Daddy and his Shadow girls
By Pink Sherbet Photography

Diversity is a buzzword people like to throw around, referring mostly to people who look or behave differently from one another.  Rarely does it refer to anything much beyond the surface.  The fact is that true diversity occurs deep within.  It can rarely be seen from the outside but must be experienced personally.  I contend that Martha’s Vineyard offers a variety unlike other places.   There are so many different things to do for so many different kinds of people in so many different types of places.

A diversity of places…

The terrain, dwellings, and sights on the island are so varied that you might be tempted to think you are in more than one place at the same time.  Hills, farms, beaches, forests, busy streets, and quiet parks are among the habitats available to enjoy.  If you have a change of mood, a change of environment is only a short drive, walk, bike ride, or bus trip away.  In fact, you could become disoriented just by turning around in some locales.

There is even variety in similar ecosystems: State Beach can be as calm as a lake while South Beach can be so tempestuous that it can toss you like so much dirty laundry..

…with a diversity of activities…

From the serenity of kayaking in a placid lagoon to the insanity of parasailing on the turbulent air currents above State Beach, there is truly something for everyone here.  I like to sit on South Beach and read, but if I decide to soar silently over that beach, gliders await at nearby Katama airfield offering that option.  I can bike on the flat paths around the airport or challenge the hills of Aquinnah.

What youngster can resist the lure of the brass ring on the Flying Horses?  (What parent can resist helping said child?)  If that’s too tame for the older kids, they can take real horse rides through the fields and trails of West Tisbury.  The Aggie is a blast while neighboring Polly Hill Arboretum is a tranquil refuge.

Dining offers the same variety.  The Quarterdeck, a classic walk-up clam shack, is mere steps away from the upscale L’Etoile, but don’t try wearing the same apparel to both.

…for a diversity of people.

Families, singles, infants, and elders will all find appropriate diversions.  The crazies and the lazies will similarly find their niches.  Rich retirees from New Jersey coexist with newlyweds from Chicago.  The acclaimed and the obscure can rub elbows in shops and bars.  During the summer, you might be served ice cream by a college senior from Bulgaria or buy a drink from a senior citizen native islander.

I love many things about the Vineyard, but high on the list is that I feel as if I can visit many different places with a single visit to the Island.

Live like a New England Local This Spring
Martha’s Vineyard vs. Nantucket: Which One Comes Out on Top
Treat Yourself to Something New at Martha’s Vineyard Shops
A Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Weather through the Seasons
Explore Downtown Edgartown on Your Martha’s Vineyard Escape
Look at That: What to See in Martha’s Vineyard
Why You Should Still Visit Martha’s Vineyard in the Winter
Spend a Day at a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Property

Rick's Crocuses-resized-600

I have declared that spring has begun.  Never mind that the calendar says March 11.  Every other indication that I care about tells me that winter is over in New England and spring has completed its long, weary trek to my front door.

How can I declare that spring has arrived in the face of all scientific data to the contrary?  Hard evidence makes the change clear.  First and foremost, I grilled outside.  If that isn’t spring, I don’t know what is.  Granted I had to maneuver around snowbanks, shovel my way to the grill, and set the bottle of BBQ sauce in a drift while I tried to dig the bottom of the grill cover out of the snow, but those are minor details.  Vini, vidi, chicky.  I came, I saw, I grilled chicken.

Second, as I was engaged in the aforesaid vernal activity, the children in the next yard were swinging on their playground apparatus.  Are you going to tell them that it isn’t spring?  Break their hopeful hearts?  I think not!  It mattered little to them that their tiny little boots were scraping through the snow with each pendular movement.  Though clouds filled the sky, the sun shone in their eyes.

Finally, my crocuses have bloomed.  ‘Nuff said.

How does this affect anything other than my state of mind, which was already open to controversy anyway?  Well, I’ve put away my winter coat for one thing.  I’m done with it until next December at least.  Gloves, wool hats, boots?  No, thanks.  I won’t be needing winter protection for a while.

The grill is open for business for good.  Set up my hammock on the porch.  Hot cocoa?  Nope.  Kick back and have a tall glass of lemonade.  Slap one of those Beach Boys CD’s on.  Surf’s up!  Put the furnace in mothballs.  I’m done contributing to global warming except to drive to Martha’s Vineyard.

There you have it.  I refuse to wait until March 20, 21, 22, or whatever date has been ordained by the whims of capricious meteorological types.  I’ve had enough snow, ice, and cold for a lifetime, never mind the year.  I won’t be bullied or intimidated by the tyranny of calendars, facts, or bothersome reality.  I’m living in spring as of now.

Feel free to join me.  You’ll find me at South Beach.  It should be summer in a few days.

What tells YOU that spring has sprung?

 

Live like a New England Local This Spring
Martha’s Vineyard vs. Nantucket: Which One Comes Out on Top
Treat Yourself to Something New at Martha’s Vineyard Shops
A Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Weather through the Seasons
Explore Downtown Edgartown on Your Martha’s Vineyard Escape
Look at That: What to See in Martha’s Vineyard
Why You Should Still Visit Martha’s Vineyard in the Winter
Spend a Day at a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Property

erc__0368 sm (1)This blog is sponsored by the Colonial Inn in Edgartown.  And all of the contributors are employees thereof.  Except me.  Since I’m a non-employee, I can tell the truth and they can’t touch me!  I can blow the lid off the whole operation!  Tell all!  Full disclosure!  Expose all the dirty little secrets!  Name names!  Blow the whistle!!!

Unfortunately, there’s not much to say.  Fortunately, it’s because the gang at the Colonial is a great group of people, running a classy establishment.

My connection with this organization is that I’m an owner at the Edgartown Residence Club(ERC), a fractional ownership deal owned and managed by the Colonial Inn.  I was telling the truth, though, that it really is an advantage to not be an employee for the purposes of this post.  If I worked there, the blatant, over-the-top kudos that I am about to dole out would amount to nothing but bluster and bravado that you could brush aside without a second thought.  But since I have nothing to gain – in fact I could lose out on the deal – my words could have some credibility… for once.

The ERC is a dream come true.  My family has been vacationing in MV for many, many years.  At one point, in the throes of post-vacation euphoria, no doubt, we investigated the possibility of buying property here.  Alas, I haven’t founded a phenomenally successful Internet startup or written a song that made young lovers swoon in their iPod earbuds thus selling millions of copies.  The financial picture was woefully out of focus.

That route would have been impractical, anyway.  No way I’m gonna be either shelling out the clams for maintenance or shuttling back and forth checking on a place.  I’m not really that big on maintenance anyway.  That’s where the ERC comes in.

The ERC provides the perfect vacation.  You show up, you have fun, you go home.  No stress.  No worries.  No brainer.  We pack light (I like that a lot) and we leave the car on the mainland (everyone likes that).  Everything is supplied by the ERC, right down to beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas.  Lots of nice little touches, too, like muffins in the morning, cookies in the afternoon, and (sometimes) live music in the evening.

Master Bedroom smallThe place is furnished to the hilt.  (Although I still haven’t figured out why we have 200 pillows on the bed.  No matter.  All my problems should be that manageable.)  Gas-powered fireplaces to make those cold island winter nights warm and cozy.  Right in theheart of Edgartown with views of the harbor from the deck.  Walking distance to great restaurants, the lighthouse, beaches.  (As Steven Wright says, “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.”)  Hey, it’s way better than owning my own place.  (See?  If the staff wrote this stuff, you wouldn’t believe them. I’m not sure I would!)

But, against all odds, I really do own my own place now.  The fact that it’s just four weeks a year – the weeks I choose, by the way – makes it that much better.

What’d I tell ya?  Full disclosure!

PS. If you like the sound of all this and want to learn more, get in touch with Joanne, or call her on 508-627-7666 – she’ll give you all the info!

If you could own a vacation home anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

Live like a New England Local This Spring
Martha’s Vineyard vs. Nantucket: Which One Comes Out on Top
Treat Yourself to Something New at Martha’s Vineyard Shops
A Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Weather through the Seasons
Explore Downtown Edgartown on Your Martha’s Vineyard Escape
Look at That: What to See in Martha’s Vineyard
Why You Should Still Visit Martha’s Vineyard in the Winter
Spend a Day at a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Property

At the beginning of every month, I set about writing a post for this blog.  I don’t get paid – it’s truly a labor of love.  There are plenty of wonderful things about Martha’s Vineyard, so there is no shortage of topics to write about.  Still, I often find myself conflicted about what my subject matter will be from month to month.

At the start of 2011 (one’s are wild as I write this – it’s 1/1/11) you’d think that the anxiety would be intensified, what with this being the commencement of a new year and all.  Yet because of today’s unusual events, it became one of my easiest tasks to date.

My family and I spent several days of the Christmas/New Year holiday break on Martha’s Vineyard, enjoying our home at the Edgartown Residence Club.  Thankfully, we arrived after the “Blizzard of 2010”, which turned out to be more of a bust than a blizzard where I live.  Each day after our arrival, the temperature increased.  I was able to spend several hours out on the deck reading in the sunshine.  Bliss.  But it was about to get better.

By Saturday, New Year’s Day, the virtual mercury had soared to the sunny mid-50’s.  Unable to resist the lure of the unseasonably high temperatures, our crew headed – where else – for South Beach.  As we approached the coast, the temperature dropped by a degree every few hundred feet we drove.  By the time we hit sand, it was downright brisk, but our excitement had not cooled off at all.

This was an exceptional opportunity.  I took advantage of the moment by removing my shoes and walking barefoot in the cool sand.  Near the dunes, the sand was warm and the wind was blocked, but as always the action was nearer the water.  The surf was agitated and high.  It was all I could do to keep my feet on solid ground.  I think it was that darn sense of self-preservation that prevented me.

We were not the only ones who had the same design.  South Beach, while not overrun as it is in the summer, still had a number of frolickers, most human but a few canine, drawn to a fleeting dream of summer.

One doesn’t often get the chance to ring in the new year in such spectacular fashion.  Not more than once a year anyway.

We carved the date in the sand as a reminder of a very special day at a very special place.

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Live like a New England Local This Spring
Martha’s Vineyard vs. Nantucket: Which One Comes Out on Top
Treat Yourself to Something New at Martha’s Vineyard Shops
A Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Weather through the Seasons
Explore Downtown Edgartown on Your Martha’s Vineyard Escape
Look at That: What to See in Martha’s Vineyard
Why You Should Still Visit Martha’s Vineyard in the Winter
Spend a Day at a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Property

It’s becoming obvious to everyone I meet that I’ve been away from the Vineyard way too long.  Lately, I’ve been cranky, rude, short-tempered, and sleeping fitfully.  Those are not the real reasons they can tell.  I’m always like that.  I think it’s the fact that I announce to everyone I meet, “I’ve been away from the Vineyard way too long!!!”  Yeah, that’s a dead giveaway.
Pouting by Clarity-resized-600

Seriously, my mind meanders even more often than usual these days.  Though I sit staring at my computer screen, I dream that I’m relaxing on that bench on Edgartown Harbor munching on chocolate-covered pretzels bought from the Ice Cream and Candy Bazaar.  The gentle tide slaps against the seawall where a huge, graceful swan glides by hoping for a handout from an eager and enchanted child.  I lean back to let the sun warm my face while the Chappy Ferry fights the tide created by  the breach at Norton Point.

Alas, those days are buried deep in my past and cast even further in my future.  My year is broken up into two parts: the remembrance of Vineyard past (apologies to Monsieur Proust) and anticipation of Vineyard future.  That’s generally enough to keep me going, but I’m pushing it this year.  For a variety of reasons, I’ve had to forgo a couple of potential trips this year, so I’m left in withdrawal today.

What are the signs of MV withdrawal?  You come upon some sand on the side of the road and have an inordinate desire to strip down to your skivvies and lie on it.  When your child gets ready for a bath, you call out, “Watch out for the riptide!”  You start to mispronounce Katama.  You hear a horn beep in traffic and look for a ramp to board the ferry.

Let me clarify one thing.  I do have a life.  It’s just that visiting Martha’s Vineyard enhances that life. Even a short respite on the island is enough to recharge my batteries.  Just like one dog year is seven human years, two island days is equivalent to a week’s vacation elsewhere.  I don’t mean to disparage other vacation spots.  I think we all have our “special places”, our sanctuaries, where relaxation and peace simply come easier to us.  Guess where mine is?

(editors note: If you are missing Edgartown too much, check in on the webcam to keep an eye on the harbor)

 

Live like a New England Local This Spring
Martha’s Vineyard vs. Nantucket: Which One Comes Out on Top
Treat Yourself to Something New at Martha’s Vineyard Shops
A Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Weather through the Seasons
Explore Downtown Edgartown on Your Martha’s Vineyard Escape
Look at That: What to See in Martha’s Vineyard
Why You Should Still Visit Martha’s Vineyard in the Winter
Spend a Day at a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Property