Sunday, June 13, 2010


Being on the Island during off peak season has some advantages. Parking regulations are not enforced, even though signs indicate otherwise. We can park without fear of a ticket, the nice man told us as we watched him place a notice on the Bronco. Parking regulations will be back in affect starting next weekend. Hmmm, interesting.  Parking, so far, has been relatively easy. This lovely town of 3,379 population increases to over 100,000 during the peak season. Its nice to be here without a frenetic pace, even if hours are kind of crazy in June.
Our first stop, the visitors center, in this beautiful old building, was still closed. Staffed and run by the Marthas Vineyard Preservation Association Trust, it sits on a beautiful downtown site with the Whaling Church, and Vincent House. All three buildings are part of the trust.

We soon learned the Whaling Church is now a performance arts center. It opens later in the season at 10 a.m. We were unsure if it is by tour or just to look through. The Vincent House, (below) is only open to guided tours from 11 to 2, Mondays through Fridays, all year. It was still closed. There must be a reason that weekenders are not encouraged. Perhaps it is run by volunteers. It was nice to look at them, even so. The Vincent House is the oldest house on the island, built in 1641. Many buildings in the historic main section of town are on the historic register, all indicated by a brass plaque. Its a comfortable walk around the narrow, shaded streets to see them.
 The Marthas Vineyard Museum is here in Edgartown. It features Veterans that came from the Island, and personal stories from folks who settled here. It was interesting to note that blacks, who were treated equally by Islanders, found rampant prejudice when they joined the service. Black soldiers had to gang up to protect themselves from drunken white soldiers on liberty. When caught, whites were shipped out, the blacks went to the brig.

In the days when residents lived far apart, this peddler's wagon brought the "store" to the residents. A period that didn't last long, the wagon too often got stuck on the muddy dirt roads, or mired in deep sand.

This curious artifact is a lightening rod that sits atop all lighthouses. Its been struck, cracked and scarred.

By now, we know for certain, there are no stop lights on this Island. The usual speed limit is 25 miles per hour. People are quite courteous on the road.  
We visited a couple of galleries, shops, rugs, baskets, bags, scarves, clothing, not as expensive as you might think considering that every delivery truck has to pay a premium to ferry onto the island.
The gallery owners are very helpful and easy to talk too. Art here IS expensive. Hours, variable. Sculpin Gallery opened at 12:30, was closed by 3.
Once a working whaling harbor, big ship tie ups, still sprout through the sidewalks.

We took the On Time Ferry over to Chappaquiddick. Named the On Time because it only ran when people lined up and waited. It scooted the two minutes from one side to the other. It still operates that way, and therefore,  always on time.

We watched Ferry On Time-I and On Time II operate for awhile. And then reduce to one ferry when things slowed down. From the Chappaquiddick side we got a great view of the harbor and Edgartown Lighthouse.

Edgartown is one of five working lighthouses that protect boat traffic from the island.

A fish shanty here is a very  different affair from a shanty at Menemsha. I favored the Menemsha fishing village for its character, solitude, earthiness, smells; its real working atmosphere and food. 

 If you have a day, or a weekend, Edgartown has much to offer. Good shopping, original choices, wonderful people, good, diverse art, antiques, restaurants, and architecture. Do it. Don't wait.

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