Monday, July 23, 2012

A Trip to Martha's Vineyard

Up at Aquinnah, a view to the Gay Head Lighthouse (click on photos to enlarge)
Last week TD and I had a lovely and much-needed week's vacation on Martha's Vineyard. The island off the coast of Massachusetts has a special spot in my heart because I lived for two formative summers there in college, and the place had a big influence on me. Martha's Vineyard to me is a combination of sophistication plus natural, easy style that continues to inspire me. We have been back a handful of times since, and I always love to be there.
My mother painted this view of me walking to the beach during a family vacation -

For this trip, I found on the internet a cottage which is located way up-island in Aquinnah. When I lived on Martha's Vineyard, the area was called Gay Head, but it has since reverted back to its original Native American name. Our little cottage was at the end of a long dirt road, and it was one mile from the ocean beach.
We went straight away to get a car beach pass to Philbin Beach, the private beach for Aquinnah residents. To get to the beach, you walk up a sandy path hill, over a crest, and then down a hill for the most wonderful entrance to a beach.

We walked up towards the Gay Head Cliffs which are renowned for their red clay content which was used to make bricks.

Around every turn in the bend is another great view.

Other beachgoers too were enjoying the beauty of the beach and ocean.

We took another path up, over kind of a wooden boardwalk that weaves through grassy fields.

Our little cottage was a wonderful combination of wood beams, blue trim and white furnishings - perfectly casual for the beach.

There was an airy porch, for writing and drawing.

The house was completely secluded and the only sound we heard was birds singing.

On the second floor was a large bedroom with windows on three sides. In the middle of one night a thunderstorm rolled in and bright lightening cracked all around us through the windows.
We went to the nearby fishing village of Menemsha where we met our New York City friends Beth and Tim for a lobster dinner at the Home Port restaurant. Nothing better than lobster right out of the sea.

Martha's Vineyard is largely undeveloped so a great part of its natural beauty is green country land that rolls down to the blue ocean. In spots, grey weathered wood houses with white painted trim dot the landscape. I love the colors of Martha's Vineyard – blue, green, sand, grey, white. That is really all I wear.

One day at the beach, we situated ourselves near a large rock. I thought that rock looked familiar.

It's where we took a family photo, probably twenty five years ago, with my parents and siblings. Yours truly with the long hair is on the right. It is one of our best family pictures.

I walked along the beach and saw these rocks which were rather miraculously balanced.

When I returned, they were gone. Did I make that up in my head, I thought? No, because I have the photo as proof!
I was waiting for TD to do some body surfing in the ocean, but I like the sound of the waves anyway –

We drove to a private beach on Menemsha Pond and had a glass of white wine as we watched the sun set. Birds fluttered about overhead as the sun sank down. The ever-changing colors were breathtaking. I said, "This is like we're in a Walt Disney movie."

On our last day there we went up to the Gay Head Lighthouse to take in the ocean views.

Below the Lighthouse parking lot, a big white tent had been set up on the side of a hill with white heraldic flags waving overhead. It looked like a tent for a wedding. Sure enough, as we passed by, I saw the bride who was there with a photographer. She was tan and had blond hair, and was wearing a white strapless wedding dress with a big bouffant skirt. Following the photographer, she gathered up her voluminous skirt in her arms and ran down the green hill out of sight.


Sharron said...

What a lovely vacation. Thanks for the beautiful pics. I'd like to go there some day and paint.

Gail, northern California said...

Love your mother's painting of you.

What an idyllic setting for complete privacy and relaxation, you picked a perfect getaway.

Anne said...

Love the photos. Like the Lake George photos in an earlier post , a summer place is somehow both now and forever

Anonymous said...

Hi Bart,
My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
I was looking for blogs about Aquinnah to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
Hope to hear from you soon!