The winter is a wonderful time to visit, because you see real live Islanders, those hardy souls who choose to live year round on this gorgeous 18-mile stretch of sand and beech groves.
In terms of the look of the population, it is not much different than here in Woods Hole — more grey beards than I ever saw in LA, many people in thick work clothes, the creased faces of hardy sea-farers, boat builders, carpenters, artists and chefs — plus the former summer people who own shops or have retired from busy careers to run non-profits or serve the demands of the busy summer trade.
There is a sense of distance, even in casual conversation, and my probings about island life are often met with bemused smiles and arch grins. This cluster of small villages set three miles off the mainland seems to have some sort of secret power, and those who fall under it’s siren song are likely to never leave the place. They refer to it as the Island, and the rest of the world as America. As in, “We went to America last week on a BJ’s run.” It’s like the moat that is Vineyard Sound creates a buffer between the two worlds, a separation that inspires poetry, and peregrinations from urban areas to this secret pocket of urbanity set apart from the rest.
This is one of many reasons why a winter day trip over there is so interesting — it is like visiting a secret world. Not to mention a gorgeous one. It takes only 45 minutes to be transported there, and I highly recommend you check it out, especially in winter when you get a better chance at meeting and talking to the locals. Here are a few other images from my short sojourn.
And arriving in Vineyard Haven at last light. I do hope my next trip allows more time to explore.