Aquinnah: The Great Reward

When I went to Martha’s Vineyard in 2012, it was for JAWSfest. I spent half of my time seeing JAWS lectures and meeting with friends who, until that point, I had only known through JAWS websites and fan pages.  The other half of my time, I devoted to reacquainting myself with the island. I didn’t have a lot of money. I ate one lobster roll. Each meal usually consisted of one slice of pizza eaten very slowly.

Travelling was not my thing and I felt completely out of my depth. It had taken a lot of courage for me to go to Martha’s Vineyard on my own, even though I was in my thirties; however, I knew I was supposed to be there. I knew I was home. Still, I needed to absorb Edgartown. I walked up and down her streets, I walked to South Beach and back, I walked every twist and turn of Edgartown until I knew every captain’s house, every diner, every beach. By then, it was time to return to Toronto. Then, I wrote The JAWSfest Murders.

My adventure began with the VTA.

I didn’t go to Martha’s Vineyard in 2013 and I knew that something was missing. My friends did too. Buy the time the summer of 2014 rolled around, we had rented a house and come September, we met for a ten day vacation. My attitude had changed considerably. I was disgusted with myself and how restrained I had felt on my previous trip. I had walked and memorized Edgartown, creating a home base, a comfort zone in my head. Then, I had gone home and written a book that played out across the island. Major plot points took place in places that I hadn’t visited myself for over twenty years. I was not going to let that happen again.

On my first morning, I woke up, got dressed, and headed out the door. The sun wasn’t even up yet. We had rented a house on Pondview Dr. about halfway down Lagoon Pond on the Oak Bluffs side. I headed south and walked around the pond until I came to Vineyard Haven Harbor. I had breakfast at The Black Dog—of course I did—and then I looked at the bus schedule. You see, my plan was to do everything that I could to make up for the “wasted” last trip. I figured that I would get on the bus that would take me as far away from where I stood. That point on the map that would read, “You Are Here”. From everything that I could see, the furthest point away was Aquinnah. I got on the bus.

Perfect Solitude on a Morning Beach


In order to get to Aquinnah, I had to get on the Number 3 in vineyard Haven, take it to the West Tisbury Town Hall, and then switch to the Number 5 to get to Aquinnah… I think. It’s been a while. I can tell you one thing for certain though, I love taking the Vineyard Transit. The Vineyard Transit Association (VTA) is a comfortable way to see almost the whole island. I don’t drive, so bringing a car to the Vineyard is never a question for me. If you can leave your car in America, I recommend that you do so. Get on the VTA, sit back, put on your headphones to listen to MVYRadio, and relax.

The Family Stone

It did take a while for me to get to Aquinnah, but I was so glad that I did. I was exhilarated as a matter of fact. It was early to mid-morning. I would say that it was around nine-thirty. That’s not early by any means, but it is early to be at the far end of the Vineyard. I had eaten breakfast in an almost empty Black Dog at seven a.m. and now, other than bumping into The Family Stone, I was walking the empty beaches of Aquinnah. The sun was shining. The temperature was perfect. Most important, I had chewed through my restraints and ran as far as I could into the ocean. Martha’s Vineyard officially became my island that day. That’s quite the reward. I took some photos and then headed back up to the bus stop. While I was using the restroom, I missed my bus. I didn’t care.


  1. This is great. To go off on your own to unknown parts is courageous and worth it. Makes me think of my first trip downtown on public transit went we moved to Scarborough. I was frightened, but I’ve never been frightened since 😊

  2. Wow ! What an interesting story Crispin. I never realized that you didn’t come to MV until 2012. I thought you were there every year since you were a teenager…don’t know why I thought that, I just did. Maybe because you know SO MUCH about the beautiful Island that you call home. KUDOS to you for taking that first step by yourself….what a brave thing to do even IF you were in your thirties !! I loved reading this article and thank you for sharing . ❤️

    1. I started coming when I was seven years old. There were a few trips as a kid and then there was a big gap! I’m really glad that you enjoyed the story Mary! Thank you for all of your wonderful comments. They mean a lot.

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