A little over a month ago, I wrote a piece entitled Martha’s Vineyard Sunsets. On the outset, this might seem like a perfectly normal thing to do. Especially, if you have been to Martha’s Vineyard and witnessed just how amazing a Martha’s Vineyard sunset really can be. They are magnificent. I would stand them up against sunsets anywhere else in the world. So, why does it feel like there’s a ‘but’ coming? Why does it feel like I’m ‘leading you up the garden path’ as the saying goes? Well, I kinda am and I’m kinda not. They are definitely world class sunsets of that there is no question, but what is odd is that I chose to write about Martha’s Vineyard sunsets before I wrote about Martha’s Vineyard sunrises. You see, I definitely prefer the latter. I am a morning man.
Martha’s Vineyard Sunrises
Everyone vacations differently. As long as everyone has a good time and no one gets hurt, I say, knock yourself out. Do what you like. For me, I don’t want to have more than one or two Guinness on a patio, or on a sailboat, watching the sun go down. Then, I like a walk on the beach in the night—yes, I will be imagining the numerous great white sharks lurking for hapless bathers—and then I will be off to bed. I will be in bed and asleep early, so that I will be up early. Here are a few of my favourites.
Edgartown sunrises have been the most frequent for me, just because in the past, I have stayed in Edgartown more often than any other town on-island. That’s okay, because Edgartown is a fantastic place to welcome the day. Depending on the time of year that you go, you may not have time to grab a coffee first, but that’s cool. Walk up north Water Street, to The Edgartown Lighthouse, and wait for the sun to break over the horizon just out past Cape Poge.
The Cape Poge Lighthouse would be an AMAZING place to welcome the day, but it would mean getting up and walking out at around 4:00am. I’m not ready to do that…yet. Although, knowing me, now that I’ve planted that seed, it won’t be long until it happens. Stay tuned for the photos. I may not have made it out to Cape Poge yet, but I have gone over to Chappaquiddick. Just walk on to the On Time III, take photos from the ferry, and then walk up the beach toward The Chappaquiddick Beach Club. They are both great spots to capture the sunrise. South Beach, on the other side of town, sort of, is also perfect for the sunrise. For that matter, it’s perfect for the sunset! Have you ever met a beach that wasn’t perfect for either? Neither have I.
Oak Bluffs Sunrises
The first of my many Martha’s Vineyard sunrises was in Oak Bluffs. I was staying in a house just off of Barnes Road with four friends. Every morning I would get up, before the sun, and start walking. My goal every morning was to make the sunrise in Ocean Park. It was always worth it. I would then head down Beach Road, taking photos along the way. Do you include The JAWS Bridge as part of Edgartown or include it in Oak Bluffs? I think it’s considered No Man’s Land. So, if someone drops dead in the centre of the bridge, who is responsible? I smell a new Martha’s Vineyard Mystery coming on.
In Ocean Park there are some fantastic opportunities to watch a Martha’s Vineyard sunrise. If you’re taking photos, then I highly recommend hanging around the gazebo. The morning light shining through the lattice work is brilliant. If you’re just looking to watch the sun come up over the water, then a walk along The Inkwell or up along the new fishing pier will do you the world of good. I love that fishing pier at any time of day.
Vineyard Haven Sunrises
It was just last year, when I stayed at my friend Lisa’s place, that I saw my first sunrise in Vineyard Haven. I know what you’re thinking, I go to The Black Dog Tavern for breakfast all the time so how is this even possible? I know, it’s odd, but it’s true. If I was heading to The Black Dog or The Art Cliff Diner for breakfast, I would have already captured the sunrise in either Oak Bluffs or Edgartown. Neither restaurant opens until after sunrise, so it would be up by the time I got to town. Anyway, Up before dawn at Lisa’s meant that I was right there.
Lisa also happens to live in an area with which I was not all that familiar at the time. Dawn is a perfect time to explore new territory as there is never anyone around to bother you, and you’re not going to bother anyone else. Lagoon Pond is ablaze, with light of every colour on the spectrum, at dawn. I am posting photos here, but they really don’t do it justice. Whether the camera fails to capture the brilliance of the colour, the magnificence of the light, or the attack on all of your other senses—the warmth, the cool, the smells, the sounds—I’m not really sure. All I know is that when I look at these photos, I love them, but that feeling that I had when I took them, isn’t there. A firefly in a jar.
I also found myself in Vineyard Haven for the sunrise a few months later in September. I was heading to a wedding in Boston and I had to be on the second ferry. If it had been in June or July, I would have missed the sunrise altogether, but this was late in the season. The timing was perfect. That morning, I captured some of my favourite photos that I have ever taken. There is a hope and an excitement in a sunrise that is missing in a sunset. It is the light of birth and renewal. Sunsets are an end, a goodbye.
It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about Martha’s Vineyard Sunrises or Martha’s Vineyard Sunsets, both are magnificent. They are world class. I do encourage you to experience both. A walk on the beach to see the sun come up is an extremely healthy way to start the day. I also recommend that you do it alone with your own thoughts. The whole day is in front of you to introduce yourself to as many new people as you can, find out where they’re from, and what their connection is to Martha’s Vineyard. You will have the whole day to laugh, eat, hike, and explore with friends and family. But Martha’s Vineyard sunrises, should more often than not, be absorbed alone, with maybe a coffee, and a smile. Hey, it’s The Vineyard…