Not so very long ago, I was walking to work in my hometown, Toronto, and I was feeling blue. I was missing Martha’s Vineyard and the people there something fierce. It had been a very long time since I had walked down the gang plank of a Steamship Authority ferry and set my feet on Vineyard soil. I could feel my soul wilting by the day. That’s exactly what it felt like—like a plant on the window sill, first deprived of sunlight, and then water, bending over and then drying out. Writing my latest Martha’s Vineyard Mystery had become a struggle. I hadn’t been on the island since early March 2020 and my last trip before that was June 2019! That was nowhere near enough Vineyard Sound, Edgartown Harbor, Aquinnah Cliffs, and Menemsha sunsets for me.
Like everyone else, I have a list of people that I can call who are guaranteed to make me feel better. Granted, it’s a very short list. So, while walking to work, I tapped my iPhone screen and called my friend Lisa of Vineyard Haven. She answered on the second ring, “Hello, I love you, when are you coming?” I smiled. How could I not? Knowing that you are important to someone is a powerful thing. The truth was though, I wasn’t coming and I didn’t know when I would be able to. I told her, “The borders are still closed. At least, they are for most people and I still have to quarantine when I get back. So, it doesn’t make sense to come for a week I’d have to make it worthwhile and come for a longer period. I’d stay with maybe a few different people. I hope I could stay with you for a bit—” She cut me of, “You can stay with me for the whole summer! Figure out what you need to do to make it happen and come!” I didn’t think it was at all possible. We talked a little longer and when I hung up, I did feel better.
A Martha’s Vineyard Way Of Thinking
Every time I have thought about doing something even remotely outside the box, my mind immediately starts filling with all of the reasons why it’s impossible. My brain tells me, “You can’t do that, you have a job” without even asking if I can have the time off. “You can’t do that, you have an apartment to take care of” without asking my neighbour friends if they can help. No matter what, my brain starts telling me why I can’t do something instead of trying immediately to sort out how I could. I know I’m not alone. Why do we do that? Why are we so afraid to expand our horizons and fill our lives with exciting adventures and experiences? The really terrifying thing is finding out our lives have been filled with nothing but watching television. That’s the scariest option of all. It’s insidious. Yet, I am so willing to succumb to it. Not this time. When I got to work that day, I asked my boss if I could go away for a month. He said, “You can take as much time as you need. Have a great time! Just make sure you’re back in less than six months.” The wheels started turning…
Planes, Trains, And Automobiles…And Ferries
I left my house at 11:15am on July 1st and one subway, one train, one plane, one bus, and one ferry later, my feet walked down the gangplank of the Steamship Authority and touched down on Vineyard soil for the first time in one year, three months, and twenty-seven days. I could feel all of my tension melt away. Granted, it was melting away pretty quickly on the boat. A young family, visiting the island for the first time, had a lot of questions. The first gentleman asked me, “Is this Martha’s Vineyard?” He waved his arm out toward West Chop. “Yes, it is. That is the West Chop Lighthouse and that green light over there is the East Chop Lighthouse.” The two men and their young son asked a few more questions and talking to them, discussing my island as it passed before me, made me feel at home. I docked at 9:15pm and Lisa met me at the ferry. She hugged me tight and I began to cry. I hadn’t felt that good in a very long time. I slept well that night.
Day One On Martha’s Vineyard
I woke up early in Vineyard Haven and walked through the light rain to The Black Dog Tavern. I always go first thing in the morning. They open at 7:00am and I am waiting at the door. The restaurant is always empty at that time of day no matter what day or month it is. Don’t try to go anywhere for breakfast at 9:30am and complain about how busy it is—of course it is. Breakfast was fantastic and my server recognized me as “the mystery writer”. My coffee might have been a little extra tasty due to that alone. Ego—what are you going to do?
With my belly full, I headed out to take some pictures. I recently invested in a new zoom lens for my camera and I was eager to try it out on the island. I used it for some shots and my other lens for a few other pics. Having the option is great. My head is still spinning when I think of what I will be able to do with it on Edgartown Harbor and the Aquinnah Cliffs.
My lunch was a lobster roll at The Lookout Tavern. I was disappointed to discover that they no longer serve Bloody Caesars (a Canadian specialty) but the lobster roll did not disappoint at all. I accidentally dropped a big piece of lobster on the deck and you don’t know how tempted I was to pick it up and eat it! I didn’t though…no really, I didn’t. Would I have picked it up if the restaurant wasn’t packed with tourists? Well…
My afternoon was filled with stops at Slip77—I picked up a great beach towel and sweatshirt—and Vineyard Vines—I got a pair of shorts and a T-shirt—and just a stroll around town. It was raining on and off but beautiful nonetheless. What do I care? I’m here all summer. When the wind is filled with the smells of the ocean and the rain is making the hydrangeas bob up and down in a happy dance, it’s hard to be upset with the storm. It doesn’t matter how cloudy it is, the sun is always shining. Hey, it’s the Vineyard!