Out of more than twenty-seven thousand entries, this photograph of the Island Theatre on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs won second place in National Geographic Traveler’s nineteenth annual photo contest. The photographer, Bob Gates, is a Syracuse University professor who rents a house (known as Rainbow House) near Zack’s Cliffs in Aquinnah for a week every summer.

Linda Black

On an Island full of coincidences and interesting interplay, brothers Wesley and Garrett Brown are a prime example of both. Raised in a Methodist clergy family, the preacher’s kids have each traveled separate circuitous routes to end up doing what may seem like the same thing: playing the organ at either end of Kennebec Avenue in Oak Bluffs each summer.

Mary-Jean Miner

I don’t remember my first time on a boat; it seems as if it’s been forever. I also don’t recall learning to sail; it seems so natural to roll with the waves. I never consciously think about boats being beautiful; I just know it.

Louisa Gould

The Pilgrims didn’t think much of Cape Cod. “A hideous and desolate wilderness,” William Bradford called it. “Full of wild beasts and wild men.” Rather than stay, a small party from the Mayflower sailed ahead, searching for a winter haven. In December 1620, they reached Plymouth, a place “fit for situation,” Bradford wrote. “At least it was the best they could find.”

Tony Horwitz

Pique assiette mosaic artist Jenifer Strachan is an artisan in the oldest sense of the word, a highly skilled craftsman. Although the name pique assiette – which means “plate thief” or “stolen from plates” – was not coined until the 1930s, it is an antediluvian craft dating back to ancient Greece and Rome when bits of terra cotta pottery, glass beads, and gems were used to add color to wall tableaus.

Linda Black

Matt Taylor knew he wanted to be a filmmaker from the start. “I could have told you that when I was eight,” he says. He was a decent student and a pretty fair athlete growing up – he played baseball, basketball, and he swam. But “people in the Boston area are so rabid about sports,” even high-school sports, he says. “It wasn’t fun for me.” All he wanted to do was tell stories and make movies. But in Bridgewater back in the early 1980s, there was no one to show him how.

Tom Dunlop

Chilmark Pottery, off State Rd. across from Nip ‘n' Tuck Farm, West Tisbury. 508-693-6476. Daily demonstrations. Open Monday-Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Christina Gallery, 32 N. Water St., Edgartown, 508-627-8794, christina.com. Open daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Cobalt Gallery, 553 State Rd., West Tisbury, 508-693-2052. "Small Works" November 23-January 1. Wednesday-Sunday 2-6 p.m.

Craftworks, 149 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, 508-693-7463. Contemporary American Craft. Open through the holidays. Daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

And finally, eventually, most of the visitors are gone from the streets and the galleries and the bed-and-breakfasts. For most Islanders, that means a return to the essential, ordinary lives of work, family and school.

That's also true for Island craftspeople. But the people who make pots and quilts, rugs and jewelry and other handmade crafts often spend the warm months selling their work or their services to summer visitors. For them, the colder months are a time to get back to their craft.

Hollis L. Engley

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