Spring Awakening

What to do, where to go, what to see, what to read, and more.

Art of Flowers

May 5 – May 26

Featherstone Center for the Arts’ annual exhibit captures all things floral, from paintings, photographs, sculptures, and more. Stop and view the flowers – and maybe get inspired to try a class.

Market Begins

Jeanna Shepard

June 1

Head to the Agricultural Hall to grab your fill of fresh fruits, veggies, flash-frozen fish, and other earthly bounties at the first West Tisbury Farmers’ Market of the season. 

Garden Stroll

July 25

Featuring stately captains’ homes and the iconic Emily Post house, the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club’s Edgartown stroll is the best way to peek at what’s blooming behind those white picket fences.

Where To Go

It’s time to take to the ponds! The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission opened two new trails this year, giving hikers a chance to wet their feet.

The first, a thirteen-acre parcel in West Tisbury known as the James Pond Preserve, takes hikers along James Pond to a newly opened 650-foot section of Lambert’s Cove Beach. Although beach access is the main draw, the trail system also includes 700 feet of pond frontage and traverses many hilly high points, land bank ecologist Julie Russell told the Vineyard Gazette, giving hikers a great view of woodlands, grassland, and wetlands.

Parking will be limited to twelve spots, which from June 1 to September 15 will be awarded by an online reservation system. There will also be a limit of 110 individuals at a time during the peak season, monitored by an on-site staff member, she said.

Down-Island, the new Caleb’s Pond Preserve allows wanderers to explore an undersung landmark of Chappaquiddick, with a 350-foot trail just a short walk from the Chappy Ferry landing. The preserve includes a three-acre strip of forest, scrub, and marshland, as well as pond viewing. Just be careful not to park your kayak on the property – plans for a boat launch and water access are still under review.

What To See

April showers bring May flowers, the return of leaves, traffic, and the Martha’s Vineyard Environmental Film Festival, now in its tenth year. Hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society and the Vineyard Conservation Society on May 23 to 26, the much loved festival showcases feature-length and short films from across the globe. All selections are united by a shared concern and care for our natural world.

What to Read

Beautiful Bread: Create & Bake Artful Masterpieces for Any Occasion by Theresa Culletto (Rock Point)

Theresa Culletto, better known as the Vineyard Baker, is famous for her showstopping focaccia bedecked with olives, rosemary, roasted red peppers, and just about anything else that might add flavor and color to her creative designs. For years, Culletto has sold her breads on-Island and led workshops to teach amateur cooks how to recreate her designs at home, racking up thousands of online followers in the process. Now, bakers can learn on their own with her first cookbook.

Weedy Wisdom for the Curious Forager: Common Wild Plants to Nourish Your Body & Soul by Rebecca Gilbert (Llewellyn Publications)

Island educator and farmer Rebecca Gilbert has hosted classes and activities on wild plants as a counselor at Camp Jabberwocky and later at her own Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark. Her book puts it all in writing and opens budding naturalists to the world around them. It also includes more than fifty recipes and activities to try with wild plants, including how to process natural healing plants and preserve your foraged bounty through fermentation.

What the Heck?

360 - Approximate number of North Atlantic right whales in existence. 

20,000 - Weight, in pounds, of a right whale that was found washed ashore in Edgartown earlier this year. The carcass was towed to Vineyard Haven, then transported by truck to tribal land in Aquinnah for a necropsy.

3 - Police cruisers that escorted the whale to Aquinnah, a necessity since the whale’s flippers could not be contained in the vehicle.

“All I can say is, they’re the hot new ride.”

– Environmental engineer Doug Cooper on new, more efficient septic technology mandated by the town of Tisbury that is intended to lower nitrogen levels in the Island’s ponds and estuaries.

What We're Listening To

Ray Ewing

Sadly, a lot less than last year. In January, the organizers behind Beach Road Weekend announced the Vineyard Haven music festival will not take place this year. Instead, the festival will move to the Cape in 2025. The short-lived live music event, held in August, brought the likes of Patti Smith, Mumford & Sons, and Leon Bridges to Island shores. Now we’ll have to settle for hearing them in our headphones – or take a trip to the mainland next summer.

The multi-year-running Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series, which brought a roster of well-known musicians and authors to various Island venues and was operated by the same management as Beach Road Weekend, has also been shelved.

What You Missed

Blown Away

A series of high-intensity storms with winds over fifty miles per hour wreaked havoc on the Island’s South Shore this winter, flooding Edgartown’s Atlantic Drive several times and placing some beachfront homes in precarious positions.

Speaking of Wind

Offshore wind farm Vineyard Wind completed its first five turbines this winter and began sending electricity to the Massachusetts grid. Though it had hoped to make history by delivering the first-ever wind power to the U.S. grid, that milestone went to a smaller wind farm off New York.

Party's Over

Edgartown is considering a new bylaw that would limit large social events to just two per week, or five per month, punishable by a $300 fine. Residents complained that the proposed bylaw is not strict enough. “This is still America, you should be able to throw a party,” said Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty.

Old McDonald Had a Venue

After a coalition of farmers pushed to reform Chilmark’s zoning bylaws, the town is debating whether to explicitly allow farms to host agriculture-related events. Some farms are concerned a drawn-out review process would cast uncertainty on their summer plans.

Off-Aisle Land

The Edgartown Stop & Shop opened its highly anticipated expansion, nearly doubling the size of the grocery store. Shoppers remarked that the new building feels just like a mainland store – and they meant it as a compliment.