September and October are two of the Island’s best months. By the time summer fades, that famed New England autumn is in full swing, and it’s warm enough to enjoy it. This time of year is also the unofficial Island festival season – with several weekend-long events to suit a variety of interests. Our picks for these months remind us why we love the Island’s shoulder season.

Simone McCarthy

Sergei de Somov was legendary in Island fishing circles. Artist and fellow angler Kib Bramhall writes about the three-time Derby winner in his new book, Bright Waters, Shining Tides: Reflections on a Lifetime of Fishing.

Kib Bramhall

The Vineyard Artisans Festivals provide both a lively marketplace for some of the best Island creations and a supportive network for artists and craftsmen.

Remy Tumin

1. A week of Kahoots. The popular (and prolific) Vineyard band Kahoots is hitting the road, and luckily for us, it’s an around-the-Island tour. The band will be jamming its indie rock sound in all six towns and Chappaquiddick from August 1 to 7, playing through its twelve albums in chronological order. The newest, “Play Something You Know,” is timed for release at the Saturday performance. Tickets are $5, on sale at the door, and shows are for fans of all ages (except those at bar venues). For a full schedule, visit the Kahoots Facebook page.

Simone McCarthy

It would be hard to overemphasize how joyful the Vineyard made me. Like most children vested with the privilege of summers on the beach, I got a long- lasting, mellow kind of high from the annual pelagic assault on my senses – the feel of warm sand against my cheeks; the brackish air; the view of a lighthouse’s brave silhouette; ambient sounds made by boats at anchor, halyards pinkling against their masts. I loved to swim and would surf the chilly New England waters on an inflatable raft until my fingers looked like tips of white asparagus.

Alexandra Styron

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Island’s beloved Ag Fair, which honors the Vineyard’s agricultural traditions, fosters community participation, and offers all kinds of fun food, games, and carnival rides.

Karla Araujo

In her memoir, Reading My Father, Alexandra Styron lays bare the complexities of a turbulent family life with the late Pulitzer Prize–winning author William Styron, who suffered from debilitating depression. In this excerpt, she describes her summers on Martha’s Vineyard as much-cherished interludes, and great fun in their own right.

Alexandra Styron

The people responsible for garnering and escalating bids at charity auctions can significantly impact the bottom line of Vineyard nonprofits, some of which are now hiring professionals.

Kate Feiffer


Kerri Daly

Minding her own business: A Hair Affair.

Island Music

The willing, The collaborators, the veterans, and more.

I Teach the Old Man to Drive. He Teaches Me to Swear.

Our world was peopled with folks named One-Eyed Mike, Speed, Liver Lips, Banana Nose, Three-Fingered John, Dogmeat, Silk Sock Sam, Wimpy, Cocabola, Greasebelly, Floggy, and Steamboat John. We knew a brilliant English teacher – female – who lived, like 
Peggotty’s family, on a beached boat. We knew a man who once ate clams, shells and all, just to prove that he could do it. This impressive pantheon of the sometimes peculiar served as a colorful backdrop to my picaresque pa.

Minding Their Own Business: Lamplighter Corner

Tim Rush and Tom Fisher, lamp makers.

A Simple Little Arts District

Holly Alaimo was watching television one night when passersby wandered in to look at her artwork on the wall. With that act of trespassing, an arts colony was born on Dukes County Avenue.

It Freed His Heart

It wasn’t until Thomas Hart Benton came to the Island in 1920 that he found himself, and the painting style for which he would become famous.

The Seaweed Lady

“‘The shore is my source,’ says Rose Treat. ‘If an artist runs out of green, he runs to the store to buy green paint. If I run out of something I have to go to the beach.’”

The Craftsmen's Tales

Artscene: Gallery Listings

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, 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.