Man on the Moon Lands in Woods Hole

IMG_1182Those of us of a certain age remember July 20, 1969 for a couple of reasons. First, because it was the day after the media announced that a car had gone off Dyke Bridge on Chappaquiddick. You don’t need to live on Martha’s Vineyard to know the rest of that unfortunate story. But the second happening became something to celebrate: July 20th was the day the first man walked on the moon. His name was Neil Armstrong.

Just before I left for vacation, the “new” Neil Armstrong—a 238-foot research vessel—docked at its prestigious home in Woods Hole. The U.S. Navy owns the ship; they selected the folks at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution to operate it.

Replacing the previous ship, the Knorr (yup, that’s the one connected to the discovery of the Titanic), the Neil Armstrong no doubt has an exciting life ahead. A sister ship to this, the Sally Ride, will soon be docked at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego. I think it’s pretty cool that ships designed to explore the depths of the oceans are named after those who explored our universe.

When I saw the article in the Vineyard Gazette, I wished I’d known about the landing of the Armstrong ahead of time. I would have loved to witness the grand celebration as the Coast Guard escorted the ship into port. But a few days later, when I boarded the ferry from Vineyard Haven to Woods Hole, I was thinking about my own adventures and forgot to look for it.

My return trip was a different story. It was a bright, beautiful afternoon; I sat by the window on the right side of the ferry (I still don’t know my port from my starboard), determined to catch a glimpse of the new vessel once we pulled out into the harbor. The sun was warm and nice, but I was tired from my time away. While the ferry sat, waiting, for its scheduled departure, suffice it so say, I closed my eyes. When I awoke (remember, I am, indeed, of a “certain age”), we were halfway across Vineyard Sound. I spun my neck as far as it would spin, but I saw only a distant white-and-blue blur of the Armstrong.

Next time, I’ll see it. Unless the explorer is off on another amazing discovery. Or I’ve forgotten it’s there.

Sign of My Times

IMG_5005I love this road sign. Every time I see it on a back road on the Vineyard, I slow down. Even if I’m walking.

It no doubt has been put there to remind island visitors that they now are on vacation, that they have left their busy lives, their hectic jobs, their daily stress back on the mainland. They’ve crossed off the days and have finally made it to the picture-perfect place that they’ve stared at on their laptop screens since the year before. Martha’s Vineyard is their haven; their place to slow down.

But what about the people who live here year round? What the heck do they do when they want to get away? (I know. It’s hard to believe, right?)

Well, some hop the Patriot Party Boat across Vineyard Sound to Cape Cod, then take the shuttle to Falmouth Plaza where they have big stores like Christmas Tree Shops and T.J.Maxx. Some take the bus out of Woods Hole and head to Boston to savor special exhibits at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or the Museum of Fine Arts.

Others leave for the entire winter: Florida, usually, though some go skiing in places like Colorado and Utah. Others do springtime in Paris, lucky them.

Okay, get to the point, Jean.

Next week I will be on vacation. I will be returning to America, to the place of fast cars and crowded shopping malls, of chain restaurants and gas stations on every corner because everyone is busy going somewhere, doing something in a hurry.


The bottom line is this: Don’t look for a blog post from me next week; not until the week after, when I’m back in the place where I slow down.

Santa is Coming! Santa is Coming!

Breaking news. The big guy is arriving on Cape Cod today via Coast Guard Cutter.

Don’t know how they handle it now, but years ago I recall that Santa boated into Falmouth Harbor, hopped into a red BMW convertible (top down), and trekked into town, tossing candy this way and that. It was great fun.

Next weekend, he comes to the Vineyard. Not sure how he gets here from Falmouth (the 6:15 boat? The 7:30? Or does he arrive via Cape Air?), but he’ll parade down Main Street in Edgartown to the harbor on Saturday morning to help celebrate the Christmas in Edgartown weekend.

Can’t wait for that. The whole weekend of December 9-11 has events galore – concerts and crafts fairs and special demonstrations at galleries and in shops; hot chocolate and cookies and, no doubt, clam chowder dressed up in holiday finery. Not to mention amazing gift shopping, if you’ll excuse me sounding like a TV spot.

But more on Christmas in Edgartown later. For now, please enjoy this shot of the freight boat, “Katama”, that I snapped last night at sunset when I headed back to the island from Woods Hole.

Literally speaking…

So I was off-island yesterday, and I simply had to stop in Woods Hole before getting back on the ferry and take a picture of this sign. It is my very favorite one in this whole, entire, lovely world.


In truth, if you take your “next left” and keep going, you’d better have on your water wings, because you’ll run smack into Vineyard Sound.



Since I first noticed that sign years and years ago, it has amused me. Not because I’m a literary snob (hardly), but because I’d like to think that someone in the State Highway Department has a very cool sense of humor.

Have a great day – it’s another gorgeous one out here on the island!