With so many of the rich and famous on a first name basis with ‘Martha’, celebs like Denzel, (does he really need a last name?), Ted Danson (Cheers!), Jimmy Cagney, (you dirty double-crossing rat), Sharon Stone (she’s fatal!), and such like, a certain etiquette, Darh-llling is called for when visiting the Vineyard. A haven for star-studded-stars and studs-that-became-stars, the Vineyard’s Puritan legacy calls for a more reserved (Capital R) way of conduct that is manifested in its genteel behaviour and no-staring at the Hollywood Botox-babes rule. In fact, it is quite possible that the line, ‘there’s nothing here to see folks’ originated from the locals reception to its ‘star’ residents. (And if you believe that peeps, I have an island for sale, just for you!). Neither paparazzi nor autograph seekers nor selfie-wanna-be’s are tolerated on this star-spangled island, although of course, all of the ‘said stars’ are in fact secluded behind 10 foot iron gates that are hidden behind 8 foot shrubs that are hidden behind….you get the idea! And how do I know this most intriguing fact you ask yourself? My girlfriend and I spent hours (and hours) and hours star-searching the backroads - which was quite a feat, because many of the backroads have no signs - tourist hounds being what they are just can’t seem to leave the Vineyard without taking a piece of sign funky with them.
The Vineyard’s 100 acres are described as being either down-island, in an upper-classity manner, or up-island, in a more chill-ax-ity-classity manner. Think of it in terms of opposites.
Down-Island attracts the touristy crème de la crème, with its fine-dining restaurants, fine-spending shops, and tres expensive lodgings. Down-Island towns include Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs (where the historic 18th Century gingerbread homes are. Down-Island also includes Chappaquiddick - and we all know what happened there, n’est pas!
Up-Island, comprised of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah is a must-see-adventure for saucer-eyed nature lovers.
The mile-long Aquinnah cliffs, formed by layers and layers and layers of sands, gravel and clay, tell a hundred million-year-story of forests, glaciers and mammals. Fossils of camels, wild horses, ancient whales and elephants have been found in the clay of the cliffs. Depending on the time of day, and the slant of the sun’s rays, the cliffs’ colours shimmer with a spectrum of colour hues- purple, pink, yellow, and hot-damn gorgeousness.
The Gayhead Lighthouse, the original of which was built in 1799, was one of the first revolving lights in the States. Legend has it that back in the day the wooden works became so damp and swollen that the keeper and his wife spent the whole night turning the light by hand to guide ships to safe passage. (And they say women have no sense of direction!)
Be sure to check out next week’s blog for Canada’s 150th Celebration Countdown!